I love the holidays! I love the chaos and the kids all over the place. When I was little, I remember counting the days until I would see my cousins. I remember playing all day and fighting sleep each night, because I wanted to make every second count. I remember games of Robot tag, a variation of freeze tag, but if you got tagged you had to keep repeating “malfunction, malfunction” until another player “released” you. Such a silly game, but we used to literally play it for hours. I remember running around all over my grandparents North Carolina farm and giggling because I was so happy to be with my family.
Now I am back in North Carolina with my children and a new set of cousins. I am teaching my babies to play Robot tag. I watch them giggle, as they use robot voices to say “malfunction, malfunction”. There is nothing better than watching your children find the magic of family.
Another added bonus to the holidays is having a captive audience of children to play my games! This week we have been playing “The March of the Penguins”. We used the upper and lowercase letters from my Penguin Alphabet Scavenger Hunt. The kids helped me put all the upper case letters in order in a circle.
We played a few variations of this game. The first time we made up a silly song about marching around the penguins and they marched until the song stopped. Then they would reach down and name the letter right in front of them, name the sound the letter made, and for some name a word that started with that letter.
Next, we added in the penguin wands. We did the same thing, but they highlighted the letter with the penguin wand. It made the same game even more fun.
For the next game, I handed them each a lower case letter and they needed to march until they found their match. Such a simple game, but they played for a LONG time!
Another fun variation is to give each student a tennis ball and have them march with the tennis ball between their thighs. This makes them “march” or waddle like a penguin. We did this and it was hilarious!
We also did the penguin scavenger hunt. You hide the upper or lowercase letters around your room or house and the students will try and hunt for the letters. I have free penguin wands that you can use to help students zero in on specific letters. I love playing this as a partner game, but it can also be an individual game.
In a partner game, one student will be in charge of finding the letter with the penguin wand and the other student will have the clip board and recording sheet. They will need to work together to find all the letters in the alphabet. You can make this more challenging by hiding the upper case letters around the room and giving the students a lowercase letter recording sheet. They can record the uppercase letter next to the lowercase letter.
We also played Penguin “Roll, Say, Keep!” with the alphabet. You can find this game here: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Penguins-Roll-Say-Keep-Alphabet-Center-Game-and-Printables-1025385 The students fill each space on their board with a card and then roll the die to find out which letter they will identify.
It’s awesome to watch them counting the dots on the dice and then identifying the correct numeral. I love watching their minds at work!
When they find the number on their board, they will say the letter name or letter sound of the letter in that space. If they can name the sound, then they get to keep the letter card. We kept playing until all the cards were gone. The person with the most cards, wins!
We also did an extension activity to the “Roll, Say, Keep!” The students can identify specific upper or lowercase letters by coloring or using bingo markers. We love the dot-to-dot markers, but didn’t have any with us.
Last, but not least, is your freebie! A couple days ago I introduced the penguin cascade container. She is now named, “Peggy”. We used her for a fishing game. It is very simple to build this game.
You will need:
Free fish with shapes, numerals, or ten frames (click to download)
Paper clips to attach to each fish
A fishing pole: dowel rod, wine cork, magnet, ribbon, and hot glue
Peggy the penguin or a bowl to hold all the matches
To build the fishing pole, get a dowel rod or stick. Hot glue the ribbon around one end of the dowel.
Hot glue the other end of the ribbon to the wine cork. The last step is to hot glue the magnet to the bottom of the cork. Presto! You have a magnetic fishing pole.
Print out the free fish that you would like to use. You can have students match shapes, numerals, or numerals to ten frames. Laminate the fish and cut them out. Put a paper clip on each fish and spread the fish out in the “sea”. Now you are all set to catch fish for your penguin.
Students will use the rod to find matches. They will need to use hand and eye coordination to catch the fish. After they find the matches, they can feed it to the penguin. The kids loved matching the numerals to the dots on the ten frame.
Hope you enjoy the fishy freebie! We had a great time playing all these games and the kids made Peggy an honorary part of our family 🙂