Free Spelling Activities
All children and adults need to learn to spell correctly. The trick is to find ways that are effective and enjoyable. Here are some free spelling activities you might like to try. Perhaps they will give you ideas for other you could do?
Although I have included games you might already have or want to get, you can also just write out or print out letters and words and cut them up to use,
Start with helping your child familiarise themselves with the words rather than spelling them immediately. Have a little box or a bag to put the words in. don’t do too many at once. Swap them around after a week or so and return to words another time if you hit a stumbling block. Expect children to need to revise at least some of then at a later date. Include words that are easy for them to learn.
Give lots of positive praise and encouragement.
For instance, tick off the letters they get right in a word. Don’t criticise them if they’ve spelt it wrong. Find something to praise – You have got four out of five letters right. It won’t take long before you can spell the whole word. You have got the right blend at the beginning. Well done, you always get the end of this word right.
Play games with these words such as snap or war, matching games or Kim’s game. Kim’s game would be far too difficult if you had lots of words so why not start off with 3 or 4. Read through the words with your child. Then take one word away when your child is not looking. Now ask your child to look again and see if they can spot the missing word. If it is too easy with just three or four words then you can increase the amount so that it is challenging but not too difficult.
A bunch of magnetic letters would be useful. We have a Scrabble set on our fridge. You could have some words of the week.
Get some plastic letters to play around with.
Pick off 10 letters – how many words can be made with these letters. Either you or the child should write these words down so that you can keep track of how many you’ve done. Then put them back and have another go.
You can be sneaky and take out the letters that make some of the children spellings. e.g if one of the spellings was house you might take out o u s e h m l b . Then the words might include: be, he, she, house, mouse, louse, and blouse (Decide for yourself whether you would want to include blouse as that doesn’t sound quite the same as house.)
There is a similar game called Boggle, which children who are a bit older might enjoy but it is a bit confusing having to just look at the blog Boggle grid. If this is too difficult for your children you could use the Boggle set to find the letters, but then match them with individual letters that you can move around and make words out of.
Why not use an ordinary Scrabble set but make up some of your own rules. For instance, your child might help themselves to seven letters. If they can’t see a word then they could take another letter. and maybe one or two more. Then, if they can make a word but not one that joins what is already on the board then perhaps they can put their word in a new place. The rules might be different for yourself. So you can only have seven letters at the time. You can only use words that your child already knows. You can only put your word down if it connects with a word already on the board. If not you miss a turn.
Scoring – again let’s keep this simple unless your child is ready for something more sophisticated. Each letter is worth one point. Your child gets one point for each tile that they put down and also for each tile in the word that they connect with. You, on the other hand, only get a point for each tile you put down.
There is also a game called Junior Scrabble and again you might decide whether you use the usual rules for that or you might want to make up your own ones.
This is a similar game to Scrabble but you just get a banana shaped bag with a whole load of letters in. Your child could just grab any number of letters and then make words from them.
Create Word Search from your spelling list.
This will have been done in many classrooms and many homes. Simply create a grid for the letters. Allow your child to write the words into the grid, write them down underneath as well so that they know which words have been used and then fill in all the gaps with random letters. If you have a photocopier at home you might want to take a copy of it. Then either you could have a go at solving it or another member of the family might want to have a go at solving it or put it to one side and the child can then have a go at solving it themselves on another day. If you’ve taken a few copies then perhaps it can be returned to at various times so these words can be revised at later dates.
Use nice materials to make the whole thing more interesting.
You can have stickers, nice coloured pens, stamps, coloured paper. and envelopes available for your child to use.
Put labels around your home
Fridge, cooker, my toys, books, painting, lego, my friends (a photo), Uncle David (another photo), cat, basket, bag, chair, table, knife, fork, spoon and so on. Get your child to help you think of labels. Just do a few. You don’t have to do everything at once.
Put affirmations up
I am great at maths. I like to smile. I am a good friend. I love my dog. I clean my room. I clean my teeth twice a day.
I was brave when I went to the dentist – uses 3 words children often find difficult.
Put other phrases up
Change them around
Include words that cause a problem.
If the word “went” needs working on maybe “Last year we went to the seaside.”
What – “What a lovely day it is today!”
When – “When we visit Grandma, she also makes a lovely dinner.”
Saw – “I saw an elephant at the zoo.”
Went – We eat nice toast
Because – Because elephants can always use some envelopes.
Spot words within words
When is my hen going to lay an egg?
What are you doing with my hat?
Where is my ball? Here it is. And there is my bat.
Some activities I found on other websites
An outdoor grid
Draw a grid of letters on your drive/garden/the beach – anywhere you can find and your child can spell out words.
This is a super idea from the Deceptively Educational blog. The post includes a suggested set of rules to make a game of it.
If you haven’t got any or much outdoor space then this blogger did something similar with tape indoors
Outdoor Crossword Puzzle
If you have plenty of space to draw outside with chalk then you might also like this idea. It’s quite a bit of work though.
Write out the letters of a word on stickers and then your child can work out the order of them
I hope you liked these ideas. Let me know if you tried any of them out and how they worked.
I would love to hear any other ideas. Please use the comments area below to tell me what you think.
