Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Back to School - First Day Activity

On the first week of the new school year, I like to play games where I really get to know a lot about my students and they learn a bit about me, too.

There are many great first day activities, but  I chose an easy dice game this year. I stumbled upon this idea over at Pinterest.

I found plenty of similar ideas, but I created a poster to meet my students' need.

 I am sharing with you my poster that you can download for free. Just print and play!

The rule of this game is very simple.  Children will roll the dice and then share something about themselves, depending on the number they rolled.

Back to School Ice Breaker Classroom Game Classroom Freebie

Monday, August 29, 2016

I Spy Bottle

I found this I Spy Bottle idea on Pinterest. It was immediately on my wishlist. So I made it for my kiddos.

I collected some small objects around my house.

I spy game in a bottle

If you decide to make an I spy bottle, make sure that everything fits through the top of your bottle. :) I will also recommend choosing colorful objects as well.
Put the selected collection in the bottle, then add dry rice until the bottle is 3/4 full.

I spy game in a bottle

I chose a plastic bottle, since my kiddos are five and four.

I spy game in a bottle

I spy game in a bottle

One more important thing! Write down the objects, or take a picture before you put them in the bottle, otherwise you won't be able to help in the game later on.

I spy game in a bottle

Voila, in no time, it is ready to use! We had great time playing with this I spy game. Since my children aren't literate yet, they drew the objects. They were amused and I was happy to see them playing together.

I spy game in a bottle

But the most fascinating moment came after the game, this was the moment when I found them all over the house with a pet bottle, seeking for small objects that fit in. That was for me a great accomplishment.

Here is their collection. Impressive, isn't it?

I spy game in a bottle

I spy game in a bottle

Back to School - Flash Card and Word Card Games

Flash card and word card games never seem to get old. It is because they are versatile, easy to use, long standing and children love them. These simple resources can assist you to teach and review anything in the classroom and at home as well.

In this article I would like to share with you my favorite games and one or two useful advice.


Reviewing  is extremely important for learning, but teachers often forget or simply don't have enough time for this essential moment in teaching. You don't need much time for the flash card and the word card games. Five minutes are more than enough for a quick but enjoyable review.
To get your children excited about review, use the power of emotions. Don't hesitate to show them that you are on the edge of your seat, on tenterhooks because you are waiting to see the results of the game. If the games are delightful the children will seek for more.

Flash card games are a powerful tool for teaching. I love flash cards as well as games. The best thing about it is that there are lots of ways to use flash cards. Let's start with my class's no.1 flash card game and some of my favorites.

  • The no.1 flash card game - is irreplaceable in my classroom and it is really precious for revising vocabulary. I have been using it for quite a long time, so I don't even know the name of the game.
    When we want to play it, we just say "Let's have a race!"
    Everyone stands up, but only three children are in the race at the time. The aim is to be the first to say what's on the flash card. The winner remains standing, the other two players sit down and a new race begins with another three students.When all the kids took the first turn, the winners go to the second round. We continue with the rounds until we get a winner.
  • Noughts and Crosses - I draw a 3x3 grid on the board and stick a flash card or word card in each square. The class is divided into two teams, Os and Xs. The teams take turns to name one of the flashcards or word cards. If they do so correctly, the pupils draw their sign in the corresponding square. The aim of the game is to get three Os or Xs in a row.

  • Fast Flash Cards - The flash cards are on the board. A pair of students go to the board facing the flash cards. The teacher names a flash card and the two children must touch the correct card as fast as they can. The winner is the one who touches more flash cards.
  • Memory Master - One student is the Memory Master. There are four to ten flash cards on the board. The Memory Master names his/her peers. All of them choose a flashcard and say the word. After everyone has chosen, the Memory Master must hand the correct flash card to each student.
  • Tornado - Divide the class into teams. Stick the flash cards or word cards face down on the board. Also include a few Tornado cards. (FREE download) Children then choose a card. If they answer the question correctly (they read the word card or name the picture) then their team can draw a line to draw a house.  If they choose a Tornado card then they blow down a part of a house (by erasing part of the drawing) from their opposing team(s). The team who finishes the house first wins.

  • Parachute game – use the flash cards of the vocabulary you want to revise, simply ask:
    - “What’s this?” for each object as you hold up the card.
    Select one of the cards at random, look at it and place it face down on the board.
    Draw a man with a parachute.
    Point to the card on the board and ask: What’s this?
    Each time a child answers incorrectly, rub out one of the parachute string. If a member of the class guesses the object on the card before all the string have been rubbed out, the class wins. If all the strings have been rubbed out and the object is still unknown, the teacher wins.
  • Board game - You can play a board game on a whiteboard or a blackboard. Stick flash cards on the board in a semicircle. Draw arrows from one flashcard to another. The children take it in turns to throw a dice and move along the flashcards as if they were the squares of a board game. When they land on a flashcard they should draw an X or put a magnet and name it. If they cannot, they go back to where they were on the last go.

If you are an artist and you and you have some spare time, don't linger. Draw your own flash cards, laminate them and use them for a long time. It is the best solution. It isn't just the cheaper version, maybe it isn't at all (if you have to buy all those tubes of paint) but it is extremely valuable.
Another advantage of making your own sets, is that you can make them for your specific needs.

