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Friday Playday: Hands on Play Activities

August 10th, 2012

Check out this great website with lots of hands-on play ideas.  I love their list of activities by age group, and here is a sampling of some articles you will find on their site:

 

Thumbnail image for Water Activity: Painting the Driveway

Water Activity: Painting the Driveway

So, can I credit my mom for an activity? My husband picked up the kids at my parents’ house last week [I was still decorating cakes at suppertime…], and he found them painting her sidewalk with water. Henry told me that night during our nightly bedtime conversation that was his favorite part of the day. […]

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Thumbnail image for Toddler Bubbles Sensory Activity

Toddler Bubbles Sensory Activity

Plain and simple. George likes bubbles. The perfect activity for him [a toddler]? Bubbles. Water and dish soap on a perfect day to be outside. George had a blast!   I have this bucket that I actually got out of my great-grandma’s basement [who’s 99 and still kickin’ by the way, so I plan to […]

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Thumbnail image for Alphabet Maze Learning Activity

Alphabet Maze Learning Activity

We have another maze activity! Seriously, I’m loving mazes… Henry’s pretty good at them too, so they’re fun for both of us! The counting maze was our first indoor maze, but prior to that we did the big maze outside first. I have a few more ideas up my sleeve too, so I can’t wait […]

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Thumbnail image for Sorting through the Tupperware Drawer

Sorting through the Tupperware Drawer

My Tupperware drawer needed cleaned out. I wasn’t finding matching tubs and lids for the life of me. So I let the boys have at my drawer. Wiped it clean and started sorting and finding matches of lids and tubs… George just got a kick out of digging through my drawer. I don’t think he found […]

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Thumbnail image for Toddler Activity: Playing with Cups

Toddler Activity: Playing with Cups

I drew a blank. I didn’t know what to have George do. He was getting into the laundry while I was folding it. I was about to go nuts. I needed something for him to do. I drew a blank, though. What can a toddler do? Duh. I just made a list of 50 activities […]

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Thumbnail image for Mother’s Day Craft: Yarn Wrapped Vase

Mother’s Day Craft: Yarn Wrapped Vase

We needed a vase to go with our watercolor coffee filter flowers we made for Mother’s Day. I did a little googling for some “vase crafts” and found some beautiful yarn wrapped vases, there’s a cool rainbow vase from Kaboose. I didn’t expect there to be a pattern, or perfectly aligned yarn wrapped around the jar. […]

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Thumbnail image for Toddler Activity: Water Painting

Toddler Activity: Water Painting

George and I have a great time while Henry is at school most days. We’re starting to work many more toddler appropriate activities into our mornings. I really enjoy watching George getting a kick out of these, too! Painting with water was a blast! George has a little thing for water, so I knew he’d […]

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Thumbnail image for Letter & Number Scavenger Hunt

Letter & Number Scavenger Hunt

I posted briefly about this activity back during the 30 Days to Hands on Play Challenge. But since it was a challenge day, I didn’t want to get into the details of what the activity all involved. The challenge day was to “Go on a Hunt”. And that’s what we did. We went on a […]

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Thumbnail image for Busy Play: Play Dough Construction Site

Busy Play: Play Dough Construction Site

Henry’s on another play dough kick since his birthday. He got all these little construction machines, and cones and people as a gift and it turned out to be a great addition to play dough that entertained them for hours. Yes, them. George and Henry played side by side for a long time. George was […]

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Thumbnail image for Cardboard Box: Make a Town!

Cardboard Box: Make a Town!

