5 Classic Outdoor Summer Games for Kids

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Children” by martinedehart is licensed under CC by 2.0

Some games are evergreen – they haven’t lost their charm or element of fun even though we played them way back in our own childhood! Come summer, and it’s the perfect opportunity to introduce them to your kids (that is, if they are not familiar with most of them already). Here you go.

Hide and Seek: First and foremost on the list. Leads to a whole lot of giggles, develops problem-solving skills and helps kids learn all about the importance of teamwork.
Hopscotch: All you need is a solid floor and a piece of chalk. Hopping on one foot is fun, helps younger children learn how to maintain balance and improves hand-eye coordination.
Marbles: Drawing a circle in the sand and trying to knock each other’s marbles out of it – it’s as simple as that. Helps to develop fine motor skills, counting ability and hand-eye coordination. (Not suitable for toddlers though).
Tag: One child assumes the responsibility of becoming the all-important ‘it’ and chases the other kids around, trying to make them ‘it’. Helps keep them physically active and fit.
Simon Says: The ‘Simon’ of the group issues instructions to the others (for example, ‘stick out your tongue’) and they are required to follow it only when preceded by ‘Simon says’.

A hint of nostalgia, anyone?

Going Beyond 'Educational' Video Games

“Video games can be very powerful stimulants to children’s brains. That’s why kids often prefer playing video games to playing outdoors or playing a board game,” says the author of The Big Disconnect Catherine Steiner-Adair, who has written about how the digital revolution profoundly impacts childhood and family relationships.

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Gaming” by JESHOOTS is licensed under CC by 2.0

As a parent, it is a good idea to take the initiative and say, choose which video game to play with your kids (not necessarily educational). The mere fact that you’ll be playing with them should be enough for the kids to agree to your choice (at least for the time being). While you’re bound to have fun and bond while playing – there’ll be moments of laughing, teasing, fighting or whoops of joy through the game - it is important to not let the child have the upper hand and emerge a winner every time though. They should get the idea that winning and losing is all part and parcel of playing.

Another positive opportunity for parents and kids to communicate freely while playing video games arises as a result of the role reversal factor which is bound to occur. Needless to say, your little one will probably be way better than you at the game. Querying about the nitty-gritties and asking open-ended questions about the game will help your kids don the role of a teacher and open up to you.

The icing on the cake? Speaking from personal experience, some video gaming sessions yield unexpectedly deep conversations with the kids without them realizing it; the game controller in their hands somehow makes it easier for them to converse.

To conclude, author Catherine Steiner-Adair couldn’t have put it better when she said: “If you have a child who loves video games, make sure they maintain their capacity to get pleasure from games that aren’t video games. What you don’t want to have is the magic of the iPad delete the magic of the playground.”

The Periodic Table Battleship Game

Most of us have played Battleship at home at some point in our lives – the opposing player has a fleet of ships that you need to destroy, with you calling ‘shots’ at your opponent’s ships. A homeschooling mom of four kids, Karyn Tripp, who has been a teacher to her children since more than seven years came up with an ingenious idea – she converted the periodic table into a Battleship game of sorts. Here’s how she went about it.

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Image courtesy: Bored Panda

Four identical copies of the periodic table were printed out and the rows labeled in an alphabetical order. Gluing each of the four to hard re-foldable cardboards or file folders, the tables took on a laptop-type of form which could be opened and pinned together at the top while playing in order to create ‘barriers’. The rules are simple: Players play by calling out coordinates, after circling rows of two, three, four and five elements to mark the positions of their ‘ships’. Whoever finds the elements first, circles it and wins the game.

“I came up with the idea because we play Battleship a lot at our house. I was studying chemistry with my kids and we were trying to think of a fun way to memorize the elements. So it just came to me!” says Karyn.

Who could’ve imagined something as exciting as Battleship and as dry as the periodic table could go so well together?

Easter Month Activity Ideas for Kids

The festive Easter fever still hasn’t died down and there are remnants of the occasion which keep popping up at home here and there – just last night I found half a decorated egg shell under the coffee table in the living room. For those of you whose kids are still reveling in the Easter holiday spirit, here are a couple of fun activity ideas for the remaining part of the month.
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Basket” by PublicDomainPictures is licensed under CC by 2.0

• Design a different colored Easter egg for each day of the month.
• Help make simple recipes for snacks. For instance, simple mini meals like tomato and cucumber sandwiches along with lemonade.
• Learn how to draw an Easter bunny. Once you’re good at it, draw it neatly on a large-sized chart paper and put it up in your room or on the door at the entrance.
• Play fun games like Easter bingo together with the entire family. Simply print out a template of the game from any of the free resources available online.
• Watch a couple of fun Easter movies like It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown or Bugs Bunny’s Easter Funnies and have a good laugh.

So long, till next year!

Homework vs. Homeschooling

There are several reasons why parents are increasingly turning to homeschooling when it comes to educating their kids. One, those who wish their kids to be imparted a rigorous education need to more often than not turn to private schools instead of public schools, an option that is not monetarily feasible in a majority of the cases. Two, homeschooling allows a child to blossom as per his strengths and weaknesses – curricula can be tweaked at will depending on the child’s proficiencies in a certain area, and everything is not just about learning by rote. Three (and this is becoming a big issue with parents and students worldwide today), the increasing burden of homework on kids is considered to be more detrimental than beneficial for their overall development.

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Board” by geralt is licensed under CC by 2.0

Experts believe that instead of sitting indoors for hours on end, poring over worksheets and math problems and what-not, children will be better equipped to tackle situations if they spend the same time outdoors in a sport, or even reading stories of their choice. Those who advocate the fact that homeschooled kids are not socially well-equipped, well, that simply doesn’t hold true in this case. Children, who spend the first half or so of their day being homeschooled in the curriculum best suited to them, then spend their early evenings with peers running and playing games are in no way lesser academically than traditionally schooled kids burdened with a humongous amount of homework on a daily basis. After all, have a look at these numbers; don’t they speak for themselves?



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brionnasimpson

Author:brionnasimpson
I am an assistant teacher and my aim is to curate unique learning tips and techniques customized towards kids.

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