Wednesday, December 10, 2014

5 Minute Time Fillers for Schooling at Home Families (or for Anyone :-D)

5 minutes fillers, a bit of a lifesaver!

The life of a schooling at home family can be made VERY interesting when computers or programs start acting up.  Also, when you school multiple students, it seems like they all need you at the same time.  By year 3, I had it somewhat figured out what they could do independently, what they would need me for and planned their daily schedule accordingly.  But...there always seems to be some "wait time".  Wait time can equal goof off and distract your siblings time also.  :-D  One solution:  have a selection of profitable fillers ready for them to choose from while they are waiting for you.  Always good that you have a planned signal that they are waiting for you to help them.

Manipulative Ideas
Sandwich Bag of Legos
Task:  Create an item using ONLY the legos provided.  Be ready to share with the rest of the family when time permits.

Manual Sign Language
Task:  use the chart to sign through the alphabet.  Learn to spell your first name and work until you can sign it quickly and smoothly. Then move onto last name.  If time allows, learn your family members' names or practice your spelling words using sign language.

Language Arts Ideas
Free Reading
Search A Word/Cross Word Dollar Store Books
Task:  write your name at the top of one of the puzzles so that if you don't finish now, you can later. Work on the puzzle while time allows.

I also have themed ones that I place into binders, inside of page protectors and they use dry erase markers.  Then they can be reused.  Of course you can find these online too.
     A Kids Heart            Kids Puzzles and Games

Consider mazes, hidden pictures also!

(I find that many students struggle with this so I often slip this kind of activity into our day.  I write brainstorming ideas on index cards and they write everything they can think of on that card, front and back.  Soon, I'll be posting a document with brainstorming ideas that you can print if you.  Keep and eye out for it!)

Task: spread the cards upside down and close your eyes.  Chose one card and write on it everything you can think of that comes to mind after you read the task.

Write a Letter
Task:  choose a family member to write a letter to.


Task:  grab a piece of paper, give the boggle board a shake and write how many words you can find.

Fine motor-just for fun Ideas
Task: use provided chopsticks and pom poms to practice picking up and moving them.  Can you create a shape or picture?

Task:  Grab a ball of yarn, start fingerweaving.  If you want to add onto it later, put a pencil through the loops when you need to stop.

Not exactly how it comes out for us...but it's the same process.  Here's a pic of my boys doing it.

Pipe Cleaners
Task:  Grab 5 pipecleaners, what can you make?  Be ready to share your creation with the rest of your family when time allows.

Task:  grab a container or bag of playdough and a tray or mat.  Work with playdough until mom can get to you.

You can always make your own.  Here is my favorite home made cooked play dough recipe.
Cooked Homemade Playdough
1 C. flour
1/2 C. salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 C. water
1 tsp. vegetable oil
food coloring (or I often use a packet of kool-aid.  Inexpensive, bold colors and a lovely smell.  :-))

Paper Airplanes
Task: Fold various types of airplanes, using scrap paper.  Find an area which would not be distracting to others and test your airplane.  Change the variables: type of paper, size of paper, folds, etc.

Art Ideas
Chalk Art
Task:  create a winter picture using white chalk on black construction paper.  (When done, have mom help you spray with aersol can of hairspray so it doesn't smudge as easy.)

(I bought small sketch books for each of my students).
Task:  Doodle or sketch in your sketchbook.

Oil Pastels

Task:  Grab a package of pastels and a black or white piece of construction paper.  Enjoy exploring.

AntiColoring Sheets
Task:  Choose a printed coloring sheet to color using colored pencils.

You can find them online or you can purchase books also.
I actually do not find many when I google "anticoloring" mainly because that' is probably a copyrighted product.  So, when searching online, google "design coloring".

Math Ideas

Math Facts
Task:  set timer for 5 minutes, fill in as many multiplication fact answers as possible on chart.
There are many blank charts available but here is one for you.  You can find this one....and several other multiplication charts at Math-Salamander

Number Pattern Task Cards
(On index cards write a beginning of a number pattern.)
Task:  Grab a piece of paper and a task card.  Begin by writing down the initial pattern and then complete it with the next 5 numbers.  Finish that task card by writing out the pattern rule underneath the numbers.  Continue onto next card.  

2, 4, 6, 8,    count by 2s 
3, 8, 18,  38     add 1, multiply by 2

Also, there are a lot of logic/brain teaser sheets available online or you can purchase a book of them.  These make GREAT time fillers!
My kids love these kinds of brain teasers :-)

Brain Teaser Examples here:

Logic puzzle example

Let your imagination go!  If you have your own time fillers that are a success, please share the in comments!

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