Start upcycling some cardboard boxes, or just your cereal boxes, to make a whole town! This is a wonderfully arty post written by Justine of The Lone Home Ranger.     I was not the crafting sort before I had kids. Even after my first daughter came along, I admittedly looked at art projects as […]

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Friday Playday: Simple Scavenger Hunt

July 13th, 2012

We had 6 kiddos in the house this morning, all bustling with energy.  One of the 6 year olds came bounding up to me, saying “It’s sunny outside, let’s have a scavenger hunt!”.  So I created a list for them, and they headed outside armed with binoculars and a pencil to check off items found.  I thought I’d share it with you, in case you wanted some ideas for creating your own simple scavenger hunt!

something to scoop with
something with bark
something that grows
something that sinks
something soft
something sticky
something hard
something that smells good
something animals eat
something that is loud
something red

My 4-year old came in a little while later, wanting to do her own scavenger hunt.  So I drew simple pictures of a leaf, a shovel, a flower, a rock and a bucket.  I wrote the words beside the pictures and we talked about what each picture represented.  Then off she went on her little hunt.

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This post is part of our Friday Playday series, where we are sharing ideas and activities related to our 5 “play with purpose” books. Check out the books, where you can find 750+ powerful and easy ways to help children and youth grow in character, service and leadership. We’d also love to come to your school or organization to lead a “play with purpose” workshop – find more details here.

Play with Purpose!

Susan Ragsdale & Ann Saylor (a.k.a. The Games Girls)

Friday Playday: Hidden Hands Comic Game

July 6th, 2012

Here’s another excerpt from our book, Great Group Games: 175 Boredom Busting Zero Prep Team Builders for all Ages.

Hidden Hands

Time: 15 – 25 minutes

Supplies: one comic strip panel (make a copy of the strip for each group of 3-4 participants), one envelope for each group

Description:

This activity is good to give participants practice in communicating with other team members and in making group decisions. You will need a comic strip (duplicated so each work group has a copy), and one envelope for each subgroup. To prepare, photocopy enough copies of the comic strip to provide one for each work group. Cut each strip into separate panels and place the panels in an envelope.

Instruct the participants to form work groups of three to four members each. Distribute one envelope containing a set of comic strip panels to each team.

Direct the members of each team to open the envelope, place the panels of the comic strip face down without examining them, and shuffle them around the table. While the panels are on the table face down, hidden from view, members of each team take turns drawing a panel (without showing it to others), going around until all panels have been chosen. Team members are allowed to describe their own panels as fully as possible, but they are not allowed to look at the panels of the other participants or to show their panels to others.
When the team members have agreed on which panel is first in the cartoon (based on the participants’ descriptions of the panels), they place it face down on the table. After they have placed all the panels face down in the order they have determined, they then turn them over to see if they have sequenced the comic in the proper order.

Going Deeper:

§ What communication process was used to describe the panels?
§ What are the strengths and challenges of your communication style?
§ How did the team decide what panels went where?
§ Did you readily share your opinions, were you hesitant to share, or were you perhaps a bit too wordy in your sharing?
§ How might this activity challenge your group to more effectively work together in the future?

Assets: social competencies, commitment to learning, boundaries and expectations

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This post is part of our Friday Playday series, where we are sharing ideas and activities related to our 5 “play with purpose” books. Check out the books, where you can find 750+ powerful and easy ways to help children and youth grow in character, service and leadership. We’d also love to come to your school or organization to lead a “play with purpose” workshop – find more details here.

Play with Purpose!

Susan Ragsdale & Ann Saylor (a.k.a. The Games Girls)

Friday Playday: Clang Clang

June 29th, 2012

Clang Clang is a good inside game, for times when you & the kiddos need a break from the summer heat. Here are the simple directions:

Gather an assortment of 10 unbreakable items that will make various sounds when dropped onto an aluminum pie tin (pen, spoon, plastic cup, matchbox car). Set up a barrier (chair with a sheet, door…) so that the kids cannot see the items you are dropping into the pie tin.

Give each child a pen & paper. Ask them to # their papers 1-10, then try to guess the items that you drop. You might do a second round with the same objects, giving them a simple clue (something you write with, something you eat with…) to help them identify the object.

Then reveal the clues and give each child a treat for trying their best. The favorite treat in my family is bubble gum!

This is a good game to teach concentration and problem-solving.

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This post is part of our Friday Playday series, where we are sharing ideas and activities related to our 5 “play with purpose” books. Check out the books, where you can find 750+ powerful and easy ways to help children and youth grow in character, service and leadership. We’d also love to come to your school or organization to lead a “play with purpose” workshop – find more details here.

