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Super Bowl Bingo, 2014

2 Feb

It’s Super Bowl Sunday, and that means that it’s time for football!  Unless you’re a fair weather fan, or an occasional game watcher, or primarily a proponant of any food that includes Velveeta.  If that is the case, you might be more excited about  the GAME DAY THINGS than the actual GAME.  For those of you that fall into the non-game categories, I bring you another round of Super Bowl Ad Bingo.

super bowl bingo_2014_Page_1

Playing is simple – keep a sharp eye on the ads and have your card handy. When an ad plays, check your card to see if the product or company logo is represented on your grid. If it is, mark it off. You can use a pen, chips, coins, or official bingo dauber. The game is up to you, but I like to play straight-up bingo, no four corners, no postage stamp, no blackout. First person to get bingo is the WINNER (prize is up to you).

Want to play along? Open the attachment below and print as many sheets as you need. There are six different game boards from which to choose (2 boards per page). Good luck!

Print it: super bowl bingo_2014

State of the Union, THE WORKSHEET

11 Feb

I think it’s pretty well documented that around here, we love a good worksheet.  Debates, Super Bowl Bingo, Lunch Log – we’re not picky.  Give us a crisp worksheet, a clipboard, and a sharp #2 Dixon Ticonderoga, and we’re happy.  At least 66% of our household is happy.

So, tomorrow night, Sophie and I will be sitting in front of the laptop with clipboards in hand while Martin moans with the unfairness of it all, as we watch the State of the Union.

To keep everybody’s attention, we’ve created the Unofficial State of the Union Worksheet.  Using this sheet, we’re going to track the usage of the terms we think are likely to be included in the speech.  We’re going to keep it very simple, leaving tally marks each time we hear a phrase used.  We’re not going to worry about total accuracy and there’s no way to win.  Unless of course, you count a night with clipboards and your children as a win.  WHICH I DO.

State of the Union Worksheet


Want to join us?  Print your own!

Print it: State of the Union Worksheet

Super Bowl Bingo, 2013 Edition

1 Feb

Back by super popular demand (hey Adria!  what’s up Dawn?), it’s SUPER BOWL BINGO.  Practically guaranteed* to hold the interest of almost any non-game watching game watcher.  Playing is simple – keep a sharp eye on the ads and have your card handy.  When an ad plays, check your card to see if the product or company logo is represented on your grid.  If it is, mark it off.  You can use a pen, chips, coins, or official bingo dauber.  The game is up to you, but I like to play straight-up bingo, no four corners, no postage stamp, no blackout.  First person to get bingo is the WINNER (prize is up to you).

super bowl bingo_2013_Page_1

Want to play along?  Open the attachment below and print as many sheets as you need.  There are six different game boards from which to choose (2 boards per page).  Good luck!

Print it: super bowl bingo_2013


*not guaranteed at all

Lunchbox Trivia

16 Jul

We’re at the halfway point in the summer and I swear, when I look at the kids I can practically see their brains starting to turn to mush.  The enthusiasm for my summer reading challenge has waned, interest in math games is lukewarm at best, and they’re onto my efforts to trick them into writing and spelling.  The standard response to the suggestion of any activity is to squint and look me square in the eyes, trying to determine whether there might be any subversive learning lurking behind the activity.

Guess what?  There is.

To combat the mid-summer learning slump, I decided to make up a new game that relies heavily on two facts:

  1. If there is a LAFFY TAFFY JOKE or FORTUNE COOKIE around, a kid will read it.  Even when they don’t quite get the jokes or when the fortune is too confusing, they’ll still read it.  They read it to themselves, share it with me, and run off to show it to another kid.  Every. Single. Time.  So if short bits of information in a sharable way is what they like?  We can do that.
  2. Kids love a scratch-off game.  There’s a tiny thrill in that moment before the reveal.  Very tiny, but still, it’s there.

This week we’re combining both of those facts into scratch-off trivia cards.  Each morning, the kids will choose a trivia card to place in their lunchbox.  At lunchtime, they can scratch the top of the card to reveal the question, then the bottom half to discover the answer.  In order to qualify for a new card the next day, they need to bring the card home to read it to me.  Simple idea and not very hard to make, I think the kids are going to like them.  Even if they don’t find all of the facts interesting or don’t know many of the answers, I can guarantee that they will like scratching off the ticket each day to reveal that day’s questions and answers.

To make your own lunchbox trivia cards, you’ll need:

  • A list of questions and answers
  • Lunchbox Trivia Cards Printable sheet
  • Colored cardstock (cut into 2.25″ x 3.75″ rectangles)
  • Clear packing tape
  • Pen
  • Acrylic metallic paint
  • Dish soap
  • Paintbrush

To start, I made a list of questions that I thought would be age-appropriate, that would interest my kids, or that I thought they should know.  Not every card will hit the mark perfectly, but that’s the beauty of providing info in this way.  Don’t care who invented the cotton gin?  Try again tomorrow!

Once you have a list of questions and answers, print the trivia card sheet and add your own information.  Cut out each card and adhere it to the construction paper rectangles using packing tape.  Most packing tape is just under 2″ wide which will cover the entire surface of the trivia card, with enough room to adhere it onto the colored backing.  Center it if you can and smooth out any wrinkles with your fingernail.

According to Martha Stewart, to create perfect scratch-off paint, mix 2 parts metallic paint with 1 part dish soap.  Not one to argue, I did exactly that and it worked out fine.  Apply the paint mixture over the question and answer on each card.  I applied 2 coats on each one, letting it dry between each layer (about 30-45 minutes drying time with each layer).  I tried both thick and thin layers and found that it didn’t matter much.  You’ll need to keep applying layers or paint until the words are covered, so give each a try and do whatever works best for you.

