Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Decoding the Runic Alphabet (Viking Facts Treasure Hunt)

My 9-year-old son loves codes, history, and treasure hunts. This activity combines all three.

When he got home from after school, I handed him a Viking Runes Encryption sheet and the first of six clues. 



Each clue contains facts about the life and times of Vikings as well as runes that required he decode them and a hint as to where to find the next clue.

Our oldest son read the clue at the bottom of each card allowed, giving his 5-year-old brother an opportunity to get in on the action, and guess the location of the next clue.


Clues lead them to our bathtub, my jewelry box, front door's deadbolt, refrigerator, games closet, and lastly our living room sofa. Click on the clue or encryption sheet to download my PDF free on Google Drive.

In the end, my eldest had to use the small runes in the corner of each clue to identify the location of his prize (couch), which he acquired after reading a wonderful graphic novel history book. (Think comic book meets ancient history!)



His prize was a punch card for free electronic (i.e. iPad or DS) minutes; our boys have to do chores to earn their time otherwise.

Want to make your own decoding treasure hunt? Print the encryption sheet and use it as a guide! To get kids ready for this activity, give them a fun interactive novel (think choose-your-own-adventure). I don't think I've ever seen our oldest son get so excited over a book before. He LOVED this!



My sons had so much fun with this activity and our oldest really liked the books I paired with it. After we were done, my oldest boy even wrote me a note using the Runic Alphabet that when decoded revealed "I love you." 

Monday, May 25, 2015

After School Linky (5-25)

Welcome to the party!


You can totally tell what I've got planned for my boys this summer by this week's favorite picks from last week: library visits, early reader/math skills, road trips ...

This summer is bound to be one of our best yet. Thanks to all of you for all the wonderful ideas and activities you share it's week. It's truly inspiring!


Ancient Civilization History Living Books at Tina's Dynamic Homeschool Plus.



5 Quick Ways to Learn Number Stories at Creative Family Fun.


Sight Word Safari at Books and Giggles.

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, May 22, 2015

Marshmallow & Spaghetti Constellations


This is not our first constellations activity, and it likely won't be our last. I have always had a bit of a fascination with star-gazing and, truthfully, I hope to pass it on to my sons.


The boys had a blast with this; it combines space science and their love to build (aka the S and E in STEM). And did I mention, it provided the opportunity to eat marshmallows which we NEVER ever have in the house.

The kids were in heaven.

What You Need
Uncooked spaghetti noodles
Small marshmallows (I found some star-shaped ones on the shelf, which are probably seasonal)
A book of constellations

We used the book Constellations by Martha E. H. Rustad.


It had very little text, was simple enough for our 5-year-old to understand, and had pictures of the night sky with superimposed illustrations of what the constellations represented (because let's face it, no lady really looks like a sideways "W" like Cassiopeia). Our 9-year-old read it to his little brother.



When finished, they each picked a constellation -our oldest picked the little dipper and our youngest picked Orion. They used the book's illustrations as guides and broke various lengths of spaghetti noodles and stuck them into the star-shaped marshmallows.


This was such a fun, hands-on way to learn about constellations! I hope you'll try it with your kids.

This activity was adapted from the To Show Them Jesus blog.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Roll-the-Die Basketball


My 9-year-old son came up with this game. I'm not sure what the inspiration was, but we have had loads of fun playing it. It's simple enough for our youngest to play (age 5) and engaging enough that even parents will have fun.


This is a two-person game, or rather a two-team game. If you have more than two players, they can take turns rolling for their team.

What You Need
a die
paper and pen for score keeping

How to Play
Each player (or team if there are more than two players) must pick a team name.

For tip off, both players roll the die. The player with the higher number, gets the "ball" first and will therefore, roll again.

If he/she rolls a 1 or 2, it's a turnover and the other team gets the ball.

If they roll a 3, it's a free throw (1 point for the player/team that rolled, and then the other team gets the ball).

If the die reveals a 4 or 5, it's a 2-point shot (2 points for the player/team that rolled, and then the other team gets the ball).

If it's a 6, that's a 3-point shot (3 pts for the player that rolled, and then the other team gets the ball).

The first person/team to 20 points wins. Keep track of points with tally marks on a paper.

Extend play
Play to 30 points, instead of 20.

Keep track of turnovers with tally marks, as well as the points scored.

Make a bracket of teams and play games to see who makes it to the finals and wins!

This would be an excellent game to play at a restaurant while waiting for your order, or if you put the die inside a small lidded plastic container and shake to roll, it could even be a travel game for long car rides!

Monday, May 18, 2015

After School Linky (5-18)

Welcome to the party!

No need to panic that you don't have anything planned for the summer.
We've got a ton of ideas here.

The following seven are just a few of the great activities and ideas
provided during last week's link-up.

Subtraction Squish at There's Just One Mommy.


Library Scavenger Hunt at Creative Family Fun.

States and Capitals Bowling from Games for Learning.




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! 


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