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Do you need something a little different to refresh the homeschool scene at your house? Literacy games to the rescue!
Every once in a while we get in a rut, and just need to reboot all systems. This has been one of those weeks! Nothing’s going quite like I planned, and we just needed a break from the usual studies.
I love to play learning games with my children. They all seem to learn more through play than they do through workbooks. Since I have two budding readers, I wanted to focus on literacy games this week.
To reboot our learning, here are four literacy games we’ve played or will play this week. Since they don’t require any special materials, and you don’t need to spend hours prepping for them, I hope you’ll try them out with us as well.
1. The Story Bowl
Grab a large mixing bowl, and ask your children to gather small items to put in it. You can put in anything you’d like, but here are some ideas to get you started:
• Toy animals
• LEGO mini-figures
• Toy cars/planes/boats
Pick a volunteer to create the first story. This person closes his or her eyes, and reaches into the bowl, pulling out five items.
The story told must incorporate all five items in some way. Be creative!
The items can be elements for the setting, a character, or even props for another character.
Once the first story teller is done, deposit those five pieces back in the bowl and let someone else take a turn. You’ll be amazed at the stories your children can come up with!
This simple game targets many essential literacy skills including creativity, sequencing, and plot development.
I wrote a whole post about this game way back when I first started blogging. It shares pictures and additional details. If you’d like to check it out, go here.
2. Change the Setting of Your Favorite Movie
This game encourages children to analyze how the setting of a story (or movie) plays a role in the plot. Think about your child’s favorite movie, and ask everyone to draw a picture of the setting.
Where does the story take place? Is it nighttime or daytime? Compare the pictures you made, and talk about them.
Now for the interesting part—ask your child what would happen if the setting of the story were to change. How would Frozen be different if it were set in the Savannah? What would Transformers: Rescue Bots be like if instead of a secluded island, the bots and Burns family lived in the middle of a big city? Would Andy from Toy Story have so many toys if he lived in a different country?
Use your imagination, and have fun. You could even draw pictures of the new setting as you talk about what would be different.
While you draw and discuss, your children will be learning about setting, and how it can affect the characters and what happens in the story.
3. The Fairy Tale Act
My children love to play dress up! They love it when we act out fairy tales, because they get to create costumes. These don’t need to be elaborate—with a little imagination, scarves can turn into wings, blankets make a covering of fur, and a stick covered with aluminum foil transforms into a beautiful wand.
To play this game, first pick a fairy tale. Ideally, it’ll be one you can tell from memory. Otherwise, you can use a book of fairy tales, or print off a copy from the Internet.
Then, assign parts. If you have fewer players than parts, let a couple of your older children play two parts. Once everyone knows who he or she is, grant 10 minutes for costume creation. The short time limit will increase creativity, and help keep the game moving.
Gather everyone in a central location, and begin narrating the fairy tale as your children act it out.
Here are five fairy tale ideas to get you started:
• Three Billy Goats Gruff (narrator, troll, baby goat, medium goat, big goat)
• Three Little Pigs (narrator, straw house pig, stick house pig, brick house pig, wolf)
• Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Narrator, Goldilocks, baby bear, papa bear, mama bear)
• Hansel and Gretel (narrator, Hansel, Gretel, witch)
• Jack and the Beanstalk (narrator, Jack, Mother, Giant)
Bringing a story to life helps children understand important story elements about setting, plot, and characters.
4. The One Line Story Builder
Without any required materials, this game is perfect for playing on the go. One person begins to tell a story. He or she can only say one sentence. (Once upon a time there was a ……) is a classic way to start, but feel free to change it up!
The next person adds a sentence, continuing the story. When appropriate, feel free to add in new characters, change the setting, or introduce a problem to your story. Keep taking turns until your story reaches a conclusion.
This game teaches children about word choice, using complete sentences, and comprehension while listening.
What’s Your Favorite Literacy Game?
I’m always on the lookout for new ones to try, and would love to have you share in the comments. Do you think you’ll try any of these literacy games?