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Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

If you haven’t had the chance,  and you have some time on your hands to drool a little, stop on over to Jen’s Wildflowers and Marbles and take a look at her book selection for budding young engineers.  My 14yo ds has enjoyed The New Way Things Work
for quite a few years and now uses it to teach his younger brothers.    My ds Young Edison has a few more ideas to share!

The New Way Things Work 3.2
IPlay The Way Things Work Game

Pinball Science

As far as learning toys go, Jen had some great recommendations.  Snap Circuits PRO SC-500
is one of our favorites here.  It taught ME how electricity worked.  it is definitely worth it getting the larger set as it does more.

Don’t forget the simple machines contained in many of the LEGO sets, especially the LEGO Technic line and many of the KNEX sets.

Gears! Gears! Gears! Super Set – 150-Piece Set
andGizmos and Gears
,  from Learning Resources are  great learning toys for the younger ones (3-10), and the Learning Resources M-Gears Building Set
are great for ages 7-12.

Ooh yes!  One more thing!Snowball Launchers, Giant-Pumpkin Growers, and Other Cool Contraptions
by Tom Fox. (A fellow Magnum Opus Catholic Homeschooler!)

We did a whole architecture unit a few years ago using David Macaulay’s other work using both the books and the DVDs complete with the cool projects done by ZOOM at the end of each program…fun fun!  I THOUGHT I had blogged about it before, but I can’t find it.  I will wrack ds’s brain and share the resources we used…another unit that was a blast to complete.  Talk about hands-on-learning!!  Science is definitely NOT boring around here!!

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St. Nick  arrived dutifully on December 6th filling eagerly waiting shoes with goodies and placing this Miter (printed on cream-colored cardstock with each child’s name written on the back of it in gold paint pen..just leave off the treat cup base) in each shoe.  I am sure he found it easier to keep each child’s goodies from falling onto the hearth and I am sure he avoided any hurt feelings over whose chocolate was whose!  Of course he included a new toothbrush with those chocolate coins…he is very practical thinking!

funny thing…he left a scroll of parchment like cardstock hanging from the fireplace with this message:

Dearest Tappclan!  Blessed Feast to you all!!

I know you have all been very good boys and girls this year and I want to give you a very special surprise!  After your chores are dutifully done at day’s end, return to the feasting table for a scavenger hunt!  Your dear Mother and Father will instruct you what to do!  Enjoy this special day…all for the Glory of God!!

….and it was tied with a striped pipecleaner and shaped like a Crozier….how cool is that?!

After dinner Mom placed a pretty basket in the middle of the diningroom table and announced that aaallll of the dishes had to be done quickly and the table washed as the fun was to begin as soon as they were done.  She remarked at how incredibly quickly the work was done and reveled in the first non-complaining night of the season…lol

In the basket were 10 scrolls of parchment-type cardstock.  I numbered them and coded them with a word on the outside so I would know where I needed to hide that one.  Each scroll was rolled and tied with a red and white pipecleaner with the end shaped like a crozier…see a theme here?? 

After the kids finished their chores they all went down into the basement as Mom, Dad and baby hid each clue.  They were then called up and read the “offical words of the game”…

“”Share Ye All Thy Gifts With One Another! ”

Nicholas gave to others because that is what Jesus commanded us to do, but did so anonymously so people would think only that gifts came from God.  Look to God’s sky, under which we all live together and are to care for and help one another”

….They scurried to the boys’ and then the girls’ room where they found the next scroll hanging from the ceiling fan. (The ceiling is painted in both rooms to look like a blue sky with clouds.)  …get the idea??

I went to the Saint Nicholas Center and printed out this story and re-wrote it leaving each paragraph as a clue to lead you to a location for the next parchment.  I hid them in almost plain sight so that the house didn’t get too torn apart….gulp…that would be bad… 

As they found each clue they had to bring it back to the dining room and read it out loud at the table…always TAKING TURNS (we can’t have hurt feelings here) and making sure all of the younger ones “found” at least one clue on their own. 

10, as it turns out was just the perfect number.  It kept their attention just long enough.  The fun part is playing the final prize at the end:  

“Imitate Good St. Nick in his heroic virtues.  You are each called to be a SAINT!  Always be ready to give a good witness.  “Finally, all of you, be of one mind, sympathetic, loving toward one another, compassionate, humble.”

Begin this new church year preparing your hearts for the Christ Child!  Make a WARM place in your hearts to shelter Him from the COLD and let Him be the FOOD for your Soul!   Ready? SET! Go!

…and the final clue was found in the crisper drawer in the fridge…LOL!

