Check out all our thematic center ideas here.
The Inspiration for Learning Centers at Home
Every once in a while I wished that I had some activities that my son could do while I cooked dinner or worked on laundry that related to our weekly theme. Or maybe for some of you, while you worked with another child. You know, something that would encourage him to explore tools or toys for a little bit longer, instead of asking me 10 minutes later what he could do.
So, I started making a list of objects that we had around the home that he could use to do “center-like” activities. (See some of our items below.) Then I scoured the web for free resources that were already developed to stock up on.
Based on what I found I came up with a few of the centers we will be using.
- Play Dough
- Art– painting, drawing or coloring
- Fine Motor- lacing/sewing, tweezing/tonging, etc.
- Writing– stamps, mazes, connect the dots, etc.
- Pretend Play– theme related toys, felt board, sensory tub, etc.
- Puzzles– Pattern Blocks, Tangrams, Geo Boards, etc.
- Magnet Pages (Thanks for the suggestion, Chloe!)
- Educational Games– Computer Games, board games, etc.
- maybe even more to come…
I realize you may not have some of the items needed for each center, but hopefully I will give you enough ideas or links to free resources that you’ll won’t have to buy anything. My goal is to bring you 2 or 3 different center ideas that you can incorporate with our weekly themed printables.
As the year goes on, I will be introducing different type of centers, but also using the same ones with different printables I find from around the web.
I hope you and you’re kiddos will enjoy these activities as additional supplements to our units.
Hi! I just found your blog! Wonderful ideas!!! For your paper/marker projects, if you can secure the paper to a slanted surface (fat 3 ring notebook kept closed or a slanted desk like in the 1900’s) it will help strengthen the wrist muscles as well as make it easier to hold the pencil in the correct grip. Keep up the good work!
I don’t have math cubes, but they would definitely be great for a center activity. If I come across any ideas that would incorporate them I will be sure and share.
Oh yes! Thanks for the reminder Chloe! We already have magnet pages with many of our units and they would be perfect for independent play!! Thank you so much for the suggestion!
I can’t wait to see some of the ideas you have. I struggle with dinner time activities and really do need some independent play activities for my girls.
I hope I can find some good ones! If you come across anything you better let me know!! I can use all the help I can get!! =)
Mommy Cameron says
I use centers in our homeschool to keep one kiddo occupied while I work with the other. One of their favorite things to play with our some of our math manipulatives. The cubes that snap together are probably their favorite.
I just discovered your blog a couple of days ago – thank you for all your awesome work – it makes life so much easier for me!
I can keep my daughter (almost 3) busy for a while with large beads and a string or even follow the line activities (prewriting stuff that her big brother already did is great!)
If my son (5) is finished whith his schoolwork, I love turning on the music to let them have a “dance party” (current favourites include “peer gynt” and the nutcracker suit) or let them listen to an audio book.
Taking out the mini trampoline works sometimes – and most of the time I let them help prepare dinner.
I love having them move around before dinner.
My kids love independent play – I very rarely have to encourage them at all. I usually give my daughter some of the easier worksheets from printable sets whem my son does his schoolwork, she likes doing “what dodon (what she calls her brother) does” Puzzles are also awesome!
Chloe Ferogh says
Remember folder games and magnets (jumbos for the little ones) (can use on cookie sheets to keep them our of the kitchen). These keep my kids engaged in learning for huge chunks of time!