Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Louisiana Purchase Geography Game


My 9-year-old son asked me if our state was part of the Louisiana Purchase. "Um … well … that's a good question, son," was my response. Yeah, I admit it. 

I didn't know.

So this little game was as much about helping him learn the states in the Louisiana Purchase, as it was about familiarizing me … and having fun doing it, of course.


All you need to make this game is a the 2-page PDF I made (download it free here), cardstock, some scissors and glue, and 15 game pieces per player (we used small glass baubles).

Print a map game board (page 1) for each player.


Print, cut, fold, and glue the icosahedron die. It contains the 15 states that have land in
the Louisiana Purchase. It also have five "Roll & Return" sides.


Now gather your game pieces and get ready to play.

It's simple. The youngest player rolls first and places a game piece on the state rolled. Each player takes a turn.

If a player rolls and "Roll & Return" is on the top of the die when it stops, they must roll again and remove the game piece from the state they roll, returning it to their pile of game pieces. If they roll another "Roll & Return," they continue to roll until a state appears. If they do not have a game piece on the state, their turn is over.


The game goes fast at first, but I can assure you, getting all states covered takes time. If you expect your child's interest to wane, set a timer for 10 minutes and see who has the most states covered when it goes off.

Playing is a great way to memorize the geography of the Louisiana Purchase and helps kids fine tune their ability to locate those 15 states on a map.

Want a good book to go with this activity? My son read Expanding a Nation: Causes and Effects of the Louisiana Purchase by Elizabeth Raum. This 32-page book is loaded with facts but written in easy two- to four-paragraph chunks, keeping kids from the fatigue that sometimes comes with non-fiction.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Educational BINGO games for Kids (+After School Linky)


If you haven't figured it out already, I'm going to let you in on a big secret: you can teach kids virtually anything by playing the game of BINGO.

I made my oldest boy (now 9 years old) his first educational BINGO game when he was five. Four years later, they are still a favorite after school activity. No arm twisting required.

One of my After School Co-Hosts over at Boy Mama Teacher Mama shares my love for these games. Here are our favorite ways to teach kids a variety of skills and subjects by playing BINGO.


Left to right, top to bottom:

Baseball BINGO at Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational
Time BINGO Games from Boy Mama Teacher Mama
Fall Leaves BINGO at Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational
Letter Reversals BINGO from Boy Mama Teacher Mama

Shark BINGO Game at Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational
Short Vowel BINGO from Boy Mama Teacher Mama
Sight Word BINGO at Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational
Multiplication BINGO at Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational

Zoo BINGO (2 Ways) at Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational
United States BINGO at Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational
Winter Olympic Games BINGO at Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational
Ten Frame BINGO from Boy Mama Teacher Mama

Science, sports, math, language arts, geography - I'm pretty sure we have all that (and then some) covered with these great games!


Now it's time to show us what YOU have been doing with your kids.


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!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Learning about the Eyes (Making Afterimages)


It has been ages since we learned about the human body. This little lesson was long overdue. Considering how easy it was to put together, I'm embarrassed we haven't explored the human anatomy more.

I think the eyes are fascinating - the way the pupils open and close to allow in the right amount of light, the way we see everything upside down but our brain flips the image right-side up, how our eyelashes are a defense mechanism to keep dust and dirt out, the science behind tears - all of it is amazing!

If your child hasn't figured out how cool our seeing mechanisms really are, this little experiment will convince them in less than a minute!



What You Need
Colored Papers
Black Marker
White Paper
Scissors
Glue
Timer or watch with a second hand

Prep
Cut several star shapes out of the colored papers. Cut rectangles out of the colored paper too. You'll be putting the stars in the center of the colored rectangles, so make sure they're big enough. Attach the stars making various color combinations. Use a marker to make a black dot in the center of each star.

Now make a small black dot in the middle of the white paper.


Make an Afterimage
Now pick one of the colored rectangles and put it side-by-side with the white paper.

Set a timer for 30 seconds and stare at the black dot inside the star on the colored paper. When the timer goes off, switch your gaze to the black dot on the white paper.

Like magic, you'll see the ghosted image of the star you stared at, but the color will not be the same. It will be the complementary color. This is an afterimage.

Try staring at different colored stars. What color is the afterimage?


How and Why It Works
At the back of the eye, in the retina, there are two types of photoreceptor cells - rods and cones. These cells communicate color to the brain.

