Easy Word Games and More!
by Kim Jaworski, Homeschool Resource Specialist
Games and activities to practice any skills make a huge difference in retention and skill development. Nothing fancy or complicated. Just add activities to what you’re already doing. Also check out my Math Games listing. Here are some ideas we used:
FOR KIDS WHO DON’T LIKE TO WRITE- use the tiles from scrabble or banana grams to put words together. Or let them write on a window with a wipe off marker. Kids love that!
SPELLING PRACTICE THAT’S FUN- With sidewalk chalk on the driveway, make big circles with a letter in each circle. (for indoor play, you can flip a Twister Mat over and create the alphabet on the back). Then call out the words your child is working on learning one at a time and have the child hop the letters in the correct order to spell the word. If you put the letters in an order similar to a computer keyboard, they will also learn keyboard orientation. We called it “leapfrog spelling”.
BOARD TYPE GAMES- these are easy to find at second hand stores or garage sales- cheap! So be on the lookout. Boggle Junior, Scrabble junior, Upwords, Spelldown, Banana grams.
JEOPARDY BINGO- as we learned different facts, I jotted things on note cards (used them as my page markers) that would be important for the kids to remember from that lesson. Once a month we played with a bingo sheet that had squares that said things like “a spelling word” “a math fact” “science” or “history”. The child would say “science please” and I’d ask a question from my note cards. If the child got it right, they covered the space bingo-style. We played black out bingo. It was a great review and they loved it.
TOPIC TUESDAY- I avoided textbooks for the grade school years. For Science, Social Studies and the Arts we called it Topic Tuesday. Some of my clients do a variation and call it a Person-Place and Thing. Our version: each kid pulled a topic from a basket (same basket if kids are close in age, separate baskets if you have larger age diffs) and that was their topic for the week. We went to the library on Tues and they had to look for materials on their topic and check them out. We worked our way through the books, magazines and videos that week and returned them the next Tues when we arrived with our new topics.
Person/place/thing variation- you have three baskets. One has people(presidents, explorers, famous people of history), one has places (other countries or other states or whatever area you want to tackle) and one has things (volcanoes, the weather, inventions, etc). Kids pick a topic from each basket and head the library as before. You learn about a different person, different place and different thing each week.
(Full topic listing that we compiled is on my website)
I compiled the topic listing from all those school lists of what kids should learn and added more of our own. I introduced textbooks in 6th grade. My sons did college courses for 11th and 12th grade and were on the dean’s list each semester. I promise, holding off on text learning doesn’t hurt anything- I really think it helps. And the boys learned to use the library and how to look things up and how different sources give you a different perspective than just some few paragraphs in a dry text.