Making Homeschooling Fun
If workbooks are getting boring, and cabin fever is setting in, it might just be the right time for you to add some fun to your homeschool. Games, contests, and more can break up any monotony you are facing. You'll find ideas for field trips and extracurricular activities. And you may find that your kids think "doing school" is funner than anything else they can imagine!
Educational Games
Kids who thrive with hands-on learning love educational games. These are a great way to learn while having fun. Browse through our picks for the best educational games out there.
Extracurricular Activities
Extracurricular activities are a great addition to the educational experience you provide your children by homeschooling. Here you'll find resources for everything from Scouts to 4H to sports and more.
Holidays
Holidays offer a nice opportunity to enhance your child's learning experience. This listing of holidays offers ideas for celebrating in your home, along with interesting facts about these special days. You'll also find suggestions for incorporating holidays into your home education plan.
Field Trips
Who says homeschooling has to happen at home? Most homeschoolers will tell you that they spend almost as much time out of the house as in it. Field trips are learning opportunties that offer fun ways to make every life experience a learning experience. You'll also find tips and strategies for planning, managing, and attending field trips with your homeschool support group.
Camps
Is your child ready to go out, experience new opportunities, and make new friends? Are you looking for specialized instruction in a particular subject? A camp may be just the ticket. Here you'll find a listing of camps that are great for homeschoolers in California and beyond.
Contests
Entering contests is a fun activity for kids. They can practice their writing skills, learn about new subjects, and may even end up winning a great prize. We've collected some of the most interesting, challenging, and fun contests available for kids to enter.
Car Games
Busy homeschooling families tend to spend a lot of time in the car. Learning doesn't have to stop just because you are on the go. These ideas and games will make the most of your vehicle time, giving your kids fun things to do while on the road.
Penpals
Is your homeschooled child looking for new friends? Are you learning about a different part of the country or world? A penpal may be just what you are looking for. These resources will help your child connect with other homeschoolers in far flung places.
What's Popular
Happy Hollow Zoo
Located in Kelley Park, Happy Hollow Park & Zoo is a peaceful, creative and safe place for children of all ages, with the main focus on "little ones" between the ages of 2-10. There are creative play areas, children's rides, hand puppet and marionette shows, special events, and birthday areas. It also gives hands on experience with many animals and the education that is needed to secure the future of endangered species. The petting zoo features llamas, goats, guinea pigs and miniature horses.
Six Flags Marine World
Located in Vallejo, this commercial theme park also offers marine animal attractions and educational performances, along with rides and other attractions.
Los Angeles Zoo
The Los Angeles Zoo houses a collection of 1,200 animals from around the world.
Gibbon Conservation Center
Located in Santa Clarita, the Gibbon Conservation Center is the only facility in the world devoted exclusively to gibbons, an increasingly rare ape. GCC houses nearly 40 gibbons, among them 5 of the 13 living species. Offers educational tours.
Mount Hermon's Home School Family Camp
Mount Hermon’s year-round Christ-centered camps, conferences and concerts serve the entire family. They offer family camps and home school camps year round.
Aquarium of the Bay
The Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco features two 300 feet crystal clear tunnels, 700,000 gallons of filtered Bay water and more than 23,000 aquatic animals. Also includes touch pools.
San Diego Wild Animal Park
The San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park is an expansive wildlife sanctuary operated by the Zoological Society of San Diego. Many of the earth's most rare creatures roam in herds and flocks in vast enclosures resembling their native homelands. It's home to more than 3,500 animals representing 429 species, including the largest crash of rhinos in any zoological facility, and one of the only California condor exhibits in the world. More than half of the acreage of the Wild Animal Park has been set asi...
Chaffee Zoological Gardens of Fresno
Chaffee Zoological Gardens is home to the world's first computerized Reptile House, a South American Tropical Rain Forest Exhibit, and numerous animals.
SeaWorld San Diego
Located on 189.5 acres, SeaWorld San Diego offers marine animal attractions, educational performances, specialty tours, rides, and more.
Steinhart Aquarium
At the Steinhart Aquarium, located in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, you can view poison dart frogs, box turtles, sea horses, and clown fish in jewel tanks. Get an up-close look at sturgeon, giant sea bass, alligator snapping turtles, gars, and moray eels. Touch sea stars, bat rays, hermit crabs, at the touch tide pool. Don’t miss penguin feedings which happen every day Interact with aquatic biologists as they study, feed, and care for the animals.
Coyote Point Museum
The Coyote Point Museum for Environmental Education in San Mateo offers a 4,000 square foot walk-through Aviary, a honeybee exhibit, river otters, and much more.
Charles Paddock Zoo
At the Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascarero you will discover over 100 animals in five park-like acres. You will be able to view the animals up close in naturalistic habitats.
Homeschool Outdoor Science School at Mount Hermon
Enjoy a week of Christian Outdoor Science School at Mount Hermon, a beautiful camp and conference center located in the redwoods near Santa Cruz.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
The Monterey Bay Aquarium features over 550 different species of marine life and numerous special exhibits, including the Splash Zone family exhibit. The Aquarium's website offers facts and information about sea life, including several life webcams of specific exhibits in the facility.
Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens
The Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens is located on over 30 acres overlooking East beach. In addition to over 600 animals, the Zoo offers the Gift Store, a Dentzel family enclosed carousel and two C.P. Huntington trains to complete your visit.
Resources
LeapPad Game - Mind Wars Jr. Interactive Game
Bring a friend and try this brand new way to play with your LeapPad! Race around the board in this fast-paced, wonderfully wacky game. Be the first to close all five windows and you will become the Mind Wars master and learn important 1st and 2nd grade skills in math, language arts, life science, physical science, and social studies!
Great States Board Game
What is the capital of NJ? Where is the Football Hall of Fame? These are just a few of the hundreds of questions players are asked as they adventure around the USA discovering state attractions and landmarks, capitals, state abbreviations, state locations and more. In order to answer the questions on the cards, players must look closely at the colorful USA map game board, becoming familiar with the geography of the country. Players must hurry to find the answers as the mechanical timer ticks. Contents: Game board, 100 Figure cards, 100 Fact cards, 100 Find cards, 1 spinner, 1 mechanical timer, and game rules. Duration of Play: 20 minutes. 2-6 players.
LeapPad Game - Mind Wars Interactive Game
Bring a friend and try this brand new way to play with your LeapPad! Travel around the board in this fast-paced, head-to-head game as you hit your buzzer before your friend can steal your question! Be the first to close all five windows and you will become the Mind Wars master and learn important 3rd-5th grade skills in math, language and fine arts, science, history, and geography!
Field Trips: Bug Hunting, Animal Tracking, Bird-watching, Shore Walking