KS2 SATs papers – creative and fun ways to use them
Hi, today I’m going to write about how we might use KS2 SATs papers in a fun way to help to children familiarise themselves with the type of questions asked and how they might answer them.
You can get the papers from a number of sites including:
On each site they are arranged slightly differently, so see which you prefer. Just don’t download them and present whole papers to your child.
The Importance of Practising Questions from KS2 SATs papers
Note I didn’t call this section “The Importance of Practising KS2 SATs papers”.
It is a fact that the best way to do well in the test or exam is to practice doing the test or exam beforehand. However, it is also very important not to put children off of learning as this can backfire disastrously and mean that they can end up doing worse or even switching off or glazing over when a particular topic is mentioned. You never want to push your child to this stage as it is it is notoriously difficult to come back from.
However, with some thought we can change the presentation of what we are doing and have kids loving what they’re doing .
Presentation is Everything – well nearly
It became very obvious to me, as a teacher, that I could give out the same piece of work to children and get completely different responses depending on what I said.
Scenario 1 – “Hey, I thought we just have a quiz today. I’ve got some new stickers to give out to the winners.”
Scenario 2 – “Well, today we’re going to see how well you’ve learnt what we’ve been doing. I have a worksheet for each person. Try to do as much of it as you can on your own. If you get stuck look for clues around the classroom, ask a friend or if you’re still stuck you can ask me. When you have finished swap papers with somebody else who has finished. Check their work and see if you agree with their answers. If you don’t agree, then see if between you you can figure out why you have different answers and see whether you both still think that your own answers are correct.
Scenario 3 – “Hello class, today we are going to have a test. The results are important as it gives me a good idea of what you already know, and what I need to teach. Please do all of this work on your own. Work in silence. When you have finished, if other people are still working, then read through your answers and check that you haven’t made any mistakes.
As you can imagine a scenario one was usually greeted with “Yes!”, cheers, and other positive noises from most people. Scenario 2 would get a mixed response of positive and negative or maybe slightly nonchalant responses depending on the particular class and the individuals within it. Scenario 3 would probably get rather more negative reactions
So when we are working with our children, let’s make it more interesting and aim to get more positive responses.
Reframe the SATs papers as a quiz
If you’re very lucky then you might be able to just reframe the SATs papers as a quiz.
One question at a time
Print off the required pages. Cut up the pages so that there is one question on each piece of new paper. Either laminate these new questions or get some coloured card and stick the questions on the coloured card.
Take it in turns to choose a question, answer it, and give a good explanation as to why you know you’ve come to the right answer.
You can move from you modelling how to answer the question, to working collaboratively with your child to answer the question, to allowing them to work independently to answer the question.
A few pages at a time
Print off the required pages and remove all references to SATs you can do this quite easily by photocopying the SATs page with a piece of paper covering up the party don’t want showing .
I would just give out a few pages and I would set a timer. You might want to do the pages yourself dash also in the given times that you are seen to be doing it dash rather than just watching your child work! Also, you can give you a search you can do model answers making sure your explanation is clear. This has the dual advantage of showing your child how to layout a good answer rather than just coming out with the answer and also by showing them how to tackle any questions that they don’t know how to do.
Creating Cards for Games
You can create as many cards as you like using the method described above. However, the SATs papers have been written so that children can write directly onto the paper.
When creating cards for games they don’t need to write directly onto the paper so you can decrease the size of the cards. You can print out a page and cut up the questions. If you have a photocopier at home, you can decrease the size. Depending on your photocopier, you’ll have different options that you can choose. Sometimes you can choose to reduce the size by 50% or 25% or 75%, other times you might go from A4 to A5 or something similar.
Find a board game you’ve got at home and think how you might play that game using these questions instead of the cards that go with the game that you have.
If you have a Trivial Pursuit board, divide up your cards into different piles which then correspond to a colour which might be landed on.
Green – a science question
Yellow – a spelling question
Red – a multiplication question
Pink – a punctuation or grammar question
Blue – any level 3 maths question
Orange – a potluck question
These are completely random suggestions. You might want to include some non-SATs tasks, for example, sing any song from the charts. Do a yoga pose. Choose a dessert for next Monday’s dinner.
You might want to play mainly for fun with just a few SATs questions thrown in. You might want to concentrate on mainly one area and divide the cards randomly between the colours. It depends entirely on your children, how close you are to the SATs and what you think would be best for them. Do think of the long-term rather than the short term gains that can be made.
Who wants to be a millionaire?
Have you got this as a board game? Do you want to buy it? (You can click on it if you do.)
If not, no problem! Just create the board. Better still, discuss it with your child and create it together. You could make it on an ordinary sheet of A4 photocopying paper. You could make it from a large piece of cardboard that you take from a piece of shopping, for example, the cardboard around 6 1L cartons of milk. Open it up and that gives you a great piece of cardboard for creating a game. Alternatively, pick up any small box cardboard box open it out and again you’ve got a large area to create a board game.
Decide on the layout and also the amounts of money to go in each section. It doesn’t need to be exactly the same as on the game: “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” In fact, they’ve changed their format and amounts from time to time.
You might want to have alternative prizes to go with the amounts, what you might want to just write the amount down because you might have different prices with each game that you play.
