Russian Nesting Doll Game

russian nesting doll game

We’ve been watching the Olympics every night and my kids have been noticing the giant Matroyshka doll on the slope style course. I love these dolls popularly called Russian nesting dolls and have a handful of them, a wallet with them on it, magnets, an umbrella… well you get the point. I love them. When my mom traveled to Russia last year and brought some back for my family my daughter fell in love with them as well. This Russian nesting doll game can be made simply for little ones or adapted for much older children with subtle differences that require careful attention to each doll. Memory games are a favorite around here and we have many more to check out at the end of the post if Matroyshka dolls aren’t your thing.  russian nesting doll play

Gather your materials. You will need the printable ( found here) or make your own by drawing a doll, scanning it and making a collage of 12 or more using photo software like picmonkey.com. You will also need some construction paper or card stock, scissors, double stick tape and a handful of markers. russian memory game

Start by coloring your dolls. My daughter is really good at memory ( much better than I am) so I made it tricky by making blonds and brunettes with the same patterns and colors. russian doll memory gameDidn’t phase her but it did make the game a little more challenging. russian nesting doll game

Cut the construction paper into squares and the dolls out.russian nesting doll game for sochi

Using the double stick tape attach the dolls to the construction paper squares.eussian nesting doll game for kids

Time to play. nesting doll memory gameI made way way more dolls than I would use playing against my daughter in one game. I made more so that if my seven year old son wanted to play there would be a bit more of a challenge. I chose a few pairs that were similar and some that weren’t to offer a challenge but to try to avoid frustration.russian nesting doll game for preschool

After playing I had her count her pairs , with older kids you could have them skip count them!russian nesting dolls memory game for kids

 

Simple Memory Games For Kids

DIY memory games for kids

Memories Memory Game
Halloween Blocks and Game
Masterpiece Memory
Character Memory Game
Uppercase & Lowercase Memory Game
Shell Memory Game
Wrapping Paper Game

Math Games { Shell Memory }

math games for kids shell memory gameWe live on an island and while we don’t get to walk on sandy beaches ( ours are more like barnacle beaches ) we do have lots of shells and the summer is often filled with discovering them along the shore. This math game taps into that experience while also working on memory and number recognition.  Using math games to teach is a great way for parents to connect to what kids are learning and become participants not just observers. This math game was a snap to put together with shells from the craft store. I caution you to check all the shells in a package for sharp edges before letting your kids play with them, some of ours were broken and really sharp.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some shells, a sharpie, a tray or something else that will keep the shells contained. I used a sheet of paper towel to keep the shells from sliding on the tray too.
  2. Write a pair of number names along with the numeral on shells. We did 1- 10 but you can do any combination of numbers using only the numeral or number written out. math games with shells
  3. Let the marker dry for a few minutes before playing.
  4. Arranged the shells face down in random order.math games for kids shell game
  5. Play. math games for kids shell game for 3 year oldsOne player flips a shell and leaves it face up, then flips another. If they match they leave them face up and the other player goes. If they do not match both shells are flipped back over and you start from scratch. You can also play one player like this. With discovery based math games like this you will probably notice that your child will naturally identify the numbers without prompting. If they don’t feel free to say “What did you find?” If they know number they will identify it if they don’t they will probably hold it out and say “This.” That’s when you step in and say ” Look you found 4 !” or something else easy breezy that still gives them the facts without making it feel like you are telling them something they should already know. math games

After we played a few rounds my daughter discovered that if she shook the tray gently that they shells made a really pretty tinkling sound.

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Need some books to go along with this beach themed activity? Click here to see the reviews for the books below.

reading lists for kids

 

Letter Memory Game – Alphabet For Starters

heart shaped upper case & lowercase letter memory game

I am still calling this an alphabet for starters activity but really my little girls is graduating to just plain alphabet activities. Matching upper and lowercase letters is not really a beginner activity but the playful way to learn with a memory game still meets the goal of this series . Playful alphabet activities. This game would be a cinch to adjust for more novice learners. Simply stick to only one case of letters or scrap the memory game and try something more straight forward like my friend Jamie did a few days ago on Hands On As We Grow. To make it tougher skip using the scaffold of the matching colors and use only one color of hearts.  To see our other Alphabet for Starters activities see our list here.

  1. Gather your materials.  You will need a sharpie and some colorful foam hearts. I got both at the dollar store for a buck each.heart shaped letter memory game
  2. Write out letter pairs with one upper and one lowercase letter. I didn’t do the whole alphabet , I rarely do. I choose letters I know she knows ( M, A, J) and some I know she struggles with ( Q, G, ) and fill in the gaps randomly. Also each pair is done in the same color. When we played I told my daughter to find the same color. This made the game much more accessible for a 2 year old and gave her color recognition work to boot. heart shaped letter match game
  3. Lay out your hearts face down.heart letter memory game for learning
  4. Play. She was enthusiastic immediately. I demonstrated once and she was off. heart shaped letter memry and match gameWe left our letters face up in their own spaces when we matched them up. She was thrilled when her letter ( M) was flipped overheart shaped upper and lower case memory game and even happier when she made a match. heart letter memory gameThe first time we played she called the Q a “funny O” we tried to figure out what letter is was and I ended up labeling it for her and we kept playing. The next day ( we’ve played daily for 5 days in a row so far) she called it a Q and matched it to it’s lowercase letter without any prompting. No drill needed , just a fun game.
  5. Celebrate with each match heart letter match for valentine's dayand hoot and holler when you have completed the whole game!heart shaped letter match game for kids I often gets asked if I play against my kids for memory games. Sometime I do but usually I don’t. We play as a team . For my daughter with a game like this I will narrate with her after she identifies a letter unprompted I will say ” Hmm I wonder which heart the lowercase B is under ?” or some such thing. If she is having a hard time with a letter. I will try to ask questions to help her instead of just telling her. Like with the Q I said ” What letter do you have ?” and she answered ” A funny O.” then I said ” What makes it funny?” ” It has a tail Mama!” . To which I replied ” Do O’s have tails.” and she giggled  saying “No!” and I said ” That is a an uppercase Q.” Even at such a young age kids can help figure things out and when we engage them like this they learn to ask questions , answer others and not just guess at the right answer.

