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Curricula and Learning Links - Pot Luck Resources

Home-made Learning Games

by Janet P.

Editor's note: These exciting and simple games will make learning fun and easy!

Pitfall: Arrange a number of squares on the ground (in some sort of sequence so there is a beginning and an end). Have your child stand on the first square and you ask him a question. (we had a bingo game, the person asking the questions would get a numbered ball from the bingo cage and ask the cooresponding question from a list we had already made up.) If the child gets the answer right they step forward, if not, they step back. It's a race against the clock. This can be done indoors using sheets of paper for squares, or in the wintertime, kids can fill a water pistol with coloured water (food colouring and water) and draw the squares in the snow ahead of time.

Monopoly with a twist: Before a person can buy property, they had to answer a skill testing question (use the same questions as for above!). If they got the answer right they could buy the property, if not...they couldn't. We were brutal: we paid FIRST, so if we got the question wrong, we lost the property AND the money! Also, instead of get out of Jail cards or rolling a certain number, we had a list of SUPER tough questions. If the question was answered right, the person got out of jail, otherwise...

Spitball Mania! My kids LOVE this game, but I will only let them play it outside! Use sidewalk chalk on the garage door and mark out some patterns on the door and put a number in each section. Have a set of questions prepared that coorespond to the numbers. Give the kids a McDonald's straw (the best because they are rather big) and a napkin. Have them stand back and spit away. Whatever section their ball lands in, ask the question. If they get it right, remove (as best you can) a line dividing that section from another and remove the number...that way, that question can never be asked again. Eventually, there should only be one or two numbers left on the garage...or none at all! A garden hose will take care of the mess! A little gross, but kids LOVE it!

Trivial Pursuit: Homeschool Style! You know how trivial pursuit uses Sports, Personalities or other such categories? Make up your own! Use your own questions. Divide it into History, Geography, Science, sure to put in questions from units already past!

Treasure Hunt: You need LOADS of clothes pegs for this. Each peg (or object) is marked with a number. While the children aren't looking, toss the lot of them into long grass (or powdery snow or a swimming pool or whatever). Have the kids run for it! When they find a peg (only one at a time) they have to come and answer the question cooresponding to the number on the peg. If they get it right, they put the peg into their bowl (or box, or whatever). If they don't, the peg is thrown back into the grass. When all the pegs have been collected, or the timer goes off, whichever comes first, count who has the most pegs. We used this method to determine who would get the last piece of McCain's Cake in the freezer!

Timeline Game: When I was in university, my room mate and I had a timeline that we would both use for our individual classes. I had Old Testiment history, we both had Ancient History, and we both took different bible study courses. When we learned a neat fact or point about history we would put it on the chart. We used regular lined paper layed so the lines were vertical. Each line represented 100 years. (for more recent history we used a different timeline where each line represented 1 year.) Making an addition to the timeline was a big deal. When my room mate added something, she would have to explain to me the event, why it was important, and anything else interesting about it, and I would have to do the same for her when I added something. The chart got to be so long, we ended up spiraling around our dorm room. When it came time to study, we would play "pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey." We would blindfold each other and then spin. When the poor blind soul stopped spinning, she would walk towards the wall and hold out a finger. The non-blindfolded person would find the date/event randomly selected and ask every conceivable question about it.

The hardest part about these games is coming up with the questions. My college roommate and I did it this way: We spent 15 minutes each day writting down our questions about the material we were studying on Q-Cards (one question per card) and placed the answer on the back along with the textbook page number if we had to look it up later. We also looked through each other's textbooks and made up questions for each other. For every question we got right several times in a row, we later wrote out more questions in areas we were having trouble in. This worked well because we were older and could be brutally honest with ourselves and truely wanted to be challenged. For younger kids, it may be MUCH more time consumming for mom.

For more family games, see's Family Fun Page

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