Friday, May 31, 2013

SLAP IT! [Irregular Past Tense Verbs Game]


My son said, "I buyed it" the other day. You'd think he'd uttered a four letter word. This writer with an B.A. in English nearly had to cover her ears. Okay, I am being a tad overdramatic. But it was certainly annoying enough to inspire this game.


I used the same template to make the cards as our Irregular Plural Nouns Go Fish game. There are TWO decks of cards for this game, though.

Black and white cards = present tense verbs
Colorful cards = past tense verbs
I printed the cards on cardstock, shot the pages with spray glue, and attached different papers to the backs of each deck (I used black and white music note scrapbook paper for the present tense verbs and solid green paper for the past tense verbs). Then I used my paper trimmer to cut out the cards.

Download a 6-page PDF of the playing cards here.

Time to play!

Keep the decks of cards separated and shuffle each well. The game is played like slap jack.

Set a timer for 6-10 minutes (or longer).

Turn the top card on the present tense deck (black and white cards) over so each player can read it. Leave it face up.

Now begin turning the colored (present tense) cards over one at a time, forming a pile. The player to spot the past tense version (e.g. left) of the present tense verb (e.g. leave) and slap the card first gets to take all the cards underneath.


The player counts those cards and the number is written down on a makeshift scorecard. The colored cards won by the player are combined with any remaining colored cards and a new present tense card is flipped over; play continues.

When the timer goes off, tally each player's score. Whoever has the highest number wins!

My son creamed me at this game. I'd like to blame the fact that I was snapping pictures, rather than my poor reflexes.

This was so much fun that my son asked to play SLAP IT! again later that same day!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Word/Number/Game/Song/Food of the Week {Poster}


Can you tell I had trouble figuring out what to call this?

It's really just a poster.

But I hope this little poster gets my son's brain whirring all summer long. It introduces a new word, song, game, and food every week and works on a few basic math skills too.

I plan to laminate it and put it on the refrigerator with a fine-tip dry-erase marker. My oldest son can help write out the definition for the word of the week, solve the math problems, and fill in many of the other blanks, too.

Here's what I have in store for my son during week 1.

Word: Flabbergast
Number: 200
Game: Batter's Up Baseball (a free online computer game)
Food: Cranberries (dried)

I picked a few baseball-related items since my oldest son just began his summer baseball league. And I'm excited to introduce new foods to our whole family this summer since we'll be participating in community supported agriculture (our first weekly box of herbs and veggies will be ready for pick-up in a week or two!).

Download your own copy of this poster here. Print on legal paper.


CREDIT: This idea was inspired by the Shoopdedoop's Today's Number is… activity. Check it out here.

Monday, May 27, 2013

After School Linky Party! (5/27)


Happy Memorial Day!! Welcome to the After School Linky Party!



Get ready for some phenomenal activities and ideas.
Last week's party was full of them! 


Paper Weaving with Kindergarten at Art is Basic.
(Kids combine plain paper with scrapbook/wrapping paper for stunning results.)


Elementary Activities: Last Day of School QR Code Challenge
(Print these codes and hand your child your smartphone
for some last day of school challenges. FUN!)


Science for Kids: Making Rainbow Reflections by Buggy and Buddy.
(Look, I've tried making rainbows with my kids and failed.
Clearly I wasn't trying this, but I WILL be now!)


Spill the Beans- a Math Game Printable at Teach Beside Me.
(This game is a great way to practice math facts! Grab this free printable.
I think I'll toss this in my purse for the next time we're at a restaurant.)


Lemonade Stand Ideas for Young Entrepreneurs: 100 Days of Play
(Give kids a little lesson in economics with a lemonade stand. Now that's what I call sweet!)


Cohosted by
Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational

We would love to have you link up your School-Age Post (ages 5 and up) about your learning week after school including Crafts, Activities, Playtime and Adventures that you are doing to enrich your children's lives after their day at school, homeschool or on the weekend! When linking up, please take a moment to comment on at least one post linked up before yours and grab our after school button to include a link on your post or site! By linking up you're giving permission for us to share on our After School Pinterest Board or Feature on our After School Party next week! Don't forget to follow along and join our After School Enrichment Community.

