Active Learning Activities for Boys and Girls

active learning activities for kids Some children will show a great need for kinesthetic learning while others like my son will just need a balance. After a full day of auditory and visual learning at school I like to provide that balance. He’s polite, mature and eager to learn at school ( or so they tell me). At home he tackles, bumps, shoves and begs to wrestle. I’m fine with this but I know that when I try to supplement his school day learning with more activities at home I need to make them dynamic. No matter how your child learns best giving them lots of different ways to learn will benefit them.

Here are some of our favorite active learning activities. These activities let kids move while they learn. Many are outdoor but most can be done indoor or out.

gross motor letter game for kids

Basic Letter Games

Move & Groove Letter Game
Gardening For Letters – Dig and Learn!
Sidewalk Chalk Letter Game
Build With Letters
Letters On The Go

letter activities spelling with sidewalk chalk

Word Games For Early Readers
Word Scavenger Hunt
Indoor Gross Motor Reading Game
Sidewalk Chalk Spelling Game
Sight Word Yard Clean Up!
Find & Rhyme gross motor rhyming game.

nerf gun backyard math for kids
Moving with Math
Nerf Gun Math
Water Balloon Math
Cheese Ball Math
Counting Around The House
Find & Count Bug Hunt

nature color hunt

Colors
Indoor bug hunt and color match.
Nature Color Match
iPhone Color Hunt

preschool science for kids

Not So Still Science
Egg Drop
Sound Safari
Squirt Gun Science

Simple Ways To Get Your Child Ready For School

5 ways to get your kids ready for school I am a staunch believer that kids NEED time off. They need time to dig in the dirt for no reason other than digging in the dirt but I get asked year after year to put together a list of things parents can do to get their kids ready for preschool and kindergarten. These five things are the things I would tell my own friends they should do to get their kids ready to go to or go back to school. So I am sharing it with you. Getting kids ready doesn’t have to be stressful or expensive but we do need to take time to prepare our kids.  This is just the tip of the iceberg if you want a much more in depth look at what kids really need check out my dear friend Deborah J. Stewart’s new book Ready For Kindergarten.

1. Read!

back to school

Reading doesn’t only help teach your child to read it also works on many of the other things on this list. Listening and taking turns are two obvious lessons children can learn while reading with a parent but what I love most is that reading a book can often open up a dialogue. This is so important. Opening up a dialogue like this lets kids express worries and other challenges they are facing. Try books about school to get your child to open up about how they are feeling and their needs regarding going to or back to school. Further down are more book suggestions for tougher issues like anxiety, bullying and standing up for yourself. For older children reading over the summer is imperative but if you have let it slide jump back on the reading train now so your child is ready to go back to the class with the same ability they left with.

Starting Preschool For The First Time

Kindergarten

General School Books

For the full reviews of these and more books check out our Book Section.

2. Practice Listening.

5 ways to get your child ready for preschool

If your child isn’t used to a group setting or has been out of it since the school year ended practicing listening is a great idea. It can be very challenging for young kids to wait their turn to speak especially when excited and sometimes it doesn’t matter how many times we reminded them their impulse control is just not there yet. Work on listening in fun playful ways.

 

3. Practice self reliance.

5 easy ways parents can get their kids ready for school

Open yogurt tubes, zip jackets, tie shoes etc… a good rule of thumb is to only send your kids with things they can manage themselves. Teachers are happy to help but whenever a teacher is helping a child zip a coat, tie shoes etc… that might be time away from teaching. Multiply that by 10, 15, 20 kids and it adds up.

  • Try a get ready for school obstacle course.  Line up your kids in their bathing suits and have them race to get dressed , get their shoes on , lunch put in the back pack and to the finish line. Race against the clock not each other if the skill level is drastically different.
  • Wood Lacing Sneaker for tying practice. This is almost identical to the one I learned on in 1982 and I like how stable it is.
  • I love this  Learn To Dress Monkey for practicing buttons , zippers and snaps.

4. Talk about differences, bullying and standing up for yourself .

5 simple things you can do to make sure your kids are ready for preschool

School can be an anxious place for some kids and talking about that before hand can help. The following books are some of my favorites for these subjects:

Bullying: 

School Anxiety:

Being Yourself:

Troubles with Friends:

5. Do some fun more learning activities to get into or back into the swing of things.

back to school

Being ready for school in the early years ( preschool – 1st grade ) is much less about what kids know and much more about having them ready to learn. Making sure that they are emotionally stable to be away from the home for the length of time that they will, giving them confidence and tools to handle issues, and being ready to work in a large group where their needs will not be met as immediately as they are at home.  That said doing some fun learning activities won’t hurt! Here are some of my favorites for each age group. You can also have fun by making Alphabet Crafts – my ebook is discounted for back to school.

