10 Math Card Games

It isn’t shocking that math skills are built by repetition. It is also well known facts that we remember having fun and if we are learning at the same time, we remember that too! In that spirit here are some fun math games to play with your kids! All you need is a standard deck of cards. You will have learning and quality time! Can’t beat that!

1)Multiplication Math War: Flip cards and who ever yells out the multiplication fact first wins the cards!

2)Guess my number: Basically 20 questions. Are you a factor of 10? Are you higher than 3?

3)Make the highest number: Deal out 4 cards. Who ever can make the highest total (using addition or multiplication) wins.

4)Go Fish Add Up/Subtract Down: This is great for preschool kids. If you have a four you could ask for a 5 or a 3. Teaches number orser.

5)Largest pile: Come up with a total goal (say 20) then deal out cards evenly among the players and who ever can get to 20 with the largest amount of cards wins. You can chose addition and/or subtraction.

6) Addition Math War: Flip cards and who ever yells out the addition fact first wins the cards.

7) Factor Family: Deal out 5 cards and the first person who can make a factoring relationship with all 5 wins. Say you get a 2, 3, 5, 10 and 6. You could go obvious and say 1800 (all multiplied together) or go a bit smoother with 60. 10 time 6 is 60 and 5, 3, and 2 are factors. The lowest number wins because that is the best factoring relationship.

8) Skip Series Rummy: Like regular rummy but instead of runs (1,2,3) or groups of 3 you are looking for skip runs (2, 4, 6, or 1, 3, 5).

9) Sum 10 memory: Instead of looking for boring pairs you are looking for pairs that add up to 10.

10)Make up a math sentence: You are dealt a card. You must make up a math sentence that results in that number. Round 2 is to deal out 2 cards. 1 card is the answer to the math question and 1 is in it.

Spring Break Fun

I was trying to figure out what I was talking about this week on my TV spot for next week. The producer on the show suggested great travel things to do during Spring Break. I had to think about it and then had to confess, we do not and will not vacation during Spring Break;).

If you are a home body like we are you can still find plenty to do over Spring Break!!! Some things are just fun but they all have an element of learning!

1) Visit the library!!! No, not just to check out books but do that while you are there;). Almost every library system has activities for all ages! The Fresno County Library system always has great shows and activities. All you have to do is look on the website and see which branch is doing what when.

2) Get some great books! Ok, we love to read here in the NerdFamily and I cold go on forever extolling the virtues of it. But seriously, get a book with a great story and put on a play with it!!! It helps kids to learn how to fully comprehend the plot line when they are going to stage it in a little production!

3) Have a day of paper airplane creation! Not only is it a great way to use up scratch paper, it is all science!! As they figure out how to manipulate the wings, nose and body they are learning the science of aerodynamics!

4) Color some carnations! Get light colored or white carnations. Then place then in glasses of water that you have added food coloring to. Ask the kids what they think will happen and wait. Not only will you have custom spring flowers, you will also see the capillaries at work!

5) Go cloud watching! You can use this handy cloud deciphering tool that Full of Great Ideas made to go with it. Not only can you make up stories and characters in the clouds but they are learning actual earth science. We learned cloud types in the classroom and due to that I can never remember which one it which;). By learning cloud types in the wild (so to speak) it will be in everyone’s memory for ever!

6) Go to your local zoo! My kids love the Fresno Chaffee Zoo! You see the animals, learn quite a bit and get some exercise!

Of course you should also cook with your kids, watch movies and sing songs too! But hopefully these 6 are a good start!

Ruckus Reader Giveaway

Ok, we all know how much I love my tech with my tablets and apps. Well, I can’t be totally selfish. I occasionally will share with my kids. And if I am going to share my toys they will be learning something (homeschooling mantra;)! But I haven’t found a lot of the reading apps to be very educational. But I love Ruckus Media and their apps so I was very stoked to get a chance to review the Ruckus Reader Apps for iPad with my 5 year old (as of yesterday), NerdPud.

As I said, I am a bit of a reading app cynic. I tend to find them to be extremely easy or extremely hard and neither is something that will actually help my last child to learn how to fluently read. But I thought if nothing else she would have fun. Well, I am very happy to have been wrong. She loves it and she is learning!!!!

The first time we cracked open any of the Ruckus Reader apps was at the dentist. We opened up the My Little Pony level 1 book while we were waiting for the other kids to get done with their cleanings. She starts giggling in anticipation and frankly, who doesn’t love that giggle;)? We chose to have it read to her but she still got an opportunity to do word recognition and a reading too. The art is great and book choices are phenomenal! There are just enough activities for the kids to do within the story so that they never become bored and tune out. And every time we are using any of the Ruckus Reader apps her older siblings (who all read well) want to come watch instead of reading their own books they picked out.

The fact you can choose either to have the app read the story to you or not really helps make this a very versatile app. My 6 year old really enjoyed reading and playing the Transformers level 3 book but didn’t need it to read it to him. I also love the fact that you can record some one else reading the story. I would do more of that if I actually left my iPad when I traveled (but alas, I am not that nice;).

