A homeschool morning basket is an easy way to incorporate fun and engaging activities that encourage learning together as a family. Not only is it easy to implement, it can serve as a time of togetherness that really helps set the tone for the rest of the day.
What is a Morning Basket?
A morning basket is simply a collection of books, activities, and other materials that you use to start your homeschool day with your family. It’s an incredibly easy way to include group learning activities into your daily rhythm.
Depending on your family’s interests and needs, a morning basket can include anything from read-aloud books to art supplies to games.
Benefits of Using a Morning Basket
Here are a few suggestions on what types of activities and subjects you can incorporate in your homeschool morning basket.
Homeschool Morning Basket Ideas
Morning Basket Routine
Establishing a morning basket routine is helpful for a lot of families. Our routine is pretty simple: we wake up, do our morning chores, and cook breakfast. When we sit down at the table to eat, we typically start our morning basket routine. Occasionally, we’ll eat breakfast first and then immediately begin our morning basket routine once the kitchen is clean.
When the weather is nice, we take our breakfast and morning basket outside and begin our day in the fresh air, listening to the birds sing. For us, there’s simply no better way to start our homeschool day.
I encourage you to find a routine that works best for your family. You can try implementing it first thing in the morning, or perhaps it would work better during a slow time in the afternoon. After all, there’s no hard and fixed rule that morning basket time has to actually occur in the morning.
How Long Should Morning Basket Time Last
The duration of your morning basket time will vary depending on which resources you’ve chosen to incorporate and the attention spans of your children.
I suggest starting small, maybe 10-15 minutes. The key at first is to establish a consistent routine. Then you can work on extending the time as needed. Also, don’t forget to seek your children’s input on what they enjoy doing during this time as well. Try to make morning basket time as enjoyable as it can be, something everyone looks forward to doing each day.
How to Make a Homeschool Morning Basket
It’s incredibly easy to make a homeschool morning basket. Listed below are some tips to help guide you —
Some tips for making a homeschool morning basket:
- First, clarify your purpose or intention. What is your goal? Is it to foster a love for arts and literature, explore different subjects, or incorporate a variety of group learning activities?
- Next, select materials. Consider both the ages and interests of your children. Aim for a variety of subjects and consider adding resources that include hands-on elements to encourage active learning and exploration.
- Establish a routine. Being consistent with morning basket time helps create a sense of structure and anticipation. It could be before breakfast, during breakfast, or right after breakfast — or even in the afternoon, evening, or before bed. Choose what works best for your family.
- Don’t forget to rotate and refresh. Swap out books, games, and other resources based on your children’s interests, your current areas of study, and seasonally. Remember, your morning basket selections will evolve over time based on your family’s changing needs and interests. Be open to adjusting the contents, duration, or activities to ensure it remains an engaging and enjoyable experience.
- Embrace the joy of learning together as a family. Morning basket is a time to connect, explore, and inspire curiosity. As hard as it may be sometimes, try to avoid succumbing to a “checklist mentality” and remember the goal to morning basket time is creating an environment that nurtures a love for learning among your family.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. This means I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase using these links.
What Do I Use for a Homeschool Morning Basket
Contrary to its name, you don’t technically need to use a basket. It does make it convenient though to have all the resources together so they’re easy to grab and move to wherever you’ll be doing morning basket time.
We’ve used several different approaches when it comes to creating a homeschool morning basket.
One, of course, is to simply use a basket. But, in our case, it’s actually a felt diaper caddy that includes different pockets and bins to make organizing our materials easier.
We’ve also simply kept our stack of books and materials on our coffee table or in a FLISAT book bin by our couch.
This year we’re doing a combination of both:
- Our felt caddy keeps our morning basket games and activities neatly organized alongside the other curriculum materials I need throughout the week.
- Our morning basket books are stored by our dining room table, a centralized location that makes it easy to grab them no matter where we’re heading for morning time – either at the breakfast table, outside on our deck, or in our living room.
Our Top Morning Basket Selections
Here are just some of the activities, books, and materials we’ve found success implementing into homeschool morning basket routine.
If you have younger kids, morning time is a great way to begin discussing the days of the week, the months of the year, holidays, etc. Every morning I’ll ask my kids what the date is, what day of the week it is, and what month we’re in. We’ll discuss any upcoming special events, like gymnastics meets or birthdays or holidays.