With Jim Arnosky as your guide, an ordinary hike becomes an eye-opening experience. He'll help you spot a hawk soaring far overhead and note the details of a dragonfly up close. Study the black-and-white drawings -- based on his own field research -- and you'll discover if those tracks in the brush were made by a deer or a fox.

In his celebrated style, this author, artist, and naturalist enthusiastically shares a wealth of tips. Jim Arnosky wants you to enjoy watching wildlife. He carefully explains how field marks, shapes, and location give clues for identifying certain plants and animals wherever you are. He gives hints for sharpening observational skills. And he encourages you to draw and record birds, insects, shells, animal tracks, and other finds from a busy day's watch.

The Letter Factory Game
Teaches Phonics! The race is on! With two games in one, children play together and learn letter names and sounds with actions and music. Wacky Professor Quigley guides players every step of the way so no reading is required! Games automatically adjust to skill level, to keep children learning at just the right pace! 2 Games in 1: Counting Colors & Letters: Learn letter names and sounds by matching color cards to move around the board. Leaping Letters: Listen to the name or sound and then find the card that matches it! Includes: interactive card reader, game board, 26 letter cards and 4 playing pieces.
Visual Brainstorms
Children who love word games, logic puzzles, secret codes, mazes, and math mysteries will stretch their mental muscles with Visual Brain Storms. This set of 100 cards, each of which includes a humorous, full-color drawing, promises "the world's best brainteaser questions." The characters in the questions often have funny names (Professor Pith Bugby pops up often) or faces or dilemmas to solve. The answers and explanations are on the back of each card, along with a related bonus question. Many of the puzzles involve math concepts, spatial reasoning, logic, or sequential thinking, but some can be solved with plain common sense. Here's a sample: "Frank and Helen's annual singles elimination tennis tournament has drawn 18 players this year. How many matches must be played before there is a winner for the year?" Answer: "Every match will produce one loser, and every person other than the winner will lose once and only once. Eighteen players makes 17 losers; therefore it will take 17 matches to have a tournament winner." Visual Brain Storms is a humorous, painless way to improve those higher-order thinking skills. Visual Brain Storms: The Smart Thinking Game is for one or more players. --Marcie Bovetz
Happy Phonics
Happy Phonics uses games to teach early reading skills. Simple yet entertaining and educational, these phonics games are printed on colorful, sturdy cardstock ready to cut out. Included is a mother-friendly guidebook which contains details on how to teach phonics and reading, how to pronounce and teach the phonics sounds, how to make your own simple beginning readers, and step-by-step teaching information for each phonics sound. Happy Phonics covers beginning to advanced phonics.
Smart Mouth
Ages: 8 years and up; For 2 or more players

Smart Mouth is a quick-thinking shout-it-out hilarious word game that helps build vocabulary skills. It includes variations of the rules for category play and for younger players. Players slide the Letter Getter forward and back to get two letters. The first player to shout out a word of five or more letters using those letters wins the round. The game includes tips for teachers. This is a fun game to play with children and adults together.

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