Ideas from a Home School Mom for educational fun

| January 4, 2012 | 1 Comment

Bust Winter Break Boredom With Back To Basics Games
family playing chessWinter break can be a frustrating time for parents, in spite of all the excitement of the holidays. This year there winter break is close to three weeks long and we are running out of fun things to do! Once the wrapping paper is put away, and new gifts put up, there are still days of down time, and kids who need things to do. The post-holiday portion of winter break can be a great time to work on family unity through simple educational games and activities. What’s better is that you don’t need to invest in expensive materials to accomplish this.

There are many traditional games that parents may remember from childhood, but seldom play with their children. Checkers, cards, dominoes, and dice games all incorporate great educational value. Numerical concepts, strategy, and cooperation come into play, whether it’s each person for himself, or whether players team up to work together.

Checkers is a two-player game, but the strategy and thinking involve stretch far beyond what the next movement will be. The grid of the checkerboard is an outstanding model of multiplication, and you can use the grid to do computations, while you play. If you need ideas for making the game fresh, try adjusting that grid size. Challenge your young children to a game of 3 by 3 checkers, or 4 by 4.

Add a unique twist to the game by having “block out” pieces. Use coins, and allow each player to have a set number of blocks, which they can choose to place at the beginning of the game. Examine how this affects game play as the action takes place. Good questioning skills can help children with thinking skills, and basic games like checkers provide an outstanding backdrop for great discussions.

Dominos is another outstanding strategy game. A set of double six dominos can provide hours of fun for the whole family, and if you teach the kids to play, and to have fun, then you will find that they begin to interact with these loved games when parents aren’t directing the action. Scoring in double six dominoes occurs when ends total multiples of five. This provokes a great deal of mental math activity, and as children become more familiar with the game, they will learn to make keen observations about the pieces that have been played, those that have not been played, and about the best possible moves available.

Tic-Tac-Toe is a favorite way for a couple of youngsters to pass time. Nothing more than pencil and paper are required. However, strategy is integral. If you think the traditional game is wearing out its welcome, change the object of the game. What happens to the kids’ thinking if you declare that three in a row loses? Strategies change, and lots of fun and laughter ensue.

Card games are excellent for helping children to pass time. A single deck of cards can accommodate two or more children, with War. A little oversight is essential, in that disputes can arise in how wars are handled. However, the value of the game is particularly based in comparisons. Old Maid is another popular card game, whether you use a deck of characters, or a traditional deck of cards, with one of the aces removed. Children are able to match by numerical values, and by suit. As well, there is simple strategy, as they attempt to avoid the “Old Maid”.

We have done some winter cleaning and found a bunch of word search books that have actually been a lot of fun to do as a family! Once the weather warms up a bit we have gathered all our coupons and local attractions and found out where all the local story times are so that we can go on a little field trip. Always make sure to check the weather because it can ruin a play date quickly. We tried to go on a park play date on one of the coldest days and we did not make it more than twenty minutes. Always make sure that everyone dressed comfortably and pack snacks for the day. We left in the morning and took advantage of the great weather and were out all day. Our family loves TOMS Coupon Code to save money on the shoe we wear everywhere, TOMS! This winter break we went to see a circus, two story times, and we are going to try to visit the zoo. We did it all with coupons and saved a lot of money with a little extra planning!

Winter break can be frustrating, when the kids become bored. With new gifts, it would seem unusual that this would be the case, and yet it is a common issue. Use common games, in uncommon ways, to shake off the boredom, and to make the time away from school educationally productive. What are some of the fun educational activities do you do at home with your kids?

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  1. Diane says:

    I remember playing these games as a child, and introduced them to my own children. We also enjoy trying various crafts that while kind of old school are lots of fun, such as making magnets and wall plaques from bread dough. Fun things don’t have to cost a lot. Thanks for the post.

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