With calendar time, you can also incorporate a little math into morning time as well, as you can ask your children how many days remain until a specific date occurs. I like to keep a linear calendar on hand so my youngest child can physically count down the days, while my older child enjoys the challenge of mentally calculating the difference.
Each morning we’ll also find the day’s corresponding date in The Little Book of Joy: 365 Ways to Celebrate Every Day and read the prompt. It’s a positive, uplifting book that we all enjoy, as it’s filled with fun facts and tidbits, plus engaging activities and thoughtful prompts.
Including a calendar in your morning basket is an easy way to supplement other subjects as well, especially artist study and nature study. In the past we’ve used our linear calendars to learn about a new constellation each month and undertake a year-long study of Claude Monet’s art.
We’ve also studied art history using A Year in Art: The Activity Book. Really, there are so many wonderful calendars available that feature amazing art and nature study opportunities. Calendars are truly a simple and affordable addition to any homeschool morning basket.
By far the most popular school purchase we made last year were these Because I’m Happy Daily Positive Affirmation Cards for Kids. Every day we each select an affirmation card, read it aloud, discuss the affirmation, and work to complete the task.
Some of the tasks are relatively easy and can be completed right away, while others may challenge you to work a bit harder. It’s been such a wonderful addition to our morning basket, and I cannot recommend them enough. Starting the day with a positive affirmation can help create a positive mindset and set the stage for a more mindful and fulfilling day.
Since character education is a priority in our home, we’ve been discussing a new virtue every few weeks. I like to use the following resources to guide us: The Virtues Cards (secular) and The Family Virtues Guide (non-secular). Both the cards and the book each introduce a virtue, set up discussion prompts, and include an affirmation that my kids use for copywork once a week. Additionally, the book also includes scenario-type questions that we enjoy discussing together as a family as well.
Our Morning Basket Essentials
Positive Affirmation Cards for Kids
Because I’m Happy’s Daily Positive Affirmation Cards for Kids are a family favorite! They’re a great way to promote kindness, self worth, and self confidence. My kids love to complete the tasks, too!
A beautiful book of poetry is another must-have item in our homeschool morning basket. This year we’re using A Journey Through Time in Verse and Rhyme by Heather Thomas. I appreciate the wide variety of poems it offers, including tongue twisters that my children absolutely adore learning as well as poems about the seasons, grammar (!!), and more. Listed below are some other books of poems we’ve included in our morning basket in the past.
Poetry Books for Morning Basket
There are so many wonderful ways to incorporate art appreciation into your homeschooling routine! You can undertake a month-long study of a specific artist — especially easy with the help of a calendar — or simply explore the world’s great masterpieces using an interactive book like A Year in Art: The Activity Book.
2023 linear calendar
Claude Monet Artist Study
Easily incorporate an artist study into your morning basket routine with the 2023 “Claude Monet” linear calendar.
Since our curriculum this year features artists from countries around the world, I’ll occasionally include a corresponding read-aloud book or print examples of each selected artist’s work in our morning basket. I use a folder to keep all our printable resources like this organized, and then it’s stored in our morning basket for easy reference.
Music appreciation can be as formal or informal as you’d like. Really, it can be as easy as learning a new folk song every month, studying a musician every term, or learning about the orchestra and different music instruments.
With so many engaging books and audio resources to choose from, I guarantee you’ll find something that works for your family. We’re currently learning about instruments from around the world, as well as music from the different countries we’re studying as part of our Global Explorers curriculum.
For classical composer studies, I recommend Opal Wheeler’s Great Musician Series. We’ve read several in the past couple years, and my kids always look forward to them. The series includes the following composers —
Opal Wheeler’s Great Musician Series
We also enjoy listening to the Classical Kids’ audiobooks for the classical composers as well. They’re a great supplement to the Opal Wheeler books listed above.
For younger children, the Story Orchestra books would be a fun addition to a homeschool morning basket, too. This series includes the following: Four Seasons in One Day, The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Carnival of the Animals, The Magic Flute, and In the Hall of the Mountain King.
Of course, don’t forget how special you can make morning time with each season. This past Christmas we borrowed The Glorious Christmas Songbook from our library and learned new Christmas carols and hymns throughout the month of December.
It was something our entire family looked forward every morning, and I can’t imagine us not continuing it for the next several years. During our morning time in December, we’d select a new Christmas carol, listen to a few different versions of it, sing along to each of them, and then choose our favorite and add it to a special Chrismas playlist we created for 2022.
Incorporating nature study into your homeschool morning basket can serve as an enriching educational experience that nurtures a love and appreciation for the natural world, promotes curiosity and cultivates a lifelong connection with and respect for nature.
Map drill is another easy 5-minute activity that we like to include in our morning basket. You can either use placemat maps like these or simply print your choice of a map from Seterra. I opted for the latter this year and then laminated the maps and placed them on a ring binder clip. I do love our placemat maps, though. But in this instance, the smaller maps work better for us in the morning.
If you’re unfamiliar with them, a number talk is simply a quick daily math chat involving a math problem. Students are asked to mentally solve the problem and then share with others what strategy they used to find the answer.
Number Talks are an excellent way to further develop number sense among kids. More importantly, they really make math more interesting. Rather than focusing on a single way of solving a problem, kids realize there are many ways to think through and solve a problem. Just like in the real world, right?
If you do a basic Google search for “Number Talks” you’ll find loads of free resources available. I like to use the number talks based on Sherry Parrish’s book Number Talks. Boston Public Schools has released a PDF that you can easily incorporate into your morning basket routine if you wish.
In addition to number talks, I like to use a variety of math games to cultivate number sense in our homeschool. Adaptable for all ages, Adsumudi is a card game that’s fun for the entire family. It’s a great way for kids to review basic math facts, while challenging them to think outside-the-box to creatively solve the problems. It’s been the top choice for our morning basket this school year.
Rather than play Adsumudi competitively, our family chooses to solve the cards cooperatively. Each morning my kids pick a new card, and then we all set about trying to come up with as many different equations using addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to reach the target number as we can.
Some of Our Favorite
Card and Dice Games
If your children love games, any of these small, portable games would work well in a morning basket!
We currently rotate between two Language Arts activities in our morning basket: a “Making Words” activity and a Montessori-inspired “Symbol Sentences” game.
Developed by Patricia Cunningham, “Making Words” is a hands-on phonemic awareness and spelling activity. Each of my kids receives a new set of letters each week that, when combined, create a puzzle word.
At the beginning of each week we follow the “Making Words” lesson, then we review those same words in the middle of the week, and by the end of the week I’ll add in new words using the same spelling patterns.
Honestly, anything that can make learning spelling more engaging for kids is a plus in my book!
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to practice spelling and improve reading and vocabulary among your students, try a couple Making Words lessons for free today!
Our Montessori-inspired “Symbol Sentences” game reinforces the parts of speech and grammar. And, of course, both my elementary kiddos love to create the silliest sentences they can come up with, potty humor and all. 😉
For older children, the Caught’ya! Grammar with a Giggle books look like they could also be a fun Language Arts addition to a morning basket, too.
A few times a week we sing a Spanish folk song as part of our morning basket time, too. We’ve been using the book De Colores and Other Latin American Folksongs for Children by Jose-Luis Orozco along with the accompanying music.
Family Read-Aloud Books
A few years ago we paired Christopher Lloyd’s book Absolutely Everything alongside Montessori’s The Five Great Lessons for our history curriculum. Since my youngest is now 6 years old, we’ll be cycling back through them again. As a secular history resource, Absolutely Everything is both informative and engaging for little ones. With short passages and lots of illustrations, I really like to use it as a spine since it covers such a broad view of history.
I like to close our morning basket time with a family read-aloud. This book is usually tied to our curriculum or it’s a seasonal book. If we’re reading a book for our composer study or nature study, then sometimes we’ll postpone the family read-aloud until later in the day.
Remember, that’s the beauty of morning basket time. It’s completely flexible and adaptable!
Since we’re studying South America, we’re currently rotating the following books: The Incredible Yet True Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt: The Greatest Inventor-Naturalist-Scientist-Explorer Who Ever Lived, Journey to the Last River, and The Sea-Ringed World: Sacred Stories of the Americas.
SHOP THE BOOKS
Don’t forget to pin this for later!
The Global Explorers Club
Share in the wonder and discovery of the world with the Global Explorers Club, a new “Around the World” curriculum that promotes collaborative family learning through a variety of fun and engaging activities. Most importantly, a flexible online unit planner for each country helps you stay organized, freeing up your time to enjoy learning alongside your kids.