99 Unschooling ideas and projects

We've been leaning more and more towards unschooling.  I love the idea of letting the children lead.

I have been thinking of all the ways my children learn naturally through life and play.  I was getting excited and didn't want to forget any of them so I thought if I was going to be writing it down I might was well jot the list down on the blog and that way you can all share in my ideas.

Suggestions are always appreciated!

I have my ideas organized by subject since that makes it easier for me (even though many of these subjects/ project/ game ideas would touch upon more than one subject).  I don't plan to make them cover all the subjects all the time but I want to encourage them to bring as many subjects into their everyday lives as they can.

I thought we'd start with this questionnaire called When I Learn...  that asks kids to think about how they learn best.  Not all questions will pertain to us since we're homeschoolers and unschooling at that but I figured it will help us all think of ideas that will work best if we know how each of them learn best. 

Reading/Spelling & Language arts: 
  1. Books-- suggestions here, here, here, and here
  2. magazines
  3. newspapers
  4. playing computer games:Magic Tree House, grammar ninja, word monkey (on the kindle), Starfall, Grammar Bytes!, free rice, Spelling City, Word World, Zebra Reading. Write on Reader Games
  5. Playing games:  scrabble, spill and spell, words with friends, sight word bingo, Life,
  6. Playing our made up games:  sight word slam, sight word musical chairs, sight word hopscotch, flyswatter sight words, throw the sight word, catch the sight word, stomp it game, twister sight word game, etc.
  7. Tell or read a story to someone
  8. Read a book and watch the movie to compare and contrast-- there's a huge list of books/ movies here, and here
  9. Organize the family bookcase, by genre, by author, by whichever way you see fit. 
  10. Listen to a book on the computer -- here, here, or through the library's Tumblebooks account  
  11. Read fairy tales-- even silly versions like these
  12. Plan a library adventure-- use these ideas or your own
  13. Read in your room, under your bed, in a tent, in a fort, in mom's bed, behind the couch, outside, etc. 

    1. McRuffy
    2. Reading "math" stories and books-- lists here, here, here, and here 
    3. Playing games:  Uno, war, life, monopoly, yahtzee,
    4. Computer games :  Cyber Chase, math bingo (on the kindle), cool math, math is fun, Tangrams, bedtime math,  Sheppard Software games, gamenut, math playground,  etc..
    5. "playing" with math manipulatives-- fraction tiles, toy clocks, blocks, pattern blocks, etc.
    6. constructing houses out of blocks, sticks, sugar cubes-- playing with architecture using sticks and clay, toothpicks and mini marshmallows, skewers and gum drops, etc. 
    7. Play "our" games-- flyswatter math, water bomb facts, Add it up, MADS
    8. Do any of these activities
    9. Build with Legos, try to see if a partner can build what you built just by listening to your instructions (don't let them see what you built until the end)
    10. build a model car or airplane
    11. Bake a snack by following a recipe
    12. Dot- to- Dots, answer and color sheets, graph and color, FREE answer and color sheets
    13. Make pictures with coin rubbing
    14. work on jigsaw puzzles
    Playing war

    1. reading-- books about animals, plants, planets, dinosaurs, etc.
    2. hands on experiments-- ideas here, here and here
    3. making silly putty, goop, flubber, play dough, etc
    4. Kitchen science-- cooking, baking, running experiments with common household items
    5. build your own zoo, nature museum,
    6. Watch science movies, videos and TV shows. 
    7. Take a class at the Ecotarium, Science Museum, or zoo
    8. Learn about plants, rocks, minerals, the moon & stars, the planets,
    9. Learn about an inventor or scientists
    10. try a new twist on a favorite recipe-- like this!
    11. Make gummy Candy, rock candy,
    12. Make Fossils,
    13. Build an earthquake proof building with Lego's, make a Lego Bridge. 
    14. Learn even more about the season-- spring, fall, summer, winter (links to books and ideas)
    15. Look at everything under a microscope, through binoculars, or with a magnifying glass
    16. Play with shaving cream, goop, silly putty, adding toys, your body, bikes, etc and experiment with texture, cause and effect, etc. 
    17. Make ice cream in a bag, make magic milk paint, make colored toast

