I want to start by saying that my kids are voracious readers, so very little of our time and attention in morning time will be devoted to this specifically. We will mainly focus on writing and grammar. Again, we are only including one activity per week so the kids can also have their regular curriculum. I don't have a lot more to say about that, so here's the list! Enjoy!
1. Round Robin Stories- Each person gets a piece of lined paper and starts a story with two sentences (be sure that they are not sharing a line). Then you fold your paper so that only the second sentence is showing. Pass the paper to the person on your left. Read the one sentence showing and write two more. Repeat this process adding two sentences to every one you see. Decide how long this goes on. At the end, everyone takes a turn reading the whole story.
2. Comic Books- there are several places online you can download/print Comic Book paper. In my basket, I'll include all kinds of drawing and manga type supplies. I do not expect my kids to finish this in one day. Some kids, I might include already named superheroes to help them out as a couple of my kids get SO overwhelmed at the idea of "You can pick ANYTHING!"
3. Synonym Cards- There are SEVERAL versions of these out there. Word to the wise- I used them tonight with two 8 year olds for a total of 12 words- they were BORED BORED BORED. They seemed to like the idea for about two words. After that, their attention was long gone.
4. Roll a Story- again, there are TONS of versions of these- picture ones for pre-writers and versions for pretty much every holiday out there.
5. Stretch a Sentence- This is something my kids DEFINITELY need to work on. There are lots of these available as well, but I like the aesthetics of this one from Cassie Thomas.
6. Spin a Story- You spin to find options. I might make my own one day. My kids need a few more options for their imaginations. :D If you want to kick things up, you can have them write it like a play and perform it!
7. Story Bags- Pretty basic idea- put stuff in a bag, then they have to make up their own story using the items.
8. Grammar Lapbook- Want to know a secret? I am kind of obsessed with Lapbooks and I wish my kids loved them as much as I did. You can buy some really cool packs HERE and HERE, or check out some free options HERE, and HERE.
9. Giant Scrabble- this leaves a lot of room for creativity. You could get actual TILES from Home Depot (I think they are like $.20-$1.00 depending on size) or you could do scrapbook paper OR, if you're super cheapo like me, PAINT CHIPS! You can make your letters be weatherproof for outdoor play on the lawn or you can plan for long, cold, snowy winters and make them for inside. That's my plan!! I will probably write the letters on the paint chip with chalkboard paint pens. You decide how many letters you'd like to do and if you want to include points. Wikipedia has the distribution list here that says there are 100 letters, but everything on Pinterest said 144 letters. I guess it depends on how hardcore you are.
10. Boggle- Again, so many options!! You could buy the game, play it on an app, online game, OR.... the same way you did the scrabble tiles. Pick 16 letters at random and place them on a square. Let each of the kids play. :D
11. Sandwich Story Report or Story Planner- Teachers Pay Teachers has some CUTE options of this. THIS ONE is free, but not as cute or interactive as some of the others. Pretty much, each part of the story is represented by a piece of sandwich. I think you should MAKE a sandwich while you do this. A delicious object lesson. Nom Nom Nom.
12. Poetry Magnets- I made a set of these for our trip this summer. We'll see how the kids like it. Hopefully they do because I used my last sheet of magnetic paper for them. I just googled "Free Poetry Magnet Printout"
13. Read Aloud Video- I'm afraid I've gotten my kids to love the YouTube Spotlight (my videos average 9 views each!). So I'm going to have them pick a story with 3-4 characters and a narrator. They'll each have parts and we'll practice and put together a video reading the story.
14. Cursive Skeleton- Described in Tiny Art Room.
15. Hangman!!- Again, on paper, on the Roku, I'm SURE there are apps, and I think there's even a board game.
16. Story Cubes- you can buy them on Amazon. We have the 3 main varieties, but I'm seeing there's an even bigger set. If you are feeling crafty or can't afford them, I've actually made my own before. I wish I could remember why. They were so cute!! You can do story stones that you make yourself as well.
17. Once Upon A Time- Ok, listen to me here. You have to buy the BASE GAME before the expansion packs. I accidentally didn't buy them in the right order. This is better for the older kids or fast readers. Pretty much, everyone has some cards and an ending. Your objective is to make it to your ending but the story you tell gets interrupted and changed and passed along as it goes on.
18. Art Journal Prompt- We'll be using journal prompts through the year anyway, but I love the idea of making a few of them flashy!! Like this one at Musings from the Middle School, This Sketch Page, This Picture Page, This Currently Page, or this Gratitude Page.
19. Letter Writing- This is old fashioned, back to basics, send it with a stamp letter writing. Everything will be supplied from addresses to stamps to washi tape. I might even have a little set up- how cute would that be?! Because it's not something my kids are as familiar with as I wish I could brag, I'll probably write a big sample letter on my huge giant lined paper.
20. Facebook Character Page- It's a cute printout from the Middle School Abyss!
21. Road Trip ABCs- We have a song we sing and it goes like this, "I'm going on a road trip and I'm taking-" The first person picks something that starts with A, like Ariel. So they would say, "I'm going on a road trip and I'm taking Ariel." The next person repeats the line then adds something that starts with B. "I'm going on a road trip and I'm taking Ariel and BB8." Everybody takes a turn, then starts over. You go through the whole alphabet and it gets pretty funny! And you don't have to say road trip. You could be going to the Zoo or to Grandma's House or "I'm sitting in my living room thinking about..." or "Last night I dreamt I had a....." Creativity, people! You've got it!!
