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Ways I Hid Learning in Kid-Approved Activities

Our school district has made classwork available for the kids since after Spring Break and throughout the summer. I’m very appreciative of the educational support, but less for the worksheets and more for the learning objectives. I use those to figure out what topics to incorporate. I have been looking for ways to integrate key concepts from PreK and 1st grade into our daily fun as a way to spend time together. It’s all part of my strategy to get them sick of spending time with me so I can work later in the day. Here are some of our favorites.

Writing Journal

We started with a blank journal where the kids could write about whatever they please, but I quickly learned that my now rising second grader performs better with more direction. To help with this, I wrote prompts at the top of each page. “What makes a good friend?” “What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Draw it.” “If Batman and the Hulk battled each other, who would win?”

Flashlight Word Search

I printed flashcards of sight words and other vocabulary the kids are learning and hid them around their bedroom, turned off the lights, and had my little ones hunt for them. Once they found one using a flashlight, they had to read it to me.

Mr. 4 year old was really into this one.

Math Jump

I want the kids to be able to solve basic addition and subtraction problems quickly to help with higher-level math in the future. To practice, I give them two minutes to answer questions and get across the room. For each right answer, they take a step forward. For each wrong answer, they step back. You have to beat the clock, not your brother. This one was a huge hit!

Sight Word Toss

I used chalk to write a dozens of sight words on the driveway, then gave each kid a bean bag. They had to toss the bag onto a word, read it correctly, and then they’d earn points. They tracked their points in chalk on their claimed part of the driveway. By the end of it, Mr. 7 year old was adding his own words to the game board, so he was practicing writing and spelling too.

Nerf Blaster Phonics

I’ve played this game several times a couple of ways, and it is often requested. Basically, I put sticky notes on the wall and directed the boys to find what I said and blast it. Sometimes I ask them to find a particular letter, a letter based on a given sound, letter blends, or whole words.

Blasting alone is award enough. No need to award points with this game.

Find My Errors

Mr. 7 year old loves this one! I write a couple of sentences and purposefully make mistakes that he has to find. I misspell words, forget to capitalize, or use the wrong punctuation. It’s something about finding mom’s mistakes that makes this really intriguing, I guess.

LEGO Challenges

Mr. 4 year old has done this one several times independently. I give them their LEGO bin and present them with a challenge. My favorite one was when I had Mr. 4 year old build a tower taller than his water bottle that holds a plastic egg. He technically met the requirement by adding a skinny pillar on the tower to push it over the height requirement.

The angle is off here, but his orange and white pillar pushes his truck over the minimum height requirement.

Don’t be fooled though. We don’t do these activities every day, and there is PLENTY of screen time built into each day so we can survive conference calls and work emergencies. These activities were just the favorites we’ve played over the last four months.

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