Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sanity in the car - backseat games

Mom, he is kicking me. 
He is being mean to me. No I am not.

He is being a baby….

I don’t want that song. I want to listen to the one that we just heard again….

Why does he always get his way? It’s not fair!

Ah, the joys of backseat bickering. Not that sibling bickering is limited to the car by any means, but in a car, there are no avenues for escape!! Anyways, deep breaths. In and out.

I am sure parents with preschoolers (or older kids) have this scenario playing in their head even while they sleep lol! 

So how DO you keep your sanity in car rides? 
On very long drives, I might succumb to electronic gadgets, but otherwise, I try not to...

When I pick up the kiddos from school, we talk about all the fun (not so fun stuff) at school. What was their best moment, worst moment, what new things did they learn that day etc etc. Or if I have some special expectations that day from them or vice versa. Negotiations for privileges usually not granted also takes place during that time.
Of course, it does not last the entire ride. 

Being a working mom, I try to engage them in fun ways and sneak in some learning and teaching; reinforcing concepts never hurt!

Counting games generally causes more ruckus than not. If I say count all the white cars, one always misses something, and other takes great delight in pointing that out. Not very peaceful. If I have only one child in the backseat, then we do counting games with school buses, concrete mixers, and other fun manly stuff. 

So I get my math fix other ways. 
  • For 5.5 year old Batman: 5 ways to make 5. All odd numbers till 30. Or even numbers. Skip count by 5s. You get the gist.
    Read the speed limits. What happens if you add 10, or take away 5.

  • For 3.5 year old Spiderman – it is simple word problems. If you have 3 candy, and you eat them all, how many is left? Of course, this only works if they don’t demand candy later, lol! Start with birds maybe, if there are 2 birds sitting in a tree, and one more joins them, or one flies away, yada yada…
    What shape is the Stop sign? How many sides does it have? Can you look for a triangle sign? How about a diamond?

 Other fun ideas:
  • Try to read all the road signs. 
  • Or identify the makes of cars. Batman is getting better at it than me. Almost. Or play a game by trying to come up with makes and models of cars from A to Z. 
  • Or try to pick up hybrids or electric vehicles.
  • Too difficult? Or maybe the kiddo is not into cars. Well, let’s go with stuff that we can find while on the road - A to Z. It is hilarious the way they try to justify some of their answers. Like refrigerator. How would you see one on the road? Well, if it was being transferred in a pickup truck, you could totally see it. How about ants? Well, just  because we can’t see them when we are in the car driving does not mean it is not there…
  • Or 10 manmade stuff they see around them, and 10 from nature….
  • Same trend, living and non-living.
  • 5 things/vehicles that go in land, air and water.
  • Identify the plants and trees around you.
  • Ask them to look for big landmarks on the way. And get them to draw a map with those landmarks later.
  • Names of animals. Start from A.  Go. Spiderman made it to J in 6 minutes or so, with lots of hint for I from big brother. Ant, Bee, Crocodile, Dog, Elephant, Fish, Gorilla, Horse, Inchworm (he got lots of clues and hints) and Jelly Fish.  We reached our destination by then. Added benefit – one engaged child, and one very empowered big brother who helped his little brother succeed!
  • One day, my two would not stop with potty humor. They are boys, what can you say? So we decided to make it more challenging my coming up (or trying to come up) with gross stuff/bodily functions from A to Z. Needless to say, we did not succeed, because Batman and Spiderman just could not stop laughing after every new word that came up with every 5-6 minutes or so in between their cackles and chortles and snorts….

My favorite game: Place a bubble in your mouth. Be absolutely quiet, so the bubble does not pop. Whoever keeps quiet longest, wins!!

Here’s to peace and quiet in the car.

What are your brain waves for sanity in the car? And no, ditching the kids don’t count.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Monstrous Fun with Hard and Soft C Card Game

I love all the Pixar/Disney Animation movies, perhaps a tad bit more than my kids :)
Have you seen Monsters University yet? I am still trying to convince Spiderman that it is NOT going to be scary and super-fun. And of course, there will be popcorn. It is slow going so far.

In the meantime, to pacify Batman (who is starting to get the hang of Uno, and wants to play card games), I thought it might be fun to make a monster themed card game with some learning!

Hence our Soft and Hard 'C' Card Game. The monsters need some help with their C sounds at school. Think you can help them out? Well then, get ready for some "Monstrous Fun at  School"!!

 This is a a freebie. So just head on over to my TpT store and grab it. Just print on card-stock, laminate, cut, and you are all set.  

There are 18 cards with hard 'c' sound...
18 cards with the soft 'c' sound...

6 cards with both soft and hard 'c' sounds...

12 gotcha cards that make you lose a turn or draw again...
 and 12 empty cards.

And if your little monsters are not quite ready to read yet, no worries. The cards all have the pictures in them. So pre-readers and emergent readers are good to go. Everyone can join in the fun.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Long and Short Of It - Vowel Sorting Cards

Spiderman has mastered the short vowel sounds. He consistently identifies the beginning sound, is nearly perfect at the ending sounds, and is getting quite good at the middle sounds...

I thought it might be fun to introduce him to the long vowel sounds, although it is a lot to remember for a 3.5 year old!  I explained to him the concept of long and short vowel sounds. Then we decided to sort the cards by their sounds. Control cards made the column headers. If the vowel says its name, it goes in the column for the long sound. I was quite amazed that he took to the concept so quickly.

 My most rewarding moment was Batman trying to teach Spiderman the concept of Bossy E. How the Bossy E makes the vowels say their name. It was hilarious, and quite rewarding...

For Batman (5.5), sorting the cards according to their vowel sound, long or short, was not much of a challenge. He wanted to make his own cards. So this set has empty cards for those who are up to the challenge. Batman was  quite happily occupied drawing, coloring, and then figuring out the spelling of the words.

With 110 cards and 20 blank cards, it is sure to keep the kiddos engaged!  There are 22 cards for each vowel, with 11 each for the short and the long vowel sounds, along with one card for each vowel sound. The cards have the vowels on them in the bottom left hand corner for easy sorting.

But the fun does not end there. There are over 20 cards with CVC words, great for beginning readers. There are some blend words, and plenty of bossy e/magic e words as well. It was a great exercise for Batman, trying to read the labels. 

The set is great for pre-readers, because although the labels are there, you don't need to read them. Just say the word out loud, decide what vowel sound you hear, and sort!!

Check out the cards here.

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