Sunday, July 5, 2015


Here are some simple games children can play with a team.

What’s That Jive?
(Similar to Red Rover, but much safer.)
Materials: none
Divide the children into two teams and have them stand in a line facing each other 30 to 40 feet apart. One team calls for a player from the other team with this chant:
(Child’s name), (child’s name)
What’s that jive?
Come on over
And give me five.
The team calling the chant holds their hands out in front of them with their palms up. The child called proceeds down their line giving each player “five” by slapping their palms. If the child who is “it” slaps the palms and then slaps under their palms, that child chases “it” back to his or her original team. If “it” is caught, he or she must return to the opposing team, but if not, the chaser must joint “it’s” team. The game continues with teams taking turns calling players from the opposite side.

Clean Your Room
Materials: scrap paper
Divide children into two teams. Give each child a scrap piece of paper to wad up. Draw a line between the teams and explain that they are going to have to keep their “room” clean. They can throw their wadded up sheet of paper in the other team’s “room”, but when paper lands on their side they have to quickly pick it up and get rid of it. After several minutes blow a whistle and tell the children to “freeze.” Who has the most wadded up sheets of paper? Who has the least? In this game the side with the least number is the winner.
*Continue playing the game as long as the children are interested.

Steal the Bacon
Materials: eraser or other small object
Divide the class into two teams and have them stand behind two lines about 40 feet apart. Have the children number off on each team. (Two children will have the same number.) Place the “bacon” (eraser) between the two teams, then call out a number. The two children with that number try to “capture the bacon” and run it back to their line without being tagged by the other player. The child who successfully does this gets a point for their team, but if they are tagged in the process, the other player earns a point for his or her team. The team with more points after all the numbers are called wins the game.

Wolf and Chickens
Materials: none
Two lines are draw approximately 40 feet apart. The children are the “chickens” and line up behind one of the lines. One child is the wolf and stands between the two lines. The wolf pretends to be a chicken and says, “Cluck, cluck” and flaps his or her arms. But when the wolf shouts, “Wolf,” all the chickens must run to the other line. If the wolf tags them, they must become wolves, too, and help the wolf catch the other chickens. The game continues until all the chickens are caught. The last one caught becomes the wolf for the next game.
*A similar game called “sharks and minnows” can be played. Have the minnows get behind a line as the shark tries to catch them when “shark” is called.

Materials: none
Draw two lines about 40 feet apart. The children pretend to be sheep and stand in their “fold” behind one line. One child is chosen to be the “fox.” The “fox” stands in its “den” behind the opposite line. The “fox” and the “sheep” come out and start wandering around the “meadow” between the two lines. The sheep ask the fox, “What time is it?”, and the fox answers, “Five o’clock,” or “nine o’clock,” or whatever. When the fox answers, “Midnight,” all the sheep scramble for their fold. The sheep tagged become foxes and the game continues until one sheep is left, who then becomes the new fox.

Saturday, July 4, 2015


God bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Through the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home
God bless America, My home sweet home.

I hope your day is filled with fun, special memories, and a happy heart 
because you are proud to be an American!

Friday, July 3, 2015


Today I’ve got some tag games and relays to share with you. Toddlers through teens will enjoy these activities.

Materials: none
Designate a playing area. One child is “it.” “It” chases other children who must “freeze” when they are tagged. Players hug those who are “frozen” to “unfreeze” them.

*Stoop Tag – Children stoop down on the ground when they are tagged.
*Cartoon Tag – Children must name a cartoon show when they are tagged.
*Shadow Tag – Children must freeze when “it” steps on their shadow.
*Sticky Tag – Children must hold the part of their body that is tagged.

Materials: none
Divide the children into teams with five or six players on each. Have the players line up single file behind a line and run one at a time to a designated point and back. The first player tags the second player, who then runs the distance. The first team to have all players run is the winner.

*Ball Relays– Have the children pass a ball over their heads and
under their legs. The last person runs to the front of the line and
continues passing over and under. When the first person is in his or her original position, their team wins the game. Relays where children must dribble a ball, kick a ball, or throw a ball into a target can also be played.
*Animal Relays – Let the children walk like crabs (on backs with
hands and feet), bears (on all fours), birds (flapping arms), monkeys (scratching sides), or elephants (swinging arms like a trunk.)
*Quick Change – Prepare bags with a shirt, pants, and hat for each
team. The first player puts the clothes on, runs to a designated point, takes the clothes off, then runs and gives the clothes to the second person.
*Pig Relays - Move the ball with your nose.
*Movements- Have children hop, jump, skip, gallop, walk backwards,
or do other movements.
*Toesie Relay – Have the children take their shoes off, pick up a peanut
with their toes, carry it to a basket, and drop it in.
*Potato Relay – Ask the children to carry a potato in a large spoon
without dropping it.
*Balloon Relay- Have children run with a balloon to a chair, then sit
on the balloon and pop it.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


*Do you remember playing games at school or in your neighborhood when you were a kid? You never wanted to go inside because you were having so much fun with your friends. The world keeps changing, but children still want to play games.  In addition to creating summer memories, games develop friendship, fitness, and a sense of well-being. 

