One thing I have learned from homeschooling is that children get bored with book work. I think there is value in teaching a child to be able to sit still and listen BUT the real fun in homeschooling comes in the games and activities we get to do. So, I thought I'd share some super simple and easy games I like to play with the children that are educational too. These games are very adaptable. You could use this concept with with numbers, letters, or words (to form sentences when they are a little older).
Game #1: Number Scavenger Hunt
You are basically going to make several flashcards. You could get as fancy as you wanted with these things. Some scrapbook paper might be nice and some of those fancy scissors that cut out things with cute little borders. But I, literally, made mine in 5 minutes with a child on each side of me. So excuse the sloppiness. In my 6 years of parenting I have yet to write anything legible. I like to write the number and the number words so that the child(ren) can get familiar with both the number and the word that goes with it. But you could just do the number for younger children or just the number word for older ones. Side note: I would recommend covering these in contact paper so they last longer. As you can see...I haven't got there yet.
Next send your children into the other room and hide the cards in different places. I like to hide a few in easy to find places for the little ones and then a few more difficult places for the older ones.
Then call them back in and let them look for them. I usually let them look with no hints at first and then will give them some hot/cold clues near the end. As they find them they need to put them in numerical order. That's it! Like I said, pretty easy and simple but my children just LOVE this game. They want to play it all the time.
Game #2: Find the Letter (Color or Shape)
This game is so wonderful if you have children of different ages. It can be used for children who are learning letters, shapes and colors all at the same time! I used to play this game when Lilly was 4, Luke was 3 and Brad was 2. Pick out different colors of paper and cut out a different shape from each color. Example: Pink-heart, Blue-circle, Red-square, etc. On each shape write a different letter of the alaphabet. We usually start by teaching the vowels.
Place all the shapes on the table. Now, depending on the age of the child ask them to find a certain characteristic (I guess that is the right word??) of the card. "Lilly. Find the letter Aa." "Luke. Find the blue card" "Brad. Find the star." You get the idea. This is another game that my children just love to play. Once they get a little older you could start incorporating digraphs and small words.
Game #3: Bake a Word (taken from education.com)
Lilly loves, loves, LOVES this game. My little girl loves to bake and so this is right up her alley.
I tried to find the directions for this game on education.com but couldn't find them. So I hope I explain this clearly!
Take your foam paper and cut enough squares so you have two of each letter of the alphabet. Uhh...so I guess that would be 52. :) Use different colors. Be fun! We made our vowels all white so they would be a little easier to find but do whatever you want. After you've cut them out write your letters on them and put them all in a big mixing bowl.
Next you want to make a "menu" for your little baker. (which is simply a paper with a list of words on it but if you wanted to get really into it you could make a cute little menu on your computer) This all depends on how much your child is reading at this point. We started with simple short vowel words. Cat, Dog, Sit, Hop, Pet, etc. You wouldn't have to, but John even made up some paper money on the computer so we could pay after our purchase. :)
Now comes the fun part! Get your bowl of letters, a mixing spoon or rubber spatula, your menu and a paper plate (a few if others are playing too) and take them to the table. Dress your little baker up in an apron, give her some pot holdres, whatever you can think of. We even made a sign that said "Lilly's Bakery" to hang up!
As the customer, you come up to the table and she hands you the menu and you get to choose your order. "Hi, Lilly. I'd like to order CAT please" Her job is to stir her little bowl and find the letters C-A-T and place them on the plate. Order complete!
I love the flexibility of this game. As the child gets older you can use harder words and eventually make sentences (using words on your foam paper instead of letters).
I hope I explained everything well enough! If there are any questions feel free to ask. I just love doing things with the children that are fun and educational. (especially if they are easy to prepare!) I hope these games give you homeschoolers some ideas and for those of you who don't I hope it will give some ideas for what to do on those rainy days!