What Do We Do All Day http://www.whatdowedoallday.com Books and Activities for Kids Wed, 19 Aug 2015 23:20:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 Game of the Month: Bananagrams http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/08/bananagrams.html http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/08/bananagrams.html#respond Wed, 19 Aug 2015 10:53:10 +0000 http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/?p=13336 I’m a bit behind on my game of the month posts. Did I miss two months? Ooops. Anyway. Our game of the month is a modern classic literacy game. It will remind you of Scrabble, but in my opinion it is a zillion times less stressful playing Bananagrams than playing Scrabble. Note: This post contains...
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I’m a bit behind on my game of the month posts. Did I miss two months? Ooops. Anyway.

Our game of the month is a modern classic literacy game. It will remind you of Scrabble, but in my opinion it is a zillion times less stressful playing Bananagrams than playing Scrabble.

Bananagrams is a great game for literacy and learning.

Note: This post contains affiliate links

How to play Bananagrams:

Players draw Bananagrams tiles and attempt to create words cross-word style. There are specific rules regarding how players may rearrange tiles and how they can draw new tiles or exchange old ones. The first player to use all his or her tiles, wins.

The official rules give several alternatives, such as playing for a certain time frame, or with a set number of tiles.

Playing with young kids:

Kids need to have reading skills to play Bananagrams. However, we have played many times with our-then pre-reader, who simply teamed up with an adult. The adult team member can suggest, “Find me a ‘n’,” or “Let’s look for a ‘ssss’ sound tile.”

No reading skills are still developing so he still plays on a team unless it is just him and one other patient grown-up.

We have also altered the rules to make it easier or to give grown-ups a handicap.

Tips:

This game can easily be played as a solitaire game, and is a fantastic way for kids to work on their literacy, spelling and reading skills. If I leave the banana bag on the table for them to find, they will often set to work making up words. They will spell out messages for each other or me, or sometimes, they just work on writing out something silly:

Play Bananagrams for literacy fun.

Have you ever played Bananagrams?

More games of the month you may enjoy:

 

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Picture Books that Teach Kids to Combat Racism http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/08/picture-books-that-teach-kids-to-combat-racism.html http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/08/picture-books-that-teach-kids-to-combat-racism.html#respond Mon, 17 Aug 2015 09:57:02 +0000 http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/?p=13400 Books are a great teaching tool, especially when it comes to talking to kids about tough subjects. Many parents might struggle with talking to their kids about institutionalized racism and prejudice and I hope these picture books about racism will help, because an open and honest dialogue is the only way our kids can work to combat...
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Books are a great teaching tool, especially when it comes to talking to kids about tough subjects. Many parents might struggle with talking to their kids about institutionalized racism and prejudice and I hope these picture books about racism will help, because an open and honest dialogue is the only way our kids can work to combat the problem so that they and their friends can live in a better society.

Picture books to help talk to kids about racism.

My intention with this list is to suggest books that will help you address issues surround race directly, not a general, “everyone is equal” statement, nor with a metaphorical allusion to racism. I agree that those books are extremely valuable and great for our very youngest kids. But school aged kids are ready to talk about tough subjects and tackle them head on. You’ll do your kids a great service by reading them these books.

One note: many of these books discuss racism in an historical context, but it is crucial to connect it to the present day. It’s important not to let our children think all the problems have been solved just because Jim Crow laws have been repealed, so keep the discussion going, even after the book is closed. Do you have other books to add to this list? Let’s make it a great resource together and add your suggestions to the comments below.

More: See the index of all our book lists.

(Note: covers and titles are affiliate links.)


Let’s Talk About Race. The title says it all. This book focuses on helping kids tell their own story and including their race as an integral, but only one part of their personal history. Lester begins by describing his own story and including, “Oh, and … I’m black.” His narrative then asks kids to think about how people are the same, as well as how they are different. This is a great, and useful book for getting kids to talk directly about how being of a certain race influences their personal story.


The Other Side.  The more I read this book, the more I love it. A fence, both metaphorical and physical, defines the boundary between Annie’s white family and Clover’s African-American one. Clover’s mom has told her not to cross the fence because it is unsafe. Instead, Clover sits on the fence, watching the other girl play. Annie eventually approaches Clover and the two sides begin talking, a friendship is formed and the fence, finally crossed. There is no didacticism in Woodson’s writing as might make one cringe in a book like this. The final image of a line of girls sitting on the fence points to the possibilities of the future.


Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. I’m actually waiting for this book to arrive at my local library, but I didn’t want to leave it off the list and I didn’t want to wait until the library finally got the book to share this list with you. I am, however, confident it will be a winner. Jonah Winter and Shane W. Evans are a stellar author/illustrator team and the reviews have been fantastic. The topic is extremely timely both as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, as we head into the first election season in which that Act has been compromised. The elderly Lillian climbs a hill to vote for the first time. As she climbs she recalls the history of her family and African-Americans in her country and all it took to get to this point. I can’t wait to read it.


Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation tells the story of school desegregation 10 years before Brown v. the Board of Education. In 1944, Sylvia’s family moved to a new community. When she tried to attend school, she was told that she would have to go to “the Mexican school”. Sylvia and her family fight back and eventually win a very important court battle, setting the stage for future desegregation cases. This is a great book to teach our kids that segregation extended beyond the Jim Crow laws of the South.


The Story Of Ruby Bridges. I really like this book because it’s the true story of a child told in a way that children of the same age can really understand. This book celebrates six year old Ruby, who in 1960, faced angry crowds and empty classrooms as she became the first child to attend an all-white school after a court-ordered desegregation in New Orleans. Author Coles does a great job of making an historical event personal and showing how a child can overcome a difficult situation.


Across the Alley. Willie and Abe live across the alley. During the day, they never interact, but every evening the open their windows and toss a ball across the distance. The two boys worry that their parents and grandparents won’t accept their friendship because Abe is Jewish and Willie is African-American. Abe’s grandfather hopes Abe will one day be a great violinist  but it is Willie who enjoys the violin. One evening when Abe’s grandfather hears Willie’s playing everything changes — for the better.


Let Them Play. In South Carolina an all-black Little League team became the 1955 champions by default when the white teams in the league refused to play against them. Like the story of Ruby Bridges, this book is an important reminder that kids were also victims of segregation and racism.


Baseball Saved Us. During World War II, the United States government imprisoned people of Japanese descent in internment camps. Shorty and his father build a baseball diamond in the dusty field of the camp. Shorty uses the game to build his self-confidence and channel his anger at the guards. Despite the baseball theme, this is a serious book. I also think it would be worthwhile discussing this book critically with kids: Did baseball actually save the boys? Was using their anger a productive way to approach their situation? Should assimilation actually be the real goal?


One Green Apple. During a class trip to an apple orchard, Farah, a Muslim girl who has not yet learned English is nervous about her new classmates. In her first person narrative she reveals that she knows there are tensions between her former home and her new country and she is uncertain if her classmates will welcome her. Eventually, however, one other student befriends her and the connection is made. While I think this book is a good start, it feels incomplete to me and I disliked the way Farah’s “otherness” was heavily emphasized. However, I still think it is a useful resource for talking about the experience of being an immigrant.


Ruth and the Green Book. Here’s something I didn’t know, but which breaks my heart. From 1936-1964, “The Green Book” was a travel guide for African-Americans that included a listing of service stations that would serve them. That’s something to talk about with the kids on your next road trip! Ruth and her family are en route from Chicago to Alabama to visit grandma. Ruth learns about Jim Crow laws for the first time and makes it her job to help navigate with the help of The Green Book. This is a great book about a less frequently told story. (A good chapter book to use in conjunction is the superb, The Watsons Go to Birmingham–1963)


The Sandwich Swap. School lunch time is the setting for this story about learning to appreciate differences. Lily eats PB&J and Salma eats hummus. Lily decides Salma’s lunch is gross and their friendship comes to a screeching halt. The entire student takes sides in a great food debate until the girls decide to try each other’s lunches and the problem is solved. I’m not a big fan of didactic books and this book is not written as gracefully as many of the others on this list, but my kids responded very positively to the story and I did really love Tusa’s illustrations.

There are many other wonderful books to teach kids about the legacy of racism and to help them combat it. What would you add?

More useful book lists to help you talk to kids about racism:

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Use these books to help talk to kids about racism and prejudice.

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Word Puzzle Lunch Box Notes: “Wuzzles” http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/08/word-puzzle-lunch-box-notes-wuzzles.html http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/08/word-puzzle-lunch-box-notes-wuzzles.html#comments Thu, 13 Aug 2015 09:30:29 +0000 http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/?p=13360 “Wuzzles”  are a type of word puzzle. A common idiom or phrase is illustrated using words, letters, symbols and/or numbers. They are similar in nature to a rebus puzzle, but do not use pictures. For example, the word “MAN” is placed over the word “BOARD”; the solution is “man overboard.” Last year I created tongue twister lunch...
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“Wuzzles”  are a type of word puzzle. A common idiom or phrase is illustrated using words, letters, symbols and/or numbers. They are similar in nature to a rebus puzzle, but do not use pictures. For example, the word “MAN” is placed over the word “BOARD”; the solution is “man overboard.” Last year I created tongue twister lunch box notes as a way to insert a little literacy learning at lunch time and while I will be giving those notes to my 6 year old this year who can finally read, I wanted to create something a bit more challenging for my older son. Since we are on a big brain teaser kick around here, the “Wuzzle Lunch Box Notes” were born.

Word Puzzle "Wuzzles" lunch box notes for kids.

These types of word puzzles ask your child to think outside the box, use their powers of deduction and problem solving as well as use their literacy skills. In addition, they can be a great social tool. Kids can ask their friends for help solving the puzzle. It’s a fun ice breaker for the first few weeks of school.

