Independent Projects for Your Kids
Art inspired by Andy Goldsworthy
I got a request for some longer-term projects that kids could work on while their parents telework. So here you go! Don’t be afraid to let your kids take charge. They’ll make mistakes, they’ll make a mess, and they’ll learn a ton. These target elementary or middle school kids (it’s hard to set your kindergartener off on their own, after all) and of course you know your child’s capabilities best.
Create a Boredom List. At the beginning of every summer, my kids create a boredom list – things they want to learn or projects they enjoy. When they complain they’re bored, they get sent to the list. Sometimes their ideas are big (learn Russian) and sometimes little reminders (read). Sit down together and brainstorm. Then they can tackle something while you’re busy with work.
Learn Scratch. If you’ve never explored Scratch, you’re missing out. It’s a free, drag-and-drop programming language created by the MIT Media Lab. Kids can create animations, games, music – basically anything – all while learning the concepts behind coding. Share your projects with the Scratch community to get positive feedback (it’s a really supportive online community).
Make a Diorama. Pick a favorite book, a moment in history or a natural phenomenon. Get a shoebox and go!
Write a Graphic Novel. Budding artists can write their own graphic novel. Research how plots are developed, study your favorite graphic novels and find online resources for cartooning. Then draw!
Make Art! Choose a favorite artist, explore their work online and create a piece in their style. Art with nature, a la Andy Goldsworthy, is always fun. (See photo.)
Learn to Type. Work on your typing skills with Keybr.
Create Carboard Arcade Games. Get inspired by 9-year-old Caine Monroy and make your own arcade games out of carboard. Lots of physics, design and engineering to learn.
Make Your Own Soap. Buy one of our Klutz kits for a turnkey option. We’ve got curbside pickup!
Take a Nature Walk. Identify the plants, animals and trees that you find and research them. We once found an Eastern Red Backed Salamander in the woods by our house. Did you know they don’t have lungs?
Let us know how it goes!