Link up your After School Activities, Crafts and Adventures! We'd love to see them!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Irregular Plurals Card Game


It's been awhile since I got out our tricky plurals cards to practice irregular plurals. I thought I'd find a new way to practice irregular plural nouns - you know, those words that in their plural form don't have an s or es on the end. What better way than a card game?

Before we got playful, we read Brain P. Cleary's Feet and Puppies, Thieves and Guppies: What are Irregular Plurals?  Wacky illustrations combine with a whimsical rhyming explanation of the wacky inconsistencies of the English language.



Then I handed him a shuffled a deck of 32 cards.




Download a free 4-page PDF of the irregular plural noun cards here.
To keep them from being see-through, glue patterned scrapbook
paper to the back and cut out.

Five cards were dealt to each of us. The rest of the cards were laid face down and scrambled around in a messy pile. The game is played like "Go Fish."


Players take turns asking their opponent(s) if they have the singular or plural form of the cards in their hand, until they have a match. If the opponent provides the card, the player gets to ask again, until they are told "I don't have that card" and must draw a card from the pile in the middle.


When a player runs out of cards, the game is over. Whoever has the most matches is the winner.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Nutrition: What's Healthy?


Eating better is a BIG priority for me right now. I'm looking at healthy alternatives to all our favorite meals and snacks, preparing new recipes to ensure we eat more balanced meals, and eating a lot more organic (and a lot less processed) foods.

I expected a lot of resistance from my family.

When my son wondered why his sugary cereal was replaced with a healthier organic one, I showed him the grades each got on the Fooducate app by scanning the bar codes with my smartphone. It was like a lightbulb went off and suddenly, our oldest son was a lot more accepting of the alternatives I was presenting.

I wanted to take his understanding further.

We read a wonderful book by Cath Senker, which supports the changes I'm making in our family's diet. It was a great introduction to food groups and explained, in simple terms, how food can help you be healthy or be bad for you, depending on your choices. It also introduced my son to what it means to be a vegetarian and touched briefly on food allergies.


Once we were done with Senker's non-fiction work, I gave my son his own book to complete.

Download this book free here. Print the first two
pages, flip over and run through the printer again
to print the remaining pages. Staple the spine.
I created this book after conducting loads of research with what I believe are credible sources (e.g. WebMD, Livestrong, and Mayo Clinic). Keep in mind, though, I'm not a dietitian.

The book examines fiber, sodium, and sugar. Kids need to figure out how much of each is recommended daily, then complete an activity that tests their newfound knowledge.

I won't lie, some things required additional explanation, but my son's questions told me I'd found a way to pique his curiosity.

"Popcorn has fiber!" he exclaimed.

"Maple syrup is natural sugar?"

"If 575 milligrams is 1/4 teaspoon of sodium, then 1,150 must be 1/2 teaspoon, right?"

Amen! He wasn't just reading the book, there was comprehension.

To test it, though, he grabbed three pre-packaged snacks from the pantry and completed the following worksheet.

His choices were graham crackers, fruit strips, and pretzels. We looked at the labels to find how many grams or milligrams of fiber, sodium, and sugar were present in each.

He referred back to his healthy choices book and filled in the recommended daily amount.

Then we used the percentage calculator at math.com; find it here.
Download a PDF of this worksheet here.
"Whoa, Mom! How could you buy these? They have a LOT of sugar!" he said looking at the fruit strips.

Mission accomplished.

Monday, May 20, 2013

After School Linky Party!


Welcome to the After School Linky!


WHOA! The ideas shared last week were amazing! Here are just a few.


Pirate Day at School - Hook Movie Night at Bunny Bear and Roo
(This is a phenomenal collection of pirate-themed fun. I especially love the pizza boat pirate ships!)



Encouraging Confidence and Creativity in Children at Buggy and Buddy
(Art journaling, sketchbooks, and three great books = awesome advice!)