Of course part of the perks of reviewing an app is that I usually get all the paid features. And there are some good ones that come with the paid iLibrary subscription. I really like the Reading Meter reports that I get emailed to me! It means that I can allow the kids to play with the app without having to completely hover over them to see how much they get right or understand. It gives them a little space but leaves me in the position to be fully aware, the best of both worlds. I also like having access to all the books. And both those things come with the paid iLibrary subscription.

A review wouldn’t be balanced without some cons. The one I really see it that I wish there was some books that are a little more simple, like bob books. Because these are all character driven some of the names are hard and even the level 1 books are challenging to a new reader. It isn’t a horrible thing but something I feel the apps could use. Since NerdPud has been reading the Bob books I thought she would do a little better with the level 1 books but with the Transformers and the like, she didn’t do very well in reading along. She did ok at the activities but I was hoping for the actually reading to be easier. It isn’t a deal breaker but not everything can be perfect;).

On the whole if you are looking for a premium app for reading I would definitely recommend Ruckus Reader. And on that note…..

I have some subscriptions to giveaway!!!! The folks over at Ruckus Media have graciously decided to giveaway 1 six month iLibrary subscription and 2 one month iLibrary subscriptions!

To enter you must register for free with Ruckus Reader then come back and let me know that you have done it by leaving me a comment! Make sure you leave your email so I can contact you if you win.

After you register there are some things you can do for extra entries! Leave a separate comment for each one that you do.

This giveaway will close on June 26, 2012 and the winners will have 24 hours to respond.

(Disclosure: I did receive the Ruckus Reader app and iLbrary subscription from Ruckus Media to review. All opinions and words are mine and mine alone!)

Journaling Paradise: A Guest Post

What does journaling have to do with paradise?

It’s common to think of keeping a journal as a place where we can reflect on our experiences. Very often, it’s the place where we do a lot of sighing and moaning about hard times or difficult situations. We can freely complain about other people or rail against society and our fate. The journal is beloved for providing an outlet and a way for us to cope.

But besides reflecting on your past or present, a journal can be useful for creating your future.

Surely you’ve heard the advice to have a plan before you act. We’re taught to make specific plans when we take a trip or begin a project of any sort. It’s best if your planning includes writing out the steps one by one in as much detail as possible. Enumerate all the steps necessary to arrive at your destination or achieve your goal.

Here’s a really curious fact about planning, though. You have to know what you’re going for in order to make a plan. You have to be able to articulate your goal.

So why not use your journal as a planning tool, now and then? Spell out your dream, and identify the steps you can take to realize it.

First, spend as much time as you wish making a clear image of where you want to end up. 30 pounds lighter? Busy at work as a professional? In love? Write the comprehensive description of what that goal looks like. Push to eek out every detail of the picture.

Second, write about where you are now. Do not take so long with this. Let it be a brief post summarizing your current state of mind and body.

Third, list the steps that will be required in order to get from where you are now to your goal. This will likely take the most time. Do not feel pressured. Describe each step carefully, and make note of your emotional reactions to each one as you work through them.

This is all just writing (plus collaging, or doodling, or whatever) so far. You haven’t actually done anything else. But by putting your goal out there so clearly, you automatically bring it far closer to you. If you persevere, suddenly you’ll realize you are already on the road to fulfillment. You’re taking the small steps that are the start of your journey.

Now here’s the real reason I’m writing this post: I would love to interest you in journaling your image of paradise.

Whatever other goals you may have, maybe you should spend at least some time on your ultimate goal. What constitutes your idea of perfection? Consider the question on various levels: what would be perfect for you when it comes to:

• Your job
• Your family
• Your lover
• Your vacation
• Your highest achievement

And what about paradise itself? I mean the final paradise? What’s your idea of heaven? If you wish to go there, doesn’t it make sense to make a plan, just as you’ve always been taught?

What does paradise look and feel like? Your journal knows!

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Mari L. McCarthy, journaling therapy specialist and author, owns Create Write Now, a website dedicated to all things journaling. The site includes hundreds of journaling prompts, personal journaling stories, interviews, a blog, and many other resources. Mari publishes many ebooks and e-workbooks to help journalers accomplish amazing things. She also conducts online Challenges, and you won’t want to miss her upcoming Start Journaling and Change Your Life in 7 Days Challenge, June 4-10.

Birdfeeders Even Toddlers Can Do!

I am not a crafty mom but these cheerio based bird feeders are super easy!!!

The one with the washer is merely a string with the washer on the bottom. You tie it where you want it! The others are just pipe cleaners that are looped together! There are few more details in the video;).

Passover is Here and Here are Resources!

Article first published at Label Daddy.

Passover is the celebration of God taking the Jews out of Egypt! The final plague was the Angel of Death taking the lives of the first borns in Egyptian households. Jewish homes that had the lamb’s blood on the door frame was passed over untouched. Get it? Passed over, Passover;)!