22. 5 Letters Above Me- This actually started as a Facebook Game that bored adult women would play. 5 letters are presented, such as ASDJK and the next person has to use those 5 letters in order to form some semblance of a sentence. Grammar rules go out the window when answers are like, "Ask Sister Doughtry. Just Kidding." or "All small doors jump kindly." Once you have said your "sentence" you get to present the next 5 letters.
23. Mad Libs- Need I say more?
24. Instructions- Have your kid write down instructions on something they are good at that someone in the house is not familiar with. My oldest, it would be Minecraft. One kid, it might be how to draw something. For me it would be something on photoshop or how to use Manual mode on a camera. Then, you test it out. Give your instructions to someone else and let them follow them with NO input from you. What do you need to change? Clarify? Do you need to have a glossary or image to go with it?
25. Poetry Cafe- Let's face it. I'm double dipping on this one!!! I have a Poetry Cafe set up in the Continent Box I'm working on and the week we are ready for that is the same week this will be in our morning basket. On that week, each kid will find a favorite poem, write a poem, and bake a treat. We'll be inviting at least one other family over (Hi, Megan!!!) to do the same. Each kid (and parent) will take turns sharing their poetry. Treats will be served between poems, I think...
26. Bucket Lists- That's right. Time to write them. You can draw them. You can bullet them. You can give clues or add photos. Whatevs.
27. Vocabulary Stories- I'm still working on this one. When I was in 9th grade, my English teacher told us this story to help us remember the meaning of the word Felicity.Something about Fill A City with love. I thought he said he had a book or something like that with more words (I want to say he told a story about Heresy and drew a Hershey bar as part of that, but it could also be my imagination ). Anyway, I found one version of it, thanks to the LDS Homeschool group, found HERE, but I also asked one of my other High School English teachers if he knew what I was talking about and he said he'd ask Mr. Perez for me. Here's hoping he remembers....
28. Story Mesh- For this, you'd assign each kid a crucial PART of the story, be it setting, protagonist, antagonist, or plot twist. They all work separately, then bring their part together and make a story putting together their parts.
29. Book Page Poetry Art- I'm not going to explain much, I'm just going to show you EXAMPLE after EXAMPLE after EXAMPLE after EXAMPLE after EXAMPLE after EXAMPLE after EXAMPLE after EXAMPLE after EXAMPLE. I will note- please read the whole page before you give it to your kids..... Just saying.
30. Biography Poem- Lots of specific options here, too. Pretty much, you have an outline that everyone has to follow, but they do it about them. I think I like this one best.
31. Word Search- You could either print out one about something they like or have THEM create their own using spelling words or just words they like. Totally up to you. If they make them, have their siblings do them!
32. Favorite Book Guessing Game- Individually and secretly, talk to each kid. Have them put their favorite book in a brown paper bag and either make items from that book or write clues on index cards about that book. For example, see if you can guess *mine. Ready? In my bag, I'd have the book, a small box, gray dot stickers, gold star stickers, a wooden doll (like the ones artists use), a hammer, a tiny green hat..... Did you guess it?! 20 cool points if you did! If not, I'll put the answer at the bottom of the post.
If it were my **husband's, his bag would contain a pair of nail clippers, pens, comb, a glass of milk (or fake milk, whatevs), Scotch tape, and a cookie. If you don't know that one, I don't know if we can be friends anymore. Regardless, the answer is at the bottom of the page.
33. Idiom Games- Idioms are SO MUCH FUN!!! You can either print out idiom cards, like THESE or give the kids paper and have them DRAW the idioms, like here. You can also find idiom task cards. How cute are these Clip and Flip cards?!
34. Homophones- These always make me chuckle, too. For this, download this FREE puzzle template. Open it and print out several of the 2 pc puzzles. One one puzzle piece either write the word or draw a picture of the word using the first spelling. One the second puzzle piece, write or draw the other spelling of the word that sounds the same. Please tell me that made sense.....
35. Backwards Movies- This one might be a challenge, but has the potential to be EPIC. I saw this thing on Pinterest once (shocker, I know) that said, "If you watch Jaws backwards, it's about a shark who throws up so many people that they have to open a beach." I can't TELL you how much this made me laugh. I'd like to see what my kids come up with. INSPIRATION FOUND HERE.
To do this, I think I'd have them write down the basic plot lines of their chosen movies. Let's take Mulan for example. My cards would say things like:
Only Daughter messes up Matchmaker Interview
Finds a Dragon
Saves a Handsome Man
Shunned for Being a Girl
Saves China at a Parade
Then I'd reverse them.
Then try to be clever-
If you watch Mulan backwards, It's about a girl who leaves a parade early to reverse an avalanche and pick up rice. When she gets bored of that, she ditches her dragon friend and is mean to the Matchmaker.
Funny? Don't answer that. I don't know if I want the truth. I totally did that on the spot here, though.....
36. Family History Stories- Have your kids transcribe stories that you tell or grandparents tell and keep them in a safe place to remember for their future generations.
*My favorite picture book is You Are Special.- watch it on YouTube
** Roger's favorite picture book is If You Give A Mouse A Cookie- watch it on YouTube