Ideas for Joyful Learning During School Closures: Let’s Get Creative

Spending a lot more time at home can make for great opportunities to nurture your child’s creativity with activities that are a bit special, unusual and extra fun!

At-Home Learning: PBS SoCal and KCET, in partnership with LAUSD and in collaboration with California PBS stations, are offering broadcast programming with digital resources that adhere to California’s state curriculum. Download this week’s schedule.

Spending a lot more time at home these days can make for great opportunities to nurture your child’s creativity by doing activities that are a bit special, unusual and extra fun! The education team at PBS SoCal and KCET compiled a list of ideas to help you create joyful learning experiences at home that might be a bit out of the ordinary. This week’s theme is finding new ways to be creative together, which means our ideas are just a starting place. Take our ideas and adapt them to your family’s interests. Embrace your inner creativity … cue the Bob Ross Remix!

Here’s this week’s schedule to help you add some creative fun to your child’s learning routine at home:
Pre-K – 3rd grade
4th – 8th grade
9th-12th grade

Ideas for Early Learners (Pre-K–3rd grade)

  • Have an Arthur-themed dinner party at home! All of the guests can dress up as their favorite character from Arthur. As you choose your outfit for the party, talk about why it looks like something Arthur, D.W., Francine, or Buster Baxter would wear. Does anyone at home have glasses and a yellow sweater like Arthur? What about long braids like Muffy or a purple shirt like Francine?
    • Here are a few recipe ideas you can try out for the party: Make Arthur’s Open-Faced Sandwich with english muffins, rice cakes, or pita bread. Does the sandwich look familiar? Get creative with what you can find in your kitchen! You can use so many different ingredients to make Arthur’s eyes and mouth. You can also take your pick from this list of recipes from Arthur’s Cafe. Make Francine’s Sand-Apple-Wich or D.W. & Dad’s Fruity-licious Smoothie. Buster even has a suggestion on how to make your own mini pizza!
    • Make party decorations. Decorate Arthur’s Party Hat with markers and glitter for everyone to wear while they eat. Create tabletop decor by coloring some of Arthur’s friends. Carefully cut them out and place them out on the table for everyone to enjoy while they eat.
    • After the party, read your favorite Arthur book together (We recommend Arthur’s Birthday) or watch the episode here. Did you notice anything similar between your party and Arthur’s?
    • With a bit of imagination, any show or book could be the theme of your next dinner party! 
  • Cook up a batch of Nature Cat inspired edible slime! Using ingredients you might be able to easily find at home, make some slime in your favorite color. If you don’t happen to have tapioca flour on hand, try this recipe for making Fluffy Slime using Elmer’s white glue, baking soda, shaving cream, and contact lens solution (note: Fluffy Slime is not edible. Adult supervision is needed for all slime adventures.) The fluffy texture is super fun to stretch and squish, and you can make it even fluffier by adding more shaving cream. Experiment with different amounts of shaving cream or add two or three colors to the mixture to find out what extraordinary textures and colors are possible.
  • Make a Pinkalicious Wand using a wooden skewer or pencil, construction paper, and ribbons. Decorate your wand with markers or stickers and make it extra sparkly with glitter. The instructions suggest making a star-shaped wand, but feel free to make your wand in any shape you want. Use this opportunity to talk about the characteristics of the shape your child chose. How many sides does it have? How many corners does it have? What else is the same shape at home? After you’re finished making your wand, talk about what you would do with your wand if it had magical powers. What would you wish for?

Ideas for Older Children (4th Grade-12th Grade)

  • KQED Art School is a great source of creative inspiration! In these interviews, professional artists share about their careers and the artistic mediums they use to create. It’s a great way for your creative kids to learn about careers in the arts. And, their art can be adapted to at-home activities to do with your kids. Some favorites:
    • Mail Art: Even though we can’t see friends and family in person, sending mail is a great way to stay connected! Use objects from around your house (e.g. old magazines, junk mail, even leaves or flowers) to make a collage. Then, have your kids write messages on the back of the collages and send your loved ones beautiful, hand-made cards! This activity is inspired by artist David Wilson’s Mail Art project!
    • Painting Magic Hecksagons: A great way to build geometry skills while getting creative! Artist Kristin Farr creates colorful, geometric designs inspired by folk art. In this video, Kristin paints her geometric designs on a wall, but your kids could recreate this activity using paper, a ruler, a pencil, string, a thumbtack (or math compass), and markers. Or, you can take the activity outside using sidewalk chalk! Encourage your kids to make their own geometric patterns too!
  • Get those creative juices flowing completing this “Recreate a Work of Art” challenge from the Getty Museum. This is a great way for your whole family to come together and collaborate! Have your kids choose their favorite artwork (you can search on the Getty’s online archive). Then, find items around the house to re-create the artwork. Take a photo to compare! This is a great activity for the whole family to participate in!

  • Our neighbors at LAist shared this free, downloadable coloring book by local artist Eric Junker. Download it here.

More Resources

  • Reinforce the known facts about COVID-19 and precautions we should take to stay safe with Comic For Kids.
  • Tune in to PBS KIDS programming on PBS SoCal for curated educational content for children in Pre-K through 3rd grade. Tune in to KLCS for content targeted toward 4rd-8th graders and KCET for content geared for 9th-12th graders.
  • Visit PBS LearningMedia for free PBS KIDS standards-aligned videos, lesson plans, and other resources about Math, English Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, and Social-Emotional learning.