Here are some suggested prizes, but this is just to get you thinking about what you might choose.
£1,000,000 – a trip to the zoo
£500,000 – a museum trip
£125,000 – and item of clothing
£75,000 – cinema tickets
£50,000 – a hardback book
£25,000 – a paperback book
£12,000 – a new pen
£6,000 – a piece of cake
£3,000 – 2 biscuits
£2,000 – 2 sweets
£1,000 – another sticker
£750 – another sticker
£500 – another sticker
£100 – one sticker
What about other games?
Monopoly – collect questions instead of Chance cards, Community Chest cards and at Stations and Utilities.
Avoid paying rent at somebody’s property by answering a question instead.
Snakes and Ladders – answer a question to go up a ladder and avoid coming down a snake.
If you have any ideas please let me know in the comments area below. I would love to hear your ideas!
Photo by Calvin Hanson on Unsplash
Countries and Capitals
How many people know their countries and capitals? How many people even know all the countries in Europe? Probably not that many. Have a look at theses lists and see how familiar they are? Maybe you might like to try out the missing vowels quiz or the anagrams quiz?
An Alphabetical List of European Countries and Capitals.
Andorra Andorra la Vella
Bosnia and Herzegovina Sarajevo
Czech Republic Prague
San Marino San Marino
Vatican City (Holy See) Vatican City
An Alphabetical List of European Capitals and their Countries.
Andorra la Vella Andorra
Prague Czech Republic
San Marino San Marino
Sarajevo Bosnia and Herzegovina
Vatican City Vatican City (Holy See)
Let’s start with something straight-forward. Here we have countries with their capitals but with the vowels missing.
grmny – brln
lbn – trn
hngry – bdpst
clnd – rykjvk
fnlnd – hlsnk
ksv – prstn
str – vnn
grc – thns
rlnd – dbln
lchtnstn – vdz
ndrr – ndrr l vll
mlt – vlltt
tly – rm
kzkhstn – stn
ltv – rg
zrbjn – bk
lthn – vlns
lxmbrg – lxmbrg
mcdn – skpj
mldv – chsn
dnmrk – cpnhgn
mnc – mnc
crt – zgrb
mntngr – pdgrc
plnd – wrsw
nthrlnds – mstrdm
czch rpblc – prg
nrwy – sl
prtgl – lsbn
blgr – sf
grg – tbls
slvn – ljbljn
rss – mscw
spn – mdrd
blrs – mnsk
slvk – brtslv
frnc – prs
stn – tllnn
rmn – bchrst
sn mrn – sn mrn
srb – blgrd
swdn – stckhlm
nglnd – lndn
bsn nd hrzgvn – srjv
vtcn cty – vtcn cty
rmn – yrvn
wls – crdff
cyprs – ncs
sctlnd – dnbrgh
blgm – brssls
krn – kyv
swtzrlnd – brn
trky – nkr
Copy and paste one of these sections.
Match these Countries with their Capitals
Draw a line to match each country with its capital
Vatican City Tbilisi
Bosnia and Herzegovina Vatican City
Match these Countries with their Capitals
Draw a line to match each country with its capital
Match these Countries with their Capitals
Draw a line to match each country with its capital
Greece San Marino
San Marino Andorra la Vella
Match these Countries with their Capitals
Draw a line to match each country with its capital
Czech Republic Sofia
Anagrams of European Countries
Have a go at these – answers below
Tzar Sled Win
Ak Khan Staz
Lap Or Gut
Box Glue Rum
A Roe Gig
Banana Hiders Given Zoo
Silence Then It
A Man Irons
I A Actor
Club Zip Creche
Ha Ail Unit
A Zebra Jan I
Gnome Or Ten
Are you sure you want to look?
Scroll down then
Scotland Cold Ants
Latvia Vital A
Switzerland Tzar Sled Win
Poland Old Nap
Kosovo Ovos ok
Kazakhstan Ak Khan Staz
Belarus Real Bus
Serbia Sea Rib
Portugal Lap Or Gut
Luxembourg Box Glue Rum
Vatican City Cacti Vanity
Greece Rec Gee
Georgia A Roe Gig
Ukraine Akin Rue
Armenia A Marine
Bosnia and Herzegovina Banana Hiders Given Zoo
Andorra Radar No
Liechtenstein Silence Then It
Iceland Lad Nice
England And Glen
Turkey Key Rut
Russia Usa Sir
San Marino A Man Irons
Romania Main Oar
Croatia I A Actor
Germany Near Gym
Estonia Into Sea
Spain A Snip
Hungary Hug Yarn
Ireland Nail Red
Sweden We Send
Wales Las We
Monaco No Coma
Bulgaria Glib Aura
Albania Baa Nail
Czech Republic Club Zip Creche
Finland Din Flan
France Can Ref
Moldova Oval Mod
Denmark Mend Ark
Slovakia Ask Viola
Belgium Glib Emu
Macedonia Amid Ocean
Malta La Tam
Slovenia Save Lion
Austria Its Aura
Norway Or Yawn
Lithuania Ha Ail Unit
Cyprus Cry Sup
Azerbaijan A Zebra Jan I
Netherlands Handle Terns
Montenegro Gnome Or Ten
I hope you enjoyed that!