It was also a good time to color in their new St. Nicholas Feast Day Folders that they found under their shoes in the morning.  They had a large assortment of coloring pages, (FWIW these images make great shrinky-dink images to hang on your Christmas tree!!) a word search and a crossword as well as a few paper crafts (already printed out on cardstock) and a story of St. Nick and a personal note from him on the inside….Each younger child had a different colored folder with an icon of St. Nicholas laminated (with clear packing tape) to the outside with the words printed with gold pen on the front as well as their baptisimal name… :

“My St. Nicholas Activity Book”

and on the back:

The Nicene Creed (laminated with packing tape)

Just don’t ask what time Good Ole St. Nick went to bed

…of course he didn’t get this ‘revelation‘ until the night before

…when all through the house, not a creature was stiring…and mom had enough quiet to start to dream…..(which of course my dh calls my “dangerous time”  LOL!!   

Meanwhile…. My 15yo twindds used a St. Nicholas cookie stamp (we got ours from Hillside Education) and made a huge batch of sugar cookies.  I got the idea to print out St. Nicholas wrapping paper which I copied into a word document and edited the properties of the image to make it a watermark…and then printed out the paper so that we could wrap a few cookies in it and place it into the shoes. 

 We may have been low-budget this year, but it was not short of fun on both sides…both from the makers and the receivers. 

Hey!  I held myself back!  I really really wanted to do this….but I will do that next year….into the liturgical year file it goes…..

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I was playing letter games with my Sunshine Boy (4yo ds) this afternoon. I noticed that he was struggling to write his letters today in a booklet we created. He has the general idea, but his motor skills just aren’t there yet and I observed that he hesitates to recall how the letter is properly made..ie where it starts and what direction to go in….

I invited him to work with the sandpaper letters, but as I did so, I thought that he was really looking for something more creative. As I guessed, he declined using them.

So I sent one of my dds in search of a big box. Taking a quick survey of what was around me so that I would not lose my audience, I then whipped out the rod track for the wooden Cuisenaire Rods(ruler no where to be found, of course ;o) and I drew large penmanship lines across the box so that they wrapped completely around it on the standing faces. I then took a colored pencil and wrote the whole alphabet in large letters on those lines being careful not to run out of box before I ran out of alphabet. I then took one of my favorite educational items which my ds calls a “spooker” (meaning anything that has the ability to poke) (of course you and I would call it a golf tee) and I “spooked” (poked) each letter making them bumpy. I made a bigger poke where the letter started and all he had to do from there was to follow the dotted line. Dot-to-dots being his favorite pastime as of late, this was definitely “him”.

I then pulled out some of the Moncurebooks (that he loves so much) from the shelf and read several of them with him. These books are special. There is a book for every letter of the alphabet (except the last 3 letters which are in the same volume). In each book, the main character is always “little (letter of the book)”. This character has a box and decides to fill it with items that start with that letter. Instead of saying, “little i has a box….”, I would say, “little iuh has a box…”, making the story more phonetic. I would even ask him what little iuh’s (speaking the short vowel sound of i) OTHER name was. Of course, he knew that! It was (the long vowel sound) I!

And so we played. We played a listening game where we listened to ourselves saying each word, carefully trying to determine where we could hear the letter we were seeking (such as the letter i) in the beginning, the middle and the end of words. If my son missed one, I would say that I tricked him and he would erupt in fits of giggles. We felt where the sound was made in our mouths so we could “feel” it better when it would show up in the words we spoke.

Later, I handed him this box that I made. I said to him “How old are you?” He giggled”Oh, you know! FOUR!” And I then instructed him to find four objects in the room and place them in the box for our game. Most of them were train related…LOL

He brought the box back to me and I told him to choose an object, hold it up and say its name. Next, I told him to listen to the first sound he heard and feel how that sound was made in his mouth. I then told him that listening and feeling would lead him to the two clues he needed to find the correct mystery letter of the sound at the beginning of each word. When he discovered the mystery letter he was to point to it on the box and trace it with his first two fingers saying the sound as he did so.

Worked like a charm. Even my 2.5yo dd played. Developmentally she was not ready to determine first sounds. She is in the stage where she is identifying objects. She thinks it is funny when I point to the first letter in her name and tell her it is the first letter of her name. She laughs and says, that not me! Smart kid.

There is much fruit to be had in desperation. Desperation, however fleeting, was the mother of invention of a mysterious box that held the keys to learning today. I made my own”manipulatives” that were custom made to suit my young audience. It fed my “inner mommy” with warm and fuzzy feelings, so to speak. (Translation = it was a fun creative outlet.)

If you will pardon the pun….Sometimes…you just HAVE to think Out of the Box!

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We love soda bottles for lots o’ experiments and fun!  This post is for the little guys though ;o)  You should SEE what my older kids do with soda bottles!…but that is another post!

I had a whole list of exploration bottles for the pre-schoolers but found these interesting links for you to peruse that had even more info than what I had…

Discovery Bottles
Discovery Bottles
MORE Discovery Bottles
EVEN MORE Discovery Bottles
Bottles of Fun
Yet even MORE Discovery Bottles

You could also paint them and use as bowling pins!
…how about an item tied to a string to put in and out of a bottle!
marble in a baby soda bottle

My favorites include an "I Spy Bottle" full of objects representing different letters of the alphabet with the "I Spy" list attached to the neck.
…Sea shells in sand
A magnetic bottle with a magnet (non choking size or a wand) tied on to the neck of the bottle
A wave bottle…1/2 baby oil 1/4 water with blue food coloring and glitter…ok there are a lot more, but they are included in the above links. 

