How do I balance antsy hands with my desire to include read-alouds and educational videos in our school days?
I do not require my children (or myself) to sit completely still and just listen. I provide a wide variety of quiet activities that can be done during read-alouds or educational videos for my children. In our homeschool, busy hands help my energetic boys to focus on a book or video. Busy hands help my daughter and I to be productive and multi-task during our school days.
A wide variety of quiet activities can be pursued during read-alouds, depending on the age and skills of your children. For example, my teenage daughter often knits during our read-alouds and educational videos. One winter, she knitted a multitude of beautiful hats for Christmas presents. Lately, she has been knitting baby hats for a local pregnancy crisis center.
I am usually the one reading the read-aloud book but if we’re watching an educational video, I usually keep my hands busy with cutting. Yes, cutting. We use lapbooks as part of our studies, so I usually have mini-books that can be prepared ahead of time.
My boys (10 and 12), on the other hand, engage in a wide range of quiet activities during read-alouds and educational videos.
Modeling with Sculpey III clay
Sculpey III is a wonderfully easy, non-messy clay perfect for making an infinite variety of imaginative creations – think Play-Doh for older children. Finished projects can be baked in the oven to harden them. My children have been sculpting with Sculpey III for years now and they still enjoy the creative process. To get your children’s creative juices flowing, I recommend the Sculpey website and books like The Incredible Clay Book.
Patterning with Perler Beads
Perler beads are fun and relatively inexpensive. After the pattern is created on the pegboard, an adult covers the pattern with the paper included in any Perler bead kit and irons it according to the directions. The beads fuse together and make a small piece of art. Endless patterns can be found on the internet for everything from food to holiday themed pieces to animated characters and video game favorites. Our favorite site for Perler bead patterns is Making Friends.
Perler beads also makes a line of Biggie Beads for younger children.
A wide variety of different building blocks could be used to keep hands busy and minds engaged. My youngest enjoys building different patterns with a pegboard block kit. While both of my boys enjoy building with Legos, we have found that building with Legos is too noisy during read-alouds and videos. The digging through the box of Legos sounds are simply too distracting.
I highly recommend this incredible kit for keeping little hands busy for long stretches of time. Using the blocks, a child builds a three-dimensional structure using the patterns. Some of the patterns are VERY challenging! Of course, a child can also use the blocks for creative building of their own design as well.