Memory Scavenger Hunt – New Years Activity

year in review photo scavenger hunt for kidsThis was a fun look back at 2013 and the scavenger hunt is only the first half of the activity. Talking about the memories and putting them in chronological order is the other half. Keeping my kids moving during bad weather is never hard because they LOVE scavenger hunts. You don’t need a huge space to keep them moving you just need enough space to hide some photos it will amaze you how active they can be in a single room, of course you can spread this out as far as you want as well. If you want to take this outside grab some snack sized plastic bags and pop the pictures inside to make them weather proof.

Gather your materials. You will to print out pictures of your favorite 2013 memories. I used picmonkey.com to make a collage of my photos and printed them out. It took a few minutes and even with a printer running low on ink the quality was good enough for this activity. You will also need some construction paper, double stick tape , a marker, and scissors. For the hunt we used paper bags to hold the pictures after they found them but they aren’t a must. memory scavenger hunt

Start by cutting your photos and construction paper. I used two colors because I was going to have my daughter look for one color and my son look for the other to make it a little more fair despite their age difference but they told me that was silly and just made it each man for himself. I don’t think it was silly but agreed to let them help decide how to play. Cut the paper into squares slightly larger than the photos. memory scavenger hunt for kids

Tape the photos on. Add the approximate date on the back. For my kids I just did month because we are working on teaching my preschooler the months of the year. For older kids you could add days and make it more of a challenge or skip the dates all together and just search for the memories. Do what works for you and what will be the best for your kids. memory scavenger hunt for new years

Hide them. photo memroy hunt for kids new years

If you are so inclined you can grab paper bags and write a little something on them to hold the photos while hunting. new years eve memroy game for kids

Gather your search party and go!scavenger hunt for kids

After you have found them all go through them and talk about each memory.scavenger hunt for new years eve

Sort them chronologically. This really showed us which months were the most memorable – January when we went to Disneyland, March when we visited family in Texas, and June when family visited us. new years memory hunt

Ask your kids to pick their favorite memories and share why they are their favorites. I teared up when my son said being with his grandparents was one of his. I’m weepy like that. memory scavenger hunt for kids in new years

Here’s to a wonderful 2014 and to all our great memories of 2013.  What was your favorite memory of 2013?

 

 

 

Word Scavenger Hunt with Spelling Stones

spelling activity for kids Last week when I published our Thanksgiving Spelling Stones I promised that I had another simple activity to do with the stones. This is it. It was a rainy day ( can you tell by the not so great pictures?) but I wasn’t ready to turn the TV on yet.  This simple game got them moving, playing together , and working on their own levels at the same time. I will be making many more sets of these stones to do this activity and others throughout the year. To find out how to make the stones themselves check out our spelling stones tutorial.

Gather your materials. You will need spelling stones and somewhere to hide them.word hunt supplies

I hide some in plain sight and others in tougher spots. My son knows to leave the easier ones for his sister although I think those days are numbered. She is a good hunter!word hunt hide letters

Before your kids start searching. Tell them the word / words  you will be spelling and how many stones total they are searching for. This helps sneak in a wee bit of math.

Start searching! These dark stones blended in nicely in our living room. word hunt hunting for letters

Do spot checks to see how many stones you have found. My daughter counted and then I turned it into a math problem for my son to figure out how many more we were looking for. word hunt how many letters do you have

Once all letters are in the basket start piecing together the word. word hunt spelling the word togetherAt first my son started doing this step all by himself but I asked him to slow down and ask his sister to find him the letter he needed to spell from the bunch. word hunt spellingThis let him work on spelling and gave her a chance to work on letter recognition. word hunt thanksgiving

Told you it was simple, but hopefully I showed you how many little tidbits of learning you could fit into it too.

thanksgiving books for kidsCheck out some great Thanksgiving Books For Kids.

