Tag Archives: kid games

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


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.