When you stare at the star for a long time, the cones and rods become tired. The result is an afterimage.

This great activity came from Karin Halvorson's extraordinary book Inside the Eyes. It's loaded with details and definitions, but presented in such an engaging way, kids are bound to be drawn in. The activities that support the information are interesting, use many everyday objects you're likely to already have on hand, and truly make learning hands on. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

After School Linky Party (9-22)


Welcome to the After School Linky Party!


Wow. Kids are back in school, but it's the parents (teachers and caregivers too) who are REALLY bringing their A game. The ideas last week were AMAZING!

Here are just a few of my favorites.

 Look! We're Learning! shared these amazing free American Sign Language Alphabet cards.


 Dinosaur crazy kids will love these FREE Feathered Dinosaur Cards from Pinay Homeschooler.


123 Homeschool for Me is offering a great free Apple Picking Multiplication Game for 2nd-6th graders.


Got kids who are learning to read? Check out Creative Family Fun's Sight Word Pick and Spell game!


Who's ready for Halloween? Make math fun with Pumpkin Teeth (aka candy corn). JDaniel4's Mom has the printable math worksheet and instructions.


Review body parts, read a book, and watch kids have a blast playing Happy Brownhouse's Roll-a-Monster Game.


Grab an acorn and Fantastic Fun and Learning's Roll and Say Fall ABC Game Printable. Kids will love this fall-inspired alphabet practice!

The great ideas don't stop there.

Last week the co-hosts shared some super cool activities, ideas, and printables. Here's a recap.

  1. Mama Smiles' Rainy Day Fun for Kids: Q-tip Challenge
  2. Planet Smarty Pants' Halloween Chemistry Ideas
  3. The Educators' Spin on It's Mo Willems Inspired DIY Bunny Costume Felt Headband
  4. The Measured Mom's 20 free & fun math games for preschool & kindergarten - Seasonal Roll & Cover
  5. This Reading Mama's SH Digraph Game {Free Printable Game}
  6. Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational's How to Make an Electromagnet
  7. Boy Mama Teacher Mama's 8 Fun Ways to Teach Number Bonds

 Now it's your turn!

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, September 19, 2014

How to Make a Waterwheel


Everything today runs on batteries and electricity, but let's face it, that just wasn't the case back in the good 'ol days. The Romans used waterwheels as far back as the 4th century AD. The most popular application is at mills, grinding grain into flour.

To show my son what the power and force of moving water was capable of, we made a model of a waterwheel. 



This activity was surprisingly simple and requires supplies you probably have on hand.

Empty plastic spool of thread
One (two if small) plastic disposable cups
Duct (or heavy-duty masking) tape
Empty 2-liter soda bottle
Strong thread or dental floss
Metal washer
Scissors (or a craft knife to be used by adults only)
Plastic drinking straw

Tutorial
1. Cut a strip from the middle of the plastic cup(s) that is the same width as your spool of thread. Cut one rectangle from the strip about 1 1/4 inch from the cut edge. Use this rectangle as a pattern to cut rectangles of the same size from the strip until you have 6 rectangles. These are the blades of your wheel.


2. Tape the blades onto your spool making sure to evenly space them, and that all the blades are curved in the same direction.


3. Thread the drinking straw through the hole on the spool. Position the waterwheel in the middle of the straw and use more tape to secure the spool in place on either side with more tape. Set aside.


4. Now cut the top from your empty 2-liter bottle of soda. You can use the top of the label on the bottle as a guide for where to cut. You'll want to have a tall cylinder. (Note: Adults should help or do the cutting. This is tough!)


5. Adults: Poke holes in the bottle about 1 inch from bottom for drainage. I used a craft knife to do this.

6. Cut a V shape in the top of the cylinder. Cut another V directly opposite it.


7. Now tie a strand of heavy thread or dental floss that is about 12-15 inches long to one end of the drinking straw and tape in place so it doesn't slide around.

8. On the other end of the thread, tie a metal washer.


9. Now place the waterwheel's straw in the notches you made on the 2-liter and put the waterwheel under a facet.


10. Turn the water on slowly and watch the wheel turn, and the force of the water pull the washer up.

video

This great idea came from Kerrie Logan Hollihan's phenomenal book on Isaac Newton. Check it out!

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