Awesome At-Home Inquiry Activities to Try Right Now

For the majority of people isolating at home with children, it is difficult to come up with fun, exciting, different, engaging, and interesting activities everyday (for some, every half hour!) It probably feels draining to have to reinvent the wheel over and over in an attempt to engage and stimulate your child’s interest. Hopefully this article can give you some fun and meaningful inspiration next time you hear the dreaded “I’m bored!”

For those who don’t know…

Inquiry-based learning is, simply, an approach to learning that focuses on children’s’ questions, ideas, and observations. It is fuelled by curiosity. It fosters creativity, purpose, and discussion. Inquiry-based learning is a fantastic way for children to learn, both at school and at home. There are many benefits of inquiry-based learning.

Okay, let’s get to the ideas you can implement right away…

Play “I Spy” – but better

Ask prompting questions such as:

  • What do you notice about the weather today?
  • What do you notice about the plants around the house?
  • Can you spot anything different in the driveway/garden/backyard?

You can take the answers you get from these questions in a few different ways:

  • If they make an observation about it being sunny or rainy outside, ask if they’d like to use pastels, watercolours, paints, or pencil crayons to draw what they see.
  • If they are into science, use their weather or outdoor answers as a way into exploring the following websites on your phone:

3D Geography

NASA Science SpacePlace

Earth Science for Kids

  • Grab a FREE copy of this window template from Twinkl and ask your kids to draw/colour what they see outside
  • If they notice something different about the plants in the house, suggest grabbing a watering can and watering the plants
  • Stop and notice what might be lurking or growing in each plant, what it feels like, what it reminds them of, etc.

Plan a special theme night for a family member

Planning a party takes a lot of planning and preparation. Decide on a theme with your child. Some examples:

  • Under the Sea Party
  • Spa Night
  • Disney Sleepover
  • Garden Tea Party
  • Superhero Sleepover
  • Lego Castle Party

No matter what theme you pick, make sure you are getting excited about inquiry!

Once you’ve figured out a theme, write down what tasks need to be done. These can include:

  • Writing invitations (this can be a long project in and of itself!)
  • Gather supplies from around the house
  • Plan out the evening – what will guests do? What activities are planned? Where will everything be held?
  • Create a snack menu – this can be as simple as grabbing some pudding cups or cheese and crackers, or as elaborate as baking cupcakes or another treat
  • Clean up the party areas – a great way to get kids helping out around the house!
  • Talk about what being a good host means and emphasize that it is their party to host so they need to be kind, polite, and helpful when needed
  • Does the event need a “photographer”? Perhaps this could be another family members’ role for part of the evening

Science and Art Experiments

These ones can get a little messy! But some of these experiments and projects can be super simple to make and yield exciting results:

Some other quick suggestions:

  • Build a marble run (there are tons of examples of these on Pinterest!)
  • Create chalk masterpieces on the fence or driveway
  • Organize a scavenger hunt with your kids
  • Build a popsicle stick house
  • Create an obstacle course in the basement or backyard
  • Make a pillow/blanket fort (inside or outside, weather dependent)

Final Thoughts

During these tricky times, it is important to remember that you won’t always have perfect days – in fact, many of them will probably be far from it. No one is perfect. Nobody knows exactly how to handle this big mess that’s been dumped in our laps. Nobody was really ready for all of this. What matters is that you’re doing your best, not wearing yourself out at the end of every day, and not beating yourself up because you let the kids watch Netflix for hours, or run down the battery life on their tablets, or gave them non-organic chicken nuggets for the fourth day in a row. It’s okay. Give yourself a break and remember that we’re all human and we’re all doing our best. And that’s what matters.

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