While the school days tend to blend into one another, it’s easy to forget that elementary students across Ontario will be having Professional Activity Days this month, commonly referred to as PA Days. Teachers are taking this time away from the classroom to prepare for the February Report Card evaluations and assessments. Finding activities for PA Days can be challenging for families in the best of times, but a combination of remote learning, restrictions and closures make this particularly challenging. Not to worry, we have ideas for your family!
Out team at Teachers on Call has some suggestions to fill your child’s upcoming PA Day, several that students can do independently at home. Many of these activities can also be accessed during virtual recess and lunch breaks as well as weekends too! And if you like these ideas, be sure to check out last year’s independent activities for PA days.
Exercise with some online help
Especially while we’re at home indoors with many extracurricular programs on pause for current moment, exercise is super important! So, burn off some extra energy and occupy the kids with one of the many great online fitness videos. A 20-to-30-minute exercise program is just right for older kids. For younger ones, perhaps look for 15-minute videos.
Check out Cosmic Kids Yoga or Fitness Blender to get started, but there are lots, lots more!
Artwork with a purpose
Creative time is a great way to spend an hour, and there’s lots of projects you can suggest to your child to give them something to work for. Valentine’s Day is coming up, so it’s a perfect time to get a head start on cards for classmates and family members! Another fun idea is Annie’s Project, which sends handwritten cards and letters from kids to long term care homes.
DIY science experiments and STEM activities
Pinterest and YouTube are great sources of inspiration for winter-themed STEM activities and science experiments. We also have some great blogs on this very subject, such as 10 winter STEM activities. But of course, you can’t go wrong with the classics, like a baking soda volcano!
Online games with virtual babysitters
Grandparents are an excellent source of support even from afar. Schedule some virtual face time with grandma or grandpa and have them chat! For more educational and fun ideas and apps, try Caribu, which lets the grandparents read and draw with your child. Virtual Bingo, Uno, and Scrabble are also great games to play with them!
Virtual field trips
Do not fret if your favourite museum or cultural attraction is temporarily closed. Hook your child up with a virtual field trip to the Ontario Science Centre or the zoo! Penguin watching is a great pastime.
There are lots of wonderful resources for coding, and computer science is a unique way to teach children logic. We have a great feature on Canada Learning Code Week which happened just last month. Young children can begin with unplugged activities. Kids can also get started with either programming languages like HTML/CSS or python or start with foundational concepts like pattern recognition or debugging that are language agnostic.
Family outdoor field trips
When your family wants to take a little break or a full adventure, take a walk, or go outdoor sledding or skating. Maybe also visit your local library (check that it’s open) or visit a Little Free Library near you!
Have a happy PA Day!
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