Workboxes for older children
We only use 6-8 workboxes each per week for my older two children. When I have Montessori preschool time with my 3 and 5 year olds, workboxes are the perfect solution to keep my 2nd and 5th graders on task and working independently.
When I found myself looking for workbox ideas for my 5th grader, though, I had little luck. I wanted ideas that would stimulate his interest and creativity, but we weren’t using workboxes for our entire school time so I didn’t need the typical tasks and activities. I needed to think up ideas on my own. Here is a list of activities that I have found stimulate his thinking and imagination, and give him extra practice in areas where he might be lacking:
- Memory work- a poem, states and capitals, grammar definitions, word roots, etc- and the promise of a chocolate chip for every correct one.
- Solitaire- there are so many types!
- Magazine article to summarize- I choose from magazines like Cobblestone, Cricket, Faces- all from Cricket publishing
- Thesaurus work- I copy a passage from a good book (Dickens, C. S. Lewis, etc, rich in vocabulary) and underline words for him to find a substitute for, and give him a Thesaurus or hook him up online with Word Central.
- An open-ended puzzle like this Izzi puzzle or 9-piece puzzles like this.
- A coupon for 20 minutes of reading time, computer time, or free time.
- A page from an art magazine, cardstock, and good quality colored pencils. Then I ask him to copy it as closely as he can. I have gotten some wonderful renderings by asking my kids to do this!
- A page from an art book- I ask him to freewrite a paragraph about the picture. It could be just his impressions, a story based on the picture, or a description of what techniques he thinks the artist used.
- A game to play- we love Set, Bananagrams, Blokus, and many others. These games often have solitaire versions.
- Tangrams- with a challenge! Find one that Mom can’t do and you get 5 extra minutes of media for the day!
- Prefix/suffix scavenger hunt- give a magazine or book passage and see how many different types he can find. You can also do this with word roots, adjectives, etc.
- Cuisenaire rods- we have this book with some great puzzle challenges
- I have a couple of these scratch off art drawing books that the kids love.
- A language packet- with a page of analogies, editing work, outlining practice, etc.
- A logic packet- with pages from the Critical Thinking Co.. We love these books!
- A writing assignment such as a picture prompt (writing about a picture I find online or in a magazine- I sometimes specify by asking for 1st person, or a poem, etc.), word prompt (I pick 2 words from random out of the dictionary- the last time I did this I chose “parrot” and “grotesque”. The story was quite funny!), or freewriting for 10 minutes.
I enjoy being creative with these ideas. Our normal academic time doesn’t always allow for the fun-educational stuff, so this combination has been a win-win for us!
What do you use in your workboxes?