Saturday, May 28, 2011

Guest Post - Come Together Kids

Today I have a special treat for you!

Hi, I\I am doing a blog swap with Laura, from Come Together Kids.  Laura and I both started our blogging adventure around the same time.  We have so many things in common, it is just crazy!  I absolutely LOVE her blog and the great ideas she is sharing.  Make sure you stop by and see the fun things Laura is doing with and for her kids!

Hi, I'm Laura, from Come Together Kids and I'm so excited to be guest hosting here at Sun Scholars!  I started my blog as a way to share some of the ways my kids and I have come together through crafts, projects, activities and outings.  I hope you stop by to check it out!
Come Together Kids

When you stop by Come Together Kids,
be sure to check out my Summer Fun party!  
Be inspired by the great ideas submitted by others 
and share some ideas of your own!

Come Together Kids

I can't quite remember how I "met" Rachel a couple months ago, but we quickly discovered that our lives were eerily similar.  We both have backgrounds in teaching and education, we both have three young children ( two girls with a boy in the middle!), and we both have very similar tastes in the activities and projects we like to do.  Aside from the fact that I live in Maryland and she lives in Iowa (soon to be China!), it's like we're crafting twins!

Anyway, on to today's project ~ a Beanbag Toss (with a Math twist!)

As a former teacher, I know how easy it is for kids to forget so much of what they've learned when they're out of school for Summer break.  I also know that the best lessons are those when the "learning" is wrapped up in something entertaining.  This fun little beanbag game is a sneaky, yet effective, way to get in a little Math practice while still enjoying your Summer vacation.

The "Equipment"
The game pieces are simple ~ 5 numbered mats and 5 numbered bean bags

How to Play:
( We came up with three versions so far, but there are tons of variations you can play!)

Version One:  Match Up (great number recognition for younger kids)
Spread out your numbered circle mats.  Try to toss each of your numbered beanbags onto the mat with the same number.

Version Two (two or more players):  Add it Up ( fun addition practice)
Players take turns tossing their five beanbags onto the mats, adding up their score as they go.   If the beanbags misses the target, no points. If the beanbag lands pattern side up, you get the number of points on that mat.  If the beanbag lands number side up, you get the points on the mat PLUS the points on the beanbag!  Player with the highest total sum at the end of the round, wins.

Version Three ( one player ):  Race to 50 (awesome mental math practice)
Play with the same point system as Add It Up, but keep playing until you get to 50 ( or 100, 200, or more!)

Trying to hit the target for the most points!

Make Your Own!
(It's really quite easy!)

1.  Cut 10 circles out of felt.  I traced a 9" plate for my circles.

It looks like only 5, but I cut two at a time so there are 10.

2.  Cut 10 five inch squares for your beanbags.  I used felt for one side and a fun fabric on the other.

Oops, the other 4 didn't make it in the picture.  (See, I'm testing your Math already!)

3.  On your computer, find some numbers in a style you like, increase the font to enlarge them, and print them out.

4.  Trace the numbers backwards onto the paper side of some iron-on adhesive ( I like using Heat n Bond Ultra hold for things I'm not going to sew ).  Iron it on the wrong side of the fabric you'll use for your numbers.

You'll want to trace the numbers backwards so they're right side up when you cut them out.

5.  Cut out your numbers and peel off the paper backing.  Iron the smaller numbers onto the bean bag pieces and the larger numbers onto five of the felt circles.

6.  To make the beanbags, put the wrong sides together and sew two seams next to each other around the edges, leaving an opening to fill the bags.

7.   Fill your bean bag with rice.  I found a small paper dixie cup worked even better than a funnel ( Plus my kids took my funnel to play with and never returned it to the drawer!).  You'll want the bean bag full enough to weigh down your bag, but not so full that you can't stitch up the opening.

Filling was much easier with an assistant's help!

8.  Stitch your opening closed, again using two rows of stitches.

See my old sewing machine?  It's as old as I am!

9.  Next, take each pair of felt circles ( one with the number and one plain).  With wrong sides together, simple sew around the outer edge.  ( I suppose you could just use a single layer of felt for your circles if you'll be playing inside, but I found for outdoor use, two layers gives it slightly more weight so it doesn't blow around.)

10.  I decided to make a little storage bag for our game using one of the free little tote bags my husband picks up at conferences and seminars.

11.  Using the iron-on adhesive again, I simply cut a large square of fabric to cover the writing and then made my son's initial since this set is for him ( my girls tend to get all the fun craft projects and my little guy gets left out)

That's it, you're all set!  You have a fun set of beanbags, target mats and a storage bag.   Play a few rounds every once and awhile and you'll be right on target for Math class in the fall.

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