Are you celebrating Passover this year? Do you need some resources? Well, let me share a few!

Aish.com has great resources for all Jewish holidays, not just Passover! I always find great recipes, poignant pieces, and videos over there. A key post of theirs on Passover isHaggadah: An Introduction.

Another resource isn’t really information but food! I am now gluten free so Yehuda’s Gluten Free Matzo page is pretty awesome. You can see all the gluten free Passover options and order from them if you want to (but I have seen the boxes of matzo at Whole Foods). But when it comes to the actual Seder dinner the Chabad has a piece on what kind of matzo is really acceptable (it seems complicated).

Do you have a Haggadah? Looking for one you would like more? Uncle Eli has a kids version. I wouldn’t use it alone but it is entertaining and would print it for the kids to have at their seats. Looking for something a little more mature;)? Check out About.com’s Judaism page. They have a ton of options and a summary about each one.

There are some resources to get you going! Anything else you are looking for? Let me know in the comments and I will see what I have for you.

Happy Passover!

Free Poetry Month Resources!

Graphic of Jack Prelutsky from Scholastic's Page!

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? It is and as always there is a wealth of free resources out there to teach your kids about poetry! And I mean kids of all ages!!!!

Scholastic has a ton of activities for kids k-12. There are workshops, printables and prompts but it all starts with a reading from Jack Prelutsky!

The Shel Silverstein site has a ton of resources from mini units to single printable pages. They have simple printables under kids and a ton more (including this and last year’s poetry month packs) under educators. 1 warning about the site, it pops up with music and you have to click through a few pages to get to anything.

Poets.org has a variety of units available. They were all created by secondary teachers. It also has poems to teach with some of them even being read to you!

Do you like poetry? I loved Shel Silverstein growing up and gotten his books from the library for my kids. But honestly, other than to answer trivia questions, I don’t know much about poetry. So I look forward to learning about this with my kids! Go get your literature arts on and teach your kids to enjoy poetry!

By the way, make sure you check back because later in the month I will be reviewing some poetry apps too!

Recycle, Reuse and Educate

Gorgeous right?

It isn’t hard to take this scrap of wrapping paper and get not only a great fine motor skill lesson but some great kids crafting!

Who?Comics App

Thank you to who?Comics for sponsoring this post and encouraging my child to read biographies in comic book form! Please click here to learn more about the app. And follow who? Comics on Twitter for updates

As you all know, I am a big fan of reading and an even bigger fan of learning! So you can just imagine how excited I was to  receive the opportunity to use the who?Comics app on my iPad with my kids!

Who?Comics is a free app and it comes with 2 books. There are 27 other books available for purchase. Some are sold individually but there are also packs available.  Which of course, are a better deal;). So I got the Scientists pack (surprise, surprise;).  Right off we checked out Marie Curie and Thomas Edison!

Here is a little detail you should know going in. These comics are not the super quick, over view type comics. There are 150 pages of details about the subject’s personal life. Which means it isn’t a quick read! I was very familiar with Marie Curie and I learned so much! NerdPie and I even cried at 2 different spots.

So what is my overall feel? Well, I love the idea of having these on the iPad for easy access! The art is clear and the story line moves at a good clip. This isn’t going to be a situation where you can read the whole thing in the doctor’s waiting room and that can be a good thing. This app was developed over seas and so there are a few translation issues. Due to that and the fact that these really deal with real life situations, I would make sure you child is near you when they read them. I had to explain about certain illnesses and certain historical events that were mentioned in the books we read. There was an assumption that the kids understood everything but mine had quite gotten there yet. (For example, why and how Poland was being occupied By Russia and how they weren’t supposed to speak Polish.)

My kids thoroughly enjoyed these comics! My kids are even asking for books from the library so they can learn even more! Both about the people in the stories and the science they discovered!

Thank you again to who? Comics for sponsoring my post. Please click here to learn more about the app. Visit who? Comics for updates. I was selected for this opportunity by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own. #CleverWhoComics #spon

Frugal Homeschooler: Fraction Help

Here in the NerdFamily we are having fraction issues. The NerdBug and NerdPie basically understand them but haven’t gotten used to using them so there is a constant reminder lesson going on. We are really having challenges in multiplying, dividing, and reducing. So I have decided we need some dedicated fraction time! And why pay for a book when you know there have to be some great resources out there? Here are some of the awesome things I found!

Home School Math has some great worksheets! They have free worksheets that will work on multiplying and dividing factions (and mixed numbers) along with another option that works on reducing! Just scroll part way down the page of worksheet options to find it!

One of my all time favorite sources for fact math sheets, The Math Worksheet Site, also has a generator for reducing fractions.

Dositey has a great Fraction Mystery Game. The kids match the numbers to the clues. Not only is it great fraction practice but problem solving and that will help with algebra in the future.

CoolMath4Kids has a section explaining how to work the fractions. And then at the bottom they have a couple great games!

Hopefully these resources will help your kids either learn fractions for the first time or help them just hone their skills! Remember that education doesn’t have to be expensive!