Monday, September 29, 2014

Educational BINGO games for Kids (+After School Linky)


If you haven't figured it out already, I'm going to let you in on a big secret: you can teach kids virtually anything by playing the game of BINGO.

I made my oldest boy (now 9 years old) his first educational BINGO game when he was five. Four years later, they are still a favorite after school activity. No arm twisting required.

One of my After School Co-Hosts over at Boy Mama Teacher Mama shares my love for these games. Here are our favorite ways to teach kids a variety of skills and subjects by playing BINGO.


Left to right, top to bottom:

Baseball BINGO at Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational
Time BINGO Games from Boy Mama Teacher Mama
Fall Leaves BINGO at Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational
Letter Reversals BINGO from Boy Mama Teacher Mama

Shark BINGO Game at Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational
Short Vowel BINGO from Boy Mama Teacher Mama
Sight Word BINGO at Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational
Multiplication BINGO at Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational

Zoo BINGO (2 Ways) at Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational
United States BINGO at Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational
Winter Olympic Games BINGO at Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational
Ten Frame BINGO from Boy Mama Teacher Mama

Science, sports, math, language arts, geography - I'm pretty sure we have all that (and then some) covered with these great games!


Now it's time to show us what YOU have been doing with your kids.


The After School Linky is 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, home school, 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 and feature an image on our After School Party in the upcoming weeks!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Learning about the Eyes (Making Afterimages)


It has been ages since we learned about the human body. This little lesson was long overdue. Considering how easy it was to put together, I'm embarrassed we haven't explored the human anatomy more.

I think the eyes are fascinating - the way the pupils open and close to allow in the right amount of light, the way we see everything upside down but our brain flips the image right-side up, how our eyelashes are a defense mechanism to keep dust and dirt out, the science behind tears - all of it is amazing!

If your child hasn't figured out how cool our seeing mechanisms really are, this little experiment will convince them in less than a minute!



What You Need
Colored Papers
Black Marker
White Paper
Scissors
Glue
Timer or watch with a second hand

Prep
Cut several star shapes out of the colored papers. Cut rectangles out of the colored paper too. You'll be putting the stars in the center of the colored rectangles, so make sure they're big enough. Attach the stars making various color combinations. Use a marker to make a black dot in the center of each star.

Now make a small black dot in the middle of the white paper.


Make an Afterimage
Now pick one of the colored rectangles and put it side-by-side with the white paper.

Set a timer for 30 seconds and stare at the black dot inside the star on the colored paper. When the timer goes off, switch your gaze to the black dot on the white paper.

Like magic, you'll see the ghosted image of the star you stared at, but the color will not be the same. It will be the complementary color. This is an afterimage.

Try staring at different colored stars. What color is the afterimage?


How and Why It Works
At the back of the eye, in the retina, there are two types of photoreceptor cells - rods and cones. These cells communicate color to the brain.

When you stare at the star for a long time, the cones and rods become tired. The result is an afterimage.

This great activity came from Karin Halvorson's extraordinary book Inside the Eyes. It's loaded with details and definitions, but presented in such an engaging way, kids are bound to be drawn in. The activities that support the information are interesting, use many everyday objects you're likely to already have on hand, and truly make learning hands on. 



Want to see more afterimages? Check out this great book by Eric Carle!

Monday, September 22, 2014

After School Linky Party (9-22)


Welcome to the After School Linky Party!


Wow. Kids are back in school, but it's the parents (teachers and caregivers too) who are REALLY bringing their A game. The ideas last week were AMAZING!

Here are just a few of my favorites.

 Look! We're Learning! shared these amazing free American Sign Language Alphabet cards.


 Dinosaur crazy kids will love these FREE Feathered Dinosaur Cards from Pinay Homeschooler.


123 Homeschool for Me is offering a great free Apple Picking Multiplication Game for 2nd-6th graders.


Got kids who are learning to read? Check out Creative Family Fun's Sight Word Pick and Spell game!


Who's ready for Halloween? Make math fun with Pumpkin Teeth (aka candy corn). JDaniel4's Mom has the printable math worksheet and instructions.


Review body parts, read a book, and watch kids have a blast playing Happy Brownhouse's Roll-a-Monster Game.


Grab an acorn and Fantastic Fun and Learning's Roll and Say Fall ABC Game Printable. Kids will love this fall-inspired alphabet practice!

The great ideas don't stop there.

Last week the co-hosts shared some super cool activities, ideas, and printables. Here's a recap.

  1. Mama Smiles' Rainy Day Fun for Kids: Q-tip Challenge
  2. Planet Smarty Pants' Halloween Chemistry Ideas
  3. The Educators' Spin on It's Mo Willems Inspired DIY Bunny Costume Felt Headband
  4. The Measured Mom's 20 free & fun math games for preschool & kindergarten - Seasonal Roll & Cover
  5. This Reading Mama's SH Digraph Game {Free Printable Game}
  6. Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational's How to Make an Electromagnet
  7. Boy Mama Teacher Mama's 8 Fun Ways to Teach Number Bonds

 Now it's your turn!

