10 Educational Games for Grade School Kids

     Games can be such great fun!  Whether just your kids are playing one together, with their friends, or the whole family is having a game night, it’s time well spent together!  Most every game calls for everyone to bring their skills to the table, while having a good time, usually laughing a lot, getting competitive, and just enjoying the fun.

     But many, many games are actually a great way for our children to learn as well!  At the grade school ages, many of the classic games us adults grew up with, and others that have come out since, can really aid in building up our kids’ academic skills, and re-enforcing many as well. All while they think they are just playing!  I say it all of the time…..LEARNING SHOULD BE FUN!!  When learning is fun, kids want to learn more, and usually what they learned while having fun, tends to ‘stick’ better.

     There are more kids’ games on the market than can even be counted.  No doubt, most all of them can be educational on some level, when you really break it down. In this post, we’re taking a look at just 10 (mostly) classic games, that are known to be really fun games, but also offer valuable learning skills for our kids.  Whether you are a homeschooling family or not, none of us can ever learn too much, or have too much fun!!  So here’s 10 fun games we thought of suggesting for you, and why we think they are educational too:

 

BANANAGRAMS

“The anagram game that will drive you bananas!”

Ages: 7 and up   Players: 2-8

Bananas is similar to Scrabble, with the letter tiles. The concept of this game is to race your opponents to build your own crossword grids.  The first to use all of their letters shouts “Bananas!”

Teaches: Spelling, new Vocabulary, Math skills, and Sportsmanship Skills

 

scrabble game SCRABBLE

“Every word’s a WINNER!”

Ages: 8 and up     Players: 2-4

Scrabble is a word game in which players score points by forming words from individual lettered tiles, on a game board marked with a grid. The words are formed across and down, crossword style, and must appear in a standard dictionary.

Teaches: Spelling, new Vocabulary words, Math skills, critical thinking, and sportsmanship skills 

 

boggle game

BOGGLE

“The 3-minute word search game.”

Ages: 8 and up  Players: 2-4

The game is played using a plastic grid of lettered dice, in which players attempt to find words in sequences of adjacent letters.

Teaches: basic Spelling, basic Math, critical thinking, and sportsmanship skills

 

yahtzee game YAHTZEE

“The Classic Shake & Score Dice Game.”

Ages: 8 and up   Players: 2+

This is a 5 dice game, where the object is to score the most points by rolling the dice to make certain combinations. The dice can be rolled up to three times in a turn to try to make one of the many combinations.  Once a combination has been used in the game, it cannot be used again. Rolling 5 matching dice gives you a Yahtzee! Highest score wins.

Teaches: Operations of Math,critical thinking, and sportsmanship skills

 

PAYDAY

Parker Brothers’ Classic “Where Does All The Money Go?” Game

Ages: 7 and up   Players: 2-4

In Payday kids learn to have a job, lend money, pay bills and interest, and deal with unexpected expenses.  (Dang, we need to get this one! lol)

Teaches: Math, Money Management, Personal Finances, Life skills, Responsibility

 

MONOPOLY

“The Fast-Dealing Property Trading Game”

Ages: 8 and up   Players: 2-8

As the players move around the board, they buy and sell properties, build houses and collect rent. Monopoly is a great money game for kids learning how to count money and make decisions.

Teaches: Math, Money Management, Life skills

 

all around the usa ALL AROUND THE USA

“The Ten Minute Memory Recall Game.”

Ages: 8 and up      Players: 1 or more

This game gives players 10 seconds to study an illustrated card and memorize as many details as possible. The players then roll the dice to determine which question they’ll be asked what was on the card. This clever memory game teaches players little-known facts about the 50 states while boosting visual perception and recall skills.

Teaches:  Geography, State Facts, Reading, Visual Perception, Concentration, Memory

 

 

APPLES TO APPLES Junior

“The Game of Crazy Comparisons!”

Ages: 9 and up    Players: 4 or more

Players will delight in the crazy comparisons while expanding their vocabulary and thinking skills. The 576 cards provide hours and hours of fun! The kids and junior card sets contain no duplicate cards. The sets may be combined for thousands of new comparisons.

