Activity: Following Directions

Activity: Following Directions

We don’t need workbooks and worksheets to teach our children how to follow directions!  Here are a few simple ideas to help your child learn to process instructions.  (Additional resources follow.)

  • Crafts.
    Assuming your child can read on his own, have your child pick out a simple craft that he wants to try.  Ask him to read and follow the directions — no help from mom other than providing the resources.  When he is finished, ask him to reread the instructions.  Did he follow them?
  • Call me.
    Play a game of telephone.  One person starts with a simple message.  They tell the next person, who then adds a short message of his own.  Keep going until … well you’ll know when to stop!
  • Provide instructions.
    Have your child direct you!  Ask him to provide you with instructions on how to do something (written directions if he is old enough).  Do EXACTLY what he says.  Rarely will things end up like he would expect, and he will learn the value of being specific.
  • Provide directions.
    If your child is old enough, ask him to explain how he would give a friend directions to your house.
  • Follow the Leader.
    You are the leader and your child must imitate your actions — perfectly.
  • Cook.
    Use a simple children’s recipe to make something together.  But let your child be the cook — you supervise.  Make sure he knows what the basic instructions refer to (stir, bake, etc.) in advance.
  • Treasure hunt.
    Hide a treasure and make a map with instructions to the treasure.  For example, “From the birdbath take three steps west.”  A compass would be a nice touch.  Oh, and if the instructions rhyme, that’s even better!


Additional Resources

You’ll find many simple crafts with easy directions at Enchanted Learning.

Easy Origami
Lots of options.  But try to use one that includes printed instructions such as the dog.

Compass Activities
Make your own compass and then use it to complete the orienteering nature study that follows.

Hard-Boiled Egg Mice
Simple recipe to follow.  And cute!

Betty Crocker’s Cook Book for Boys and Girls
Free download and great resource!

Activity: Following DirectionsKids Cooking
This Williams-Sonoma book, subtitled Scrumptious Recipes for Cooks Ages 9 to 13, has been a big hit in our home.  Every recipe includes very specific instructions with lavish illustrations — great for a novice in the kitchen!  The front of the book includes an illustrated glossary of sorts showing the equipment, tools and utensils and other supplies you may use in cooking, along with basic instructions for measuring ingredients, following a recipe, and basic cooking techniques (cutting, chopping, shredding).

Activity: Following DirectionsBreakfast, soups, salads and veggies, lunch and dinner, and dessert recipes are included.  Some are basic, like pudding, chocolate cake, fried egg and toast, macaroni with lots and lots of cheese, old-fashioned mashed potatoes, and corn on the cob.  And others are a little more refined, such as fresh fruit shake, sunflower rice, lemony shrimp kabobs, peanut butter cupcakes, lemon-orange ice, and chicken fajitas.  All taste great!

Treasure Map
Notebooking page from Ranger Rick that helps you make a treasure map.