I tried to make puzzles that would be easy enough for kids to solve and that repeated specific problem solving methods so kids could build upon what they learned each time they figured a “wuzzle” out.

Of course, I knew I wanted to share them with you, so I created a 3 page printable. There are 24 wuzzles in all. Feel free to print out the lunch box notes and send them with your child to school.

Terms of Service:

You are welcome to print out these notes for your own personal or classroom use. Commercial use is prohibited. None of my printables may be republished, altered or sold in any form. If you wish to share the printable file you must link to this blog page or site, not the pdf file. By clicking on the file link you agree to these terms of service. 

Download and print –> Word Puzzle Lunch Box Notes

Also find —>  tongue twister lunch box notes.

Pin it to save for later:

Word puzzle lunch box notes for literacy at lunch!

MORE CLEVER LUNCH BOX NOTES:

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Water Refraction Science Experiment http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/08/water-refraction-science-experiment.html http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/08/water-refraction-science-experiment.html#respond Wed, 12 Aug 2015 14:00:20 +0000 http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/?p=13377 This water refraction science experiment has such a “wow factor” and is so quick and easy I can’t believe my kids and I haven’t done it before. It would fit right in with our DIY science camp series, too. Best of all, there is almost no set up, but once I showed it to the...
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This water refraction science experiment has such a “wow factor” and is so quick and easy I can’t believe my kids and I haven’t done it before. It would fit right in with our DIY science camp series, too. Best of all, there is almost no set up, but once I showed it to the kids, they experimented on their own and debated the reasons for the results. You have the option of setting up the science experiment as we did, or doing it right now with the glass of water sitting next to you!

Water refraction science experiment for kids.

Water Refraction Science Experiment

What you need:

  • Water
  • Jar or glass
  • A paper with a design on it. If you wish, you can download and print our printable. It is two pages and includes the colored bars and two arrows facing the same direction.

Materials for water refraction experiment.

Instructions:

Place a jar or glass about 6 inches in front of the colored bars or arrows. Pour in the water. What happens?

Watch the video!

To make it more fun: 

Ask your kids to keep their eyes on the bars/arrows as you slowly pour the water into the jar.

I told my kids I had a magic liquid. I’m pretty sure my 6 year old believed me, but my 10 year old unconvincingly said, “It’s water, mom.” But then after I performed the experiment, he said, “Now try it with water.” Ha! So I guess I did fool him.

Water refraction reverse arrow trick and science experiment.

Explorations:

  • Does it make a difference how close the water is to the paper?
  • Does it make a difference if the jar is square or round? What about the size of the jar or glass?
  • Draw a diagram of what you think is happening to the light rays. (See explanation below)
  • Super nerdy kids (I say that with love) can learn more about refraction of light here.

The science behind the water refraction experiment:

Refraction is the bending of light. In this case, light traveled from the air, through the front of the glass jar, through the water, through the back of the glass jar, and then back through the air, before hitting the picture. Whenever light passes from one medium into another, it refracts.

In addition, the water acts as a magnifying glass, which bends the light toward the center. The light comes together at the focal point and beyond the focal point the image looks reversed because the light that was on the right is now on the left, and vice versa. Clear as mud? (Note: I am not a science teacher and if you would like to correct or add to my explanation in the comments, I welcome it!)

Want another cool and magical water experiment? Find out how to make a coin jump from a bottle. Or find more fun indoor water activities for kids.

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Fun and easy water refraction science  experiment to do with the kids.

 

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School Frame Coloring Pages http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/08/school-frame-coloring-pages.html http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/08/school-frame-coloring-pages.html#respond Tue, 11 Aug 2015 13:50:27 +0000 http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/?p=13368 Oh, school pictures. We all have at least one that makes us say, “Look at my hair!” This month’s coloring page from Melanie Hope Greenberg will help you frame your kids’ adorable school pictures so that they, too, can one day look back and say, “I was such a dork!” Print out the frames on...
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Oh, school pictures. We all have at least one that makes us say, “Look at my hair!” This month’s coloring page from Melanie Hope Greenberg will help you frame your kids’ adorable school pictures so that they, too, can one day look back and say, “I was such a dork!”

Coloring pages that double as frames for school pictures.  Fun gift or card idea.

Print out the frames on card stock, and kids can color them in to their hearts desire. Then give them away to grandparents, aunties and uncles, cousins and neighbors. Don’t forget the postal worker, plumber and school crossing guard! Hey, you usually have way more school pictures than you need, right?

DOWNLOAD AND PRINT –> (By clicking on link you agree to our terms of service, *see below)  School frames coloring page

TIP:

To make a frame: cut out the center rectangle. Affix photo to a separate piece of paper or card stock. Place frame over the photo and glue or tape in place. Trim as needed.

More coloring pages:

Melanie has two great new projects. This first is a song that she collaborated on with Suzi Shelton. It’s a musical version of her book Mermaids on Parade. You can listen to it on Sound Cloud, here.