Teaches: Language, Reading, Vocabulary, Critical Thinking, Comparing, Convincing Skills

 

 

stare game

STARE

Ages: *10 and up   Players: 2-10

(*Our triplets have been playing it since they were age 6, no problem.)

From the box:

“Quickly – you have 20 seconds to stare at the image on the card. It might be a movie poster, an old advert, a comic, a funny photo, or maybe even a work of art. When the timer runs out, you’ll be asked a series of questions about the image – What color is the woman’s hat? How man teddy bears do you see? In which hand is the man holding the gun?

“How much can you recall? Don’t worry, wild guesses count. Answer correctly and you keep going – unless your luck runs out first! Will your powers of concentration hold, even as you burst out laughing?”

Teaches: Observation skills, Concentration, Visual Perception, Memory, Reading

 

QWIRKLE

“Mix, Match, Score, and Win!”

Qwirkle consists of 108 wooden blocks with six different shapes in six colors. Using the blocks, players attempt to score the most points by building lines that share the same shape or color. The simple setup makes this an instant winner for younger kids, while adults will enjoy strategizing to win.

Ages: 6 and up    Players: 2-4

Teaches: Sequencing, Colors, Shapes, Strategy

* * * * * *

That’s our 10 for this post!!  So tell us…..Which games of these listed does your family have? Which ones do your kids love to play?  Are there any you’d like to get, now that you’ve read a little about them?  I’ll be chiming in the comments to give you our own answers, too. We’d love to hear what you have to say,  and we’d also really LOVE it if you added any educational games for this age group, that you think are great!  We know there are lots, so give us the scoop!

 


 

Our School Year 2011-2012, Kicks Off!

Well, forgive me for the delay with any updates about our new school year we’re in the midst of here!  Once we kicked it off at the beginning of September, we’ve been very occupied finding our groove, with our new schedules.  Things are quite different for us this year! With the kid’s respective ages and levels, life has opened up new and exciting opportunities, of experiences and learning, for all of them.  Not to mention new territories for us parents!  We have a high schooler now, for example, and with it comes all kinds of things.  But the younger ones are also following their passions and gifts, more so than ever.

Some of you may know this, but for those of you who do not, we are year round home schoolers.  We keep a lighter (academic) schedule in the summer, and begin a whole new school year/grade levels, in September.  It’s always a very, very exciting time, as we love to plan out and begin a new school year!  We’re really blessed that our kids are enthusiastic students, who love school and learning.  This coming school year, was filled with more anticipation than ever, and it’s been as CrAzY and exciting of a ride, as we expected.

I always take the kid’s new school photos on the first day of school.  This year, it was almost a week later, but we got it done.  We have also ‘always’ taken their portraits in the school room, at the side of the cabinets.  But if you follow our blog, you may be aware that we drastically changed our school room set-up, and those cabinets are gone!  You can see the  old and new set up of our school room, as well as the style of school photos we were taking in all previous years, in this recent post.

So this year, I did all of the kid’s school photos outside.  These photos will be in the sidebar quite soon, so that new comers can see the kiddos who make up our home schooling world.  In this post, we wanted to share with you a little about their (book) subjects they are studying this year, as well as some other little interesting tidbits of information.  In coming posts, we’ll be sharing a lot more, including activities/learning experiences outside of their academics, some deeper thoughts and observations I have had as a home schooling parent, and lots of other fun and interesting home schooling related posts. We hope you’ll join us for it all, with discussion and sharing of your own!

 

This is our oldest daughter/student, Alexis (14). Also known as {A} around the blog here.   She has been home schooled (not necessarily at home…right? lol),  since 3rd grade, and just started 9th grade this year. We can’t believe we have a high schooler now!  That means I worked hard over the summer, researching, and piecing together a serious 4 year college prep plan for her. And maybe panicking, just a little. The girl scares me, and excites me, and makes us all proud, all at the same time!  She has huge aspirations, and her heart set on really big name colleges.  We cannot let her down, and we believe in her, because she is so unique in her focus of her life at her age.   She is so faith-filled, determined, intelligent, tough, independent, and firm on the path she is laying out for herself.  What fascinates me, is it’s all a far cry from anything her father or I ever dreamed for ourselves, or were interested in.  But that’s why each one of us has our own calling, and why it’s important as home schooling parents, to help shape our children’s character, and foster the calling they feel God has put in their heart, as the work He has meant for them to do, in their life.   It’s all about guiding and supporting them, to be the people they are meant to be.