 

Easy New Years Memory Game

new years activity for kids My kids and I had a blast playing memory with this homemade memory game that we made with pictures of some of our favorite memories of 2012.  As you will see both my kids played ( although they aren’t ready to play against each other yet – their gap in abilities is still too vast) and both loved not only beating mom ( I am terrible at this game) but also retelling stories about each picture and the memory that went with it. Oh and it’s so easy to make.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some card stock, double stick tape, digital photos , scissors and marker. new years memory game
  2. Choose 6 or more photos of favorite memories of 2012. You can print them out in a collage using a service like picmonkey.com or individually. Make sure you have 2 copies of each picture.
  3. Cut your pictures out. Mine are all black and white because I ran out of color ink not for any grand reason. new years memory game for kids
  4. Tape to the card stock.
  5. Cut out.new years memory match game for kids and toddlers
  6. I added the year on the back for fun. Also I plan on making this year after year.memory match game for kids and toddlers
  7. Time to play. First up was my wee one. I laid out 8 matches for her although I probably could have done 6.match game for toddlers
  8. She loved seeing the photos of herself – her first day of school with her teacher was her favorite.  The excitement was genuine when she made a match. She made six before she asked if she could play with her tea set :) Next time I will keep the number of cards lower.memory and match game for kids and toddlers for new years
  9. Then we set it up for my 6 year old. match and memory game for new years eveHe got the whole deck and was eager to show off.  new years match game for kids and toddlersHe didn’t know what photos I chose for the game and was happy to recount the stories that went with many of the photos. new years even game for kids  His favorite was a photo of him playing with our contributing writer Kim’s son .new years photo memory game He made matches so quickly and counted them up after each one. It was a perfect opportunity to skip count by two as well.new years eve memory game for kids

Happy New Year!

 

Despicable Me 2 – Halloween Fun For Kids

One of the best parts of Halloween is getting a chance to dress up in costumes and dressing up shouldn’t just be for kids, it should be for minions too! When I was asked to help spread the word about Despicable Me 2 coming to theaters this summer I knew exactly what sort of activities I wanted to do. These activities are perfect for Halloween parties or to prepare your little ones for all the unusual costumes they might see. They can play with the minion and see that he’s the same under every single costume we made him and on Halloween night there is nothing to be afraid of it’s just a person under that scary costume too.  The simple memory game can be made in a snap and would be a cute quiet game for a Halloween party.

Dress Your Minion For Halloween!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some yellow , black and white construction paper, yellow, black , brown and metallic markers, double stick tape, contact paper, scissors, heavy card stock ( full page sheet) and dry erase markers in various colors.
  2. Start by drawing and cutting out a minion.
  3. Cut some black construction paper for it’s goggle band.
  4. Cut out a circle of white paper and outline it in the metallic silver. Add a brown eye with a black pupil. Add yellow at the bottom.
  5. Using the double stick tape tape the band and eye on. Color the boots and gloves black.
  6. Tape everything on to the card stock.
  7. Peel the backing off your contact paper and put the minion face down on the sticky side.
  8. Press, fold the sides and trim edges. Now you have a dry erase minion!
  9. Dress him up for Halloween using the dry erase markers.  We turned him into a princess, witch , butterfly, vampire and messy monster.
  10. Everything wipes clean beautifully!

You can also use him for talking about emotions and have your little ones draw his emotions, or dress him up for upcoming holidays too!

Easy Memory Game

I hear from a lot of parents how playing memory with their child is terrible and my first question is always ” Did you play with all the pieces?” When toddlers and young kids are learning games break them down a little and make them more accessible. This is why I love making my own memory games.

Using the Despicable Me 2 Halloween Temporary Tattoo Printables  I made this game in a snap!  *** Please email me for the printables and I will send them to you asap ***

  1. Gather your materials. You will need the printables  ( 2 copies)  from Despicable Me 2. Some orange card stock, black card stock , double stick tape and scissors.
  2. Cut all your images and card stock into squares. Remember that you want the squares progressively larger so the minion paper is the smallest, orange middle and the black paper is the largest.
  3. Tape the minion to the orange paper and then the orange to the black paper.  Make 4 pairs for toddlers, 6-8 for preschoolers and 10 + for school age kids. 
  4. Flip and play!

After you play and learn (kids are always learning) with these adorable Despicable Me Halloween activities don’t forget to mark your calendar because Despicable Me 2 hits the theaters this July!  Check out some other fun FREE Despicable Me Halloween printables including treat bag toppers and pumpkin carving stencils.

 

About the film

Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s worldwide blockbuster, Despicable Me, delighted audiences around the globe in 2010, grossing more than $540 million and becoming the 10th-biggest animated motion picture in U.S. history. In Summer 2013, get ready for more minion madness in Despicable Me 2. Chris Meledandri and his acclaimed film making team create an all-new comedy animated adventure featuring the return of Gru (Steve Carell), the girls, the unpredictably hilarious minions…and a host of new and outrageously funny characters.

Visit the official website

Watch the teaser trailer for Despicable Me 2

Like Despicable Me on Facebook

I was compensated for my participation in this campaign. The crafts are my own creations.