Mermaids on Parade and Suzi Shelton

Melanie book, Aunt Lilly’s Laundromat, which has been out of print for a number of years is now available as an ebook. Check it out at Star Walk Kids.

Aunt Lilly's LandromatAunt Lilly works in a Brooklyn laundromat, sorting, washing, drying and folding, all the while thinking about her childhood in Haiti. Bundles of colored laundry (“blues and greens like the warm Caribbean sea”), gurgling washing machines, etc., conspire to remind her of “her lovely native land filled with singing birds.” Lilly is happy, taking pride in her work, and when she has a quiet moment she makes paintings based on her childhood memories. Busy illustrations in bold, luminous colors capture Lilly’s joie de vivre. “Her” Haitian pictures, full of exuberance and tropical abundance, transform her sweet longing into canvases of pulsing island life. Greenberg’s work has a childlike zest and, at the same time, is imbued with a strong sense of order and design. Her book succeeds as a celebration of fond memory and honest labor. – Publisher’s Weekly

See all of Melanie’s coloring pages:

Free coloring pages for kids

Meet the illustrator:

Melanie Hope Greenberg is an award winning author and illustrator of more than 15 children’s books. Her cheerful, vibrant illustrations can be found in books such as Good Morning, Digger, Down in the Subway and A City Is. Her very popular Mermaids on Parade  was selected as a Bank Street Best Book, and for the Texas Reading Club and PBS Kids Summer Reading Lists.

Melanie also visits schools to talk about the process of creating a book. Learn more about her internationally recognized art work at her official website.

I’m sure you know a kid who likes diggers. Or mermaids? Or subways? Melanie signs all copies of her books purchased through her Amazon vendor link. (Book covers are affiliate links.)

 *Terms of Service: this coloring page is used with permission from Melanie Hope Greenberg and is for non-commercial use ONLY. You many print out as many copies as you like for personal, library or classroom use. If you would like to share this coloring page, you MUST link to this blog page. It is expressly forbidden to link directly to the coloring page pdf file. 

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Chapter Books That Teach Empathy http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/08/chapter-books-that-teach-empathy.html http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/08/chapter-books-that-teach-empathy.html#comments Mon, 10 Aug 2015 09:49:10 +0000 http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/?p=13344 It could be said that all books teach kids to have compassion for others by helping them understand the lives of others who are different from themselves, which is why making this list of chapter books that teach empathy could include hundreds of books. However, I have grudgingly narrowed it down to eleven and I encourage...
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It could be said that all books teach kids to have compassion for others by helping them understand the lives of others who are different from themselves, which is why making this list of chapter books that teach empathy could include hundreds of books. However, I have grudgingly narrowed it down to eleven and I encourage you to leave your own recommendations in the comments.

Chapter books that teach kids empathy and compassion for others.

These books are all considered middle grade novels, and in general are appropriate for ages 8 and up. However,  I think 10 and up might be a better range for some of them. Not because the material is inappropriate, but because 10 year olds will probably get more out of the stories and see more correlation with their own lives as they prepare to enter the tween and teen years.

I chose a mixture of new and classic titles, but stuck to more contemporary stories, rather than delve into history. I’ve even included a novel in verse, an epistolary novel, and a graphic novel to spice things up. (That list is coming soon!) There are links to more useful book lists at the bottom of the post. As always, you can find our index of over 100 book lists here.

(Note: all book covers and titles are affiliate links.)


Ramona the Pest. If someone where to ask you for a book that teaches empathy, this classic may not be the first to jump to your mind, but I bet as soon as you saw the cover you thought, “Of course!” Beverly Cleary is a master at taking the reader through the mind of a child and all the accompanying emotional ups and downs. My son listened to these audio books over and over again last summer and then in conversation he would bring up his observations about the troubles Ramona experienced and how she handled them. Best of all, kids of all ages can relate to Ramona as she grows up in the series.


Wonder received so much praise when it was published a few years ago and it truly is a wonderful book. 11 year old August is nervous about starting a school and making friends but he has the incredible support of his parents and his sister, and Palacio also explores the experience of growing up as the sibling of a special needs child . August’s captivating journey, which is both funny and moving, is the journey of his entire family. I also recommend it as a read aloud.


Counting by 7s. I could not put this book down! Willow is 12 years old when her adoptive parents are killed in a car crash, leaving her totally alone. Willow is intensely gifted but doesn’t make friends easily. At the counselor’s office, she makes befriends with Mai and her brother, Quang-ha. The siblings take her home to their mom, who convinces social services to allow Willow to stay with them. Willow’s narration of the story, her observations of others and her approach to learning how to interact with others is compelling. The cast of characters, including her underachieving school counselor, and Vietnamese foster mother struggling against poverty are both touchingly human and quietly funny. Absolutely wonderful.