This week I’ll share some games I’ve collected through the years. Yep, some of them are “dumb,” but the kids always liked them. As with anything else, YOU can add the magic to these games with your enthusiasm and encouragement. Here are a few hints to make these games a “winner”:
         *Adapt games for the level and interest of your children.
         *Keep the rules few and simple.
         *Play on soft surfaces and keep it SAFE!
         *Emphasize cooperation and the joy of playing, rather than
         competition and scores.
         *Encourage children to problem solve and work out their own differences.

Circle Soccer
Materials: playground ball
Stand in a circle and hold hands. Place the ball inside the circle. Children try to kick the ball and keep it inside the circle. If the ball goes out of the circle between two people, then both people are out of the game. If a player kicks the ball too high and it goes over someone’s head, then the player who kicked the ball is out of the game. The game continues until there are just one or two players left.

Hot Potato
Materials: ball, whistle
Children stand in a circle and pass around the ball (hot potato). When you blow the whistle, the child holding the ball must leave the circle. The game is played until there is just one child left standing.
*This game can be adapted easily to play inside. Have the children sit in a circle and pass a beanbag while you play music. When the music stops, the one holding the beanbag is out of the game.
Name Ball
Materials: playground ball
Have the children stand in a circle. “It” stands in the middle of the circle with the ball. “It” throws the ball in the air and calls out a child’s name.  That child tries to run forward and catch the ball after one bounce. The game continues as “it” calls out different children’s names.

Call Ball
Materials: playground ball
Divide the class into two teams and have them form two lines about 30 feet apart. Give each child a number by having them count off. (Two players on opposing teams will have the same number.) The teacher/adult stands between the two teams, calls out a number, and throws the ball in the air. The first child with that number to catch the ball wins a point for their team.

Silent Ball
Materials: koosh ball or other soft ball
Have the children form a circle. Give one child the ball. He or she throws it to another child without calling the child’s name or saying anything. If a child fails to catch the ball or drops the ball, the child is out of the game. Continue throwing the ball silently until there are just two players left.

Ground Basketball

Materials: playground ball, large box or laundry basket
Have the children form a circle with the basket or box placed in the middle. First, let the children take turns trying to throw the ball into the basket. Next, divide the children into two teams and let them try to make points for their team by throwing the ball into the basket.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


It was a lucky day when I met Carolyn Kisloski (Holding Hands and Sticking Together –! Years ago I created some “gift cards” with games, toys, recipes, and simple, fun activities to do with children. Carolyn gave them a facelift with her magic touch with graphics and design! She’s made them so much more “inviting.”

If you are a teacher, parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, neighbor….I bet you’ll find something that you’d like to share with a child this summer. I can’t wait to do some of them with Kalina and K.J. when they come visit. I think I’ll run them off and let them take turns choosing which ones they’d like to do.

There all waiting for you FREE at my website ( this month! 

            Let’s Make Something!
            Craft projects and homemade toys
            Let’s Cook Something!
            Recipes for kids in the kitchen
            Let’s Play a Game!
            Indoor and outdoor fun
            Let’s Experiment!
            Simple science projects
            Let’s Read and Talk!
            Books to make

P.S.  Wouldn't this make a great gift for a child?  What better gift than the gift of time and attention?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Summer Camp in Indy was the BEST!!!! We all left with peace in our fingers and love in our hearts! If you’ve never watched this video of Susan Salidor’s song it will put a smile on your face! It should be the theme song for your class this coming school year.

I'll be doing Summer Camps in Detroit in July and Austin in August,.  (Go to to get details.)  It's just like real camp with songs, crafts, games, and new friends.  There won't be any bugs, but we'll learn how to turn standards and rigor into fun and games!!!

No matter how they try to overwhelm us with academics and assessments, we will never let them take away our JOY! Look at these fantastic celebrations the teachers did to end the year on a happy note. 

Camp Kindergarten (Michelle Page)
Last two weeks of school -
*We meet at the flagpole for camp songs, the pledge, etc. (“Baby Shark,” “The Ants Go Marching,” “Banana Dance,” “Chicka Boom,” and “Calamine Lotion” are a few songs we sing.)
*Parents write letters for “mail call” and the children write back.
*Look at our camp t-shirts with the kids’ names on the back. 


*Take an ABC nature walk.
*Make s’mores and trail mix.
*Bring blankets, towels, sleeping bags – take off shoes to read, do work, listen to a story.
*Go fishing for words (plastic pool and words with magnets).
*Go on a bear hunt.
*So a bug/insect/worm study.

Frozen Day (Natalle Oxley)
Watch the movie.
Dress up as Elsa, Anna, Olaf…
Eat “frozen” Chex mix (vanilla).
Make a snowstorm in a bottle (small water bottle with glitter).
Do Epsom salt snow painting and snowflake snow paint.
Eat blue hard candy.
Do a sight word snowball fight.
Find “S” balls and write the word.