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, home school, 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 and feature an image on our After School Party in the upcoming weeks!


Friday, September 19, 2014

How to Make a Waterwheel


Everything today runs on batteries and electricity, but let's face it, that just wasn't the case back in the good 'ol days. The Romans used waterwheels as far back as the 4th century AD. The most popular application is at mills, grinding grain into flour.

To show my son what the power and force of moving water was capable of, we made a model of a waterwheel. 



This activity was surprisingly simple and requires supplies you probably have on hand.

Empty plastic spool of thread
One (two if small) plastic disposable cups
Duct (or heavy-duty masking) tape
Empty 2-liter soda bottle
Strong thread or dental floss
Metal washer
Scissors (or a craft knife to be used by adults only)
Plastic drinking straw

Tutorial
1. Cut a strip from the middle of the plastic cup(s) that is the same width as your spool of thread. Cut one rectangle from the strip about 1 1/4 inch from the cut edge. Use this rectangle as a pattern to cut rectangles of the same size from the strip until you have 6 rectangles. These are the blades of your wheel.


2. Tape the blades onto your spool making sure to evenly space them, and that all the blades are curved in the same direction.


3. Thread the drinking straw through the hole on the spool. Position the waterwheel in the middle of the straw and use more tape to secure the spool in place on either side with more tape. Set aside.


4. Now cut the top from your empty 2-liter bottle of soda. You can use the top of the label on the bottle as a guide for where to cut. You'll want to have a tall cylinder. (Note: Adults should help or do the cutting. This is tough!)


5. Adults: Poke holes in the bottle about 1 inch from bottom for drainage. I used a craft knife to do this.

6. Cut a V shape in the top of the cylinder. Cut another V directly opposite it.


7. Now tie a strand of heavy thread or dental floss that is about 12-15 inches long to one end of the drinking straw and tape in place so it doesn't slide around.

8. On the other end of the thread, tie a metal washer.


9. Now place the waterwheel's straw in the notches you made on the 2-liter and put the waterwheel under a facet.


10. Turn the water on slowly and watch the wheel turn, and the force of the water pull the washer up.

video

This great idea came from Kerrie Logan Hollihan's phenomenal book on Isaac Newton. Check it out!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Counting Apples {Pegboard Practice}


If you've been following my blog recently, you've seen our pegboard. Some plywood and nails are all it takes to make a great study aid.


My sons love it, especially our 5 year old. We use it to practice matching upper and lower case letters quite a bit at night before bedtime stories. To mix it up, I thought I'd make him numbers pages using some fun apple graphics I made.


Download all three apple pegboard pages for free here from Google Drive.

Our youngest son enjoyed counting the red apples, green apple cores, leaves and apple seeds, and stretching rubberbands from each grouping to the right numeral.


Afterwards, we read some great books about apples and counting. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

25 Leaf-themed Activities for Kids (+ the After School Linky)


Fall is drawing near. When it's here, why not capitalize on all the beauty outdoors with some fun, creative, and educational activities? Here are 25 of my favorite leaf-themed ideas.

ART & MUSIC


1. Make some leaf figures to use when singing the 5 Little Leaves rhyme (pictured above from Boy Mama Teacher Mama).
2. Create origami leaves (from Bloomize).
3. Make leaf rubbing plates to use again and again (from 5 Orange Potatoes).
4. Find the most stunning fall colors and preserve the leaves forever (from Mama Smiles).
5. Liquid watercolors and coffee filters make the perfect medium to recreate fall leaves (from Boy Mama Teacher Mama).
6. Teach kids about cubism and help them put the principles into practice with a leaf painting (from Kids Artists).

SCIENCE


7. Quiz kids on their leaf IQ with these free printable identification cards (pictured above from Look! We're Learning!).
8. Use leaf rubbings to explain the parts of a leaf (from KC Edventures).
9. Look! Tree leaves breathe! This science experiment proves it (from Spoonful).


10. Collect a handful of leaves and give them to your child to find the matching tree (pictured above from A Mom with a Lesson Plan).
11. Collect leaves and have kids classify them using identification cards (from Two Little Seeds).
12. Why not explore chromatography and why leaves change color? (Both Almost Unschoolers and Scientific American have experiments to do just that.)
13. Give kids a free printable leaf book, hunt for specific species of trees, and make a rubbing of their leaves (from Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational).


GAMES


14. Play a game of Fall Leaves BINGO with this free printable (pictured above from Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational).
15. Toddlers and preschoolers will love this simple (free printable) leaf matching game (from Mama Miss).
16. Play a game of memory with free printable photos of autumn leaves (from Mr. Printables).
17. Kids will love the challenge of matching leaves with their shadows (from Totschooling).


