Middle school kids are at that weird age where they want to be too old to play but aren't quite old enough to put their childhood days behind them. Finding at-home activities that interest them and have some sort of educational value seems like a daunting task most of the time.
Here is a list of 25 excellent activities to try at home with middle schoolers, guaranteed to keep them busy, help them learn, and most importantly: let them have tons of fun!
1. Build A Robot Hand
Bring STEM activities home with this cool robot lesson. Let kids use a sheet of paper and some string to build a robotic hand or exoskeleton. See who's hand can pick up the heaviest object and brainstorm how to make them stronger.
Learn more: Vivify STEM
2. Jelly Bean Building
How do you make science fun? You make it edible of course! With just some jellybeans and toothpicks, kids can unleash their inner engineer and create some epic structures. This is also a great way to try and recreate the molecular structure of elements.
Learn more: Productive Pete
3. Marble Run
This old-school activity is always a winner. Kids love creating elaborate marble runs that could even span across the whole house. Turn it into a lesson of momentum by using different-sized marbles and increasing or decreasing some of the slopes.
Learn more: Teachers are Terrific
4. Make a Movie
Armed with only a camera, kids can easily create a stop-motion film that is sure to impress their friends. They can collect everyday objects around the house and create a funny narrative for them to follow.
Learn more: Boston Children's Museum
5. Play Board Games
Board games for middle school students are designed to show them the world, teach them about nature, and expand their minds with a series of creative tasks. This is all wrapped up in a neat little package aimed at letting them have tons of fun.
Learn more: Game Cows
6. Make a Podcast
There is no use in fighting against the new age of entertainment. Embrace it and encourage your kids to explore the world of podcasts by letting them make their own one. They can talk about middle school problems, mindfulness, or their general interests.
Learn more: PDX Parent
7. Scavenger Hunt
A scavenger hunt can be as easy or as difficult as you want. Involve some math problems or science clues to make an at-home scavenger hunt a little more challenging for different grade levels.
Learn more: Scaffolded Math
8. Online Escape Rooms
Escape rooms are a way for kids to think in abstract ways and find out-of-the-box solutions. This will also have a positive impact on the way they approach school work and learning.
Learn more: Mama Teachers
9. Start a Journal
Journaling on a daily or weekly basis is a great aid to children's mental health. Penning down both negative and positive emotions is a way for them to understand what they are feeling and how to channel it in a constructive way. Use fun journaling apps to let them get creative and store their journals safely online.
Learn more: Writing Cooperative
10. Take a Field Trip
Virtual field trips are an excellent way to get kids in touch with a whole host of fascinating locations. Zoos, aquariums, and museums have gone online to give kids fascinating and interactive tours of their world-class facilities as virtual school activities become the norm.
Learn more: Lifewire
11. World Atlas Scavenger Hunt
Broaden their horizon with this fun and interactive atlas scavenger hunt. Gids will get familiar with how to use an atlas, where countries are located on a map, and learn about different places in each country.
Learn more: Education Possible
12. Ice Cream Science
Work on some science skills while making a delicious treat. Middle school children will love that their science lesson gets rewarded with some ice cream, especially if you can add some fun flavors.
Learn more: Numbers to Neurons
13. Virtual Dissection
Of all the virtual school activities, this is certainly one of the more unexpected ones. But doing a virtual dissection fosters a fascination with the intricacies of nature and the life that exists within it.
Learn more: 3 Boys and a Dog
14. Shadow Tracing
Not all middle school kids can draw equally well but this art project is for everyone. Cast a shadow onto pieces of paper and outline the shadow. Then, color in the shape or use watercolor paint to decorate the abstract masterpiece.
Learn more: The Arty Teacher
15. Pendulum Painting
This might be the messiest of all the fun ideas but the artwork kids create is truly something magical. Place pieces of paper on a ground sheet and let the pendulum full of paint swing and create the art. Kids can layer paint or weigh down their pendulums for different effects. This is also a lesson in science and motion so a great 2-in-1 activity.
Learn more: Martha Steward
16. Polymer Clay Craft
Polymer clay is a super fun medium to work with. It is easy to shape and comes in all kinds of fun colors. Kids can craft a handy jewelry bowl or get creative and think of a way their clay creation can solve a problem in the house.
Learn more: Woo Jr.
17. Egg Drop
Egg drop experiments are fun for kids of all ages to do at home as it challenges them to push the limits of what is possible. See who can use the least amount of materials or create the craziest-looking nest for the egg.
Learn more: There's Just One Mommy
18. Sticky Note Art
This activity is a little more difficult than it looks and quite a lot of planning is needed. Print out a pixel version of the kids' favorite character and let them figure out how to go about arranging the colors and measuring out the image on the wall. This is the kind of hands-on activity that will keep them busy for hours and leave you with a fun wall decoration as a result!
Learn more: All Women's Talk
19. Do Tie Dye
Middle school children will go crazy at the prospect of creating a tie-dye clothing item. Breathe some new life into old clothes or create matching outfits for the whole family. Level up the difficulty by creating more intricate patterns or sticking to classic swirls for kids with minimal experience.
Learn more: The Craft Train
20. Code a Video Game
This one is for the computer-loving middle school students. Kids need minimal experience in coding to be able to create fun games on Scratch. This activity introduces kids to the world of coding and basic game design, an invaluable skill that could develop into a career later in life.
Learn more: Medium
21. Make Crystals
This is one of the coolest science projects middle school students can get up to at home. Although kids can't see the chemical reaction happening in front of their eyes, they will still love creating the pipe-cleaner shapes and eagerly waiting for the colorful crystals to emerge in the morning.
Learn more: Team Cartwright
22. Mindfullnes Gardening
Let middle schoolers get their hands dirty in the garden by turning it into a mindful exercise. They should feel the dirt in their hands, smell the soil, and listen to the sounds outside. Outside activities for kids are essential to their overall development and gardening is an excellent way to keep kids busy outside.
Learn more: Confident Counselors
23. Make a Collage
This trend was big in the heyday of magazines but is quickly picking up speed again as it tears kids away from computers and gives them an excellent creative outlet. It could also be used as a mindfulness exercise as kids take time to focus and carefully cut out images.
Learn more: Artsy Fartsy Life
24. Make Edible Biology
Use candy to construct a variety of middle school-appropriate biology structures. Everyone knows the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, but that is way more exciting if it is made from edible marshmallows! Twizzlers and gum drops also make the perfect DNA spiral.
Learn more: Hessun Acadamy
25. Paper Mache
You simply can't go wrong with a creative paper mache craft. Create a model of the earth, showing all its layers, or make a pinata filled with candy to smash later to help kids get rid of some strong emotions. This is probably the most fun paper art project of them all and will have kids begging for repeat craft sessions soon before long.
Learn more: Red Ted Art