Fine Motor Skill Flower Beading by The Usual Mayhem at B-Inspired MAMA
(Kids get crafty while improving their fine motor skills. Smart. Sneaky. Stunning.)



Our Summer Adventure List - Fun Activities to do this Summer at KC Edventures
(How cool is this?!? The summer bucket list is chronicled with Post-Its that form the periodic table!)



Free Word Family Game: Uno (short a) at The Measured Mom
(Engaging kids when they're learning to read can be hard. This free game is sure to help!)

Cohosted by
Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational

We would love to have you link up your School-Age Post (ages 5 and up) about your learning week after school including Crafts, Activities, Playtime and Adventures that you are doing to enrich your children's lives after their day at school, homeschool or on the weekend! When linking up, please take a moment to comment on at least one post linked up before yours and grab our after school button to include a link on your post or site! By linking up you're giving permission for us to share on our After School Pinterest Board or Feature on our After School Party next week! Don't forget to follow along and join our After School Enrichment Community.

Link up your After School Activities, Crafts and Adventures! We'd love to see them!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Sidewalk Chalk Spelling Hop


I'm not going to lie. I've had good intentions of making an alphabet mat like the ones here and here for QUITE some time. Truth be told, I'm lazy. Not only would I have to sew, paint, or fashion the letters from tape, I'd have to store the thing after its use.

Sidewalk chalk was the answer!

The idea hit me like a lightning bolt while I was at work. That day, I came home, pulled the car in the garage and before I even hit the door to the house, grabbed our sidewalk chalk to make an outdoor alphabet mat on the driveway.

I didn't even change out of my heeled sandals (which I regretted later).

I made a grid six squares across and five squares down. In the first box, I put a big star. Each box following had a letter of the alphabet (in hindsight, I should have written them in lower case). There were three blank boxes left. To those I added a question mark, an apostrophe, and the words "capital letter."


When my son got off the bus and walked up on me finishing up, he was psyched. I explained that it was time to practice spelling. "Outside?" he asked. "Absolutely," I replied.

The rules were simple.

  • Start and end every word at the star.
  • Get from one letter to the next trying not to step on other letters in the process (which isn't always possible, but kids sure have fun trying).
  • If you get stuck, step on the question mark square.
  • If the word begins with a capital letter (proper noun, etc.), step on the "capital letter" square before you head to the first letter in the word.
  • If you misspell the word, you have to go back to the star and begin again.

This was just as much fun as the last time I got crazy with the sidewalk chalk! (Check out our Driveway Dice Roll game here.)



I knew the activity was a hit when a neighborhood boy came over to play and after I'd explained that the grid was for spelling practice, he said, "I want to try it!" My son and his friend had a bit of a spell off, trying to stump each other. If it weren't for "Wednesday," I think my son would have won!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Deep Sea Division


My son has already learned his multiplication facts better than I had at his age. (Something I am extremely thankful for!) After a fair amount of practice, I thought I'd test his division skills.

When I stumbled onto Swamp Fox First Graders' Don't Get Zapped game, I knew I could adapt the game to practice division problems fairly easily. And when my son asked me to create an activity with plankton, the game proved an easy way to deliver on my promise.

What You Need
A large pack of jumbo craft sticks
Sticker paper
Large, tall cup or container
Timer

Prep
Download and print a free, 2-page PDF of the Deep Sea Division problems I created. Use sticker paper for printing.


Cut the division problems, peel off the backing, and adhere one to each stick, close to one of the ends.

Put the sticks in the cup, with the ends that have the problems at the bottom.

Play
Set a timer for 3-6 minutes or longer if division is a struggle for any of the players. Take turns removing a stick from the cup. Either answer the problem or do as the stick instructs.



If the player solves the division problem correctly, they keep the stick and begin a pile. The problem sticks have one of four different kinds of food for the whale shark: squid, krill, small fish, and plankton.

There are three kinds of sticks, though, with no problems.
1. HUNGRY SHARK. Put your sticks back.
2. GOOD CATCH! Take another player's stick.
3. DIVE AGAIN! Take an extra turn.

