Ultimate Tic Tac Toe

My 12 year old and I have found another game to play together. We’re playing ultimate tic tac toe. There’s probably lots of variations on the rules out there, but the way we are playing it we have three layers of tic tac toe boards, buried within each other. It is probably easiest for me to explain the rules if I start with describing how nine-board game of tic tac toe works. Then you have two layers of tic tac toe boards. Someone draws an X or O on one of the smaller boards and where that person placed their Continue reading

my experience and plans teaching with Minecraft

My kids and I are eagerly working on our minecraft server these days. We build scenes and then add non-player-characters (NPCs) the scripts of which we write using a plugin called Betonquest. The boys built a fairy kingdom full of mushroom houses. With their help, I wrote up conversations for the fairies based on Shakespeare’s fairies in A Mid Summer’s Night Dream. We added a nine men’s morris board built of a grass path, like the “the quaint mazes in the wanton green” that the Shakespeare’s Titania had said was “for lack of tread are undistinguishable.” For each snippet of Shakespeare Continue reading

Three Word Games For Kids and Parents to Play Together

We have a couple of word games we love here, that I thought I would share. Word Game #1. “… that, isn’t that…?” This game is played by someone pretending to not know the meanings of words. It might start with someone saying, “Pizzas, those are those things you use for climbing up high, isn’t it?” If the other person doesn’t quickly call out “ladders” then you add a few more hints. “You should have someone holding the bottom of the pizza while you climb, and its bad luck to walk under one.” If the other person does call out Continue reading

3D tic tac toe and spatial reasoning

I pulled out the 3-D tic tac toe frame again. Our frame has three layers of wood with indents to hold marbles. The kids and I played with it in a couple of ways. We played the game, but then we made patterns with the different colored marbles on it. I pulled out some paper and we experimented with drawing the board. My six year old started by drawing the frame, but then switched to drawing the three separate platforms side by side. He made a couple of different patterns. The one I’m showing here involves a blue triangle being Continue reading

Picture Books about Magical Sea Adventures, and the games the books can turn into.

I love approaching things from multiple points of view. I love cooperative games and activities, and encouraging the children in divergent thinking and problem solving, and I love looking for activities that will work with a variety of ages. So I was pleased the other day to find that these three books inspired some creative fun, and I thought I’d share our ideas with you. Links are affiliate links. A Sea-Wishing Day – written by Robert Heidbreder and illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton This story in verse tells a child’s imagined adventure ending with the child asserting: But Skipper and Continue reading

Card game for practicing multiplication and order of operation

“Mom, let’s play more math games,” my eight year old said and I wondered what games to suggest that would pose some level of challenge to him.  I came up with the basis for this game and he helped me refine the rules. Make the Number Game Rules Set-up: – Use number cards, no face cards. – Choose a target number. I recommend 100 as a starting number. – Each player draws 7 cards. At the end of every turn, draw-up till you have seven cards. – Players may have a piece of scrap paper for scribbling down ideas while Continue reading

A Logical Graph Game

We made a new logic game. In it we drew a graph using circles and lines, and throughout this blog entry when I refer to a graph I’m refering to the type of mathematical graph used in graph theory, representing objects and the links between them, though you don’t need to know anything about graph theory to play the game. These are the rules: You have to put Xs and Os into the circles and the lines told the relationship between two connected circles. If the line has a heart next to it then the connected circles had the same symbol in it. If the Continue reading

Playful disobedience

Yesterday my eight year old gleefully told me he was going to break the rules. He was going to draw inside the 45 triangle he was using to do his geometry work despite the fact the workbook says that is forbidden!! oooh, the horror! Obviously there is disobedience and there is disobedience and I actually like to encourage the silly harmless forms of disobedience.  His playfulness yesterday reminded me of some of the games we’ve played over the years. Here are two of the kid’s favorites: The Go-Away Game This one is a bit embarrassing to play in public, but we do Continue reading

Four Preschool Math Games

My almost three year old is at the fun point where she’s interested in numbers. She’ll count to herself “1, 2, 8, 10.” She’ll identify when there are two of something. She’ll put on a watch and wear it around all day announcing regularily that it is 9:00, and suddenly suprise herself by recognizing the number 1 written on the watch. She’ll roll dice and announce numbers (occasionally correct but more often wrong). She knows numbers are out there she just doesn’t understand exactly what they are. There are (free, no-equipment needed) games I played with my older children that I Continue reading

Open-ended questions to ask your Minecraft loving child.

My children are pretty obsessed with Minecraft. Even limiting their computer time doesn’t prevent them from spending all their extra time talking about the game, comparing notes on how to build the best mob spawners or toilets for the computer game characters that have no use of them. I find that if I’m going to have conversations with them these days, I need to come up with some ways to tie it in with minecraft. Here are a few of my ideas and a bit about how some of them turned out. How is minecraft similar to lego? How is it Continue reading