 

  • Preschool

Magic Letters
Shape Crafts
Alphabet Playdough
Shell Math Game
Peel & Pick Alphabet Apple Tree
Counting Around The House

 

  • PreK

Silly Ways To Teach Print Awareness
Letter Sorting Tree
Shape Art
Letter Dominoes
Pattern Towers
Move & Groove Letter Game
Font Collages
Hanging Out The Wash Math Game

 

  • Kindergarten and 1st Grade

Connect The Dots Math
Sight Word Dominoes
Spelling With Beads
Paint & Read
Sight Word Game
Secret Code Math

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Hot Chocolate Math

My son loves math and adding marshmallows into the mix pretty much made this activity one of the highlights of our snow storm fun last week. You don’t have to add the contact paper but by adding it becomes reusable and I was able to quickly make the activity more challenging when my original problems were too simple. If marshmallows are not something you want to use as a manipulative try buttons, packing peanuts or cotton balls.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 3 full sheets of construction paper ( backing, cups and strips of hot chocolate), a washable marker, double stick tape, a bunch of mini marshmallows, a white crayon for the steam, scissors, a tray or cookie sheet to keep it all together and a barely damp baby wipe for erasing the marker. I like dollar store cookie sheets because they keep the manipulatives in one place and I can attach the contact paper on top .
  2. Start by drawing a mug and cutting it out. I then used it as a template for 4 more. 
  3. Tape the mugs down , add a strip of brown to suggest hot chocolate and add some stem with a white crayon.
  4. Cover with contact paper. Don’t you hate it when you make a ridge in the contact paper , the stuff is too costly to just redo it too. I dream of one day having a laminator….
  5. Using a washable marker write numbers or basic equations. I started with the ones above but as you will see had to change it to offer more of a challenge. That’s the beauty of the write and wipe surface.
  6. Add some marshmallows in a bowl and your little learner.
  7. I quickly changed 3+1 into 3-1 and the 5 into a 5+3 to test the waters.
  8. Magic of manipulatives- not a problem. Finding just the right level of challenge is a bit of trail and error. My son didn’t think he could do 9-1 but he did. That is the perfect zone when they feel unsure of success but are willing to take a chance and take on the challenge. That is when new connections are being made. This stuff excited me beyond words. 
  9. This is such a great activity because you can wipe it clean and customize it to your needs 2 months from now or right away for another learner.

 

Link & Learn – Best Of 2011

2011 was a great year for us here at No Time For Flash Cards and one of the best parts of it was how our community has grown. This linky, our facebook andpinterest pages are all thriving and it’s because of you.  I love what I do but I cherish the online community around it. Whether you are a blogger who links up , a teacher who inspires others with your creativity or a reader who participates in our sometimes ( but not usually)heated facebook topics I thank you for being a part of our year. 

This week let’s link up your best posts of 2011- feel free to add a few, I know it’s hard to just pick one.

Have a great week.

Turkey Counting – Thanksgiving Math Activity

by Kim

Stores may already have winter holiday decorations out, but fall is not over with. There is so much more time to enjoy it. Here is a fun way to incorporate learning, crafting, and turkeys. Yep, turkeys.

You will need some construction paper, glue, scissors, and markers. For a reusable (and glue-free) version of this activity use felt instead of construction paper.

Trace circles onto brown construction paper. I used a drinking glass to trace. Make a circle for each number you would like to use in this activity.

Cut out the circles and glue them onto smaller sheets of colored paper. At this point you could have your child cut and glue. I prepared all of mine ahead of time because this activity was done simultaneously with 9 children and only me. Draw little wings, feet, and turkey heads on. At the top write the number for each sheet.

Now cut out lots of feathers in an array of colors.

Now your child can read the number (or count the dots) and set out how many feathers need to be glued onto the turkey.

Let your child start gluing away. With so many small children and just me, I used glue sticks.

Have them count out the feathers to make sure they have the correct amount. Then they can be a silly turkey themselves.

This is a fun activity that helps number recognition, counting, colors, sorting, you can even do the feathers in a pattern, motor skills, and is just plain fun.

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Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It