    Add shaving cream for more fun!
    History and geography
    1. learn about any of the wars-- weapons, where it took place, why were these people at war, etc. 
    2. Pick a place on the map to learn about-- climate, food, clothing, animals and plants that make it their home, etc.  Australia books  Paris Books, Australian animals, African Folk Tales
    3. Ancient Greece
    4. Roman Empire
    5. Mayan ruins
    6. Ancient Egypt-- some books to get you started
    7. Knights and castles
    8. colonial times
    9. Pompeii
    10. Using a blank world map label where all your favorite animal homes are found, where the factories are for construction equipment, or where gold has ever been found. 
    11. Compare and contrast old world maps to new world maps.  Why have they changed?
    12. Learn about the world fairs
    13. Learn about the history and the story behind Walt Disney World (unit study idea)
    14. Make a 3- d map out of clay, cake and icing, glue and recyclables, etc.
    15. Design and "go on" an archeological dig
    16. Learn about the 50 states (or your favorite state) -- book ideas
    17. Learn about curses, myths and legends
    18. A whole Pinterest board of world crafts, games, foods, languages, etc.
    19. Learn about a new holiday-- Chinese New Year
    20. Play Colonial Williamsburg on- line games and others like Hold the fort,
    21. Watch movies like Liberty's kids,
    22. Create Craft ideas like those found on Teach Dear America
    Try on real armor
    Build a castle!

    1. on the computer-- write a blog entry, an e-mail letter to a friend or family member, write a story
    2. Copywork
    3. Learn cursive or practice printing and spelling on paper or white boards
    4. write signs for a store, label something that you have cleaned and organized to keep it that way, pretend you are a waiter, a newspaper reporter or a veterinarian.
    5. Write a story/ make a book-- a bird or butterfly one like the one shown here, a fun photo book like the one shown here
    6. Write about your Lego's
    7. Write in shaving cream, with finger paint, in a baggie of hair gel, with sparklers
    8. Musical chair writing (or reading!)
    9. Write a story about a funny picture-- ideas here
    10. Make name tags for all of your stuffed animals
    11. Create a town complete with road signs, store signs, cars, building and people. 
    12. Join Postcrossing-- send and receive postcards! 

    Write your name with sparklers!

      Arts & Crafts/ Music
      1. canvas art
      2. drawing
      3. painting with watercolors, finger paints, watercolor crayons/ pencils
      4. Weave a pot holder
      5. Knot a bracelet
      6. Learn to sew with needle and thread or with sewing machine
      7. Make beaded jewelry
      8. Make cards and/or scrapbooks
      9. Paint and design t-shirts-- fabric art
      10. Abstract watercolor idea
      11. Take free art lessons on- line, or piano lessons on- line, guitar lessons on-line
      12. Make a sun catcher-- like this one
      13. Sun art-- ideas found here
      14. Oil and water droplet painting
      15. paint with frozen paint or frozen finger paints
      16. Read book about famous artists and try to copy their work or technique
      17. Fun art books-- here, here,
      18. Look for fun crafts at : art projects for kids, fun art 4 kids, that artist woman,
      19. On- line art & music games-- artist's toolkit, Guide to the orchestra, Sphinx Kids
      20. Design your own Opera! 
      4th of July T-shirt

      Making woven pot holders


        1. Such wonderful ideas! Thinking of our summer and next year. It's going to be epic! Thank you for all of the awesome ideas!

        2. I love how you broke everything down into subjects. It makes unschooling easier to understand for those unfamiliar with it.

          1. Thanks. I am often amazed at how people don't see where the activities fall into schooling and learning but then again I was taught to see it all through my early childhood development classes. One of my homeschooling friends commented to me once that reading my blog at the end of the day (after we had spent most of the day together) helped her see what and where her kids were learning. From then on I tried really hard to relate what we do with traditional school so others could see the connection as well.

        3. This is so useful - thank you for sharing!!

          1. Thank you for stopping by; glad you found it helpful.

        4. This is an excellent list, I've just pinned it! Thanks for sharing!


        5. I would add, teaching how to fix things, I've taught my kids basic things on how to keep your house running example: dry walling, snack a drain, installing a toilet seat, painting, etc.

          1. Absolutely! My kids all know how to use hand tools, help re-paint when we have a room that needs it, and fix appliances when they break. Those are very valuable life skills.

        6. These are awesome ideas! I've been leaking heavily towards unschooling since my 5yo son learns best and stays interested in things like this that aren't "traditional" school. We're working our way through "Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Lessons" but after that I'm going more of the unschooling route.

          1. Thanks! I've found that throughout our 6 years of homeschooling we have touched upon just about every type of homeschooling philosophy there is. When my boys were younger we mainly unschooled (with a few lessons thrown in now and then at either my or their request)…. now that they're all in middle and high school we're a bit more traditional with curriculum and books but throughout it all I've tried to keep their work as hands on as possible. Best of luck on whatever you choose!


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