Friday, March 27, 2015

Butterfly Garden (a Comparing Fractions Game)

Fractions seem to be tough for kids to conquer. To help our 9-year-old son compare fractions with different denominators to see which was bigger, I wanted to teach him a quick and easy shortcut. 

Of course, learning is always more fun when you have the chance to go toe-to-toe with your mom and try to beat her. To facilitate that opportunity, I made the Butterfly Garden Fractions Game.

This game uses the cross multiplying method (or butterfly trick) to determine which fraction is greater than the other. If you're not familiar with this method, watch this YouTube video.

What You'll Need to Play Butterfly Garden
2-page PDF (game board and score card)
Lamination or a plastic sheet protector
fine-tip dry-erase marker
Writing tool or butterfly stamp for keeping score

Click on the picture above to download a 2-page PDF free from Google Drive. Once you've printed both the game board and score card, place the game board inside a plastic sheet protector or laminate it. Now you're ready to play.

How to Play
The first player will roll the die twice. The larger number that is rolled will be the DENOMINATOR. The smaller number will be the NUMERATOR.

Record the fraction on the butterfly game card on the correct side of the butterfly's wing.

Once the opponent has done the same, compare the fractions using the butterfly method.

Whoever has the bigger fraction wins the round and can indicate that on the scorecard; we used a rubber stamp of a butterfly.

The player with the most markings or “butterflies” on the scorecard after eight rounds of play wins!

And in case you're wondering, I got creamed. My boy won 6 rounds!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Button it Up (Beginning Addition Practice)

Number sense takes practice. Our youngest son is getting good at counting and associating numerals. I wanted to reinforce what he's learned and introduce simple addition sentences. 

I made a fun game to play with him. Not only does it practice math, it also works fine motor skills.

Because he's five and his attention span is still pretty short for seated activities, we only played for 10 minutes. I know we'll be playing it again… and again… and again, though.

Want to play?

What You Need
1-page PDF of Button it Up Game Board (download it free here)
Paper (1 sheet to print the PDF on)
12 small buttons (6 of each color)
Plastic Sheet Protector (or laminate)
Fine-tip dry-erase marker

How to Play
Once your game board is printed and either laminated or placed inside a plastic sheet protector, you're ready for your child to play.

1. Have him/her roll the die and count the dots.

2. If your child is proficient enough, have them write the numeral in one of the hands on the game board. If writing numbers is a skill that your child hasn't mastered yet, do this step for them.

3. Now your child will place the number of buttons rolled down the center of the shirt. I like to have them use the same color of buttons for each number rolled.

4. Now repeat steps 1-3, putting the numeral in the other hand, and using buttons of the other color.

5. Now say the addition sentence out loud (e.g. "Three plus four equals what? How many buttons are there all together?"). Write the answer in the shirt pocket (or have your child do this).

6. Use a dry cloth or paper towel to wipe the dry-erase marker from the board and start again! Repeat until your child's attention begins to wane.

Pair a Book with It
Even though this Pete the Cat book is more about subtraction than addition, it complemented our activity beautifully. Pete is a favorite in our house and even reading it over and over again is still enjoyable.

Monday, March 23, 2015

After School Linky (3-23)

Welcome to the party!

If you'll be home with the kids on Spring Break, here are some fabulous ideas from last week's party to consider doing.

13 Free Printable History Board Games at Tina's Dynamic Homeschool Plus.

Having Fun Writing Sentences at Mosswood Connections.

Easter LEGO Designs at Brain Power Boy.

The After School Linky is cohosted by
Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational

We would love to have you link up your School-Age Post (Ages 5 and up) about your learning week after school including Crafts, Activities, Playtime and Adventures that you are doing to enrich your children's lives after their day at school, home school, or on the weekend!

When linking up, please take a moment to comment on at least one post linked up before yours and grab our after school button to include a link on your post or site! By linking up, you're giving permission for us to share on our After School Pinterest Board and feature an image on our After School Party in the upcoming weeks!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Complete-a-Caterpillar (Phonics Game)

I'm really trying to reinforce what my five-year-old son is taught in his alternative kindergarten class. With so much emphasis on phonics and the beginning sounds of words, I'm trying to find an assortment of different ways for my boy to practice that seem fun.

The Complete-A-Caterpillar game is a modified BINGO game, which if you've been following my blog for awhile, you've seen how much my kids love them!

This game was no different.

I made six caterpillar game cards. And call cards with words starting from A-Z. Download them free from Google Drive here. Print on heavyweight cardstock and cut apart.

We used those flattened glass baubles as our game pieces. Each player will need up to eight.

How to Play
Each player selects a game card of their choosing (the caterpillars are different colors).

An adult or older sibling will draw a card from the call cards and say the word aloud. It's up to each player to listen to the beginning sound, identify which letter makes that sound, and then search on their card to see if their caterpillar features that letter. If so, place a game piece over it.

The first player to get their whole caterpillar filled is the winner!

Our oldest son (age 9) willingly played this with his younger brother and I. Even he thought it was fun!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Beginning and Ending Sounds Word Elimination

My son's PreK alternative kindergarten teacher is really working with all the four- and five-year olds on listening to beginning and ending sounds. Combined with their Jolly Phonics practice, many of them are getting REALLY good and identifying what letters words start with. 

Ending sounds are a little tougher for my son.

I worked up some fun practice cards. I said, "Let's work on reading."

He looked at me like I was crazy and reluctantly sat down at the table.

I handed him one of the picture cards I'd made. I asked, "What's in the picture?"

"A top," he replied.

"So what is the beginning sound?"

"Tah, tah, tah," he said. "That's a t!"

I pointed to the letters on the card. "What word DOESN'T start with t? Cross through it."

"Now what is the ending sound in top?"

"Pah, pah, pah," he replied. "It's p!"

"What word DOESN'T end in a p? Cross through it."

"Now circle the word that's left. That's the word top."

He was SO proud of himself. This exercise is great at helping kids really listen, put their phonics knowledge into practice, and start to see how sounds mix to make words.

Download the four pages of cards I made from Google Drive here. If you want to reuse them, either slip the pages inside plastic sheet protectors or laminate and use fine-tip dry-erase markers so the pages can be wiped clean afterwards.
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