If you are interested in doing a project then check out this notebook:
There’s just a name on each page – so you can add whatever information you like.
Pirate Costumes for Kids
A great topic to do with children is pirates. Who doesn’t like to get dressed up as a pirate? In fact, I wouldn’t say how old I was when I and a group of friends dressed up as pirates and hired a barge for the day, swinging out plastic cutlasses around, having a great time and getting lots of encouragement from passers-by of all ages. So why not give some thought to pirate costumes for kids – get them in the mood. They can have a great time, writing ransom notes, counting up their pieces of eight, calculating how much treasure they will get once they have ransacked 8 more ships, etc., etc.
Pirate costumes are ideal for any themed children’s fancy dress occasion, pirate parties, Halloween parties, World Book Day or just having fun at home.
Make your own pirate costume
Here is a super idea for a pirate costume you can make yourself in under an hour.
No time for a whole costume?
Just make some accessories.
The instructions are here – in Spanish – I think. However, I think you can follow the pictures easily enough.
What about a silver pirate’s hook?
This one from http://craftyourhappiness.com/2016/09/14/ahoy-mateys-it-be-talk-like-pirate-day/ is pretty impressive!
You do need to find a silver paper cup. (Actually – you could probably use any colour you like.)
DIY Pirate Costumes on Youtube
Great bit of pirate make up guys!
One for young lads
Here we have some youngsters creating their own costumes, inspired by costumes they wore when they were younger. Cool!
If you are very ambitious you could even make your own Jack Sparrow costume!
This one is more do-able and fun to watch as well!
Maybe you don’t want to make the costume? So let’s see what is available:
(All of these are from Amazon UK and I get a small percentage of anything you spend but this doesn’t affect the price you pay.)
IKALI Kids Pirate Costumes, Boys Stripey High Seas Caribbean Buccaneer Fancy Dress Up Outfit for Party
I don’t know why this is described as a boy’s costume – I think it would work equally as well for a girl. There are just 3 pieces to the costume, hat, t-shirt, and trousers even though it looks like more.
At the point of writing, this is available for half-price – you might be lucky.
This pirate costume for girls includes a top, skirt and a hat.
Another pirate costume for girls – this includes a black dress with skull and bones detail on the chest, some red and black striped fabric on the waist and sleeves, and has a matching red and black striped headscarf with skull and crossbones on it.
This outfit includes a shirt with a waistcoat, trousers, a bandana and a belt.
If these aren’t what you are looking for then use this search to find more.
I hope you enjoyed this page. Let me know what you think in the comments below.
I would love to have requests for further pages, so if you have been wanting to ask a question or find resources – just ask below.
Have a great day!
Dolphin Facts for Kids
The great thing about working with your child at home is that you can pick up on their interests. Many children like dolphins and so I have decided to do this page on dolphin facts for kids and how that might be the start of a project.
I loved dolphins from an early age and enjoyed the children’s TV programme “Flipper”. That ages me! Flipper was a bottle-nosed dolphin who looked like this one.
Start with a video clip.
There are lots of video clips you could choose from.
Here is one from YouTube called ”Five Facts About Dolphins”:
Here are some of the facts that are mentioned. There are 43 species of dolphin, including 38 marine varieties and 5 river varieties. Dolphins can swim at 34 miles an hour. Killer whales, which are a type of dolphin can be about 32 ft long. Dolphins are mammals not fish, and dolphins breathe through their blowholes whereas fish breathe through their gills.
You could just watch the video and then discuss it and see how many of the facts your child picked up on. Or you could write out some questions first so that they’re listening out for the answers and writing them down.
Basic facts on a webpage
Here I’m going to give you some websites that should be fairly accessible to a lot of children and some questions to go with them.
You can copy and paste the questions into a Word document or something similar and then the child will be able to answer the questions from the information on the website. It might be interesting to see how many questions are they can answer before looking at the website and use that to check there answers. Bear in mind that not all websites will give you the same information so you need to decide what you think is the most likely right answer, or whether you decide that nobody really knows the right answer.
Equally, you could start with one question and a suggested website and then your child could tell you what else they found out that was interesting. You could then follow up with further questions or perhaps give them a fact that you know and they can tell you if they already knew that from their reading. They might like to give you a test. You can decide how much of an expert you can pretend to be.
How clever do you think dolphins are?
Are dolphins vegetarian?
What whale is really a dolphin?
Which dolphin is the most common?
What are male, female and young dolphins called?
How many individuals are there usually in a dolphin school or pod?
Give some reasons as to why dolphins are so popular with humans.
How do dolphins breathe?
Write something about dolphins’ eyesight and hearing?
How to dolphins communicate with each other?
How do dolphins find objects?
Name one type of dolphin which may have become extinct.
What do humans do that is dangerous for dolphins?
Dolphins live in the sea. Do they drink the water?
How many teeth do dolphins have?
What do dolphins use their teeth to do?
Can dolphins see at night?
Do dolphins see in colour?
Can dolphins see underwater?
Can dolphins see above water?
This is one of my favourite questions. Do dolphins have hair?
In what way are dolphins different from fish?
