Activity: Following Directions

We don’t need workbooks and worksheets to teach our children how to follow directions! Here are 7 simple activities to help your child learn to process instructions. (Additional resources follow.)

1. Crafts

Assuming your child can read on his own, have your child pick out a simple craft that he wants to try. This could be an art related craft, woodworking, paper folding, or anything else he can accomplish on his own with his own two hands.

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? Exactly?

Wide-variety of resources and free books to use for inspiration on this one.

2. Call Me

Play a game of telephone.

One person starts with a simple message. She tells the next person, who then adds a short message of his own.

Keep going until … well you’ll know when to stop!

3. Make Your Own Instructions

Have your child direct you!

Ask him to provide you with instructions on how to do something. If he is old enough to write, have him write the directions down step by step (you can do the transcribing for younger students).

Do EXACTLY what the instructions say.

Rarely will things end up like the author would expect, and the student will learn the value of being specific!

4. Provide Directions to a Place

How would your student explain how to get to your home, a park, or another location?

Have him recite the directions step by step.

5. Play Follow the Leader

You are the leader and your child must imitate your actions — perfectly.

To mix it up, switch places.

The more the merrier on this one!

6. Cook

Use a simple recipe created for kids 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.

(Resources below)


7. Treasure Hunt

We love these!

Hide a treasure and make a map with instructions to the treasure.

For example, “From the birdbath take three steps west.”

A compass is a nice touch. Oh, and if the instructions rhyme, that’s even better!

In the past we have also used visual cues or photos.

You’ll find many ideas in our archives:

Summer Fun Activity: Scavenger Hunt!

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
Orienteering resources.

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

Kids Cooking

Kids 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 Directions

Breakfast, 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.

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