So, you’re laying out your homeschool year and you’ve got all the academics covered, all the activities scheduled, and then you have this sinking feeling that there is something missing. You just KNOW that you need something else and you can’t put your finger on what it is. You check your list a million more times, asking yourself what it could possibly be.

Have you put in the fun?

Fun?! I don’t know him… My point exactly! We get so enthralled with making sure our precious ones are just as involved as their counterparts that we don’t think that FUN is important—and you couldn’t have missed the mark any more!

As you know, I am preparing to release my The Lost Art of Play book and I want to give you a few tips on putting the fun in your homeschool year.

1) Get outside! Milk isn’t the only source of Vitamin D. There’s something about being out in the sunshine that does something for the mind, body, and soul! Set up outside games like bowling, tic tac toe, badminton, volleyball—whatever you can think of! Break out the water guns and water balloons! Have a picnic…just GET OUTSIDE! Encourage your kids to use their imagination.

2) Make your own board games! Today’s kids have ZERO clue of how edutaining a board game can be. But, what if THEY made the rules? The board? The pieces? Take it even further and learn the history behind classic board games, too! My content director and fellow homeschool mom, Tammie, creates games based off of children’s books. Her game based on Laura Numeroff’s If You Give A Mouse A Cookie has been a big hit! Encourage creativity and not perfection.

3) Play in the dark! Go to the dollar store and invade the toy section, looking for glow in the dark stuff—necklaces, shapes, insects, flowers, etc. Once the sun sets and the house is dark, engage in a good game of hide and seek or even tag, using nothing but the light of the glow in the dark toys to find each other. Encourage them to come up with new games to play.

4) Use food to help teach concepts! What in the WORLD?! Believe it or not, your kids get more excited about learning when it involves eating, especially if it’s something they only eat on special occasions or as a special treat. Encourage them to try new foods!

5) Incorporate music and movement! Crank up the music, get up, and dance around while singing songs or reciting chants that teach important concepts. Encourage them to be silly and make up their own songs and movements.

6) Tell stories! Resist the urge to load your kids up with facts and figures alone. Encouragement here goes a long way—no matter how silly their stories get, go with it!

7) Allow them to take over for a day! It won’t lead to anarchy, I promise! Plus, they just might surprise you. Encourage them by participating, no matter how much you want to restore order!

Remember that they are KIDS! We focus so much on making our homeschoolers miniature adults that we often dismiss the fun things they want to do in the name of preparedness. They need to play! Encourage them to take play breaks.

Commit to work on whichever of these is a challenge for you and become your child’s hero!

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