Throughout this past summer, Alexis taught the 4th Grade Religious Education at our parish (2 weeks), and ran the games activity for the kids of Vacation Bible School (1 week.)  She also earned herself a Catholic High School scholarship, that has covered all of the expenses of her academic and extra-curricular school year. We’re proud of her, and grateful as well!

This school year, as a high school Freshman, Alexis’ courses are:  Language Arts (Alpha Omega /LifePac),  Algebra (Math-U-See), Biology (Apologia), History/Social Studies (Streams of Civilization-Volume 2 Cultures in Conflict Since the Reformation), Latin (Latina Christiana), Spanish (All Bilingual) , Art and Music (Piano – private lessons, and the Recorder – all kids at home.).

Alexis is also playing sports now, for our town’s public South High School! She is really involved there. That is a whole other exciting post. I could easily ramble, so I’ll save it, but suffice it to say it’s been really wonderful for her so far, and exciting for us.  It is extremely time-consuming on a daily weekday basis.  But I’d say we best get used to it and keep making it work.

In the light of sharing all of their subjects in this post, I feel it’s important to mention, that we live our personal faith, which is Roman Catholic. So it’s not a subject the kids study for school, but more something we are always teaching them, and they are always living and learning it as they grow. Just as we still are as adults, actually. That said, they do begin each day all together, with a Scripture, discussion, and prayer.  As a tool, we still really love Living Faith-Kids!!

JackMichael(9), the first-born of the triplets.  Also known as {JM} around here.  He and the other 2 have the same academic subjects of course, being in the same grade level and age.   As I said, I’ll be posting more about what they love to do outside of their academic studies, and I’m excited to do so, because they are all so unique, with their interests and personalities. And yet, the differences from within their unique selves, meld together so well with each other.  It’s fascinating to me, to observe, frankly.  But anyway, for today, here are the subjects all 3 of them have this year:

Language Arts (Alpha Omega / LifePac),  Math (Delta / Math-U-See),  Science (Exploring Creation with Astronomy-Apologia), History/Social Studies (Christian Liberty Press / Our Nation Under God, and, History Stories for Children), Writing Strands, Spanish (All Bilingual), Latin (Prima Latina), Art and Music ( Recorder – all kids at home).

 

Olivia Faith (9), the second triplet born. {O}, which we tend to call her 1/2 the time, ourselves. The boys especially, refer to her as “O”, a lot. And you know what she calls them, when she’s talking to the both of them? “Boys”. It always cracks me up, because there is such a motherly air about the way she says it. So….our own little baby boom is “O and the Boys”, I guess. It has a cool little ring to it, now that I think about it. : )   Oh, speaking of their names, and {name initials in brackets}, I know we’ve been a little all over the place with it.  The thing is, using initials for any sake of privacy or protection, is pretty irrelevant by now, considering they’ve been on TV a few times now, (related to our Catholic faith) as well as the newspaper, for different things. All times with full names.  On the flip side, I have found myself continuing to use their initials in brackets sometimes, for the sake of brevity.  As you can see, my posts tend to be perhaps a little lengthy, so I need to use all the brevity tricks I can.  : )   The kids are all well aware, lots of people know who we are by name, but the reverse isn’t necessarily true. (Especially around our town, and the people we meet and run into in person.)



Shane Jacob (9), the last born of the trio.

(Reaching for ‘brevity’ now………..).  Shoot. I forgot what I was going to say. Ummmm. Oh yeah.  You see that beautiful little school desk in the background?  That is Michael’s, from when he was a little boy!!  What a treasure, huh?  That sweet and sentimental little antique is going to be another blog post coming up, that I am planning, as well. There’s some story to tell, and some specific things that are part of the desk, that you will not believe!!  Michael’s antique school desk, is not the only one we have to show you, either. So if you’re interested, be on the look out for that post too!