When the timer beeps, the game is over. The player with the most sticks wins.

Want a great book to read about whale sharks, the gentle giants of the ocean? We liked Joanne Randolph's The Whale Shark: Gentle Giant!



UPDATE: At the request of a blog follower, I've added more problems to this game. If your child is ready to be quizzed on the larger divisors, download this new version of the game that includes divisors 6 through 10 (not just 1 through 5). You can download it free from Google Drive here. While using ALL these problems may be too overwhelming, now you've got the chance to customize the game by choosing the problem problems!

Monday, May 13, 2013

After School Linky Party!


Welcome to the After School Linky!


Last week's party had SO many great ideas! Here are some of my favorites.


Science Activity for Kids: Air Race! by The Pleasantest Thing
(This simple experiment teaches kids about air resistance. Plus, there's no prep!!)



Virtual Flat Stanley/Sophia at Crafty Moms Share
(This activity is rich with  educational lessons: reading, writing, art, and geography!)


Create an Outdoor Activity Jar that 'Rocks'! by KC Edventures
(Banish boredom. Get kids outdoors. These rocks do both ... and their beautiful too!)



Static Electricity {Fun Balloon Experiment for Kids} at Kids Activities Blog
(The Quirky Mommas never disappoint. Stop by for loads of ways to observe static.)


Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational

We would love to have you link up your School-Age Post (ages 5 and up) about your learning week after school including Crafts, Activities, Playtime and Adventures that you are doing to enrich your children's lives after their day at school, homeschool or on the weekend! When linking up, please take a moment to comment on at least one post linked up before yours and grab our after school button to include a link on your post or site! By linking up you're giving permission for us to share on our After School Pinterest Board or Feature on our After School Party next week! Don't forget to follow along and join our After School Enrichment Community.

Link up your After School Activities, Crafts and Adventures! We'd love to see them!

Friday, May 10, 2013

We've Flipped Over Homophones!


Who's kidding who? Homophones can be confusing. What's the difference between pair and pear? You're and your? And wheel and we'll? Oy.

To make our homophone drills fun, I made some flip sticks. It's simple. Grab some jumbo wooden craft sticks and square Post-It notes. Write the homophones down, one on each of two notes. Place one face down and center the craft stick on it, so the top of the stick catches the adhesive part of the Post-It. Now place the other note on top (sticky side down), sandwiching the craft stick between the two notes.

Make several of the homophone flip sticks. Use the words in sentences and have your child flip the stick to the right word.

Our List of Homophones
Hour
Our
Are
Ate
Eight
For
Four
Pair
Pear
Knew
New
We'll
Wheel
You're
Your

Note: Since we had an odd number of words, are had a blank post-it on the back of its flip stick.

Our Practice Sentences
It was a gift for her father.
I was tired of waiting for him.
Practice was going to start in four minutes!
All I needed was four more cards to win the game.
I loved my new shoes.
Come and meet my new baby sister.
I knew all the answers to the problems.
She knew I was lying.
Swimming lessons started in an hour.
The cakes takes an hour to bake.
Our teacher told us to be quiet.
She rode in our car to the piano recital.
The flowers are bright yellow.
Are you feeling alright?
I ate my entire hamburger, I was so hungry.
My dad ate the pickle even though it was sour.
There were eight children lined up waiting to go outside.
I finish school in eight days.
There were lots of shoes by the door, but I couldn't find my pair.
I lost my pair of mittens at school.
I had my choice of an apple, orange, or pear.
The pear tree had lots of fruit.
We'll be out of town that weekend visiting friends.                         
I guess we'll eat at the football game.
The toy car was missing a wheel.
The bike's wheel was bent.
Your brother tells funny jokes.
I like your shirt.
You're the first student to complete the assignment.
You're making a mess!


I went through the list randomly and kept track of how many my son got right; he was anxious to know his score as practice progressed and so excited to only get two wrong. (Too bad you're and your tripped him up!)