LANGUAGE ARTS/READING


18. Have kids practice letter sounds, basic sight words, rhyming, identifying syllables, and so much more with a great free fall-themed activity pages (pictured above from This Reading Mama).
19. Make practicing letters fun with leaf shapes (from 123 Homeschool 4 Me).
20. Rhyming skills are put to the test with this Tree Word Game (from No Time for Flashcards).
21. Kids will love the activity pages Find the Ll’s, Ll Tracing, Leaf Sentence Writing, Leaf Statement Writing and more - including math (free from 3 Dinosaurs).
22. Children use fine motor skills to practice word families when they add leaves with beginning sounds to tree branches labeled with word endings (from Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational).


MATH



23. Practice addition facts with artificial leaves and a free Math Fact Tree printable (pictured above from The Educators' Spin on It).
24. Study perimeter and area with leaves (from Our Journey Westward).
25. Make a grid with tape on the floor and have children sort and place leaves by color for a graphing exercise (from Little Giraffes). 



Last week's linky had loads of great ideas. Here are my five favorites.


1. Estimating the Circumference of an Apple from Gift of Curiosity.
2. Apple Pickin' Time Math Game from Boy Mama Teacher Mama.
3. Moon Shadow from Doodles and Jots.

The After School Linky is 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, home school, 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 and feature an image on our After School Party in the upcoming weeks!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

How to Make an Electromagnet


My 9-year-old son's first science unit this year is electricity. While it's usually a struggle to get him to tell me about his school day, the reports about what he's learning in science roll off his tongue easily. No nagging required.

In summary, he's loving it.


To take his school lessons further at home, I snagged an amazing book  by Laurie Carlson. Thomas Edison for Kids: His Life and Ideas has everything from a timeline to detailed biographical info and my favorite - 21 activities.



Making an electromagnet is one of them. Here's what we used and how we did it.

2-3 feet of ball wire (copper wire with a plastic insulated sheathing)
Large nail
Tape (optional)
C or D battery
small metal objects (paper clips, thumbtacks, etc.)
Scissors (or a wire stripping tool)

Wrap the wire around the nail making a coil, leaving four to six inches of wire extending from each end. Do your best to wrap it as tightly as you can.


Trim about 1/2 inch of the plastic covering from each end of the wire. If you have a wire stripping tool, use it (we did) or score with a pair of scissors and using your fingernails pull the plastic coating from the wire.

Now, if you've got tape handy, cut a long strip and use it to secure the battery to the table.


Hold the nail wrapped wire and pinch the ends of the wire so they touch both metal ends of the battery. DON'T TOUCH THE EXPOSED WIRE; as electric current passes through it, these ends will become hot.

Now take your small metal objects (we used safety pins) and see if the electricity in the battery has made the ends of the nail magnetic. What happens if the wire's connection with the battery is broken? Is the nail still a magnet? (Nope.)


Electromagnets played a significant role in Thomas Edison's inventions. He used them to separate premium iron from low-grade unusable iron ore, that was collected from the New Jersey mines he owned. His discovery of the electromagnetic wave lead to the invention of the radio in the 1890s.

Today, electromagnets are still at work in coin-operated vending machines!

Want another great book to read? We liked National Geographic Kids Level 2 reader Thomas Edison by Barbara Kramer.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fall Leaves BINGO


We love a good BINGO game and with the temps dropping, leaves will soon be falling as well. To mix a little natural science lesson in with our play, I made a game that is perfect for autumn (which will be here before we know it).


What You Need
Paper
Game pieces such as buttons, coins, bottle caps, acorns, etc. (We used poker chips.)
10-page PDF (download it free from Google Drive here)
Paper cutter/scissors

The game I made contains 10 different types of tree leaves randomly arranged on six game cards. There are four pages of call cards that need to be cut apart and shuffled before play begins.



How to Play
The game is played like a traditional BINGO game. Players put a game piece on the FREE space and then on all spaces called as the cards are flipped over one by one. The first player with five in a row (vertical, horizontal or diagonal) wins!



For an alternative way to play, try black-out and see which player covers every space on their card first.

Books to Pair with the Game
We read some great fiction and non-fiction after playing a few rounds. Here are our picks.



Our 9-year-old son read Ellen Rene's science detectives book that described why the leaves change color. The book really expanded his vocabulary, explaining terms like photosynthesis and chlorophyll.

I read Leaves Fall Down to our 5-year-old. This fiction book provides a basic explanation of why the leaves turn. It was perfect for introducing the science concept to my little guy, without being too detailed or advanced.

Lastly, we all read Lucky Leaf. The book begins with a boy whose mother makes him abandon his video game to play outside. It felt like a page right out of my own playbook. There's no science in this book; it's pure whimsy. Both boys enjoyed it.

Monday, September 8, 2014

After School Linky Party (9-8)


Welcome to the After School Linky Party!

I hope back-to-school is all that you (and your kids) dreamed it would be. 

Looking for study aids, fun ways to keep kids learning, or something to transition from school to home time? This linky is your answer.

Here are some of my favorite activities and ideas shared last week.

Apple Rotting Experiment at Gift of Curiosity.









Solve It! Printable Parts of Speech Game (free printable) at 123 Homeschool 4 Me.




The After School Linky is 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, home school, 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 and feature an image on our After School Party in the upcoming weeks!