With school districts starting the new academic year with virtual classrooms, educators face the challenge of finding new, unique ways to keep students engaged and learning through remote education. Simultaneously, students are feeling isolated and unable to receive the emotional support commonly associated with socializing with peers. To help, we’ve put together a list of fun hands-on activities to bring students joy while easing the burden felt by many educators during the time of COVID-19.
Check out these 6 enrichment ideas to support distance learning curriculum:
1. The new school garden program
The obesity and health crisis affecting children and families throughout the United States is a major concern for the future of our society. There is a strong movement for community gardens and educational programming surrounding healthy food choices. A great way for students to learn about plants and nutrient-dense foods is to have them build their own small garden at home. This can be done as an individualized activity, or via video conferencing platform so students can work on their gardens at the same time as their classmates. By inviting a master gardener to be a guest speaker for the class, students will have the opportunity to learn tips and tricks from an expert. Gardening is also a highly meditative experience that allows students to feel calm and connected while focusing exclusively on the care of their creation.
Students that live in many environments will be able to nurture a garden in their home. Gardens are not limited to homes with large backyards, as long as there is access to sunlight, plants can thrive in other creative spaces as well such as a balcony, patio, fire escape, hanging from the wall or near any window.
2. Master the art of cooking from home
Students will love the chance to work their culinary magic while learning the art of sautéing, roasting or baking a delicious meal with your choice of menu items – appetizer, full meal or dessert, many options exist! Based on the age level of the class, another great option would be to create no-bake snacks such as dried fruits, sweet treats, and many more options. Students are certain to enjoy this delicious activity that will leave their hearts and bellies full.
3. Interview a guest speaker
Know a firefighter, hospital worker, representative from local volunteer organization or entrepreneur? Many are looking for ways to give back to the community during these uncertain times. Invite them into your virtual classroom to share about the work they’re doing. Students will enjoy connecting with a new person, and to be given the opportunity to ask questions and learn about possible career choices.
4. Get students moving!
Participating in a group workout is a fun way to get in some physical education time while connecting with classmates. Start the time with some ice breaker activities, followed by a hands-on activity lead by a wellness practitioner. Focus areas may include yoga, meditation & mindfulness with journaling, functional movement & flexibility, and/or tai chi. Learning takeaways can include the physical benefits of movement, along with ways to calm the mind and reduce stress. This is a great opportunity for students to establish health goals, and even create a wellness plan for themselves. Pro tip: having wellness care packages delivered to everyone before the program is sure to generate excitement about participating in the activity!
5. Have fun with finances
Ever think you’d see those words together? The economic climate created by the pandemic has proven now more than ever it’s important to teach youth life-long lessons about finances. In addition to lessons around savings and bank accounts, innovation and entrepreneurship are also great topics to explore. For example, you could create a “Shark Tank” inspired style competition where students learn how to solve a problem, create a business plan, then pitch their idea to the class. To increase engagement, give each student a budget amount to invest in their classmate’s ideas.
6. Tour a local museum or national park
A virtual field trip to the museum provides endless opportunities to learn about art and culture. Thanks to Google Arts & Culture, students can tour museums around the globe without leaving their home! Many National Parks are also offering virtual park tours or online video walks. For added excitement, make the lesson into a virtual scavenger hunt where students answer trivia questions that unlock clues or coordinates to the next location they need to visit throughout the hunt.
For additional ways to support your curriculum enrichment efforts, Positive Adventures is offering a series of virtual programs. To learn more about options, contact us today.