Rainy Day Activity For Kids { Puzzle Hunt }

summer activities for kids insideRainy days at our house always start with happy play but by early afternoon my kids have used up their patience with each other and mine isn’t far behind. This puzzle hunt took 2 minutes to set up and they played 3 times. More importantly the bad attitudes we were all developing were stopped in their tracks. It’s the perfect easy rainy day activity for kids. It’s also a great way to use puzzles. We used wooden puzzles but if you have older kids it would be fun to try a jigsaw puzzle instead. Another thing I love about puzzle hunts is you know if you forgot to find a piece because the puzzle won’t be complete.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some puzzles . <— pretty easy right?rainy day puzzle hunt
  2. Pop all the pieces our and start hiding them. rainy day puzzle hunt activity for kidsI send my kids up to the playroom while I hid them. Hide some in tricky places and some in plain sight if you have younger kids.  hidden pieces
  3. Time to search. rainy day puzzle hunt for kidsThey started out trying to beat each other and I reminded them that they are working as a team to beat me.rainy day gross motor If they find all the pieces then they win , if not I win. That did the trick and they were a team from then on. scavenger hunts for kids
  4. They took breaks every now and then to count how many we had already found and how many were still missing. rainy day puzzle hunt for toddlers
  5. Complete! If anything makes a parent burst with happiness it’s an unprompted hug between siblings that isn’t part of an apology. rainy day cooperative play

Other ways to play include having your kids hide the pieces and you find them , take it outside ( you may want to pop the pieces in a Ziploc or 5 ) , and include words on each to create a secret message .

On long summer days especially if you are stuck inside for whatever reason simple play like this goes so far in improving moods, recharging a bad day and getting kids to work together. For more rainy day ideas ( and sunny day ones too )  check out our Pinterest boards !

Find & Rhyme – Gross Motor Rhyming Game

find and rhyme game for readingGetting my son learning after school isn’t always easy because he’s just been at school all day!  This rhyming  game was originally supposed to be a Frisbee like game with the hula hoops acting as targets but my dollar store plates were too light and even doubled up wouldn’t fly well. So we turned it into a hunt and my daughter came along for the ride and everyone had fun . You could adapt this easily for different levels using upper and lowercase as pairs to match, sight words ( writing out two and finding the match) or word families. Even though my almost 3 year old participated this activity is part of our Learning After School series . This series is filled with ideas for fun active learning after school gets out.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some cheap plastic plates ( just don’t expect them to make good Frisbees… ) , a sharpie and some hula hoops.Rhyming Hunt for kindergarten
  2. Start by writing some words on the plates. I chose 4 words that offered lots of rhyming words.  Bake, car, band and hat.rhyming activity for kids with movement
  3. Write out as many rhyming words on the rest of the plates for each as you think will offer your child the right amount of challenge.  You can always have a few extra on hand to hide on the go if your child is into it and you want to extend it.
  4. Place the anchor words ( bake, car, band and hat) in the hula hoops.hunt and rhyme learning after school
  5. Hide the other plates. rhyming word hunt
  6. Get your kids ready – I had my son agree that he’d let his sister find her share and not zoom through and grab them all . He also offered up his reading and rhyming skills to help. I wasn’t sure how it would play out … if you are doing this with a number of children with similar rhyming and reading abilities a great way to do it is to start each child off with a different word and have them search only for words that rhyme with their assigned word. * Whenever I am explaining rules I start with a quick game of Simon Says. It gets them focused. hunt and rhyme learning after school game
  7. It was great. hunt and rhyme early literacy gameHe needed a reminder not to grab all the plates but one reminder was enough. They would find a plate, run over and match the rhymes. She got a few solo ( after we read them of course)gross motor rhyming game and he would do his in his head throwing them down fast. But then when she was stumped he took time to help his sister saying things like ” Do you hear they sound the same? Cake and bake rhyme.” It was still pretty much over her head but he got great practice being patient and teaching her.  You can see him stretching out the words for her as a hint. Best part is the plates store easily and you can add more when you want to play again. sounding out the rhymes - rhyming game for kids

 

Books That Rhyme

 

25 picture books that rhyme

Here are 25 great books that rhyme . When reading these books with your kids take some time to play with the rhymes , not every single on but a few. Be silly and have fun. Do things like use a synonym in the place of a rhyming word  in the familiar text. When your child corrects you explain that the word means the same thing. They will insist it’s still not right . Ask them why. Continue reading. Pretending not to know the answer and letting my kids answer for me always gets a good laugh and the lesson sticks as well.