All About Dolphins for Kids: Dolphins for Children – FreeSchool
This video is a bit longer than the last one. It is 5 minutes long. It recaps on quite a lot of the answers to the questions that we’ve got above and it gives some extra information.
Here’s another dolphin video – also about 5 minutes long.
This video is for older children and has some quizzes and lesson materials to go with it.
Ed-Ted lesson material – https://ed.ted.com/lessons/how-smart-are-dolphins-lori-marino
Does it help dolphins to help humans?
Here is a fascinating article about dolphins that have been helping humans fish since 1847
Is your child ready for some quizzes?
https://www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc/quizzes/bp-dolphin-true-or-false – Just six questions but will you know all the answers?
This one is harder but it marks itself as it goes along, so you get to learn at the same time.
More challenging questions, but again you get the answers as you go along so it is interesting to do. The questions are randomised so you get some of the same questions and some new ones if you do it again.
(I couldn’t do all these and I couldn’t see the answers.)
At “All The Tests” you can do other quizzes or create your own.
Would you like to know how to draw a dolphin?
Try following the instructions on this video:
Or take a look at this page http://www.wedrawanimals.com/how-to-draw-a-dolphin/ or http://www.hellokids.com/c_26032/drawing-for-kids/drawing-tutorials-step-by-step/animals/how-to-draw-a-dolphin-for-kids .
This one is a lot more complex https://design.tutsplus.com/tutorials/how-to-draw-a-dolphin-step-by-step–cms-28672
Some other fun Dolphin activities
http://www.dolphinkind.com/dolphin_fun.html – a variety of different activities.
http://www.dltk-kids.com/animals/mdolphin.html – make a dolphin model.
For you as an adult
A teacher’s guide – this is to go with a particular film – but it does have a lot of general information in it.
An article from the Guardian:
This was one of my favourite books as a youngster:
The Day of the Dolphin by Robert Merle https://amzn.to/2IDZsLx I suspect it’s rather dated!
There was also a film to go with it. The Day of the Dolphin [ 1973 ] by George C. Scott https://amzn.to/2IBdpd2
Some Children’s Dolphin Books from Amazon
Winter’s Tail: How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again by Craig Hatkoff https://amzn.to/2rYeaqa
Everything Dolphins: Dolphin Facts, Photos, and Fun that Will Make You Flip https://amzn.to/2ICoWbW
Dolphins: Amazing Pictures & Fun Facts on Animals in Nature (Our Amazing World Series) https://amzn.to/2KHMMUf
Dolphin Boy by Michael Morpurgo https://amzn.to/2J0DHZO
Let me know what you thought of this article, what else you would have liked to see here, and any requests you have for other articles. Just drop me a comment below.
Do Vision Boards Work?
Are you familiar with vision boards? Do vision boards work? Would you use one yourself? How might they work with a child?
A vision board is basically a large piece of paper cardboard maybe a pin board or something that you can stick pictures on.
There are lots of examples of people who use vision boards and think they’re a really good way to help them achieve their goals. This includes athletes, psychologists, business people, and many other people of all walks of life. Different people will tell you different reasons why they think vision boards work. Business people will often tell you that the main purpose is that you look at your goals and concentrate on getting on and getting things done. Psychologists will tell you that it’s because you’re using your reticular activating system part of the brain which shuts down what we’re not interested in, in order to concentrate on what we want to notice. It’s a bit like when somebody buys a red car and then notices red cars all over the place.
So if we put a particular holiday on a vision board it might be that we happen to notice when there’s a special offer for that destination. Whereas maybe we would never have noticed otherwise, and would always have assumed that that place was out of our price range.
Some people even argue that just thinking about something a lot but we want draws it towards us.
Whatever you believe is the reason for vision boards working, it does seem that they make a difference. They are also good fun to put together and might be an enjoyable way to have discussions about things that you and your children would like to achieve.
I have created vision boards on pieces of paper, online (Hay House have a vision board app for the iPad), and I also have a book that I’ve put things in that I stick pictures in and write ideas and thoughts. I have enjoyed doing this so much that I decided to create my own book on Amazon which is available for you if you would like it. It just has blank pages in so that you can either write or stick things in.
Vision Boards on Paper or Cardboard
For children I think it would be most fun to create their vision boards on paper or cardboard. They often enjoy cutting and sticking and decorating and this would allow them to do that.
As I said before, this should be an enjoyable activity.
Have a chat with your child about what you’re planning to do with them and make some notes. This will give you a chance to gather together some materials. You might want to collect some pictures from the internet or get some magazines and also collect things like scissors, glitter, coloured pens and colourful pieces of paper.
You could just have a general chat or you might want to divide your conversation into 4 sections maybe have, be, do and learn. This is just my idea.
First, talk about things that your child would like to have. Help them understand that they are not going to get everything or even anything in the next few days or weeks or maybe ever. This is for them to think about what sort of things they really like and maybe find ways to earn money or to know what they want when they go shopping so that they don’t waste their money buying things that they then wish they hadn’t bothered with. You can talk about the fact that lots of people buy little things as soon as they have got money and so never have enough money saved up to buy the bigger things that they would really like.
