Category Archives: games

Why you shouldn’t homeschool

If you haven’t read about why you shouldn’t homeschool (by a homeschooling mom), you have to read it.  Be ready to laugh, because she goes through all the reasons that non-homeschooling people mention as to why we shouldn’t do it.

Acting out one of our many plays.  Pink Panther is playing the part of one of the nephews of Thystes

Acting out one of our many Greek plays. Pink Panther is playing the part of one of the nephews of Thystes

Why play is important for babies and toddlers

     [click here to find toddler games]

Play might not be the first thing on your list when you’re busy changing dirty diapers and getting up for 4 AM feedings. However, even the smallest forms of play early on are important for your baby’s development.

Simple forms of play are ideal for babies and toddlers. It gives them a developmental boost that helps them the rest of their lives. Plus, what’s more fun than making babies laugh?

Play Starts At The Beginning

Play begins from day one. While your newborn can’t play with toys and run around like a toddler would, they still benefit from being talked to and shown new things. To them, this is play because it’s helping them to discover the world around them. This early form of play helps form a foundation for them to continue learning and socializing.

Play Affects Social, Emotional And Mental Development

  • Splashing in water while taking a bath helps develop basic motor skills
  • Reading to your child helps develop their language skills, even before they can speak
  • Playing with crayons helps toddlers start learning how to write and comprehend
  • Puppet shows start teaching important social skills

While these might seem minuscule, they’re major milestones for babies and toddlers as they learn to thrive in the world around them. Play isn’t just something kids do for fun, especially at this young of an age. Play is a type of exploration that helps them develop emotionally, socially and mentally.

Play Boosts Brain Development

A shocking 75% of brain development happens after birth. This is why play for babies and toddlers matters. The earlier you start, the better it is for their development. Babies are eager to learn any and everything. After all, they start as a blank slate and it’s up to you to help them develop through playful interactions.

Play Is How Kids Grow

Think of early play like school. Each grade builds upon what a child learned in the previous grade. The same goes with play. The types of games change over time, but that’s just because they’re building on the skills they have already developed from earlier forms of play.

Remember, it’s never too early for children to start playing. Whether it’s playing with you or themselves, play is a vital developmental tool.

SimplyFun blog

[link to this article]

How Young Children Are Wired To Learn From Play

Having fun and playing is actually educational.
   You already know children love to play, but did you know that young children are actually wired to learn from play?
   Play isn’t just something enjoyable for kids. It’s a vital educational tool that helps with their lifelong development. Their brains are made to experience the world in a playful way.
   Children are born with 100 billion neurons. During the first few years of life, the brain goes through a variety of changes as children go through various experiences. As children begin to learn new things, the number of synapses per neuron increases, going from 2,500 to around 15,000 by age 3. 
   The way children form these vital connections is important. For instance, in one study, children who were given specific instructions on how to interact with a toy only learned one thing that the toy did and they became bored quickly.
   The second group of children were allowed to freely play and experiment with the toy. The result was an exploration of all the things the toy could do and highly engaged children. 
   To read more about important learning windows, how children are wired to learn from play and how unstructured play is an important companion to structured learning, visit the SimplyFun blog article, “How Young Children Are Wired To Learn From Play”.

Hands-on learners

Some children learn better when their hands are busy.  The Homeschool Mom recommends Wrap-ups for math:

“Wrap-Ups are grooved plastic cards with threads that learners use to trace from a multiplication fact to its solution.  There is a separate card for each math fact family.  You can check your answer by flipping the card over to see if the way you arranged the thread indicating answers matches the guide on the back.

“Wrap-ups sound complicated and hard to imagine, but they were something the kids picked up on with little or no instruction from me and practiced on their own.

“Wrap-ups are more tactile than traditional flash cards and stood up to use by three different kids widely spaced apart.  This was one of those homeschool purchases I felt good about years later.”

CedarStone Children’s Books sells Wrap-ups for addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, and even state capitals! 

12th-graders who cannot read

Since 1983, more than 1 MILLION Americans reached the 12th grade without having learned to read at a basic level.

Don’t wait till your child is in 12th grade and cannot read; do something today to help him…no matter his age.  If he’s just starting to read, get him the My First Reading Library set, a fun collection of 50 books that begins with the easiest books (a normal page of text for mom to read followed by a few phonics words for the child to read, keeping the story moving along while enjoying snuggle time with mom.), then escalate to phonics and a couple sight words, getting more and more complicated till he’s finished all the books and is now on track to read any book that stirs his imagination!

If he’s older, his problem isn’t that he doesn’t know what sounds the letters make; it’s more that he doesn’t enjoy reading books anymore.  Reading stopped being snuggle time and became school time, so he stopped caring enough to practice.

Also, the books became boring.  Most of the functionally illiterate 12th-graders are boys because we expect boys to read the same type of books that girls (like Mom) enjoy reading, but boys may not want those kind of books.  If Mom likes novels full of character development and relationships, she may have been unconsciously choosing that type of book when choosing something for her son, whether he wanted them or not.  Most women don’t care for stressful blood & guts books, whereas boys do.  That’s not good or bad; it’s just a fact.  If your boy enjoys hero comic books, violent video games, and scary movies, he isn’t going to enjoy Twilight.  Give him books full of action & adventure or danger.  He won’t faint at the descriptions of blood and guts.  

You’ll have to read them to him at first if his reading level is very low, but when you read a chapter each night to him, he’ll begin to enjoy the story and books again.  Sticker books can also help lure him back to reading, but he may be too old for stickers if he’s in high school.


Dinosaur Challenge (game with cards; avg. play time 10 minutes)

My very first Dinosaurs book

Feathered Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs (Peterson field guide coloring book)

Apatosaurus puzzle

Shine-a-Light Dinosaurs

Would you rather have the teeth of a Tyrannasaurus or the armor of an Anklyosaurus?

Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs

Baby dinosaurs with big eyes (9-piece puzzle with pegs)