skippy's big list of off-line learning activities


The best learning actively engages children across a variety of contexts. Learning may take place in play situations and in real-life situations, from dressing up to changing light bulbs. There is even learning to be done in the day-to-day routines of family life if we choose to take advantage of them.

Opportunities for learning are all around us, all the time. With the holidays coming up, we thought you might like Skippy’s Big List of Off-Line Learning Activities for children of all ages. Adapt them according to the age of your child, or just use them for inspiration. Have a break from looking at screens, and try some of these with the whole family! Have Fun!

  1. Count how many windows are in your house – for older children, work out how many right angles there are.

  2. Have a treasure hunt – for older children, get them to design the treasure hunt, including the development of a map, instructions and clues.

  3. Using the inside of the shower door as a ‘canvas.’ Mix some food colouring with shaving cream and paint the glass door – easy to wash off when you’re in the shower.

  4. Find some leaves in the garden and do some leaf rubbings using pencil or crayon.

  5. Nature collage – collect outside materials and use these to make your art.

  6. Paint with water – find a huge wall, driveway, outdoor area and paint letters, numbers, whatever you like using water and a paint brush.

  7. See how many bugs/animals/birds you can find in the garden (in the grass, ground or trees) – For older children, create a display folder of wildlife in your yard. Take photographs or draw pictures of insects, animals and birds - see if you can label their body parts.

  8. See how tall everyone is in your family – measure them using lots of different measurements – a ruler, your hand, a tape measure, see who the tallest is and who the shortest is.

  9. Use building blocks to make a structure like a house, school, or bridge.

  10. Start each day with 20 minutes of physical exercise outside: dance, run, throw/kick balls, hoola-hoop, skip, jump, play tag, set up a balance beam.

  11. Listen to music outside and move to the beat, or play freeze when the music stops.

  12. Create a performance. Maybe act out a favourite story, or for older children, write a script of their own or choreograph your own dance. Practice, find costumes around the house and perform for the family.

  13. Sit outside quietly and try to identify every sound you hear.

  14. Make your own kite with Mum and Dad, and test it outside.

  15. Guess which objects in your house are magnetic then use a magnet to test your theory.

  16. Recyclables – make a car; marble run; musical instrument; maze.

  17. Design a photo frame and decorate with things you find outside.

  18. Design a house and then make it using materials you have around the house. Shoe box, cardboard walls, etc. Adapt this activity to suit the age of your child.

  19. Finger paint or paint – use a drop sheet/plastic packaging/bubble wrap to paint whatever you choose.

  20. Make a shop and put prices on all items.

  21. Collect some sticks from around the yard, sort them from shortest to longest. For older children, get a tape measure out and measure each one, add up how many centimetres all together.

  22. Make instruments out of everyday items and start a band with your siblings and/or Mum and Dad.

  23. Make playdough – there are many different cooked and uncooked recipes. Add glitter, colour, and essential oils to make it a multi-sensory experience.

  24. LEGO – Invent a new Lego toy - and for older children, draw the plans of how you made it.

  25. Cooking – reading recipes and measuring ingredients; following steps in a procedure.

  26. Make an instructional video of something you’re good at.

  27. If you have baking soda and vinegar - create a volcano.

  28. “Walk like a…” game. Walk like a bear, crawl like a lizard, run like a cheetah. Can be outdoors or up and down a hallway.

  29. Balloons. Try to keep hitting the balloon so it stays in the air. Tie a string on the end of the balloon and bounce it back and forward on your hand.

  30. Create a ‘small world’. You might like to fill a large container with water, add a little blue food dye if you’re feeling adventurous, and bring out the toy sea animals. Can also be done with found ‘nature’ from outside – twigs, leaves – and toy lizards or snakes, or add fairies or Lego people.

  31. Draw a picture of yourself doing something kind. Think of a random act of kindness you could do for a family member.

  32. Find some old socks – create puppets from them and conduct a puppet show.

  33. Collect all of your toys! Sort them into groups, tell someone how you sorted them. Can you sort them in another way?

  34. Think about everyone in your family – you could include cousins, siblings … choose some of them and draw a picture of them.

  35. Do you have some straws? Use scissors to cut them into small parts. Arrange them onto a piece of paper so they look like a spider web. How many shapes have you made? Can you name the shapes?

  36. Play ‘scissors, paper, rock’ with someone. For older children, decide how many times you will play and tally your results. Predict what result you think will come next.

  37. Create a 0 – 10 counting book for a younger child.

  38. Design an alphabet chart. Use post-it-notes or small pieces of paper for each letter. Draw a picture that matches the letter.

  39. Find one of your toys, and tell it a story. For older children, read it some stories.

  40. Sing some nursery rhymes.

  41. Go on a senses-walk around your garden or home. Talk about or list what you could see, hear and smell.

  42. Draw a picture of something scary, something happy, and something funny.