Looking for even MORE fun with homophones? Download my FREE homophones memory game.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Reluctant Writer's Story in Four Days


Writing is painful for my son. It's his Achilles heel.

During the last parent-teacher conference, his teacher told me all the things I already knew. My son's writing needed work. A LOT of work. So even though it was agonizing for him (and it was a little for me too) we forged ahead.


I created a story-in-four-days file folder. (Download a free 2-page PDF here and make your own file folder progressive story.) The idea was that the story would unfold over four days. He didn't need to know where it was going. He needed to answer questions, use descriptive words, and craft those answers and adjectives into sentences - writing a story in small pieces.

The question prompts page was glued to cover of the file folder and it was cut into four sections: 1) character & setting, 2) problem, 3) solution, and 4) conclusion.


The lined story paper was glued to the inside of the folder, directly underneath the other page.


Each day he completed a section of questions on the outside, opened the flap, and wrote three or four sentences about the details he'd just provided on the inside.


This activity reminds me of the cliché, "There's only one way to eat an elephant - one bite at a time." Writing stories is like eating an elephant for my son.

Day 1 there was crying.
Day 2 there was no crying, just whining.
Day 3 there was reluctance, but no whining.
Day 4 there was willingness and an end.

My son had written a short story. I was elated. But more importantly, he was extremely proud.

Monday, May 6, 2013

After School Linky Party!


Welcome to the After School Linky!


I'm SO excited to be joining four amazing blogs as a new host for the weekly After School Linky.

Here are a few of my favorite activities shared during last week's linky.

Beyond the Great Wall - Dai Peacock Dance at Marie's Pastiche
(What a clever and beautiful peacock craft!)


How to Get Kids to Love Writing at The Measured Mom
(If you have a reluctant writer, you MUST read this. Great tips, suggestions, and advice!)


Science for Kids: Planting a Bulb at Buggy and Buddy
(This is wonderful hands-on science. Just exactly the way I like it.)


Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational

We would love to have you link up your School-Age Post (ages 5 and up) about your learning week after school including Crafts, Activities, Playtime and Adventures that you are doing to enrich your children's lives after their day at school, homeschool or on the weekend! When linking up, please take a moment to comment on at least one post linked up before yours and grab our after school button to include a link on your post or site! By linking up you're giving permission for us to share on our After School Pinterest Board or Feature on our After School Party next week! Don't forget to follow along and join our After School Enrichment Community.

Link up your After School Activities, Crafts and Adventures! We'd love to see them!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

One Very Charming Snake [a Static Electricity Experiment]


The ancient art of snake charming concocts wonderfully imaginative visions of faraway places and exotic music. 

When I saw this activity in 50 Science Things to Make & Do by Georgina Andrews and Kate Knighton, I knew we had to give it a try. We already had all the supplies we needed!

What You Need
Tissue paper
Scissors
Small plastic ruler
Markers
Wool fabric (I used a wool winter coat)

Here's how to be a snake charmer, with the help of static electricity.

Step 1
Use a plate to draw a circle on your tissue paper. Use a marker to do this, since a pencil or pen will be more likely to tear the thin tissue. Cut the circle out. 

TIP: If your tissue paper has folds in it, use an iron on a low temp setting to smooth it out some before drawing your circle.


Step 2
Draw a spiral inside the circle. Add eyes and a pattern to your "snake" with markers. (NOTE: My son neglected to decorate the snake's body until after Step 3 was complete and it was a challenge.)


Step 3
Cut along the spiral lines. Once you've finished cutting, recoil your snake.


Step 4
Take your ruler and vigorously (I'm talkin' hard and fast, folks) rub one end of the plastic ruler back and forth against the wool material for 30 seconds or longer.


Step 5
Now touch the end of the ruler that you rubbed to the snake's head. Watch the snake rise up and uncoil itself!


The extra particles transferred from the wool to the ruler cause a build-up of static electricity that is strong enough to lift the lightweight tissue paper.

If you weren't convinced to check out 50 Science Things to Make & Do when you saw the amazing kaleidoscope we made, hopefully you are now!

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