 

I am glad I thought of doing a quick ‘class picture’ of sorts, while we were at it.  I sure love my class!!

Honestly, I’ve struggled a little with this Home Schooling section of the blog, right along. It’s a lifestyle to us for sure,  but one that is just so normal to us, I think…”What is there to blog about?”.  But I know there is LOTS.  Lately, my realization of that has really broadened, and in the process, I have realized why I am not as active in this section. Which is crazy, because I so passionately love home schooling my kids, and living this life I do with my family, that it hardly makes sense.  But I see now where it comes from, and I think I’ll be sharing those thoughts very soon too.

So stay tuned!!  This home schooling section should be picking up steam, real soon!   You should know, we love comments and hearing from all of you! But if you are a home schooling blogger as well, we especially encourage comments with your blog-linked names, so that we can visit your stories and shared, comment, and connect with you all as well. Our hope and goal is that we are all an inspiration and encouragement for each other, in raising and educating our children, as home schoolers or not. Home schooling happens to be the route we have happily taken, with a deep love and passion for it. So our posts will derive from that life we live, as a home schooling family.  But proving a great education, however any of us do, is the more common thread.  So thanks so much for stopping by, and please DO again!  God bless you all!

Gosh, I promise I’ll work harder on that brevity thing, too.

******

 





Food For Thought; Literally! (Get Those Kids of Yours in the Kitchen!)

I’m sure I’ve been forthright about this before, as much as it makes me feel a little bad to say out loud.  (Figuratively speaking.)  But there always moments in time when these things come up, and there is some purpose in being truthful in the matter. Right?

Well, this is one of those times.

So the truth is, <whisper> my mother was just not very domestic in the kitchen. Nor was her mother. <end of whisper> Which says something not good.  Doesn’t it?

I’ll answer that.  Yes it does.

It says that the chances of me being one, was slim to none.

Unless of course, I broke the cycle, and took responsibility for myself.  Made different choices. And God-willing, began a new cycle for my children, and grandchildren, to carry on.

(I’m not really that smart.  I read something like that in a book once.)

I have to say, I did know plenty about cleaning, weeding gardens, and working hard coming into this holy- sacrament-of-marriage-thing.. I worked for a little old lady from the time I was 11 years old until I was14, every Saturday.  I cleaned her house top to bottom, kept up her garden beds, weeded her stone patio, changed the sheets the beds, etc.  I learned a lot from her.  Some things, she was very particular about how it was done….such as the fine techniques of folding sheets, or making a bed.  It’s funny that I insist on these same techniques in my own home now. lol   She was a nice old lady, made me a fine lunch which we enjoyed together, and later had an afternoon tea as well.  And then she paid me too! Well, I might add. For a kid. Of course, I was also risking my life twice a day, every Saturday, as this 80 year old woman who peered through the hole of her steering wheel, picked me and and brought me home.   I’ll never forget that time we were heading for the side of the bridge…..

But admittedly, I was slow coming around as a new bride-to-be, in the cooking and baking area.  I think becoming a mother sort of kicked me into domestic-gear. Somewhat. Until then, my husband and I did o.k., together. He did have more of a domestic mother, all the way around.  From what I could tell anyway.  So he had watched, learned, and praise God, was not helpless himself when we married.

Yes, this has everything to do with homeschooling, so bare with me here.

I don’t know if they even have Home Economics in school anymore.  Do they?  But I heard they did, back when I was in school.  Problem is, I went to a private Catholic high school, where the guidance counselor, was also the Geometry teacher sometimes, and the principal was sometimes the Religion teacher (that was a bad run.). The gym teacher helped in areas he should have never been helping, with the senior girls. (But I won’t go there today.)  In other words, we were just a small school, without any extras.  We didn’t even have a football team. Or a field of any sporty-kind.

My mom was a wonderful mother in many ways, though.  But seeing as though I was not learning much in the kitchen at home, it would have been nice to learn about it somewhere.  In retrospect, I mean. (Because I am quite sure I could have cared less at the time.)   And so seeing as though my kids are not in school, and won’t be come high school either I can only presume, where they may have or may have not gotten Home Ec classes, it is up to me to be sure they get some!!  Other-wise, they could end up as a floundering bride or groom some day.  And if they marry the same, there is going to be a big problem.  Travesty. Know what I’m saying?