Print it: Lunchbox Trivia Cards (15 per sheet)

P.S. If you decide to make these cards and find that about halfway through you feel like you are a chump for doing the project and I am a double-chump for suggesting it, try watching an episode of The Vampire Diaries while you complete the project.  It helps, trust me.

Super Bowl Bingo

31 Jan

Getting my kids to agree to watch anything that isn’t found on a kid channel can be pretty difficult, even when it is something like the Super Bowl.  When it comes to Sophie, make that ESPECIALLY the Super Bowl.  However, they are my children which means that they can be bribed with two things:  1) party food, 2) games.  This Sunday, we’re planning both.

For the past two years we’ve played Super Bowl Bingo during the commercials.  Each bingo card features the logos for companies that are advertising before and during the game.  Since the board uses logos, it is an excellent game for non-readers, beginning readers, kids, and adults.  Pretty much anyone who may join you for the game.  The rules are up to you – we like to play regular straight-up bingo, help each other along, and award a prize.  This year, the winner will receive $1.00 and the title of Super Bowl Bingo Champ.  I think you’ll agree, the stakes are pretty high stakes.

Want to play along?  Open the attachment below and print as many sheets as you need.  There are six different game boards from which to choose (2 boards per page).  Good luck!

Print it: Super Bowl Bingo_2012

Cream Puffs

25 Jul

In my family, desserts are not for always for eating, they are also for smashing. 

Exhibit A: c. 1981.  Having purchased individual pies with whipped topping, dad left them on the counter.  My brother, having spotted them, grabbed one and smashed it in my dad’s face.

Exhibit B: Yesterday.  We bought a half dozen cream puffs at the bakery with the intention of smashing them in our armpits (what?).  Martin tried one, then before my eyes turned into Buddy the Elf.


Few suggestions:
1. Buy some cream puffs; they are super fun.
2. Cream puffs smashing is an outdoor activity.
3. You might want to invite my dad.

Recommended Ages:
Just past the age where kids start to get jokes.  Before then, this kind of activity can easily induce crying.


14 Jun

In the long-standing tradition of siblings, my kids argue with each other.  A lot.  This seems to be a big problem in the car, and I can only pull over so many times to try to referee or wait out an argument.  To channel the arguments and to try to make it more about persuasion and less about punching, I created a game we call Debate.   It helps to keep them busy, helps them to learn to formulate arguments using words instead of whining, and sometimes they even see things in the same way.

How to Play:
1.Player 1 selects a topic (examples: trees, parks, air, books, trains). For this example, we’ll use STRAWBERRIES as the topic.
2. Player 1 chooses a position and presents the first argument by starting out the statement with “I am for (or against) STRAWBERRIES”.  Then, the player presents their reason(s).  The message should be brief with a focus on presenting persuasive and compelling reasons.  When finished, Player 1 concludes with “And that’s why I’m for (or against) STRAWBERRIES.”
3. Player 2 chooses a position and presents an argument using the opening and closing statements.  Repeat until all players have had a turn.
4. Wrap up the debate by taking a vote to see if anyone was persuaded to switch sides.  The position with the most votes wins.

Few suggestions:
1. Make a few rules about topics that appeal to your general sensibilities.  I have two rules – we can’t repeat topics in a single game, and no topics that include bathroom words.  That last rule is essential if you have an 8 year old boy.  Trust me.
2. At least one player should take the unpopular position, usually that is me.  Even if you are FOR STRAWBERRIES in real life, if all the other players are as well, you’ll need to take the AGAINST STRAWBERRIES stance to round out the arguments.

Where & When to Play:
This game is ideal for the car, but really it can be played anywhere arguing normally occurs.  Which is everywhere.

Recommended Ages:
Ages 4 and Up.  Remembering the structure of the game requires a bit of memory, and for my kids, this seemed to become easier to play at age 4.

Spell It or Tell It

8 Jun

Last week I went into the dollar store looking for gardening gloves and left with a dictionary.  While I was disappointed about the gardening gloves, I hit the jackpot with the $1.00 dictionary.  It is super basic, which made it perfect for a new game we call Spell It or Tell It.

How to Play:
1. Find a word in the dictionary.  Say the word to Player 1 and ask them if they want to Spell It or Tell It.
2. Player 1 can Spell It (obviously, spell the word) or Tell It (define it in their own way).
3. If they get it right, mark it by writing the year next to the word.  Now, Player 2 gets a turn.
4. Repeat Steps 1-3, taking turns with all the players until someone misses a word.  The last person to accurately answer is the winner of that round.

Few suggestions:
1. Start out on the easy side and let the words get progressively more difficult. 
2. Remember that the point is to learn more about words, spelling patterns, definitions, and a little etymology (the origins of words, yo) – make it positive and praise effort.
3. I hold firm that words need to be spelled properly, but am pretty flexible on definitions.  If it doesn’t exactly match the way it is defined in the dictionary, but I can tell they can find words to describe it to me, I give it to them.
4. The word reader (you) is the judge.  All judgements are arbitrary and final, in line with General Parenting Guidelines (aka Because I Said So).

Where & When to Play:
1. While waiting for dinner.  This is a great game to play at the countertop while everyone is begging for dinner but the noodles are not yet finished.  It may only be 7-8 minutes for al dente perfection, but that 7-8 can be LONG if anyone is STARVING.
2. In the car.  In my mind, anything that does not involve tiny game pieces or require a flat surface is a good one for the car.  Trust me, no one wants to try to reach down between the seat to retrieve a lost game piece.  It’s scary down there.

Recommended Ages:
Ages 5 and Up.  New readers/spellers may find the defintions easier, but they’ll love it when they are given a word that they can spell.  More experienced readers will give great examples for definitions, and may like the challenge of spelling tricky words that they’ve already discovered.