Play with Purpose!

Susan Ragsdale & Ann Saylor (a.k.a. The Games Girls)

Friday Playday: Four Square

June 22nd, 2012

Today’s is an old school-yard game. Do you remember playing four square? I used to love it!

All you need to play is a bouncy ball and sidewalk chalk to mark out the boundary lines. Here are directions.

Let me know if YOU have a summer fun idea – you can write it as a comment or send me a link to your blog. :)

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This post is part of our Friday Playday series, where we are sharing ideas and activities related to our 5 “play with purpose” books. Check out the books, where you can find 750+ powerful and easy ways to help children and youth grow in character, service and leadership. We’d also love to come to your school or organization to lead a “play with purpose” workshop – find more details here.

Play with Purpose!

Susan Ragsdale & Ann Saylor (a.k.a. The Games Girls)

Friday Playday: 10 Ideas for Water Balloon Fun

June 15th, 2012

Gramma & Papa brought two bags full of water balloons when they came to visit last month. Each bag ($1 from the Dollar section at Target) provided 90 minutes of fun for the kiddos at my house. Many of these ideas could be replicated at a daycare center or afterschool site.

They attached the water balloon funnel (which came in the water balloon package) to the outside hose, then sat down in patio chairs to fill balloons by the kiddie pool. They let the extra water between balloons fall into the kiddie pool, so the pool slowly filled up along with the water balloons. It took a long time to fill up the balloons, but the kids played in/around the assembly line the whole time. Then playtime started.

1. My 3yr old liked dropping balloons on his feet – or the feet of anyone around him – to watch the splash. (I’ve heard of having a balloon splash competition. Everyone holds the balloon in front of his nose, then drops it to the ground – whomever’s balloon leaves the biggest splash mark is the winner.)

2. My 21 month old liked to pick up the balloons out of the pool and carry them to her cozy coupe car, where she stored balloons in the trunk. It was like her own Easter Egg hunt, except she was using water balloons.

3. My 6 year old had fun launching the balloons at me and Papa, but his favorite was water balloon baseball. Papa pitched the balloons and D scored points when he busted a balloon by swinging the bat. It was hysterical!

Other favorite water balloon games for older kids:

4. Water balloon volleyball, catching water balloons in the belly of tshirts

5. Water balloon egg relays, trying to balance small water balloons in soup spoons as you speedwalk to tag your teammate.

6. Capture the Flag with water balloons, sending opponents to the freeze box when they are tagged with a water balloon.

7. Pass the water balloon relays, trying to ‘hand off’ water balloons to your partner by holding the balloons under your chin (you can’t touch the balloons with your hands) and passing it to your partner who will receive the balloon under his chin.

8. Hot Potato with water balloons – gently toss the balloon around the circle. If the balloon pops, the passer/receiver are out. Continue eliminating players ’til you have a winner.

9. Water balloon slingshots – put water balloons in slingshots and see how far they fly (this is a favorite from my husband’s brothers)

10. Water balloon clean-up – give each child a bucket and send them on a race to collect the most balloon pieces. Whoever wins gets a prize – or give popsicles to everyone who collects a good number of balloon pieces.

Cheap & easy fun – especially when you have older kids who don’t mind helping to fill the water balloons! Do YOU have favorite water balloon memories or gamess?

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This post is part of our Friday Playday series, where we are sharing ideas and activities related to our 5 “play with purpose” books. Check out the books, where you can find 750+ powerful and easy ways to help children and youth grow in character, service and leadership. We’d also love to come to your school or organization to lead a “play with purpose” workshop – find more details here.

Play with Purpose!

Susan Ragsdale & Ann Saylor (a.k.a. The Games Girls)

Friday Playday: the Challenge of Play

June 8th, 2012

“A child loves his play, not because it is easy, but because it is hard.” – Benjamin Spock

a.k.a., Children rise to challenges on their own accord!