So I need to be sure, my kids get a domestic bone from me, some way, some how, some day.   Hopefully before they are married, or are out on their own.

And it was that mindset that I was in, when I got my kids (happily) helping out in the kitchen, since they were about ohhhh….so tall. (Use your imagination.  It’s pretty short.)

But it was in having them help, that I realized just how much schooling can happen in the kitchen!  And the more we do it, the more I see the lessons happening.

It’s a whole lot more than Home Economics!

Let’s see…….

First, there is READING…..the directions.  I have them do it out loud. It’s such an opportunity for new kitchen-related VOCABULARY words, SPELLING words, and PROPER PRONUNCIATION.

On this particular day in the kitchen, we were making an ordinary box of  cinnamon streusel cake, and making the apple version.

Then, comes FOLLOWING DIRECTIONS, of what was just read, very carefully.


MATH is a biggie!  (age depending.)  There is counting, adding and subtracting, and measuring. (Especially when halving or doubling a recipe.)  Reading numbers, and temperatures!

SCIENCE is everywhere, in the operating kitchen.  How does one ingredient react, when another is added to it?  Why must we temper some ingredients first, before adding to the big batch.  (There’s another new word!  So what does it mean, and how do we do it?)

What happens with various temperatures set in the oven, and what is the difference between baking, and broiling?

Enjoying our time spent together counts for something too! For some, it truly is a learned behavior!

(Not for my kids, of course.  I’m just sayin’ ; )

How about the ins and outs of KITCHEN SAFETY?   We are using sharp knives, reaching into hot ovens….

…..and operating heavy machinery!

(After you read this post, you may want to find out how this sweet piece of machinery hummed it’s way into our lives, and MiXeD everything up, HERE. ; )

Uhh, by the way…….Where’s the fire extinguisher, just in case?  And how do you use that?

We don’t want to learn that Science, in an emergency. You want to know how to use that thing if you need to!  And if all else fails,< insert the family fire drill skills here>, and we’ll meet at the telephone pole across the street!

Back to the lessons at hand…

Learning how to WORK AS A TEAM, and also ……..

…….admitting when you need help, and allowing others to help you.


All of these lessons I mentioned, are just the topping of the cake.

I am sure you could think of plenty more, in addition to mine.

Think on it.

OH OH OH!! I just thought of another one!!  The one I think we all like to forget!:

The RESPONSIBILITY of cleaning up the mess!

But most times, we can do so, while we enjoy the mouth-watering smell we’ve created in the air.

Ahhhhhh……smells…..SO…….good!!!   We can hardly wait to cut into it, indeed!

Of course the best lesson of all:, our mouths and our bellies, REAP THE REWARDS OF our HARD WORK.

***

All kids, home schooled or not, can benefit from the lessons to be learned in the kitchen.

What lessons have I missed mentioning?  Help me out here.

I’ll be hoping you can you add to my list, because I know there is a lot more.  And you’re smart cookies.

While I wait, if you’ll excuse me, I need to head down to the laundry room, transfer clothes from the washer to the dryer, sort some piles, and start a new wash load.

And you can bet I’ll be taking a kiddo down with me.  And believe it or not, they’ll be excited to come and help! (And secretly learn.)

Hopefully, I’m cutting my chances here of them coming home on weekends from college, accompanied by several loads of laundry.  If they do, we’ll be repeating those lessons, that weekend.  ; )




The Math and Science of OOBLECK!

It wouldn’t be surprising, if many of you have already heard of and made some ‘Oobleck’, with your kids.  Some may know this crazy-fun concoction by another name.  My sister says they call it ‘Goop’.

My kids have indeed made and played with Oobleck before.  I first heard about it at least a few years ago, from my friend Maria, over at Very Blessed Mommy. It’s a downright fun little activity, that will keep your little ones  happy and busy for quite awhile!  It’s appropriate for ages 4-42 (at least ; )

We’ve made it several times since that first, but this time, we looked closer at the educational aspects of math and science, that come with this very intriguing activity!  If we were going to keep playing with the stuff, it just seemed like a good idea to get a little more intellectual about it.    So here we share the recipe for Oobleck, what we learned or reviewed, and as always, too many photos.   (Thanks for understanding.)