The sets will look much nicer if you pay attention to some details:
  • If you decide to make your own unique cards, have in mind the most important thing! MAKE SURE YOU CAN'T SEE THROUGH THEM!
  • make all of them in the same size,
  • use different colors for different sets.

I had my Mom's flash cards for ages. She drew them at the beginning of 60's. I loved them, especially Mom's Alphabet cards! They were unique. The sad part is that I stored them in my granny's house and then one day my treasure disappeared. My auntie did the cleaning and YEP. She swears that it should be somewhere, maybe in the I hope that one day I will bump into them again.

If you aren't so lucky to be an artist or don't have time for it, you can follow this link TPT to find some ready to use flash cards and word cards.

 My Back to School product contains:

 Word cards with pictures.

 Flash cards


...and a booklet for mastering the new vocabulary.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Shadow Matching

I thought I would write about a fun card game I have been playing with my family.

This matching shadow game with school supplies is not only a fun afternoon activity, it will also get kids excited about the upcoming school year.
With these educational worksheets, children guess what an item is by looking at its shadow.
These printables are for the youngest kids - helping them make their first steps in reasoning, comparison, finding common points and exceptions.

School Supplies Shadow Matching Memory Cards


When we played with these cards for the first time, we had a great fun simply matching the pictures of different school supplies with their shadow cards.

School Supplies Shadow Matching Memory Cards

This was interesting just for the next few days, so we boosted it in many different ways.
Here are some other ideas how we play with this set of cards:
Our favorite game is boosted with a LEGO DUPLO PYRAMID. I found the idea here.
Shortly the steps, we build a pyramid (every time a new one) with Lego Duplo. Everyone choose a character (doll). The aim is to get to the top of the pyramid first.

Then we play with the cards a few various but quick tournaments.
For example: The cards are separated in two piles, school supplies and shadow cards. Both piles are face-down. We start a game by turning the top shadow card over and place it on the pile. Everyone choose a card from the other pile. The winner is who find a matching picture. So, if you win one tournament you move your doll ahead.

School Supplies Shadow Matching Memory Cards

We also love to play MEMORY GAMES.
Playing a memory game is a grate choice for the whole family to play together. You will boost your and your child's memory in a funny and enjoyable way. You will also contribute to keep focus, improve concentration, prevent memory-relate illnesses, increase short-term memory, train the visual memory and so forth.
Playing memory games with shadow matching are more of a challenge than the typical matching activities.

Lay all the cards face down in a grid.

School Supplies Shadow Matching Memory Cards

The first player flips two cards over at random.

School Supplies Shadow Matching Memory Cards

The player gets to keep the cards and go again if they are a match.

School Supplies Shadow Matching Memory Cards

Otherwise he must turn them back over and it is the next players turn.
The player with the most pairs at the end of the game is the winner.
  •  If you have any ideas or suggestions, please leave a comment.

Animal jokes for children

Animal jokes for children

Animal jokes for children

Animal jokes for children

Friday, August 26, 2016

DIY Doll House Bathroom

DIY Doll House Bathroom Recycled

I accidentally found these pictures a moment ago. It was a family project, a present for my daughter's kindergarten. We made it two years ago, but I clean forgot.

DIY Doll House Bathroom

DIY Doll House Bathroom

Monday, August 8, 2016

Free Printable I Spy School Supplies

This free printable I Spy game with school supplies is not only a fun afternoon activity, it will also get kids excited about the upcoming school year.

I Spy can be played at a level suited to the child. It can be played anywhere, at home, school, waiting rooms, markets or while out driving in the car.

The first worksheet contains 26 different school supplies. It is suitable for the alphabet game

 "I spy with my little eye something beginning with letter _".

For the beginner reader focus can be on the first letter of the object. As the child progresses and gets better with spelling, you can try going by the last letter of the object too. Allow the child time to guess and name the object.

Back to School I Spy School Supplies

When the children find the picture, they can cover it with pom poms,  buttons or even with candy canes.

Back to School I Spy School Supplies

Back to School I Spy School Supplies

Here are some ideas how to play I spy with the second worksheet. In this page there is more than one copy of every image.

Back to School I Spy School Supplies

  • Find and circle the scissors, rulers, sharpeners etc.

    IMPORTANT! You can use these printables more than once if you print the pages and place them in sheet protectors, use a dry erase on the pages to save on paper and ink.
Back to School I Spy School Supplies

  • Print two copies, cut out the pictures from one of the copies, and give the other copy and the cut out to your child. Have them cover the pictures on the page with the cut outs.
  • Give them verbal clues to find one particular supply. For example, “Find a desk under the brown marker”, “Can you see a marker at the top right corner” and so on.
  • The kids can count how many of  these school supplies are in the picture.
Back to School I Spy School Supplies

Again, if you use sheet protectors whit this worksheet too, you can simply erase the page and do it again.

Back to School I Spy School Supplies

It's really amusing to bring a copy along when you head out to pick up your school supplies. Younger kids can circle the items as they see them. Older kids can circle items only if the colors match.

I hope that you find this freebie useful and helpful!

If you need more ideas and further explanation for the I spy game, you can find it here.

Back to School I Spy School Supplies