Home Learning & Fun

Learning & Fun at home

Michelle MacPhee
D-Mom, M.S. (Psychology)

When schools close during a public health crisis, we find ourselves learning at home. A T1D diagnosis may lead parents to home-based learning, temporarily or for the long term. And even on regular days, our best ones involve learning something new and having fun! Here we suggest learning and enrichment activities for "those days."

This page was originally created at the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic. As classes were cancelled for many kids across Canada, many parents wondered: What do I do now? What do I teach them? Waltzing the Dragon collected these ideas and resources to battle boredom, keep minds sharp, encourage creativity, and follow our children’s interests.

Art & Creativity:

  • LethalChris Drawing: “How to draw videos, tutorials, guides, fan art, and vlogging channel, in a time lapse (speed art) video.”



  • Draw everyday:


Jarrett Lerner

  • Paint a Rock: (and other inspirations from Ideas and Fun Home and Garden Website)
  • Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of classes for creative and curious people, on topics including illustration, design, photography, video, freelancing, and more. On Skillshare, millions of members come together to find inspiration and take the next step in their creative journey.

Random Fun (tech-free) Learning Opportunities:

Kim Jones McClelland offers this creative and quirky tech-free list (I especially love Stay up late and stargaze!):

“Teacher friends, who may be thinking about how they are going to plan to deliver education over the next number of weeks.  Here is a really great list I found in a Principal’s group that DOES NOT require technology and the internet. Now  that many schools are closed, I’ve got some suggestions for fun,  meaningful, and generally tech-free learning opportunities (especially  for elementary schoolers)”: 

  • Interview a family member.
  • Measure the area and perimeter of each room in your home.
  • Graph the types of birds that frequent your yard or windows.
  • Be completely silent for 60 minutes, then write about the experience.
  • Write and mail a [real] letter to your teacher or principal or classroom penpal.  Address the envelope yourself.
  • Build a “fable fort” out of blankets and chairs.  Camp in it all day while you create stories to tell your family over dinner.
  • Learn Morse code and use it to communicate with your siblings through walls and floors.
  • Alphabetize the spices in your kitchen.
  • Stay up late and stargaze.
  • Call a grandparent or older relative.  Ask them to teach you the words to a song from their childhood days.
  • Using household materials, build a working rain gauge, barometer, and wind vane.
  • Determine and chart the times that different liquids require to turn solid in the freezer.
  • Design and build puppets that perform a show about multiplication.
  • Construct a family tree.
  • Learn ten new big words.  Write them in marker on your bathroom mirror.
  • Draw a map of your home.
  • Sit silently for 15 minutes while you write down every sound you hear.   When you are done, classify the sounds (high/low pitch, high/low  volume, manmade v. naturally occurring, etc.).
  • Create a Venn  Diagram that compares and contrasts two people in your family, your  neighborhood, or your church, mosque, or temple.
  • Learn, practice, and perform a magic trick.
  • Learn, practice, and tell three new jokes.
  • Use household materials to make and play stringed, percussion, and wind instruments.
  • Learn to shine a pair of shoes.
  • Collect leaves from ten different (non-harmful) plants.  Sort them by size, color, and texture.
  • Put your favorite book, toy, and keepsake on a small table in sunlight.  Draw or paint a full color still life.
  • Find, pick, and dissect a flower.
  • If you have stairs, walk up and count them.  Walk down and count by twos.  Walk up and count by threes.  Continue through tens.
  • Determine the volumes of ten containers, them display them in order on your porch.
  • Write a poem on your sidewalk using chalk.
  • Classify twenty everyday objects by shape, size, color, height, mass, and material.
  • Measure the length of your bed using five different nonstandard units.
  • Call a person who speaks a language you do not.  Ask them to teach you five common words or phrases.
  • Create and use a secret code.
  • Using one type of paper (constant), build three different paper  airplanes (independent variable) and test to see how far they fly  (dependent variable).
  • Set a clock three hours and seven minutes  ahead.  Whenever someone needs to know the time, help them figure it out by subtracting.
  • Write down every adjective you say for one full day.
  • Learn three new jokes.  Tell them to an aunt or uncle.
  • Design a map of every state ever visited by people in your family.
  • Write or tell a story titled “What if humans had to leave the Earth and no one remembered to turn off the last robot?”
  • Find ten rocks smaller than a dime.
  • Using paper, tape, and string, design, build, and test a device that warns you when someone opens the kitchen cabinet.
  • Imagine, create, and fly a full size flag that tells the world about you.

Learning at Home:

Resources and Ideas for Home Education:

My friend and fellow D-mom, Melissa Zimmerman, posted this wonderful and growing list of Home Education Resources to her Facebook page.

Online Read aloud from authors:


Interesting websites for at home learning:






Educational Companies Offering Trial Subscriptions


KidsActivites.com (creator Holly Homer lives in Texas) offers this list of Education Companies Offering Free Subscriptions Due to School Closings.


ST Math, a web-based visual instructional program that leads to deep conceptual understanding of math, is providing free access to their ST Math Homeschool program from now through June 30th for families across the US and Canada. You can access this offer at www.stmath.com/coronavirus. At the end of that period, you can choose whether or not you’d like to purchase a subscription to ST Math – we will not collect your payment information or autobill you.

Solve Me Mobile: solveme.edc.org/

Dreambox: https://www.dreambox.com/canada

Khan Academy: https://www.khanacademy.org/

Kentucky Center for Mathematics: Caregiver Math Resources for COVID-19 School Closures

Math & Science

My all-time favourite educational and funny STEM videos are created by former NASA Engineer Mark Rober. Our family binged on his YouTube channel during the covid-shutdown... the squirrel obstacle course and the glitter bombs for porch pirates are CLASSIC! 
Interesting science and math videos related to germs and public health:

Virtual Field Trips

Over 30 Virtual Field Trips with links

And remember...

Stay active! When you feel restless, do a 1-minute workout.

Take time to get outside, notice and appreciate the things around you, explore new ideas and passions.