This list might be quite useful for you as well. You’ll have a place to go to see what your child would really like without you having to ask them and then disappoint them if you decide you don’t want to get it. It might be interesting to encourage them to think about small things that they would like, medium value things and larger things that it is unlikely that they will get but if they were very lucky that would be what they wanted. You might want to use some of the smaller things they ask for as rewards for them when they achieve some of their goals. If they go to spend pocket money or birthday money you might encourage them then to look at that vision board to see what it is they would like to buy. The medium sized objects might be useful for special occasions or special rewards. Maybe if you have uncles and aunts or grandparents asking what they would like for a present then that will give you some ideas. Then the larger the larger items could be reserved for special birthdays, Christmas, passing exams, etc. and you felt they deserved a really big reward.
Here is where you would talk about what your child would like to do what experiences would they like to have. Although again, you could use these as rewards they might also be very useful ideas for some of your family experiences. These are the sorts of things that children will look back on in years to come and value the time that you will spend together.
Be (when they get older/grow up)
I’m splitting the “be” section into two because I think there are two aspects worth considering. We will look up what they want to be when they get older or grow up first.
See if they know what they would like to be when they grow up. This doesn’t need to be set in stone. It can however be highly motivating. For instance, if they say they want to be an astronaut you can talk about some of the things that an astronaut needs to do for instance the need to communicate well, to do maths, they need to learn science, and they need to be able to think for themselves and solve problems. This might encourage them to take an interest in all these different areas. Later, they might decide they would like to be a marine biologist, which they might never have heard of when they were seven, but a lot of the things that they took an interest in when younger might help them to get on a course to move towards this as a career.
This section might also be for things like hobbies, for instance, be a scout, be a brilliant birdwatcher, be a super singer.
This bit of the “be” section is about their character. What sort of person would they like to be? Would they like to be fit, kind, clever, strong, friendly, and/or hard-working? Would they like to be the sort of person has lots of friends? Would they like to be the sort of person who goes on exciting holidays? What can they do now to start to work towards being this sort of person.
In this last section, let’s consider “learn”. You might like to talk about what your child would like to learn, how they would like to learn, and when they would like to learn. This should give you lots of ideas for activities to do. It may also give you some interesting milestones. I think one of the issues for children is they often don’t recognise their own progress. They see what’s ahead of them and think I’ll never learn all this, but they often forget what they have already learnt and and don’t see how far they have already come.
Too many suggestions
I am aware that I have made too many suggestions here. You might want to take just one or two ideas and work with those to start with.
Why not create a vision board of your own first, so that you’ve got an example to show your child. Then you can talk about your aims and goals and the things that you would like to have and how you’re going to go about working towards these.
Some Useful Resources
These are from Amazon. I will get a small amount of commission if you decide to buy any of them.
Geography Teaching Resources
Although maths and English are very important, we shouldn’t stick to just teaching English and maths. Looking at the geography of our world is a great way to interest children and teaches us some skills at the same time. That’s geography skills and maths and English! Here are some useful geography teaching resources that I have found on the internet.
One of the good things about geography is that there are lots of photos lots of different types of pictures and diagrams, and lots of videos we can look at.
These sites are mainly for children up to 11 although some of the books suggested at the end of this article are for older pupils.
Our World is a welsh primary school site showing local geography, and then European and world geography that the children at a primary school have investigated. It is aimed at other children in their school but it is a fantastic resource for anyone.
5-7 year olds
Here we have a PowerPoint and a PDF. They tell the story of different children, the homestead living and the food they eat. They often have to grow their own food.
Here we have a PowerPoint and a set of teachers notes. The teachers notes of really useful. There are three questions for each picture to ask for children and some suggested activities. You might want to just pick one or two pictures to look at you don’t have to use the whole set.
7-11 year olds
There is a photo pack you can buy here but you don’t need to as there’s a PDF so you can look at it all online. There are 34 pages packed with pictures, questions, activities for you to do with your child.
There’s a rather clever video at the top of the page. You can actually click on a number of hotspots so that you can choose which child’s story you’re looking at. You can also look at various themes by clicking on the appropriate hotspot. The hotspots become available when you are 20 seconds into the video, and they are also available at the end of the video so you can choose something else.
Click here for a five minute film and a short drag and drop activity to do.
Films for Children – click here for a few more films on various topics
Oxfam Educational Resources
For 8 -16-year-olds
Oxfam have some resources entitled Food for thought.
There is one section for 8 -11 year olds and another for 11 -16 year olds.
In the first section, there is a fictional island and a role -playing game aimed at thinking about issues of sustainability and fairness related to buying land.
In the second section there is a situation for you to investigate concerning the forbidding of land to be sold for biofuels.
There are lots of resources on the Traidcraft for schools website, especially related to Geography.
These go all the way from KS1 to KS5 and there are lots and good PowerPoints and activities.
These are some of the activities for KS2:
You might also want to look at the Activities and Games Page.
Primary Resources UK
A lot of resources on this site for primary school children so that’s everybody between the ages about 5 and 11.
These have been collected from different teachers over quite a large period of time. The quality is variable partly because some of the resources look quite old fashioned now.
However, there are masses of PowerPoints and other documents which is very easy to just use either on the computer or to print off if it’s an activity.