Lost in the Sun. Since reading Absolutely Almost, (on my list of 5th grade summer reading, but which would fit right in on this list) Lisa Graff has become one of my favorite middle grade authors. A freak accident earlier in the year has left Trent as the town pariah and he is struggling to figure out how to redeem himself, in his own eyes as well as in others. His new friendship with Fallon, a girl with a mysterious scar, acts as a catalyst for his willingness to make better decisions. Trent’s relationship with his brothers, his father, step-mother and his mother are all artfully drawn and nuanced. Graff’s ability to draw us into the lives of her characters is superior.


Blubber. I was glad to see this on the book club list for my son’s 4th grade class last year.  It doesn’t have a feel good ending and many of the characters aren’t particularly likable but those can be very effective starting points for learning to have compassion for others. Blume takes a realistic look at bullying, and yes, it can be pretty upsetting to read about the hurtful things the kids do and say, but that’s much better than sweeping it all under the rug.


Same Sun Here is an epistolary novel. A school pen pal program matches Meena, an Indian immigrant girl in New York City, and River, the son of a coal miner in Kentucky. The two write thoughtful letters about their wildly different experiences but across the distance they learn to see their similarities as well as appreciating those differences. Meena describes her life as her father prepares for his citizenship exam and the family tries to avoid being discovered by the landlord as illegal sub-letters. River worries about his absent dad, ill mother and joins his activist grandmother in the fight to save the local area from the devastation caused by coal mines.


In Warp Speed we meet the same cast of characters that were introduced in the first of four companion novels, Millicent Min, Girl Genius (on my list of books for 10 year olds), and all four are worth reading. I just finished this book about Marley, a self-described geek and loser. Marley is getting bullied at school, he lives in a run down old movie theater that his parents own and is a major Star Trek fan. When his AV teacher takes ill, he is transferred to a home economics class. Changes start to happen and Marley makes a few new friends, finds joy in running and figures out a way to stand up to the bullies. Marley’s self-deprecating  and humorous narration will make this book appealing to kids and Lee avoids pat and trite resolutions.


Out of My Mind. Full disclosure: I cried a few buckets of tears while reading this book. That said, I read it from a mother’s point of view and I believe a child’s point of view will be totally different. In fact, it is a very positive book. Melody is an 11 year old with cerebral palsey. She has never spoken and can perform almost no physical movement. The school and doctors claim she is also mentally disabled but her mother insists Melody is intelligent. Her mother is right. Melody has a photographic memory and is smarter than any of the other kids. Melody narrates her story, sharing her frustrations and triumphs, and when she gets a communication device and others can finally appreciate her for who she is, not for who she is not. This is another book I read straight through. I think it would be a great read aloud with your older kids, but have tissues ready, because even if your child is focused on Melody’s experiences, you will be bawling.


El Deafo is a graphic novel memoir narrated by Cece, who loses here hearing due to spinal meningitis. A very funny and charming book about the experiences, imaginings and wishes of a deaf girl (actually everyone is a rabbit). Although the story will help hearing kids to see challenges of the deaf, they will also see similarities.


The Great Gilly Hopkins. Do you remember reading about Gilly when you were a kid? Gilly is a feisty foster kid who longs to be reunited with her mother. She imagines her mother as a loving figure and is distrustful of others. Her new foster family is an unusual group and despite her efforts to remain disconnected, she learns about the value of loving relationships and looking beyond appearances.


The Crossover. Kwame Alexander’s wonderful verse novel about twin brothers is touching, relatable and extraordinarily engaging. Josh narrates his story of coming to terms with his brother’s new girlfriend, sibling rivalry, the pressure and joy of playing ball and his relationship with his father. This book does have a sad ending and I recommend it for kids ages 10 and up.

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Teach kids empathy and compassion with these chapter books.

 

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Cooperative Math Dice Games http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/08/math-dice-games.html http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/08/math-dice-games.html#comments Thu, 06 Aug 2015 11:00:12 +0000 http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/?p=13323 We acquired a set of Math Dice a few years ago and my son loved playing with them but they have been languishing in the game closet for a while now so I thought it was time to bring them out for our final week of Camp Mathematics. We had quite a good time at the...
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We acquired a set of Math Dice a few years ago and my son loved playing with them but they have been languishing in the game closet for a while now so I thought it was time to bring them out for our final week of Camp Mathematics. We had quite a good time at the dinner table the other night playing games and coming up with some crazy equations! I realize playing math games during meal time is not for everyone but, I encourage you to try these dice games with your kids to show them how fun math can actually be.

Cooperative math dice games for kids. Make math fun.

We always play math dice cooperatively. Currently, my youngest has a lot of difficulty with competitive games and since his 10 year old brother’s math skills are more advanced than his, it makes sense to work together, thus avoiding much despair and frustration for all of us!  Plus, I don’t need any more reason for my kids to one up each other! (Note: this post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links help monetize this blog.)

We used Think Fun Math Dice for these games. The set comes with two 12-sided dice and three 6 sided dice.

Game #1

This game and its variations are based on the enclosed instructions for Think Fun Math Dice .

Roll the two white, 12 sided dice. Multiply the two numbers. This is your target number. So for example, 8 x 3 = 24. 24 is the target number.

