Shake Up Your Kids' Academic Routine With 'Activity Bingo'

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Now that many of us are a week and a half into physical distancing—i.e., cooped up in the house with the kids—it’s time for a welfare check. How’s everyone’s academic scheduling going? Have you morphed into a homeschool-teacher extraordinaire yet? Or have your kids been playing video games nonstop for 10 days?

We all fall somewhere on that spectrum as we try to figure out what sort of schedule or routine (or lack thereof) works best for our kids—and the family as a whole. These days, getting through the day-to-day is one long exercise in trial and error. So if you find that a super-structured day is not working for you, but you need some fun way to make sure the kids are doing more than rewatching old episodes of SpongeBob, you might consider trying what I am calling “Activity Bingo.”

Activity Bingo is a chart that resembles a regular Bingo board, but instead of numbers, you write a different academically inspired activity in each square. Once the kids complete one line—any line!—they get ... whatever you decide makes sense as a break or reward. Maybe they get to watch a show or they earn some other non-educational screen time. Or maybe that’s when you promise to take a break from whatever work you need complete to play a board game with them or run around outside.

Kids of Steel gives us an example of this with a similar, physical fitness-themed Bingo card, which is also not a bad idea:

Here are a few academic-centric ideas to get you started:

You can get as fancy or as quick-and-dirty as you like with your board. Create an elaborate, graphic version on your computer to print out, or draw the boxes out on a piece of paper and let the kids fill in the blanks (which will give them something to do, which will pass the time for a few extra minutes). Scan and make copies so they can cross off the completed activities each day, or use the same copy and cover the squares with items you already have around the home (quarters, Connect 4 chips, whatever you like).

Another option that is less game-like but also more flexible than a full-on schedule: Make an academic checklist, like this parent suggests in the COVID-19 and Keeping Kids Busy Facebook group:

We made checklists instead of a rigid schedule. (9th grade, 6th grade and 2nd grade) They have to get it all done in...

Posted by Kim Bugbee Wojcik on Monday, March 23, 2020

Or just let them watch TV all day; I’m not here to judge.


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