There are a number of pages for geography. Each one has a box like this at the top so just click on whatever topic you would like and you’ll get further resources.
When I first came across this site it was onto a page of photographs, so I wondered why it was called 3D Geography. However, once I saw the first page it was obvious.
There are lots of models that you can make.
There are examples of rainforest and ocean dioramas that were made by Year 2 children, and there are some backgrounds you can use.
As well as these there are quizzes, word searches, vocabulary lists , animal facts posters and much more.
You will have noticed that there are plenty of picture photobanks amongst the resources. If we are using the photos publically then we have to be careful about copyright. For tutors – sites like https://unsplash.com/ or https://pixabay.com/ are really useful and some of these pictures are amazing.
For instance, I have typed in China on Unsplash and you get 1,307 amazing pictures come up.
I have done the same on Pixabay and another 4000+ come up but here you have to be careful and some of the pictures will take you to other sites where you need to pay for the pictures. These are clearly marked, but just be careful. Ignore the sponsored photos and choose from the “4,093 Free photos of China” section.
If you are just looking for some to use at home with your own child then you can be more relaxed about your use of pictures.
KS1 Geography Video
Watch this inspirational Geography video showcasing the work of Jane Whittle in an early map making journey with her class.
This would work well whatever the number of children you had, whether it is just you and your child or there are more of you.
Fairtrade around the world – KS1 – with PowerPoint and activity
Some resources from Amazon
(I do get a small commission if you buy any of the resources below.)
The Usborne Geography Encyclopedia by Gillian Doherty With internet links. Great for KS2.
If you have any suggestions, comments or questions please put them in the comments below. I look forward to hearing from you.
Affirmations I Am Enough
This page has been inspired by the work of Marisa Peer and her affirmations I am enough, I am a good son or daughter, I am a good person.
In particular, I am focussing on the messages in this video in which she says the biggest disease affecting humanity is thinking “I’m Not Enough”. That’s a massive statement.
Marisa is a hypnotherapist who was named Best British Therapist by Men’s Health magazine. She is also listed in Tatler’s Guide to Britain’s 250 Best Doctors.
She has been invited on to many television and radio shows, including in Britain – Supersize vs. Superskinny, Celebrity Fit Club UK and in America – Celebrity Fit Club USA. She has also written a few best-sellers which I have listed at the end of this article.
She works with mainly celebrity A-listers and other successful professionals. They are just the people most of us would imagine that would think they had made it and they were enough.
Marissa tells the stories of a number of clients without mentioning names and how they change after they have worked with her.
As you can see, if you have watched the video, many of these people might be very successful in some areas of their lives but find other areas more problematic particularly regarding self-esteem. What Marissa found, was that often, their problems stemmed back to childhood where for some reason they judged themselves to not be enough for some person. Maybe it was a parent or the teacher or maybe one of their peers.
Now you can imagine if this is a problem for celebrity A-listers who are successful it must also be an issue for some of our children.
Marisa doesn’t just talk about A-listers she also talks about her own family and the changes that she has made to help them. Listen to the bit about writing it on her daughter’s wall (12:12) Later, in the video, she talks about some of her daughter’s comments coming home from school and the importance of countering negative messages children may have picked up.
One of the main methods is to get them to write the words “I am enough” on a mirror. This sounds simple but seems to have worked well.
One person was talking about his son. He asked if he should write it on his son’s mirror. Marissa told him that this would just antagonise his son and he should write it in areas that were family areas, like on the fridge. Later he reported back that his son was feeling much happier. Not only that but also his wife was feeling better. There’s more to it than that but I’ll let you listen to the video for all the details. (The story stars at 14 minutes.)
So what could you do? Where could you put it? Do you think it would be helpful? Or do you think it would be a bit silly and wouldn’t make any difference? I’ve decided to try it out on my fridge and bathroom mirror.
Marisa has one photo in the video of a woman who has it tattooed on her hand! She says it changed her life!! Wow!! Now she, her husband and her children say it all the time. She can’t forget because of the tattoo and neither can they!
Make Praise Familiar
Marisa tells us that we are strangely more comfortable with what is familiar rather than what is unfamiliar. So, if we are familiar with praise then if somebody compliments us we can happily say “Thank you” but if praise is unfamiliar and somebody compliments us then we’re more likely to get embarrassed, shrug it off or deflect it on to somebody else. We might even add in criticism of ourselves. This is of particular concern because the major cause of depression is the critical and repetitive commentary many people use against themselves.
We don’t want our children to be those who feel more comfortable with criticism than praise.
Catch them being good.
You have probably heard it said you should catch children being good and praise them for it. In some cases it might be hard to find children being good. These may be the children who haven’t been likely to have experienced being praised as much and so it is even more important to try and find something to praise.
Maybe there is another environment where they are used to getting significant criticism.
Praise them even if they’ve just done something for a couple of seconds. They may have become used to attracting attention by bad behaviour. As time goes on they’ll get used to getting praised for doing something good. They will come to enjoy this type of positive interaction.
Sometimes we don’t praise children because we think well they’re pretty good so we’re always going to be praising them but they might think they’re not doing enough. They might not realise how much we already appreciate them.
Praise your child for being!
