We all want our students to develop important skills when they leave school. They should know how to write a good essay. We want them to be able to annotate something they’ve read. They might also develop the ability to take care of themselves physically and emotionally.
However, there are other life skills that students will need when they go to college that we don’t teach them, and that they may not have acquired yet. Some students still have their laundry done by their parents and have not cooked a dinner that doesn’t consist of ramen noodles or grilled cheese. Their lives may have been so structured for them up to this point that they haven’t learned how to create a weekly schedule for themselves.
So why not do some fun challenges to help develop these important skills?
The following list of activities was designed as a series of challenges for high school seniors. I wanted to give them some fun challenges to finish out the year after we were done with all of the heavy lifting. We were in the midst of online learning due to the coronavirus, and we had to do something daily for attendance purposes, so this is how we finished out the year.
However, many of them can be can be tailored to specific age group and different occasions. I gave my sophomores the opportunity to cook a meal for the family for extra credit. And sometimes in the middle of the year when you’re all tired of the daily grind it can be a nice change of pace to do something fun. And these are fun. You’ll smile every time a student hands in evidence that they’ve completed one of these tasks.
Below is a sample list of life skills tasks for students to complete with instructions. They are ready to go – just copy and pasted them into your lessons!
Cook a meal for the family.
Everyone should have a good, healthy go-to meal under their belt that isn’t mac and cheese. You need to choose the recipe, create the store list, and prepare the meal. No one can be in the room with you, although they can help you from another room. Submit a picture of you cooking AND a picture of the final product.
Do a load of laundry and fold it.
Your load needs to require you to sort colors and whites and read labels and follow drying instructions. Submit a picture of your folded laundry.
Make your bed with hospital corners.
You might make your bed, but can you do hospital corners? Submit a picture of your made bed with hospital corners.
Clean a bathroom.
Because no one wants to live with a slob. You need to clean a FULL bathroom (not a half bath) and take a picture of it.
Sign your name like an adult.
I know we don’t teach cursive anymore, but you shouldn’t be writing your name like a fourth-grader on important documents. To win this challenge you must provide a photo of your adult signature. Here’s a website to help you work out the kinks.
Find an apartment.
Find an apartment for four people that you can rent near campus and provide the link to the listing.
Make a cookie you’ve never made before.
This isn’t a life skill. Just something fun to do. Because why not? Anyone can make chocolate chip cookies. If you want to win friends and influence people, you’ll want to make something a little more unusual. To win this challenge submit a picture of your cookies and the name of what you made.
Dress for an internship interview.
A “business” outfit should be standard equipment for you to bring with you to college. And you also need to make sure you know the difference between what to wear to interview and what to wear to go to a formal dance. You may also need this stuff to interview for student organizations. Submit a picture of yourself dressed for an interview. And come on, when’s the last time you dressed up? It might be fun.
Sew a button.
You can bring this stuff home to mom to do. But buttons don’t always fall off at the most convenient times. And it might come off of something you need to wear.
For this challenge you need to sew a button on something. It can be a random piece of fabric and share a picture of it. Don’t have a button? Yes you do! Check all of your button-down shirts. That’s why they sew those buttons in there for you. And once you know how to sew it on something, you can sew it right back in.
Learn how to play euchre.
This may be a just a Midwestern thing, but I met a lot of people in the dorms simply because people “needed a fourth.”
To win this challenge you need to learn how to play euchre and either take a picture of yourself playing euchre with your family (family game night!), or take a screenshot of your score on an online game. You can even play with your friends using the Trickster Cards app! Here’s a video that will show you how to play.
Make a weekly schedule.
You’ll be using this sample schedule from the Ohio State University. Your classes are all planned out for you, but you need to put all the other stuff that you want to be doing. Obviously you’ll have clubs and organizations and things like that that you won’t be able to plan for. But you also want to plan for those things that are important to you. And maybe you want to get a part-time job. You’ll need to figure out how much and when you’ll do that. Don’t forget to add bedtime. A healthy sleep schedule is your best tool for success!
Keep learning fun!
We need to keep our classes lighthearted and one way to do that is through comics! If you teach ELA I have a series of comics that tackle serious language arts concepts in a lighthearted way your students will love. I have a series of lessons done as comics that address various ELA topics like grammar, poetry, editing, and Shakespeare, all of which are well suited to a remote learning environment. All the fun is there for you, and your kids will love studying any of these topics because they’ll get a new comic every day! Please check out my resources and let the learning begin! Click on Robert Frost below to get a free lesson!
If you need more resources ….
Here are some more blog posts on remote learning: