The Ultimate Guide to Hands-on Learning Activities for Middle School

The Ultimate Guide to Hands-on Learning Activities for Middle School

Hands-on learning is very important for middle school age students.   

As children move through the middle school years they begin to think more critically and ask many “why” questions.  It is not enough to read a fact in a book, they want to test theories and explore possibilities for themselves and hands-on learning activities help to achieve that goal. It’s one of the reasons I use math games for middle school.

Middle school students are also becoming more independent learners.  Often they can complete hands-on learning activities with little help from adults.  Learning to follow directions and working through a problem in a step-by-step fashion are important skills to develop at this age.

With the help of our friends we have gathered many wonderful hands-on learning activities for middle school students in the areas of Art, Field Trips, History & Geography, Language Arts, Life Skills, Math, and Science.

We hope this list will be a resource families can refer back to whenever they are looking for an interesting project to enhance their learning. We will continue to add projects to this list so check back often for more ideas.  If you have an activity to share, please send us a link and we will add it!


Hands-on learning activities for middle school art

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Art Project: Canopic Jars

Art Project: Tomb Walls – Combine Art and History!

A Study of Van Gogh

Celebrating Spring with Chalk Art

Chalk Pastels Art

Cherry Blossoms in Porcelain Vase Art Project – Asian Theme Art Lesson 

Chuck Close Portraits This study revolves around Chuck Close.  Watch a video and read about his life.  Then create portraits inspired by his work.

Create a Stained Glass Rose Window

Exploring Vermeer’s Girl With the Pearl Earring

Everything You Need for a Cezanne Study

Fruit and Veggie Art – Examine positive and negative shapes in a piece of fruit or a veggie 

Independent Art Project: Wassily Kandinsky

Learning About Perspective Part I This is the first in a two part series about perspective.  Using oil pastels we created an image of railroad tracks. The step by step process made it manageable for a wide range of ages, but challenging enough for the older student as well.

Learning Art History With Home School In The Woods

Mix Monochromatic Colors!

Studying Baroque Music with SQUILT

Yeats, Joyce and Watercolor with a Little Vivaldi Thrown In!  


Hands-on Learning Activities for Middle School - Field Trips

Field trips

6 Things My Older Kids Enjoy at LEGOLAND Florida

7 Places to Homeschool Away From Home in Central Florida

A Field Trip to Learn About Worms and Composting

Bring Science to Life at the Aquarium

Digging Up Some Fun at Dinosaur World

Five Reasons to Visit Bok Tower Gardens

Learning at Epcot’s Behind the Seeds Tour

Learning at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival

LEGO Store – So Much to Explore

Literature Lessons from Disney’s Magic Kingdom

Meet African Animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Meet the Manatees at Blue Springs State Park

Studying History While Visiting the Magic Kingdom

Sweet, Tart Cranberries

Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea

What Older Kids Can Learn at the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

 Hands-on Learning Activities for Middle School History & Geography

History & Geography

5 Easy Colonial America Map Activities for Kids

6 Covered Wagon Learning Activities

Ben Franklin: Inventions and Hands-on History

Build an Edible Ancient Temple

Building Geography Skills with Topographic Maps

Colonial Games for Children

Do the Preamble (Un)Scramble

Draw Your Own Cartouche: Personalized Hieroglyphics

Duct tape warfare

First Battle of Bull Run

Geography Activities: Atlas Scavenger Hunt [FREE Printable]

Geography Challenge – Boarders, Countries & Continental Drift

Great World War II Projects You Can Build Yourself

Have Fun with American Heroes: Activities, Projects, and Fascinating Facts

Historical Cooking: Native American Corn Recipes

How to Use American Girl to Study History

Korean War lesson plan

Make a Seven Wonders of the World Brochure

Make Civil War Hardtack

Medieval Fashion: Peasant Girl

Mummifying a chicken

North Star Geography

Paper Soldiers and Wargames from Junior General

Re-enact History with Duct Tape-Review

Road to Independence – How far did the American delegates travel to sign the Declaration of Independence

Social Studies Actual Size Review

Spanish American War

Spice Up Your Geography Lessons With Regional Foods

Study the American Revolution by Combining Art and History

Studying Geography with Regional Foods: Russia

The Civil War For Kids: A History With 21 Activities

Time Travelers History Study Series Review

Why did the United States enter the Vietnam War

Victory in Europe

What caused World War 1

Write Mythological Mad Libs


Hands-on learning activities for middle school - Language Arts

Language arts

A Midsummer Night’s Dream Poem

Activities & Projects to Honor Hans Christian Andersen

Around the World in 80 Days – Book Study & Activities

Cause and Effect Card Game Activity

Compare and Contrast – Diagram a Story

Easy Games to Build Language and Literacy Skills

Free Literature Resources for Great Classics!

Fun Family Activities for Mr. Popper’s Penguins

Having Fun With the Penderwicks

How to Write a Detailed Procedure

Macbeth Poem for Kids

Make a Travel Diary – Practice writing skills on a family vacation

Making a Diorama of Dante’s Inferno

Mary Poppins Book Study and Activities

Ode to the Mona Lisa

Peter Pan – Learning Activities

Robert Frost Study art, resources, rhyme scheme, poetry notebooks 

Romeo and Juliet Poem for Kids

Shakespeare: facts, resources, trips, cake

The Secret Garden Book Study & Activities

World Study Guides for Classic Literature

 Hands-on Learning Activities for Middle School - Life Skills

Life skills

6 Life Skills for Teens

Bridge Builder Instant Challenge ~ Logic for Kids  

Building Life Skills with FIRST LEGO League (FLL)

Deciding if Dog Ownership is Right for You

Learning Valuable Life Skills Through Lego Robotics

Make a Sequence Sandwich – Learn to decipher directions and practice sequencing

Setting Fitness Goals

Spring Cleaning Science

State the Pros and Cons by Hosting a Mock Debate

Teaching Kids Life Skills: Food Shopping

Teaching Kids Life Skills: Goal Setting

Teaching Kids Life Skills: How to Tie a Necktie

Teaching Kids Life Skills: Managing Schedules

Teaching Kids Life Skills: Money Management

Teaching Kids Life Skills: Sewing

Teaching Kids Life Skills: Thank You Notes

Teaching Kids to Cook ~ Epcot Food & Wine

Teaching My Kids About Meal Planning Was “Easy as Pie”

Teaching Values through Service and Leadership – Serving others and taking on new leadership skills are very hands-on life skills perfect for middle school students.

Weekly Homeschool Planning Meeting with Multiple Ages – building the habit of planning is a gift we can give our children. We’ve found that starting a child with his /her own planner in 5th grade and using it through middle school is a great way to promote independent learning.

What Our Kids Can Learn From Famous Inventors – The Benefits of Making Mistakes


Hands-on Learning Activities for Middle School - Math


Hands-On Math: Graphing Fun

Living Math: A Round-up of Resources – It doesn’t matter how old your student is, anytime is a good time add living math!

Mastering Math Facts with Minecraft

Math Projects: 50 Hands-On Projects that Correlate to Specific Math Concepts, Grades 5-8+

Number Rings: A Cool Math Game

Real-Life Math : Grocery Store Challenge

Three Games You Can Make in Five Minutes


Hands-on Learning Activities for Middle Science Science


Amoeba Cake

Build a Potato Cannon to learn the principle of Boyle’s Law

Easy Science Projects for Studying Friction

Encouraging Girls in STEM

Engineering Science with the World’s Tallest Buildings Unit Study

Experiment with Magnetism: Make a Hanging Compass

Explore Genetics by Finding Family Traits

Exploring Alternative Energy: Hydroelectric Dams

Extract DNA from Spinach

Food Web Activity

Freezer Bubbles, An Easy Science Experiment

Geology Rocks! Learning about Rocks and Minerals

Groovy Science Activity – Make Your Own Lava Lamp

Groundwater Experiment

Gumdrop Structures Engineering Challenge

Hands-on Activities for Weather

Hands-On Science: Raising Butterflies with FREE Study Download

How Do Oil Spills Harm Wildlife?

How to Make a Tornado in a Bottle

How to Make an Edible Cell Model -The best science models are the ones you can eat! Learn the parts of an animal cell by making a model with cake and candies.

How to Start a Nature Journal

Lego Bacteria

Make a Molecule

Natural Disasters lesson: Earthquakes!

Natural Disasters lesson: Volcanoes

Natural Disasters lesson: Wildfires!

Science Activities to Learn About Levers

Science Logic Curriculum – an inquiry based, hands-on science curriculum for middle level students (logic stage). Each unit incorporates background information, literature connections, and suggested long-term projects.

Simple Science: Catapults and Trajectory

Spin the Bucket: A Centripetal Force Experiment

Spring Scavenger Hunt

Stored Energy

Supercharged Science

The Lab Report – Making A Polymer Ball

You Can Order Live Amoebas!

 The Ultimate Guide to Hands-on Learning Activities for Middle School

Blogs, Link-ups & Online Resources

Be sure to check out our favorite online resources for middle school hands-on learning:

Adventures in Mommydom

Blog, She Wrote

Eva Varga (aka Academia Celestia)


Our Journey Westward

Starts At Eight

Susan Evans Hands-on Learning

The Homeschool Scientist

The Usual Mayhem

Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

World for Learning

At Curriculum Choice you will find an Ultimate Guide to Choosing Middle School Curriculum by the review authors. The authors at the Curriculum Choice have many, many years of experience teaching middle school between them.  They’ve joined together to help you feel confident teaching middle school, too! Following are some of the many middle school reviews our Curriculum Choice authors have written.  You’ll enjoy learning more about the plethora of resources available to you as you teach 6th-8th graders!

At Hodgepodge I have a very busy kinesthetic learner middle schooler (whew!) 6th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices  For a kinesthetic learner with many ‘things’ this storage helps keep her supplies handy.

Finishing Strong – Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years [Weekly Link-up]

Finishing Strong Community on Google+

Homeschooling Middle School with Pinterest

16 Middle School Homeschool Blogs You Should Be Following

Middle School & High School Online Homeschool Communities


For even more epic content, find more

Ultimate Guides from the bloggers of iHomeschool Network.



Linking up at:

Finishing Strong homeschooling the middle & high school years


  1. Thank you so much for including a couple of our resource posts. Pinning this guide to our Middle School Homeschool Board. Needing it in the next year or 2!

  2. WOW, Susan, this is an epic post. I’ll say it’s indeed the Ultimate guide. Thanks for putting it together. Will share around 🙂 Just wonderful!

  3. Just hopped over from the linkup. Hooray for this awesome list of resources! Got it pinned 🙂

  4. What a GREAT resource!!!!!!! Thanks for sharing on the after school linky!

  5. Wonder list. I’m knee-deep in homeschooling my third middle schooler, with four more coming behind. I love/dread these years as I’ve found them to be not-little but not-big for both the Momma and the student, which can be a tricky balance! Trying to grab on to the joy and not grit my teeth and wait for the high school fun! Lol

  6. Pinning! Thanks for sharing our art project. 🙂 We just finished another Art From History piece, but it’s not up on the blog yet.

  7. I’m a firm believer in hands-on learning – experience is the best teacher!
    Love this list of resources and ideas – thank you so much for putting it together. I’m featuring it today on the Hearts for Home Blog Hop:)

  8. Such a great list!


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