As you know, I’m not a fan of assigning daily homework in kindergarten. However, I still think it’s very important to involve families in learning experiences at home with their children. One of my favorite ways to provide these experiences at home is through family projects! In this post, I’m going to share some tips and ideas for using family projects for kindergarten. You’ll be able to use these ideas to engage families in learning at home!
What are Family Projects?
Family projects are fun activities that give students a learning experience at home. These projects are typically done either monthly or quarterly. Students are usually sent home with an instruction sheet along with a task that they need to complete at home with their families.
There are several benefits of using family projects for kindergarten students:
- Set the Tone: Since this is a child’s first year of being in elementary school, this can set the tone for family involvement! It shows students (and their families) that learning doesn’t only happen at school!
- Encourage Communication: Students are able to practice their communication skills as they discuss their vision for the project with family members. Students can also use their communication skills as they describe their completed project to their teacher and classmates.
- Homework Alternative: As mentioned before, I’m not a proponent of daily kindergarten homework. Family projects are a great way to involve parents in their child’s education without the need for homework every evening.
- Create Classroom Community: When students all complete the same project away from school, they are so excited to return to school and see what their classmates have come up with! This is a fun way to create a sense of community in your classroom.
- Make Memories: Projects can be a fun way for students to make positive memories with their families! (Are you worried that these projects will make stressful memories instead of pleasant ones? Keep reading for some tips to make this a smooth experience for families!)
Tips for Successful Family Projects in Kindergarten
Before you start sending home projects with your students, I have a few tips. There are several things you can do to make this a great experience for your students and their families.
1. Make Them Seasonal
I suggest using seasonal family projects whenever possible. By using activities that are relevant to the current season, you can channel the holiday excitement into a fun family experience. Here are a few seasonal family projects that I’ve done with my students:
- Build a Jack-o-Lantern
- Disguise a Turkey
- Design a Holiday Sweater
- Disguise a Gingerbread Man
- Design a 100th Day T-Shirt
2. Be Consistent
Routine is important for students and their families, so it’s helpful if you can be consistent in the family projects. From the timing to the instruction sheets, consistency can make the experience more routine and predictable. If the overall experience is similar each time, families will know what to expect when they hear that you’re sending home a family project!
3. Give Students a Chance to Share
As a parent, if I knew a completed family project was just going to sit in a turn-in basket, it would squash some of the fun. I’m sure I’m not alone! I think that families are more motivated to complete a project together when they know it will be discussed in class or displayed somewhere.
There are many ways that you can give students a chance to share their completed family projects! Students can share them in a show-and-tell format at circle time. You could also hang up the projects for some seasonal classroom decor! Classroom projects also make great seasonal bulletin boards, which parents can see when they come to visit. You could also save each project and bind them into a book to send home. This makes a great keepsake at the end of the year!
4. Don’t Stress About Student Completion
While it should be communicated to families that the projects should be completed together (including the student), you don’t need to analyze each project to see how much was completed by the child. The point of these learning experiences is to get the families involved, whatever that looks like for each family.
Some teachers might worry that these family project displays will look like a Pinterest-inspired competition between parents. Even if a project comes back looking Pinterest-perfect, at least that means someone put time and energy into the project. You never know, the student could have cruised Pinterest with their parent until finding the inspiration for their project.
5. Keep It Simple
Finally, it’s important to keep family projects simple. When parents see these activities come home in their child’s take-home folder, you don’t want them to groan in frustration. A family project should not be a time-consuming hardship! Instead, it should be a simple but fun learning activity for them to complete together.
One way that I like to simplify projects is to make it possible for families to complete with just crayons and writing utensils if necessary. There is no need for them to cut out anything or use additional supplies unless they WANT to. This is especially helpful for students who might not have a lot of family involvement in completing the projects.
Printable Family Projects for Kindergarten
Would you like to use family projects to engage your families in learning at home? I have put together a bundle of seasonal activities for students to complete with their families. This bundle includes 11 different projects to choose from, so you can keep the fun going all year long! Each project includes a digital and print version, so you can choose which format works best for your students. These activities can also be completed in class!
If you’d like to take a closer look at everything included in this resource, you can find it in the Teaching Exceptional Kinders shop or on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Save These Family Project Ideas
Would you like to come back to this post? Be sure to add this pin to your favorite teaching board on Pinterest! You can quickly find these family project ideas and resources whenever you need them.