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I am an Air Force wife and mother of three precious gifts from God. I enjoy learning at home with my children, and the many adventures this life sends our way. So stop by often to visit, and check out what the Five Nomads are up to.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Playing cards, the best teaching aid. . .ever!

I'll admit I am a bit nostalgic about playing cards. My Grandma used to play cards for hours with me. Most of the time we would play Rummy, but then there were great games of Double Solitaire. I would try to explain the games and rules, but you see there were no hard and fast rules. Grandma would let me "make-up" different rules. No, I wasn't just trying to cheat to be the big winner. I always wanted to make the games last as long as possible. There were a lot of "play until you get to the bottom of the pile" games. One time Grandma and I stayed up until 1:00AM playing cards.

I didn't really maintain my card playing over the years, that is until I began homeschooling. I have found you cannot beat the ordinary playing card for fun in math. We seem to go in spurts of playing, recently the games have been rekindled as Princess is still struggling with those darn multiplication facts. I'm still making up different rules, depending on what skill we need to tackle.

Here are some fun examples:
For the toddler/preschool set (Bubby's age) we play Slap Jack. You know the simple game. Divide the cards evenly, take turns laying a card down face up. The first one to recognize the Jacks hits the pile, yelling "SLAP JACK!" They in turn get to take all of the cards. The first person to get all the cards wins. This has been a great little starter game for Bubby. He caught on right away to the whole Jack thing, what little boy doesn't want to smack the heck out of everything? He is also learning the rest of his numbers. As I lay down different numbers I recite their name.

Once they get their numbers down, you can began to teach order. I like the good old game of war. Again divide cards evenly, each person lays down a card (face up). The person with the highest number wins. If there is a tie, you lay down 3 more cards (face down) saying, "I, do, declare war!" Then you lay down a card face up and whoever has the larger number wins that big pile. Very exciting.

When we started basic addition, subtraction and multiplication I modified the war game. We both lay down a card, but instead the child has to say the answer first. For example, we are working on multiplication. So Princess and I lay down our cards, face up. I say ___ times ___ equals, and then I give her a 5 second head start. She has to get the correct answer before me. We play until she has "won" all of the cards from me. Now do they LOVE this, not exactly. But they prefer it to flash cards, and I mix in other fun card games of their choice. Princess has been creating her own games, and I can't help but think that is good for her brain.

When they are in about 1st or 2nd grade, the one educational card game they all LOVE and beg to play is sums of ten. You lay down cards the ace, a one, a two, a three, a four, and a five. All in a row. Then you deal seven cards for each player. You take turns laying down on the piles, with the nine going on the ace, eight on the two, seven on the three. . .making the sums of ten. If you cannot lay down, you draw a card from the pile. If possible lay it down, if not you pass to the next player. Whoever gets rid of their cards first wins.

The beauty of card games is simply this, many are based on adding and subtracting your scores. Perfect for helping with math skills. Let the kiddos be the score keepers. They feel grown up, and when they are beating you they can't wait to add up those points!

Not only do I find these games a great way to keep some of our math skills fresh over the summer, cards are easy to carry along. The games keep the kiddos occupied in a quiet manner (unless it is a really close game, and then I'm sorry I just can't help but yell when they beat me!). Finally it is just a fun way to spend time together with your children. When we are playing, I'm building some wonderful memories--I know because each time I shuffle the cards I think of Grandma.

So there you have it, a little tip for summer fun that is educational. What are some of your plans for summer learning? Do you have a favorite teaching tool or game? I'd love to hear your ideas. Actually it is Princess, The General and Bubby who would most appreciate fun ways to keep school fresh this summer.

1 comment:

  1. You just made my head spin....must be time for that second cup, lol.

    Thanks, I'm going to introduce Desi to a deck of cards this summer. Slap jack is the perfect way.

    Grandma Helmrichs taught me to play rummy. The rest of the family was not much into cards. My mom played solitaire. I made up my own game of solitaire.

    Dave and I play Scrabble, very competitively. Not much fun for small children! We played Shanghai (cards) with his parents before they died, and had a ball.

    You are the perfect home-schoolin' Mom! Awesome!