Now, roll the three blue dice. Using the resulting numbers, players attempt to create as many equations as they can to achieve a number as close to the target number as they can.

For example, 4, 4, 3. 4 + 4 + 3 = 11; (4 x 4) + 3 = 18; (4 + 3) x 4 = 28; (4 + 4) x 3 = 24; and so forth.

Cooperative play: we took turns creating equations. If we thought we could do better than the three equations on the first round, we talked it out together to make up more equations.

Variations:

  • Add the two numbers instead of multiplying them.
  • Create a 2-4 digit number with the two numbers. For example, a 12 and a 4 could be 124, or 412.

Math dice games

MORE: We also love TENZI, a fast paced dice game. 

Game #2

This game teaches simple addition as well as understanding probability.

Roll the two white dice and use the numbers to create a new, larger target number of your choice (so, add or multiply as described for game #1).

Taking turns players roll the three blue dice. After each roll, the numbers are added up. Players continue rolling, trying to reach the target number without going over. Players consult each other as to whether or not they should keep rolling. Variation: roll only 1 or 2 dice at a time.

Play dice games to learn math.

Notes:

Please do not feel you can’t play this game if you feel “you are not good at math.” I am not a math teacher. In fact, the last time I had a formal math class, I was 16 years old. When I don’t know something I want my kids to see that I am willing to problem solve and apply growth mindset thinking in order to learn. In addition, I NEVER say “I’m bad at [insert subject here]” because I NEVER want my kids to think that about themselves.

This is the final week of Camp Mathematics!! Are you sad? It’s been fun collaborating with Megan to bring you 6 weeks of ideas that you can use all year round, not just in the summer!

Be sure to check out Megan’s ideas for simple math card games you can play with the kids.

Do it yourself math camp for kids.

Don’t miss the previous weeks:

Week 1: Counting Down Game and DIY Abacus

Week 2: Magic Squares and  Shake and Roll Math Game 

Week 3: T Puzzle brain teaser and Grape Shapes

Week 4: Spirolaterals and Patterns in Nature

Week 5: Printable fraction games and Fraction sandwiches

Week 6: Dice games and Card games

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More Favorite Picture Books of 2015 (Part 2) http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/08/more-favorite-picture-books-of-2015-part-2.html http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/08/more-favorite-picture-books-of-2015-part-2.html#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 10:27:38 +0000 http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/?p=13288 Time for more of our favorite picture books of the year. I like to make a few of these lists as the year goes on. Primarily because it is an easy way to keep track of my kids’ “best” picture books but also because we have too many favorites to confine to a single list!...
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Time for more of our favorite picture books of the year. I like to make a few of these lists as the year goes on. Primarily because it is an easy way to keep track of my kids’ “best” picture books but also because we have too many favorites to confine to a single list! If you’re curious about our other current favorites, you can find (Our) Best Picture Books of 2015 (part 1) right here.

(Our) best books of 2015. Picture books kids will love.

These lists are always very eclectic, and as I’ve said before they represent my children’s tastes, not necessarily the opinions of professional critics. Although since there is often overlap, it’s a sure sign that the critics are not far off base when it comes to good books. Ha! Now I’m sure if I were to ask my 6 year old what his favorite book is he would answer with a title that involved licensed characters, but I’m not about to make a list like that, so these are the picture books he has shown extra interest in and requested repeatedly. (Note: book covers and titles are affiliate links.)

Enjoy!

MORE: We have more than 100 book lists! See them all in the book list index.


My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay. I love it when a book is well-written, entertaining and teaches my son something new. Didactic books are soooo annoying. Fortunately, this book about a blind girl, Zulay, is anything but didactic. Zulay enjoys going to school with her diverse group of friends, but what she doesn’t like are her special lessons to learn how to use her cane. When news of field day arrives, the possibility of participating in a race is just the motivation Zulay needs. My 6 year old enjoyed this book and requested it many times.


Special Delivery is a fun, whimsical tale. Sadie wants to deliver an elephant to her great aunt Josephine, who “lives alone and could really use the company”. After learning that the postage to send an elephant is just too much, she uses a variety of creative transportation means to get the elephant to its destination. There are many little surprises in the story and illustrations to keep your kids guessing and laughing.


Max’s Math is the latest in Max series by Banks and Kulikov. Although I liked Max’s Words a bit better, my math loving sons enjoyed this book tremendously. Max and his brothers are traveling to Shapeville, and along the way they pick up a 6 (or is it a 9?). When they get to Shapeville thinks are all out of shape (sorry, I had to do that) and the boys help set everything aright.  Kulikov has cleverly hidden many math and shape elements in the illustrations and they are fun to find.


Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans is based on the life of a real person, and reading this book is an exercise in FUN. Cornelius is a sanitation worker in the French Quarter who injects joy, music and rhythm into his work. After Hurricane Katrina he brings that same spirit to the clean up.  (Note: Chronicle sent me a review copy.)


Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah inspired an earlier book list: books that will inspire your kids to follow their dreams. Emmanuel was born in Ghana with only one leg. Most children with disabilities didn’t go to school, but Emanuel was determined and hopped two miles each way to attend school. After his mother died, he decided to honor her last words by proving “that being disabled does not mean being unable.” He completed the astounding feat of bicycling 400 miles in 10 days. To say the least, Emmanuel’s is an inspiring story, and Thompson and Qualls do great justice to his accomplishments. An author’s note describes his continuing work and successes on behalf of disabled persons in Ghana.


The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage tells the real life story of how one couple fought for and won their right to be legally married in the state of Virginia. The reason that Virginia wouldn’t recognize their marriage? She was black and he was white. This book is not just a great teaching tool about civil rights, but it is well written and the illustrations, a collaboration by a real-life married team, are fantastic. This is a fantastic book and a useful jumping off point for conversations about both historical and current civil rights issues.


The Tweedles Go Online. In the second book about the Tweedles, the family enters the world of technology by getting a telephone! Family members have different reactions to the device. Some love it, some worry it will interfere with family life, and others would rather just focus on their new electric car. The comparison and contrast between going online then and online now is fun as well as insightful. Great fun.


Virgil & Owen. My son has always loved friendship stories. Virgil the penguin decides that Owen the polar bear is his friend, and his friend only, so when Owen ventures out on his own, Virgil must realize that Owen is his own person. This is a really sweet story and I suspect we will see more of this duo.


Ice Cream Summer. Peter Sís is a favorite author/illustrator of mine so I was glad to see that he had a new book this summer and was delighted when my sons enjoyed it, too. My 6 year old was especially obsessed with the idea of an “ice cream mountain” and for days he asked me whether it was a real place or not. Sis masterfully blends interesting facts about the history of ice cream with one boy’s experience and imaginings about the classic treat.


Counting Crows. I would have thought my kids were past the age of being interested in counting books, but this one had something new to offer and it caught their attention. Instead of the usual counting to 10, there are 12 crows and they are grouped by threes, but the poetry is not a slave to the counting, the counting adjusts to the meter, so the text keeps you on your toes. The accompanying story of a cat eying the crows as a potential snack adds to the interest and humor.

Did you know I publish a new children’s book list every Monday? Stay abreast of our favorite titles as well as getting all of our easy learning activity ideas by subscribing to our newsletter.

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Best books of 2015 chosen by kids.

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Fraction Games for Kids http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/07/fraction-games-for-kids.html http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/07/fraction-games-for-kids.html#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 11:00:09 +0000 http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/?p=13284 My neighbor’s mom is a math tutor and she likes to discuss how “Kids these days just don’t get fractions!” (Be sure to say that in a New York accent.) Whatever the reason, fractions can be difficult to understand. However, after you play these fraction games with your kids, they will have them figured out 100%. Okay,...
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My neighbor’s mom is a math tutor and she likes to discuss how “Kids these days just don’t get fractions!” (Be sure to say that in a New York accent.) Whatever the reason, fractions can be difficult to understand. However, after you play these fraction games with your kids, they will have them figured out 100%. Okay, well at the very least they will be on their way to having a visual understanding of how fractions function. (Say “fractions function” three times fast.) Previously I shared a fractions game using a deck of cards, but this game is much simpler and perfect for beginners.

Fun fractions games for kids. Good for visual learners.

And since this IS Camp Mathematics, these fraction games are FUN.

What you need:

  • A set of fraction cards. You can make you own, or you can print out ours and cut out the pieces. (see below for link).
  • Children ready for a rowdy fraction math game. (I may have exaggerated the “rowdy” part.)

Download and Print –> Fraction bars (Note: our printable contains more cards than are necessary for the games below. Have fun coming up with your own games that use all the pieces.)

Fractions Game #1

Each player needs:  one 1, one 1/2, three 1/4’s, two 1/3’s, six 1/6’s,  six 1/8’s, and four 1/12’s .

Keeping his longest fraction — the “1”, or the whole — each player puts the remaining fractions in a bag or bowl.

Without looking, players alternate drawing fraction pieces until all pieces are gone.

Using their pieces, players race to put together three wholes. Players use the whole for comparison to make sure they have the correct length.

Alternative: Whoever can put the most 1/2’s together is the winner.

Fraction games for kids. Making halves.

Fractions Game #2

Each player needs:  one 1, one 1/2, three 1/4’s, two 1/3’s, six 1/6’s,  six 1/8’s, and four 1/12’s .

Keeping his longest fraction — the “1”, or the whole — each player puts the remaining fractions in a bag or bowl.

Taking turns, each player draws 10 fraction pieces. (The rest are set aside.)

Players must use ALL of their fraction pieces to make wholes.

After players have used as many pieces as possible but not all of them, they can trade each other for the pieces they need.

Notes: 

  • Be aware, it is not always possible to use all the pieces to make wholes. That’s part of the learning process, too.
  • You could turn this into a competitive game, but we found it more fun to work cooperatively, otherwise the trading got too intense.