Children learn so much about themselves and the world when they play.  It’s hard work!  So help them find time to play!

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This post is part of our Friday Playday series, where we are sharing ideas and activities related to our 5 “play with purpose” books.  Check out the books, where you can find 750+ powerful and easy ways to help children and youth grow in character, service and leadership.  We’d also love to come to your school or organization to lead a “play with purpose” workshop – find more details here.

Play with Purpose!

Susan Ragsdale & Ann Saylor (a.k.a. The Games Girls)

Friday Playday: Miniature Worlds for Learning

June 1st, 2012

 “Play can miniaturize a part of the complex world children experience, reduce it to understandable dimensions, manipulate it, and help them understand how it works.”  – Professor Jerome Singer, Yale University

a.k.a.,  Children learn a lot through play!

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This post is part of our Friday Playday series, where we are sharing ideas and activities related to our 5 “play with purpose” books.  Check out the books, where you can find 750+ powerful and easy ways to help children and youth grow in character, service and leadership.  We’d also love to come to your school or organization to lead a “play with purpose” workshop – find more details here.

Play with Purpose!

Susan Ragsdale & Ann Saylor (a.k.a. The Games Girls)

Friday Playday: A Happy Life Involves Play

May 25th, 2012

“It is play and only play that makes man complete.” – Johann Friedrich von Schiller

a.k.a.  If you want to live a happy and full life, you have to play!

Think of the children in your life.  Do they seem more happy and whole when there is an element of playtime in their days?

What about adults that you admire for their sense of wholeness.  Do they incorporate a regular playtime (golf, hiking, music, comedies…) into their lives?

What playtime would you like to add into your life?  Mark it on your calendar and set that time aside – just for YOU!

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This post is part of our Friday Playday series, where we are sharing ideas and activities related to our 5 “play with purpose” books.  Check out the books, where you can find 750+ powerful and easy ways to help children and youth grow in character, service and leadership.  We’d also love to come to your school or organization to lead a “play with purpose” workshop – find more details here.

Play with Purpose!

Susan Ragsdale & Ann Saylor (a.k.a. The Games Girls)

Friday Playday: Practicing through Play

May 18th, 2012

“Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning…  They have to play with what they know to be true in order to find out more, and then they can use what they learn in new forms of play.” – Fred Rogers, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood 

a.k.a., Play builds on learning, which builds on play – it’s an forever evolving way to learn and grow.

So if you want a child to learn friendship skills, practice with dolls and transformers.  If you want a child to practice conflict resolution or public speaking, play charades or puppets.  If you want a child to practice math, pick up an educational card game.  If you need to learn vocabulary words, use pictionary or crosswords.

We like to play.  Playing makes thoughts and facts and ideas stick.  Go play!

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This post is part of our Friday Playday series, where we are sharing ideas and activities related to our 5 “play with purpose” books.  Check out the books, where you can find 750+ powerful and easy ways to help children and youth grow in character, service and leadership.  We’d also love to come to your school or organization to lead a “play with purpose” workshop – find more details here.

Play with Purpose!

Susan Ragsdale & Ann Saylor (a.k.a. The Games Girls)

Friday Playday: Learning and Growing

May 11th, 2012

“Whoever wants to understand much must play much”. – Gottfried Benn

a.k.a.  You can learn a lot about yourself, about others, and about the world when you play.

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This post is part of our Friday Playday series, where we are sharing ideas and activities related to our 5 “play with purpose” books.  Check out the books, where you can find 750+ powerful and easy ways to help children and youth grow in character, service and leadership.  We’d also love to come to your school or organization to lead a “play with purpose” workshop – find more details here.

Play with Purpose!

Susan Ragsdale & Ann Saylor (a.k.a. The Games Girls)

Friday Playday: Play with Purpose

May 4th, 2012

Deep meaning lies often in childish play. – Johann Friedrich von Schiller

a.k.a.  There’s more to play than meets the eye!

Think about the last time you watched a child or an adult play.  Whether they were playing independently or as a group, whether they were playing in a structured or unstructured environment, I bet you could learn something about them from a thoughtful observation.