What I found worked very nicely for storage was the smaller bottle size instead of the large 2 Liter.  I actually had an old case of seltzer someone gave me a long time ago and I never used.  I emptied those bottles out and used them as fun projects right away!  I stored them in a decorated crate on the pre-k shelf with the lids glued shut and felt glued to the bottom of the crate to minimize scratching of the shelf surface.

Have any other favorites??  Please share!!

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We love soda bottles for lots o’ experiments and fun!  This post is for the little guys though ;o)  You should SEE what my older kids do with soda bottles!…but that is another post!

I had a whole list of exploration bottles for the pre-schoolers but found these interesting links for you to peruse that had even more info than what I had…

Discovery Bottles
Discovery Bottles
MORE Discovery Bottles
EVEN MORE Discovery Bottles
Bottles of Fun
Yet even MORE Discovery Bottles

You could also paint them and use as bowling pins!
…how about an item tied to a string to put in and out of a bottle!
marble in a baby soda bottle

My favorites include an "I Spy Bottle" full of objects representing different letters of the alphabet with the "I Spy" list attached to the neck.
…Sea shells in sand
A magnetic bottle with a magnet (non choking size or a wand) tied on to the neck of the bottle
A wave bottle…1/2 baby oil 1/4 water with blue food coloring and glitter…ok there are a lot more, but they are included in the above links. 

What I found worked very nicely for storage was the smaller bottle size instead of the large 2 Liter.  I actually had an old case of seltzer someone gave me a long time ago and I never used.  I emptied those bottles out and used them as fun projects right away!  I stored them in a decorated crate on the pre-k shelf with the lids glued shut and felt glued to the bottom of the crate to minimize scratching of the shelf surface.

Have any other favorites??  Please share!!

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Hands-on work today:

Astronomy Science! ….featuring Mercury!
Using this as our spine…lesson 3
We read this
We used this p 64-65
and we notebooked using these Astronomy pages
We added the first few pages of this that have great Astronomy pages for our notebooks!  Adding a Solar System detective page for Mercury (p 19)

using Download clip_art_mercury.doc

(images imported to a Word document) we cut out and put in a zip-loc sandwich baggie and decorated the margins  and frames of our notebook pages
….the littlies narrated to me…bigguns just jotted their own work down.  The little ones love to narrate to me and use the clip art to illustrate what they just told me.  To them, it is the equivalent of using stickers…just a touch messier….we use a lid with a little school glue in it and a q-tip.  I keep repeating…"just a dot"…"just a dot!"

Chaffeelittleredschoolhouse
We start our day with :

Saint of the Day
Character Building Story
Baltimore Catechism Questions …later during the week we illustrate the lesson using stick figure drawings much like those found in Christoper’s Talks to Catholic Children(which worked beautifully last year) or the oop Chalk Talks that were later added to the Faith and Life Religion books…much like what our beloved Helen does!

For the 6 and 7yo…
Concentration on Math today:

  • Played with Math 1 Tackle Box(I assembled a few years ago)..played with odd and even and the teens and tens boards..just for fun!
  • Played with numbers on this abacus…(We made the home made version a few years ago and they are still holding up…everyone has their own colors with pony beads, popsicle sticks and skewers and small binder clips)

100 Ez Lessons (7 yo ds made a pic about the funny story he read at the end of the lesson…great for reading comprehension and an answer to "and what did you just read" questions.
and made a "book" from CHC’s Little Stories for Little Folks
and Spelling time

The older ones:
did copy work
read about knights and castles
and more castles
and they are making plans for a creative notebooking project using this. 
Read Aloud: The Sword of Clontarf

and worked in their Developmental Math books and played Timez Attack
(my #2dd with digital and visual digit span issues is working her way through TouchMath and listening to the Concentration and Thinking Cd’s as she does her artwork.)

Not bad for a mucky Monday.  Would like to do more, but we have to leave the rest for tomorrow.  Mondays are not my personal fav’s because we are still strung out from visiting over the weekend.  We will often have a lighter schedule on those days. 

We have company coming today and I got the living room and the dining room cleaned because I held out a plater of chocolate chip cookies before them…then told them to accomplish a certain amount of exercise and chores for each one (these cookies were made cutting back the sweetener and substituting some of it it with maple syrup  and using whole grain flour so we didn’t totally trash our diets 😉  I first offered them an organic carrot while I told them the "rules".  I "made" them do jumping jacks and told them to pick up 10 things…and then they did enough to purchase one cookie.  For the next cookie, it was more jumping jacks and 20 items…etc.  It helps to make the cookies small ;o)

So we are trying to "do school", clean the house, and cook for company coming for dinner….phew!

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