Learning games Feed

Sunday Evening Chit-Chat

(A little bit of this and that.)

Just popping on quickly to remind you that I'll be hosting "Masterpiece Monday" here tomorrow, so if you'd like to join us, be sure to tune in to "The Old Curiosity Shop" tonight and then come on back in the morning to chat.


Also, while I'm here (and before supper comes out of the oven), I wanted to talk briefly about next week. There's lots coming up!

KGdaffodilFirst off, we have Leap Year on Wednesday, which is always kind of neat. (For the record, this is a very cute movie - and the scenery is gorgeous!)

Then March comes in (perhaps like a lion?) on Thursday.

Thursday also brings the Feast of St. David of Wales. We always mark this day with special food and dragon stories. (A red dragon is the symbol of Wales.)

Friday is Dr. Seuss Day (also known as Read Across America Day), and if we could, we'd go see The Lorax, but instead (and in true spirit of the day) we'll read the book. What is your favorite Dr. Seuss book? I'd have to choose Green Eggs and Ham - it happens to be the first book I ever read!

And speaking of green eggs and ham, I'd like to make a spinach and ham quiche for Friday (aka green eggs and ham!) but as it's Friday (and Fridays are meatless for us during Lent) I'll probably serve that dish on Thursday instead. Then I'll switch the leek-and-potato soup (for St. David's Day) to Friday. That will taste nice with grilled cheese. :)


Other baking plans this week include making refrigerator bran muffins and homemade pretzels. Crafting plans include working on those Lenten banners I mentioned in this post, and we'll make the first panel of our "stained glass" doorway cross. (One panel for each Sunday through Easter.)

Learning plans include reading this book for Book Group on Friday (my turn to lead!) and kicking off a four-month, four-elements study ...

March = air

April = water

May = earth

June = fire

We'll explore the way the elements affect our everyday life, the world around us and even how they are part of our Faith. I'm really looking forward to it. :)


Oh, and one more quick thing! One of our Lenten goals this year is to spend more of our family time doing things together other than just watching TV. So last night we sat around the table and played a really wonderful game, Around the World: The Ultimate Global Board Game. It was so fun and quite educational! Some of the questions were ridiculously easy but they only illustrated the point that information we take for granted other people might not know as readily. Certainly we were stumped on many questions that focused on lands and cultures unfamiliar to us ... it was a great eye-opening exercise!


Well, now I will wrap up and bid you all a good night. I hope you've had a nice weekend and feel ready to start a new week! I'll see you all again soon ... and remember, if you watch Masterpiece Theater tonight, do stop by sometime tomorrow - I'll do my best to have the chat post up as early as possible.

Thanks for stopping by, my friends ... Good Night, and God Bless!

Gumdrop Goodness

Did you know it's National Gumdrop Day? Well, here are a few ideas for you and your children ... if you are so inclined. ;)Gumdroptree

You could:

Now admittedly there are a few potential problems with Gumdrop day. For one thing, it's Lent, and many folks have given up candy. We do not give up sweets for Lent, but since Earlybird can't eat gumdrops (too artificial) and neither can Bookworm (braces, you see), we are, generally speaking, a gumdrop-free household.

However, we might try to make gumdrops as suggested in the first link. Those sound harmless and fun and maybe even a bit like science. ;) I also love the look of those gumdrop ornaments in the last link - they would be sweet made with an egg-shaped base. Wrapped up in little cellophane bags and tied up with ribbon, they would make nice Easter gifts next month.

Well, I'm off for a bit. Happy Friday, my friends ~ relish this day with your dear ones.

Food for Thought: Alphabet Soup!

It's raining cats and dogs here today, and it's downright chilly too. Just the perfect kind of day to make soup - alphabet soup, so to speak!

Actually, this is an early learning activity I remembered from a few years ago. The boys and I played it today with Earlybird who is just learning to recognize and pronounce his name. I believe the idea originally came from an old issue of Nick Jr. Magazine.

Here is the set up:


In the background is a small (play) soup pot. Just in front of that are manila tagboard name cards. Of course, when we play, we use our real names. ;)

In the foreground are more brightly colored tagboard flash cards. On these I've written the alphabet, in both upper and lower case. I cut the letters into individual pieces, and placed them in the pot.


How it works is very simple. When it's your turn, you draw a letter and if it matches a letter in your name, you keep it. If it does not, it goes back in the pot which gets a good stir and the game continues.

(Now, how we actually played this today was, when someone drew a letter he looked to see if it matched any one of our names. If it did, it got placed down in front of that spot. If it did not - instead of going back in the pot, it became the property of Earlybird. He became keeper of the "unusable" letters, lol.)

The game is over when either A. everyone's name has been spelled or B. Earlybird decides he's sat still long enough. We're working on that attention span thing! ;)

We're also hoping simple games like this will help EB practice turn-taking, a skill that will be helpful as he begins a weekly social skills group next month. (This will be an extension of his current speech therapy, but in a group setting with other young children with spectrum disorders).

Now, as a fun, follow-up activity later this week I will have Earlybird help me prepare a homemade (edible!) alphabet soup. We will visit the farmstand for fresh vegetables. We will stop at the grocery store to buy ground meat for the meatballs, alphabet-shaped pasta and good stock for the base. (We'll keep an eye peeled for the letter A while we're at it - his OM letter of the week.) Then we'll bring our "harvest" home and cook up a big ole pot of alphabet soup. (I may follow this recipe, or I may just wing it!)

Helping mama in the kitchen will be a big new step for Earlybird this year, and I think kicking it off by making a special "September" soup, rich with veggies and letters will be fun. He'll have produce to wash and peels to compost, and maybe even, with mama's help, a pot to stir once or twice.

Homemade soup is so delicious and comforting, and it's a great child-friendly meal - to make and to eat. Especially when you consider this quote:

"Only the pure of heart can make soup." (Beethoven)

I love this quote! I have no idea why Beethoven said it, but we obviously must play some of his music while we cook. :)

My First File Folder Game!

As usual, I've been completely inspired by some of my friends at 4Real ... this time it's file folder games that have me all excited! Up until a few days ago, I hadn't even heard of file folder games! (Well, I take that back - I probably had, it just hadn't clicked.) So I've been checking out that great thread, all the suggested links and the wonderful examples shared by Kim and Theresa .. and yesterday I decided to jump right in and give it a go!

Happily I found it was fun and easy! And it didn't take too long ~ I put this one together while waiting for Earlybird to take his nap. (Which he never did take - for the third day in a row - whats up with that?)

I think all my boys will enjoy variations of these educational games. And here is my first attempt - an alphabet matching game:


Very basic as you can see. :) I taped small squares of index card to the folder as a base. On each card I wrote a lower case letter. Smaller squares of card were labeled with an uppercase sticker. This is the first game, matching the upper to the lower case letters.


For the second game I cut pictures out of an old phonics workbook. Each picture represents a beginning sound - and can be matched to its appropriate letter. These pictures are not laminated yet (nor are the letter cards). I'll have to see about doing that. And I'll have to see about making an answer key as was discussed in the thread. For now I am keeping the playing pieces in separate Ziplock bags.

I have much to learn, but I can see the possibilities! :)