You don’t always have to wait for your child to actually do something. Why not just praise them for some aspect of who they are? Don’t forget they are on a journey.
You are a fabulous child.
I am proud that you are my son.
I am proud that you are my daughter.
We have a lovely family and you are an important part of it.
You’re a great kid and you’re going to grow up to be a great adult.
I love the way you take care of your brothers and sisters.
You hardly ever argue and when you do you make up quickly.
You are learning more and more, you must be paying attention at school.
You listen carefully when people are talking.
It is so relaxing being with you.
I feel happy just being with you.
What could you add? Please put your suggestions in the comments area below. I look forward to reading them.
Marisa Peer’s books
These books are targeted at an adult audience so I am suggesting you get them for yourself, if you are interested, rather than to “use” on your child. (I do get a small commission on these from Amazon if you buy one but it doesn’t affect the price you pay.)
This is the one I read and enjoyed so if you were just wanting to get one I’d go for this one. There is a link to a free hypnosis download available.
There’s no diet in this book!!
Online Fractions Games
Fractions are much easier if you have a good visual understanding of what is going on so online fractions games are an excellent way to explore fractions.
Consider bookmarking this page as there are a lot of links on this page. (Ctrl+D).
One site that I have been using for many years is Topmarks. This has grown and been kept up to date. The graphics are simple and straight-forward and the games fill the screen – unlike some older sites when they have not been updating the resolution as time has moved on.
Some of the games are embedded from different websites, for instance, the BBC allows you to embed some of their games into your own website so you can see that the style of these games is quite variable.
Other games are flash-based and many people no longer have flash enabled so they have a helpful guide to show you have to enable flash if it is not working on your computer.
Games for KS2 include:
In this game, you can play the games against the clock if you want to. There are lots of different levels that you can choose from. This starts with very easy – halves, quarters, three-quarters, and by level 8 it is much more challenging as you can see here.
There are lots of games on this site but let me just pick out a few.
One is called Fraction Beach in which you get buckets of sand when you get a correct answer.
There is an interactive tutorial called Proper Fractions – it has pictures of ducks on the front of it. Cartoon characters explain what is happening and ask questions. This activity is aimed at 9 to 10-year-olds.
Another game that looks interesting is called Converting Fractions to Decimals. This is a futuristic mission game where you need to crack open the vault using your knowledge of fractions and decimals.
In Decimals Jeopardy you can play in teams or on your own against the clock.
When playing Treefrog Treasure, you have to collect jewels and in this one there are lots of different levels as well.
For those children who like the BBC characters Dick and Dom, there is an equivalent fractions game which includes some rather rude noises! Here is a video of me having a go at playing it. Can you bet my score?
There is another game with Dick and Dom in it where you have to find the antidote to the plague. In that one, you’re comparing and ordering fractions.
Dolphin Racing from the BBC was one of my favourites. It’s still ok if you have the right Flash player but otherwise it won’t play.
Here are some more videos and activities from the BBC.
This is a good game which involves a bit of thinking rather than the speed of the arcade games below.
For getting children to think more deeply but in an enjoyable way the NRICH site is fantastic!!
Consider bookmarking this page as there are 58 activities in the Fractions and related topics but you can narrow this down by Key Stage.
As a teacher this has got to be my favourite maths site and is well worth exploring.
In Math Playground the games are more like arcade games and so are popular with the children. This is an American site and has notes for teachers.
I haven’t figured out what happens in Fraction Forest games so let me know in the comments if you have or if you have found any instructions.
These tend to be more challenging, so are more useful for consolidation, speed tests and/or revision.
Another American site with quite an arcade feel.
Education.com has 12 games – you need to scroll down to see all of them which isn’t always obvious.
Here are some of them:
On MathGames.com you can choose a game, then a grade, then a skill like fractions.
Printable fractions games
A variety of Fraction Board games here.
Primary Resources UK
Primary Resources has a whole load of games, activities which teachers have created and shared. Well, maybe more activities than games. This is another site I made a lot of use of as a teacher.
Teaching ideas is similar in some ways to Primary Resources. Here are their fractions ideas.
Some resources from Amazon
You might want to see if you can use some of these ideas to create your own resources.
(Disclosure – these links go to Amazon UK and I get a small percentage from them which helps to pay towards to cost of maintaining my websites.)
The is an Usborne book and although I haven’t seen this one they are usually very good. This book gives you a super guide to fractions, decimals and percentages. There are over 125 flaps to lift so that you can discover what they are and how to use them. Learn about simplifying fractions, improper fractions, and converting to decimals and percentages.
Wipe-Clean Fractions 7-8 (Key Skills)
Here we meet some friendly animals helpers. The book aims to build confidence in understanding the concept of fractions and offers plenty of practice. It includes extra notes for adults. The answers are at the back of the book.
This is a book with a difference. You will find fraction robots, numerator ice-cream cakes and decimal mazes. At the back of the book are 4 pages of stickers and all the answers.
Carol Vorderman has written this maths workbook on fractions. It encourages your child to spend 10 minutes a day practising fractions, decimals, and percentages.
This last book has short tests with self-assessment and answers
Let me know how you get on in the comments below and as always enjoy the process and spending time with your child!