Kindergarten Graduation Block Party (Kelisha Chandler & Traci Johnson)
*Block off the end of the hallway area with table clothes, banners, and balloons.
*Set up stations like a carnival. (Parent volunteers work each station.)
*Students rotate freely through the stations.
*Stations include:
            face painting
            popcorn stand
            cookie decorating
            jewelry bracelet making
            3-4 arts & crafts stations
            button making
            sun visor hat making

Daddy/Daughter Dance (Heather McKinney)
We charge $5 admission per couple and do the dance from 6-7 pm on Friday. (We use the money to pay for an end of the year ice cream party.)  Everyone dresses in their Sunday best and the gym is decorated like a party. (There’s a background wall for pictures.) Cake, punch, and cookies are set up at tables around the dance floor. The DJ runs through a play list with songs like “Casper Slide,” “Cha Cha Slide” and other “clean” songs. End with John Legend’s “Give Me All of You.”

Kindergarten Prom (Brenda Fella, Annette Kimball, Ashley Cramer, Myra Stumler, Michelle Miller, and Hannah Flamion)
We decided to plan a day of fun for our students at William Tell Elementary in Tell City, IN. We all dressed up, decorated the hallway, and danced to music on the playground. We learned about manners and tied other standards in as well.

Fairy Tale/Nursery Rhyme Festival (Stacey Kaiser, Tiffany Youngbloogd, Regina Padgett, and Heather Baden)
(This could be done instead of a Halloween celebration or at the end of the school year.)
Children and teachers dress up like their favorite nursery rhyme or fairy tale character. They have to bring the book or a paper with the nursery rhyme on it. Each of the four kindergarten rooms has an activity to go along with the theme.
*”Itsy Bitsy Spider” – pipe cleaner with a spider ring taped to the rhyme – Oreo cookie and string Twizzler to make a spider
*”Mary Had Little Lamb” – sheep craft with cotton balls – hang them up and then they have to find their sheep
*“Three Little Pigs” – make pig masks for retelling the story
*”Three Bears” – character puppets – taste porridge (instant oatmeal) 
After the students have visited the different classrooms and finished the activities we have a parade down the hallway for other grade levels.

Here are a few more ideas from Indy Summer Camp.

Peace Corner  (Jillian Teder)
Set up a "peace corner" in your classroom where children can go to self-regulate and regain self control before returning to the group when they are overwhelmed or frustrated.

Thank You Song (Heather McKinney)
Two little words I'm learning today.
Two little words so easy to say.
To show my gratitude I've found a way..
I can say, "Thank you!  Thank you!"

Good-Bye Song (Heather McKinney)
Good-bye, good-bye, we worked hard today.
We'll see you tomorrow, tomorrow is ______.
(Or, we won't see you tomorrow because tomorrow is Saturday.)

Time for Story (Heather McKinney)
Tune:  "My Darlin' Clementine"
Time for story, time for story 
time for story come right here.
Quiet hands are in your lap.
Time to look and time to hear.

Whack a Word Game (Megan Schultz)
Materials:  fly swatter, Velcro, flashcards
Directions:  Attach Velcro to the fly swatter and to the back of the cards.  Place the cards face down on the floor.  Kids "whack" the cards with the fly swatter and then identify the information.
*Use it for categories (farm animals, things we eat, etc.), beginning sounds, rhyming, sight words, letters, etc.  It can be used in a small group, whole group, or independently.  
*We also have boards that they can stick them on after they swat them.


It was HOT outside in Orlando, but look at all my COOL new friends!

Monday, June 29, 2015


It's time to give math some "love."  Write numerals on plastic cups and ask children to put them in order.  
Hint!  If you use bathroom cups you can store them in a Pringle's can.
*Use cups for place value - one color for hundreds, one for tens, and another for ones.

*Write fact families on cups for children to rearrange.  Can they write the different equations? 
*Have children sort the cups by odd and even numbers.

Build a Pyramid
Write math problems on the tops of the cups.  Write the answer on a sticky dot and put it inside the cup.  Children can self-check and then use the cups to build a pyramid.

Secret Pennies 
Place a certain number of pennies on the table in front of a cup. Explain that you will hide some pennies under the cup. Have children close their eyes as you hide a few pennies under the cup. Can they guess how many are under the cup?
*This would be a fun game for children to play with a partner.

Matching Games
Trace around the bottom of cups on a file folder. (Bathroom cups work best for this game.) Write numerals on the circles or letters on the circles. Challenge children to match cups and circles as fast as they can. Mix the cups up and then see if they can stack them in order. 

ODD/EVEN Number Cheer (Brenda Fella)
1, 3, 5, 7, 9
They are odd all the time.
0, 2, 4, 6, 8
They are even -keep it straight!
*Explain to look at the last digit and then recall the poem!