Is it hard to keep your kids’ attention in your homeschool?
Do you struggle to make learning fun?
If you answered yes to either of these questions, I completely understand.
I’ve always believed that kids retain more when they are interacting with the subject being studied. Plus, competition in games usually motivates kids to remember the material. This was especially true for my son. Hunter wanted to keep playing a game until he was the winner.
If you have sons, I’m sure you can relate!
My kids wanted to have fun learning, so I was always searching for the best learning games for kids.
Some years we had enough money to buy specific games for topics we were studying. Other years, we didn’t have that much money. So, I used simple, creative, learning games for kids that I could make at home. I’ve also used these in El Salvador to review memory verses. Let’s take a look at some of our favorites.
Balloon Memory Game
Kids love this game because there is so much fun activity. Moms & teachers love this game because it’s a great review game for any topic you are studying. How does it work.
1. On slips of paper, write down questions & answers for topic studied. Or any other review items, such as vocabulary words/definitions or ordering a list.
2. Insert the slips of paper in balloons.
3. Blow up the balloons & tie.
4. Let your kids pop the balloons.
5. Kids match questions and answers or vocabulary words with definitions or putting in order a list or putting items under specific groups.
In El Salvador we use this game to review memory verses. The verse is broken into phrases. Each phrase is inserted into a balloon. Once the team pops all the balloons, they must put the verse phrases in correct order.
If you have a large group, you can have a team competition to see which team completes their verse or assignment fastest. If it’s just your family, let the kids pop as many balloons as they can.
To make group balloon games easier, follow these tips:
– Use colored paper for your paper slips
– Each team has the same colored paper slips (Team 1-yellow, Team 2 – red, Team 3- blue)
– Use balloons that are the same color as the colored paper slips. In the image below, you can see that each table/team has the same colored balloons. The colored slips of paper match the balloon color. When a balloon accidentally floats away, it’s easy to know which team it belongs to.
On the back of dominoes, you will place words or phrases. These words will be used to match, list or order. It’s similar to the balloon game. We’ve also used dominoes to review memory verses by writing words/phrases on the back of dominoes.
Once you have the words on the back of each domino, place the dominoes on the table with the dots upward. Shuffle around the dominoes to mix them up. Countdown to let the kids start (3-2-1).
Kids turn over the dominoes and match / list / order the words & phrases. In El Salvador, the kids put the phrases in order of the memory verse. The team who correctly put the words in order first was the winner.
Other ideas for using dominoes to review:
Match states & capitals
Math facts with solutions
Geometric shapes with names
Vocabulary words with definition (in any subject area)
Putting animals in correct animal group
Sorting parts of speech (words on dominoes must go under headings of noun, verb, adjective, adverb or any other grammar concept)
You get the idea . . .
Lego Duplos Review Game
Using a dry erase marker write math facts on the sides of legos or duplos. (Duplos are easier for this game because they are larger) Write the solution on other legos. Jumble up the legos.
Let your kids match the math fact with the solution by placing the solution lego on top of the math fact.
You can also stack items in a group such as parts of speech or animal groups and so forth.
When I taught school, my kids loved this game. It does take a little more prep work but it’s worth the effort. You may use this for any & all subject areas.
To make this simple, you can use a whiteboard and write your headings directly on the whiteboard. Along the top of the board write the topics you will review. If you are reviewing all subjects, you can write math, grammar, history, science.
Along the left side of the board, write the points value such as 100, 200, 300, 400, 500.
You can use envelopes for pockets. On each envelope pocket, write the number of points awarded for answering that question correctly. For our example, you’ll need 4 envelopes with 100 written on it, 4 envelopes with 200 and so on. Tape each envelope in the correct row.
Now it’s time to write review questions on index cards. On the back of each card, write the answer. Place each question in a pocket. Place the easier questions in the smaller points value; harder questions receive larger number of points.
Divide into 2 teams, taking turns to choose a question to answer.
When it is the student’s turn, they choose a topic and points value. Mom (or teacher) reads the question in that pocket. If answered correctly, that team receives the number of points on the envelope/pocket. If not, mom gives the correct answer.
Play moves back and forth, from team to team. The team with the most points wins.
With Easter right around the corner, try playing games with those cheap Easter eggs. I wrote a blog post on how you can use Easter Eggs in your homeschool with several learning games for kids. You can find it right here.
As a former public school teacher and homeschool mom, I highly recommend using learning games to help your students retain information.
Question: What other learning games with kids do you use? You can leave a comment by clicking here.