Fraction games to make wholes out of parts.

Extensions:

  • If your kids are feeling ambitious, they can use a compass and protractor to create fraction circles for the games. You can also find plenty of templates online if they want to play with “pie pieces”, but don’t want to create their own.
  • Kids can use pieces to “build” 2 dimensional structures.
  • Kids can make up their own fractions games using the pieces!
  • Make fraction cookies for a post-game snack.

Don’t miss the Camp Mathematics fun at Coffee Cups and Crayons. This week Megan shows you how to turn lunch into math with fraction sandwiches!

Do it yourself math camp for kids.

Next week is our very last week! But you can catch up any time, because there is no bad time for math.

Week 1: Counting

Counting Down Game and DIY Abacus

Week 2: Calculations

Magic Squares and Shake and Roll Math Game 

Week 3: Shapes

T Puzzle brain teaser and Grape Shapes

Week 4: Math Art

Spirolaterals and Patterns in Nature

Don’t miss our last week of Camp Mathematics. Sign up for our newsletter:

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Simple Spirolateral Math Art for Kids http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/07/simple-spirolateral-math-art-for-kids.html http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/07/simple-spirolateral-math-art-for-kids.html#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 11:00:00 +0000 http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/?p=13262 We are working on patterning and math art this week for Camp Mathematics. Have you ever heard of spirolaterals? Yeah, me neither. I happened upon them while looking for a new math art project to inspire my kids. If you follow this blog (hugs and kisses for you) then you are aware of my great love...
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We are working on patterning and math art this week for Camp Mathematics. Have you ever heard of spirolaterals? Yeah, me neither. I happened upon them while looking for a new math art project to inspire my kids. If you follow this blog (hugs and kisses for you) then you are aware of my great love of using my kids’ natural interest in math to encourage them to make art.

Spirolaterals are a way to make art out of multiplication tables.

The great thing about spirolaterals is that not only are they gorgeous but in the process of making them, kids who love numbers can work on their skip counting and multiplication skills. Creating spirolateral math art also involves graphing and patterning so there is a whole host of awesome math and art integration going on.

Let’s get down to business, shall we?

What are Spirolaterals?

Very simply, spirolaterals are spiraled, structured designs based on a repeated series of commands using length and angle.

Clear as mud?

The way I explained it to my son is that, “we would use the times tables to create spirals.”

Spirolaterals can range from very basic to elaborate, depending on the angle and number patterns used. The simplest type of spirolateral is a square — a 90 degree angle turn with a 1,1,1,1 sequence. (See some more complex spirolaterals here.) It sounds complicated, but once you understand what’s going on, it’s very easy and fun to do.

Watch the grooviness and then get the full instructions below:

How to make a Spirolateral

Choose a number and write its multiplication sequence. I’ll use 5 as an example.

5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55

Now, turn it into a sequence of single digits by adding the two digits of each number together. For example 10 becomes 1+0=1, 1+5=6 and so forth.

5, 1, 6, 2, 7, 3, 8, 4, 9, 5, 1

Once you see the pattern start to repeat you can stop. So we would be left with 5, 1, 6, 2, 7, 3, 8, 4, 9 as our final sequence.

How to make spirolaterals with 5 times table.

Now you are ready to draw!

  • Get your graph paper.
  • Draw a line 5 squares long.
  • Make a 90 degree turn to the right.
  • Draw a line 1 square long.
  • Make a 90 degree turn to the right.
  • Draw a line 6 squares long.
  • See the pattern?
  • When you complete the final line in your sequence, start over with the first number.
  • Repeat until the spirals connect back to the very first line.

Here’s how to get started with multiples of 1:

Spirolaterals with multiples of 1.

TIPS:

  • With younger children, start with the sequence 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.
  • Some of the numbers make very large spirals. Graph paper with more squares per inch is better.

EXTENSIONS:

  • Compare the patterns of different sequences. Do some of them look similar?
  • Color in your spirolateral to make it snazzy.
  • Advanced kids can try 45 degree angles instead of 90 degree.
  • You don’t have to use times tables, what other number patterns can you use?

All the photos of my son working on this came out lousy since we did it in the evening, but he had the cool idea to make each line a different color.

Multicolored spirolaterals.

MORE: Be inspired with our favorite math art projects.

Now it’s time to head over to Coffee Cups and Crayons to see how Megan and her kids explored patterns in nature!

Do it yourself math camp for kids.

Previous Camp Mathematics activities:

Week 1: Counting Down Game and DIY Abacus

Week 2: Magic Squares and Shake and Roll Math Game 

Week 3: T Puzzle brain teaser and Grape Shapes

How to make spirolaterals with multiplication.

 

Where did I learn about spirolaterals, you ask?  I look at a lot of math books for ideas and this is one of my very favorites for ideas that don’t involve traditional pen and paper problem solving. (Affiliate link)

Don’t miss the last two weeks of Camp Mathematics! We will fool around with fractions next week, so be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.

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