Friday, August 30, 2019

Games for Brains: Zeus on the Loose

Playing Time: 10-20 min
Players: 2-5


Overview:
Zeus on the Loose is a game I bought for Xander a few years ago. It's a relatively simple card game that is good for elementary math skills.  You add cards to the discard pile (Mount Olympus) and have to say the new total of the cards.  You get to steal Zeus when the total reaches a multiple of 10, you match the previous card, or one of the god cards lets you. You want to end the game with Zeus to win. While we liked the game, it is one that we have kind of grown out of for the time being.  Xander has mastered addition and multiples of 10.  He's moved on to more difficult math, plus he tends to prefer some of our more challenging games. That means this is a game we probably won't play all that often until Archer gets a little older.


Brain Value:
Great for elementary math skills.  Includes addition and multiples of 10.  The god cards bring in some strategy and the booklet includes information about each of the gods.



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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Ice Painting


 
While summer coming to an end, it was time to get in some ice painting.  I froze some water with a three drops of food coloring in each compartment of the ice cube tray (could have probably used less). I used a star tray, because my little guy is obsessed with stars.

To make things easier, I used a poster board rather than regular paper, but any kind of paper would work fine. Then we headed out into the sunshine!
I was really surprised that he didn't mind the cold.  He wanted to carry the stars around! 
Archer is little enough, he just used his hands to smear the ice around.  An older kid could use popsicle sticks (even frozen right into the cubes).

Monday, August 26, 2019

Color Vocabulary 3 Part Cards

Last week I shared the Colored Food 3 Part Vocabulary Cards.  Since I had the cards and Little Reader lessons to go with a lot of the colors, I decided to go ahead and make cards/lessons for the remaining colors, even if they weren't food related. I made cards for blue, gray and pink (I already have black and white and rainbow colored).

You're welcome to print the cards free HERE.




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Friday, August 23, 2019

Games for Brains: Santorini


Playing Time: 10-20 min
Players: 2-4 (seems best with 2)

Overview:
I've been working to find good 2 player games to play with Xander while Archer sleeps (or for date nights with my husband since getting out with kids is hard!). This game is fantastic for it!  It is essentially a strategy game, where you have to try to get one of your little guys up to the third level, while preventing your opponent from doing the same.  The base game is easy to learn and quick to play, while being challenging enough to hold our interest.  It also has additional God cards you can play with that give you different play powers, making the game more interesting. The God powers come in two different levels of difficulty and provide a fun way to mix it up.  While we have only had it a couple of months, I'd say it is definitely one of my favorites to play with Xander. I'm hoping to add the Golden Fleece Expansion for his birthday or Christmas.


Brain Value:
First of all, the strategy of the game provides some great abstract thinking! Then, all the God cards are based on Greek gods.  You don't actually get to learn much about the gods, but since Xander LOVES all Greek and Roman mythology, it was a nice bonus to the game. When the different cards are in play, you definitely need to adjust your strategy to accomodate the new powers.


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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

DIY Color Matching Eggs

I love being able to recycle or repurpose things, so I had fun making these color matching eggs.  I used some left over Easter eggs and some left over white felt.  I cut the felt into some odd shapes and then used fabric glue to attach little felt circles to the eggs.
For a little extra fun, I cut an egg carton in half to put the eggs in.  Archer loves opening it up and taking all the eggs out.




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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Tot School Curriculum for Color Themes & Organizer


Last week I posted about my Tot School Goals for Archer, as we start doing more formal activities.  As I was getting myself organized, I realized it would be helpful to gather a list of all of the materials I needed as we headed into Color Themes.  "Curriculum" is such a big word, but it does seem like the most convenient.

Archer will be about 15-18 months as we do our color themes. I'll come back and add to this list as needed

Books
We have lots of books that teach colors, plus I'll probably get several from the library over the weeks.  (You can never read too many books!!) I plan to rotate them over the weeks. The three I listed are already Archer's favorites, so we will likely read these a lot!

Toys and Games
A lot of kids toys are brightly colored, so we will probably do a weekly toy bin in the theme color.  Here are some other color sorting toys we have that we will use along the way (although tot school color themes could definitely be done without them, so no need to rush out and buy a bunch of color sorting toys specifically).
 
Printables


Little Reader
Art/Sensory Play
Theoretically, I plan to do a different sort of sensory activity each week.  Art is also great fine motor practice! Some activities might require other things, but these are the basics.
  • Play dough
  • Markers, crayons, paint, Do a Dot Markers, etc.
  • Food coloring - I have both liquid and gel
  • Liquid water colors - I have not actually used these yet. They're supposed to be better for than food coloring for rice, pasta, playdough, etc.
Printable Organizer
To get myself ready, I made this Tot School Organizer. It let me organize each week by theme and provides a list of toys and books I need to gather. I also included my goals, so I make sure they're all covered.  There's a place to remind myself of things I needed to buy or prep, or check out from the library.

You're welcome to print and use it, if you find it helpful!

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Monday, August 19, 2019

Colored Foods 3 Part Cards


One of my Tot School Goals is to expose Archer to lots of vocabulary words.  What I found effective when Xander was little was making 3 Part Cards (a Montessori idea) and a corresponding Little Reader lesson. Since I am doing Color Themes and Archer LOVES food, I decided to put together vocabulary materials of different colored foods.

I made sets of both cards and Little Reader lessons for red, yellow, green, brown, orange, white and purple.

Here's an example for yellow:




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Friday, August 16, 2019

Games for Brains: Q-Bitz


Q-Bitz
Playing Time: 15-25 min
Players: 2-4
Overview:
In this game there is a card and trays that have little cubes.  The cubes have different designs on them and you use them to recreate the image on the card. You compete against other players to see who can create each design the fastest.  There are three types or rounds.  One where everyone just makes the image on the card, one where you have to roll the cubes until you get the designs you need and one where you only get to see the design card for a short period of time and have to recreate the image from memory. I like that this game is easy to teach and play, so we can get it out with non-gamer friends and family and everyone can still enjoy it.


Brain Value:
We have been wanting to work on Xander's visual spacial skills and this is a great game for it!  Figuring out how to make the designs with the cubes is wonderful visual practice.  Recreating them from memory makes it even more challenging!  He has gotten much better at creating the correct design on the first try, but he is still working on improving his speed.


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