This year winter in our area has been extreme cold coupled with a bad inversion, which means we’ve been spending a lot more time than usual indoors. With a Kindergartener, a Preschooler, a toddler, and a bun in the oven, dealing with the pent-up energy has been quite the challenge for me. We’ve had to change things up a bit around our house to be accommodating.
Probably the most successful way I’ve found to keep everyone happy, is to turn our learning into games. I try to do this more or less all year long, but during these cold weeks it seems to be the saving grace keeping us from going insane, while still allowing us to accomplish some resemblance of “school”. I’ll share three of our favorites, because I think they are fun and can be adapted to a variety of subjects.
Nerf Gun Matching
This is a pretty simple game. I made a homemade dice with simple three and four letter words on it, and printed out pictures of each of those words and taped them onto small paper plates. Then I hung the paper plates up on the wall. My Kindergartener has to roll the dice, read the word, then using a Nerf Gun shoot the picture that best matches the word he rolled on the dice. You could also use this game for matching capitol and lower case letters, shapes, colors, math problems, counting, etc. And you don’t have to use a Nerf gun either, a ball or a paper air plane would work just as well.
Swat the Bug
For this game, you’ll need a poster board, a fly swatter (or two depending on how many players you want playing at the same time), and about 20 bug shapes cut out of a variety of colored paper. Glue the bugs onto the poster board. We happened to be talking about simple words that start with D the day we played this game, so on each of my bugs I wrote a D word, but again the possibilities are pretty endless. Then I made cards, one card for every bug. In our version of the game, we had two players. I drew a card and read the word ‘dog’, then the two players had to find the bug with the word ‘dog’ on it and swat it. First one to swat was the winner.
Gone FishingI saved my favorite game for last. I like this game because all three of my kids can play together without my having to change the game to adapt it for one level or the other…it already comes that way. You’ll need several sheets of craft foam in different colors. Trace a simple fish pattern onto foam and cut out. How many fish you make is entirely up to you and how long you want to fish for. I made about 30. My Kindergarten has been working on the “when two vowels go walking the first one does the talking” rule. So, on one side of each fish I wrote words like road, laid, beat, etc. that I wanted him to practice. My preschooler is just starting to sound out simple words, so on the other side of each fish I wrote words like cat, dog, mom, etc. And my toddler is working on her colors, hence the different colored fish. I stuck a metal paper clip onto the nose of each fish. Then I had my Kindergartener make me a fishing pole out of Trios (but anything long and strait would work just fine) and we tied a piece of yarn to it, and a circular magnet onto the other end of the yarn for a fishing pole. Next we filled up the bathtub and dropped the fish in. The kids took turns catching the fish, and either reading the appropriate word for their age level, or telling me the color of the fish, depending on who was fishing.