6 Activities Kids Can Do At Home With Household Items (No Paper or Pencil Needed)

Looking for fun, educational, and - most importantly - time-consuming activities to do with homeschooled students, but don't have (or can't get out to get) supplies and materials? Veteran teacher Heather has you covered with these 6 activities that require only simple household items.

Updated on: March 26, 2020

6 activities for homeschool students needing only household items

If you are a teacher looking for at-home learning opportunities that you can share with your students’ parents or you are a parent finding yourself in charge of homeschooling for the first time, don’t panic! Trust me, you can offer your kiddos plenty of learning opportunities with items that are already in the house. All you need is a little patience, energy, creativity, and common household materials to keep your now homeschooled “students” entertained and engaged.

In this blog post, I will share six activities for at-home learning (no trip to the grocery store required!).

The activities are:

  • Egg Hunt
  • Pasta Problem-Solving
  • Toilet Paper Telescope
  • Straw Pattern Keychain
  • Egg Crate Multiples
  • Yogurt Toss

Egg Hunt

egg hunt activity

Pull out those plastic eggs and fill them with fun! Instead of stuffing them with candy, fill the eggs with problems, money to count, or even scrambled words for them to unscramble. Your students will love searching for them and finding out what’s inside while learning at the same time.

Pasta Problem-Solving

pasta problem solving activity

This is a great way for kids to practice which math operation to use. Pasta problem-solving will really make your kids think and the hands-on materials will make the concept tangible (and far less boring than completing a worksheet). Provide your children with a box of pasta. Anything except spaghetti will work. If the long strands are all you have, then go with it! Simply snip them into smaller pieces.

To get started, give your child a large handful of pasta. Say a basic word problem (you can get more complex as you go). For example: "There are ten birds in a tree. Four flew away. How many are left?" Your child can solve the operation by adding or subtracting pieces of pasta.  Encourage them to act out the stories behind the word problems as you go!

Toilet Paper Telescope

toilet paper telescope activity

A unique take on, “I Spy,” all you need to play toilet paper telescope is a single toilet paper roll (this could also work with a paper towel roll-just cut it). Take a walk around your home and call out different things that you see that start with a certain letter. This is a great activity for kindergarten kids. You can alter it for older students by asking them to find things that begin with a vowel, or that have 5 letters in their word - wherever your imagination takes you! Your child can also search for sight words in magazines or newspapers. All they need to do is hold up the roll to their eye and zoom in on items that fit your description. To make it more fun and to add an art component, decorate the telescope!

Straw Pattern Keychain

straw pattern keychain activity

Incorporate some math and art time into your morning. All you need are some colored straws, an iron, a heart pattern, a hole puncher, and some string (although you can certainly forego the hole puncher and use ribbon or even dental floss instead of string). Have your children create a heart template (or you can create one for them). Select some straws and arrange their colors to make a pattern. Using the heart template, place it on top of the pattern. Do your best to cut around the pattern - you may need to do this step for younger ones. Take the iron (warm it up on a low setting) and carefully press it on top of the straw heart. This will melt and solidify everything together. Once cool, punch a hole into the top and loop some string through so you can hang your pattern heart around your home or even use it as a cute keychain.

Egg Crate Multiples

egg crate multiples activity

Gather up a few egg cartons. Using a permanent marker, write out a wide range of numbers (or multiples in this case) on small slips of paper. Great numbers to put in the holes of the cartons are 12, 24, 36, 20, and even 6. Using a pebble, bouncy ball, coin, or marble, take turns tossing the item in order to land into an egg carton hole. Say which number the multiple belongs to. For example, 12 is a multiple of 2, 3, 4, and 6. It’s a fun way for older elementary students to review their multiplication facts!

Yogurt Toss

yogurt toss activity

Collect yogurt containers (or any food container for that matter) and clean them out thoroughly. Place them 2 feet (or more for older kids) in front of your child, staggered. On the outside of the container, use a permanent marker and label ones, tens, hundreds, and thousands (this could be altered based on your child’s age and ability level-go up to hundred thousands for older children and only up to hundreds for younger ones). Give your child some change and have them toss the coins in order to land in each container. When all coins are tossed (you can use buttons, marbles, or even rocks as well), count up all the values of each place in order to make a number in standard form. For example, if you child tossed 2 coins in the ones container and 4 coins in the tens container, their number would be 42.

Who said you need a lot of fancy activities to keep kids engaged, happy, and learning? If you don’t have a printer or a ton of learning worksheets but you do have a wide range of items in your house to turn into educational props, go for it! While you may not have wanted to be a teacher, the reality is that you now are! Take things in stride, show your kids you care about their education, and try to have fun and enjoy being their official teacher for a while.

Have you developed some simple activities for homeschooling? Share with us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Heather Aulisio is a third grade teacher in Pennsylvania. She has been a teacher for nearly 15 years and holds multiple degrees and certifications. A freelancer for The Mailbox and other education-related clients and publications, she enjoys writing in order to help and entertain fellow teachers. She currently resides with her husband, Bryan; son, Matthew; and two pugs, Lily and Leo.