popular topics in skill-building activities

  • Entertainment and Activities
    Drawing and Painting
    Show-'Em-How Manuals
    Show-'Em-How Manuals Required: Drawing supplies Sometimes, the only way to really explain something is to draw a how-to picture, or even a series of pictures. And there's no better person to draw them than your child, the budding junior technica...
  • Entertainment and Activities
    Math Activities
    Shopping Math
    Shopping Math Required: Your time only It's true that everyone loves a bargain. But do you and your child know how to spot one? On your next food shopping spree, ask your child to use his or her math know-how to find the best bargains in the sto...
  • Entertainment and Activities
    Math Activities
    Teaching Kids About Roman Numerals
    Teaching Kids About Roman NumeralsA guide to the rules of Roman Numerals.Materials Pencil PaperDirections Explain to your child that the number symbols we use every day came from Arabia and are called Arabic numerals. A different system was used ...
    Trish Kuffner, author of The Children's Busy Book
  • Entertainment and Activities
    Math Activities
    Secret Mathematical Formulas
    Secret Mathematical Formulas Required: Pen and paper Here's a game where your child knows all the answers. But does he or she know the questions? Think of a mathematical formula that reflects the type of problems your child is studying in school...
  • Entertainment and Activities
    Science Activities
    Science Fair
    Science Fair Required: Research materials Drawing supplies Is your child eager to demonstrate his or her scientific knowledge? Why not organize an at-home science fair and invite everyone in the family to participate? Each person can select a to...
  • Entertainment and Activities
    Reading Activities
    Read My Lips
    Read My Lips Required: Newspapers Can you create memorable sound bites worthy of a politician? Give your child examples of famous sound bites and talk about the events they help memorialize. Read newspaper headlines together, and see which of th...
  • STEM Toys for Kids
    Best Toys
    11 Awesome STEM Toys to Get Kids Into Science and Math
    It's smart to nurture your child's love of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)! According to the U.S. Department of Labor, many STEM fields are growing, and STEM jobs pay nearly double the average salary of other U.S. jobs. See whic...
    Erin Dower
  • Babies and Toddlers
    Imaginative Play
    Presidential Mixer Party Game
    Presidential Mixer Party Game Required: Reference materials Costumes for guests Have you met anyone interesting at a party recently? Well, this is your chance to mix with some of the most prestigious party guests of all—U.S. presidents, past a...
  • Entertainment and Activities
    Reading Activities
    Pay by the Word
    Pay by the Word Required: Your time only What if conversations were telegrams and every word counted? Your child can learn to speak concisely—or to "pay" the cost! Challenge your child to describe a movie or book in as few words as possible. A...
  • Entertainment and Activities
    History Activities
    Oral History Book
    Oral History Book Required: Reference materials Shazam! Your family has been transformed into a living history book, and the title is The History of the World. Assign a historical event or era (such as the Ice Age, the Middle Ages, the rise and ...
  • Entertainment and Activities
    Writing Activities
    Writing to the President
    Writing to the PresidentMaterials Writing paper Pen Envelope Postage stamp Directions There are many reasons kids would like to write to the president. They might be concerned about the environment or youth crime. Your letter will be read by a ...
  • Entertainment and Activities
    History Activities
    Instant Lecture Series
    Instant Lecture Series Required: Reference books Drawing supplies How would you like to turn your living room into a lecture hall and host some of the greatest thinkers—within your family, that is—at the drop of a hat? You can easily transfo...
  • Entertainment and Activities
    Drawing and Painting
    Household Road Signs
    Household Road SignsRequired: Drawing supplies No Left Turn. Right Turn Only. One Way. Left Lane Merges Right. These signs would make perfect sense if you saw them while driving about town in your car. But in your house!? Your kids can have a gr...
  • Entertainment and Activities
    Geography Activities
    Great Entertaining
    Great Entertaining Required: Globe or atlas Reference books What's cooking? A meal for very important visiting dignitaries from far away, and you and your child have to plan it! First, decide where the visitors hale from by spinning a globe and ...
  • Entertainment and Activities
    Math Activities
    Math Codes
    Math Codes Required: Writing supplies Kids love to make and break codes. Here's a variation that adds a new level of fun and reinforces basic math skills at the same time. You can easily adjust the level of challenge for your child's math and re...
  • Entertainment and Activities
    Reading Activities
    Hole Story
    Hole Story Required: Storybook How would you like to hear the hole story? All you need for this activity are the stories—your child can provide the holes. With your child, read aloud a page or two from a storybook. Then call out a part of spee...
  • Entertainment and Activities
    Science Activities
    The Gravity of the Situation
    The Gravity of the Situation Required: Your time only Here's an activity that will help your child appreciate the importance of sticking to his or her principles—scientific principles, that is. Choose a scientific principle—say, gravity—an...
  • Entertainment and Activities
    Geography Activities
    Go West, Young Kids
    Go West, Young Kids Required: Map of the United States Do you and your young 'uns have a hankering to travel west? Then we reckon you ought to get a move on and decide which trail to take. First, your kids study a map of the United States. Then ...