Necessary ingredients:  corn starch, water, food coloring, bowl(s), wooden spoon(s), and measuring cups.

The Recipe for one batch:   2 cups of corn starch, mixed with 1 cup of water.  Then a few drops of food coloring.

Now, the recipe calls for 2 parts corn starch to 1 part water.    So the recipe is adequate for two little kids to play with.  But you could make 2 separate batches so they have their own bowl, whether you half the recipe for them or not.

This day, we literally quartered the recipe for each kid that day, because we were running low on corn starch!  But it still worked out alright.    What’s great is, it was an opportunity for the kids to practice their measurement math.

Since the recipe calls for 2 cups, what is 1/4 of that?   How about 1/4 of 1 cup?

Not only is measuring ingredients a great exercise for their math skills, but it’s great for them to follow directions, and do it all themselves!

This is such a perfect summer time activity for kids of all ages.  Mom can make a batch for little ones, just to play in. There is no need to worry about a mess outside! Everything washes very easily away, with water!  I take the hose and just spray off the table and deck.  Once the food coloring is mixed in, there is no worry about color staining either.

My kids had their play clothes on, so I let them put their own color drops in too.

{JM} made his Oobleck blue.

{S} wanted his yellow.

But {O} wanted hers orange.  But there is no orange food coloring, right?  Here was more opportunity to learn; reviewing color mixing of primary colors, to create secondary colors.

So I asked {O}……if the only colors we have, are red, green, blue and yellow, how can we make orange?

She knew, that red + yellow = orange.

Of course……using just a few drops, in relation to the amount of corn starch and water, we got a very light orange.  Similar to peach or orange sherbet.

{JM} decided he wanted to try making his blue Oobleck,  purple.  So I asked him what color he would need to add to his blue, to make purple?

blue + redpurple

Again….in relation to the amounts of ingredients, we had lavender.

{S} wanted to change turn his yellow Oobleck, green.  Well, he knew that yellow was already a primary color, but so was green. So what would happen if he put green in his yellow?

yellow + green = lime green.

But the most interesting thing about Oobleck, is the constant change in consistency, depending on it’s state. This is where we get into the scientific study.

On appearance, it seems to be a liquid form.  If you run your fingers through it, it is still a liquidy form.  But any act of compression, suddenly turns the liquidy state of substance, more solid.    If you look at the photos below, in frame 1, {S} is just holding a puddle of it in his hands.  But as soon as he starts to squeeze it, in frames 2-4 it turns to a more solid mass.

But left when the compression is relieved, it begins to return to it’s liquid state again.

It’s amazing, isn’t it?

Here is a more specific explanation, taken from this link, which also has different Oobleck activities, for different ages, if you’d like to check it out after.

Water and starch do something unusual when mixed together. The substance they form pours like a liquid, but when squeezed with your hands, becomes solid. When a substance acts like both a liquid and a solid, scientists call it a discrepant substance.     Two things commonly cause this type of change—temperature and pressure.  We will see that temperature has no effect on Oobleck and that its solid or liquid state is influenced only by pressure (or lack of pressure). Squeezing it in our hands turns Oobleck into a solid. But if we hold it without squeezing, it drips through like a liquid. You can roll Oobleck into a ball, but when the rolling stops, it will become a liquidy mess!

It really is a great deal of fun to play with!  And I promise you it is not as impossibly messy as it looks.  And trust me…it looks it! But it washes away with such ease, it’s enough to make any mother smile. A REALLY BIG GRIN!!

The thrill of it it does not wear off, any time soon.

Oh, we never tried shaking hands before!!  How do you do??  <giggles> <giggles>

And the fun goes on and on and…..

…..on.   AND on.

We hope you enjoyed this post.  Have YOU made Oobleck before?  Do you call it something else?  Will you let your kids make some (again) soon?   Oh and, can YOU play with them?

Yes you can.  I sure do.