Watching my son play with legos, I learn about the way his brain works, and how well he enjoys systems.

Watching myself play words with friends, I learn how competitive and analytical I am.

Watching a group of children play Group Juggle, I can see whether a child is outgoing or shy, comfortable or nervous, coordinated or not…

Engage your teammates or your kids in play, and see what you can learn by watching.  See what you can teach through play by adding “Going Deeper” questions after an  activity.  Happy learning!

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This post is part of our Friday Playday series, where we are sharing ideas and activities related to our 5 “play with purpose” books.  Check out the books, where you can find 750+ powerful and easy ways to help children and youth grow in character, service and leadership.  We’d also love to come to your school or organization to lead a “play with purpose” workshop – find more details here.

Play with Purpose!

Susan Ragsdale & Ann Saylor (a.k.a. The Games Girls)

Friday Playday: Object of Life?

April 27th, 2012

The true object of all human life is play. – G. K. Chesterton

a.k.a.  All people really want to do is play!

Adding an element of fun makes all the difference in the workplace, in the classroom, on the basketball court, around the dinner table, and in the board room.  What can you do to add a bit of laughter and fun into your work with youth and adults?

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This post is part of our Friday Playday series, where we are sharing ideas and activities related to our 5 “play with purpose” books.  Check out the books, where you can find 750+ powerful and easy ways to help children and youth grow in character, service and leadership.  We’d also love to come to your school or organization to lead a “play with purpose” workshop – find more details here.

Play with Purpose!

Susan Ragsdale & Ann Saylor (a.k.a. The Games Girls)

Friday Playday: Play and Poetry Part 2

April 20th, 2012

Great Group Games

 groups of youth and adults from 12 to 112

get off to a great start,

build relationships,

transform the group into a team,

deepen trust among group members,

solve problems,

overcome challenges, and

celebrate successes.

Slap, Clap, Snap, Toss, Bump, Connect

Zip, Bong, Bounce, Fencing, Craze

Funny, Shrinking, Blob, Speed, Bop

Stand, Crossing, Lean, Detail, Sticky

Magical, Challenge, Light, Winding

Hula Hoop, Ha, Jam, Carriers

roll up your sleeves

have fun goofing around

what happens is part magic, part insight, and part wisdom.  

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This post is part of our Friday Playday series, where we are sharing ideas and activities related to our 5 “play with purpose” books.  Check out the books, where you can find 750+ powerful and easy ways to help children and youth grow in character, service and leadership.  We’d also love to come to your school or organization to lead a “play with purpose” workshop – find more details here.

Play with Purpose!

Susan Ragsdale & Ann Saylor (a.k.a. The Games Girls)

Friday Playday: Play and Poetry

April 13th, 2012

I learned from a friend the practice of taking your own words, a block of material that you’ve written and that are important to you, looking at them in a print format and then whittling them down into a poem.  “Poetic analysis” I believe is the technical term.  The task was simply to take away words, make no additions or changes in order – just whittle the material down to a poem.  This practice can be done with letters, written speeches, journal entries, chapters from a book, e-mails, blogs, etc.

So we did.  Ann and I took some of the various chapters of our games books and created our own poetic forms to go with each chapter.  Below is one Ann crafted about play – it’s from the introduction to Great Group Games.

Play

vital to our lives

essential for the soul,

for laughter,

for building relationships,

and for learning.

Play helps us keep sane,

make sense of our lives,

and enjoy a seemingly mad world.

And it’s just plain fun.  

Where would you like to write and play with words?  What would you take from your life to create new expression?

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This post is part of our Friday Playday series, where we are sharing ideas and activities related to our 5 “play with purpose” books.  Check out the books, where you can find 750+ powerful and easy ways to help children and youth grow in character, service and leadership.  We’d also love to come to your school or organization to lead a “play with purpose” workshop – find more details here.

Play with Purpose!

Susan Ragsdale & Ann Saylor (a.k.a. The Games Girls)