There are lots of websites which offer interactive games and activities, while we outline some here we also wanted to share some practical educational games which you could play with your child. We have outlined suggested ways to play, but you know your child best and perhaps can think of a better way to engage them. Most of these activities can be made more challenging for older children, or simplified for younger ones. Please remember that the value in education is in the learning not in the written work produced. To this end a lot of the activities we are suggesting can be done without written work being produced, there is a lot of educational value in discussion and it is a scientific fact that children learn through play.
Reading Eggs is an excellent (usually paid for) resource which caters for readers from the age of 2 – 13! The website is fantastic and they cater the reading to your child’s ability using a clever algorithm. They have been kind enough to open up their website for free for 30 days. You can sign up on: www.readingeggs.co.uk/access4all - they also have age appropriate maths activities here in their Mathseed section.
Free online e-books grouped by age. You need to create a free account to read these but they are great starting points for discussions and also literacy work.
Storytime from space, is a really cool initiative, where astronauts on the International Space Station read stories for kids! You need to check the book you are watching being read is pitched to your child’s level – as they do vary, but it’s a really novel idea and can act as a great springboard for some science based activities!
Phonics is an essential part of your child’s understanding of reading. Phonicsplay.co.uk is an excellent resource and they have been kind enough to allow everyone free access to their resources for as long as necessary. The website can be accessed on a laptop using the following address www.phonicsplay.co.uk or on a tablet using new.phonicsplay.co.uk. To log in use the following details: Username: march20 Password: home
Play Hooray offers courses, where they send you all the info and you deliver it to your children, we have a good friend who swears by them, but we haven’t yet bought a pack, this pre-writing pack is £30, check it out, see if it is something you would make us of, and please let us know if you do and its good! https://playhooray.co.uk/products/onlinecourseprewritingskills
- Reading Comprehensions
There are lots of age related reading comprehensions online on websites like www.twinkl.co.uk and www.superteachers.com but children can also do comprehensions from any books you have at home. The beauty of this is that you can pitch the questions at your child’s level, this is also handy if you have children of different ages or ability levels; you can set each child their own questions. Generally we encourage the use of full sentences when answering comprehension questions and you will be surprised at how hard many find these. So if you have the time, reinforce this and model full sentences for them.
This well-known game is a great way to get your child / children thinking about and practicing spellings in a fun way. If your child is very young you could write words on pieces of paper and use them as ‘hangman cards’. This way your child can refer to it when filling in your guesses. Another way to make it easier is to give whomever is guessing a set of cards with the full alphabet on it. This way they can discard the letter they are guessing and it’s easier for them to keep track.
Incase you are not familiar with the game, this is how it works. There are either two players or two teams. Player 1 writes spaces for letters E.G: car would be _ _ _. Player 2 then proceeds to choose a letter they think may be in the word. If player 2 guesses correctly, player 1 inserts the letters in the correct place in the word. If incorrect player 1 draws part of the ‘hangman’. If the drawing is complete, before player 2 guesses the word, then player 1 wins.
- Word Bingo
Draw a square grid and choose a theme. (E.G: animals, places, people etc), make an extra copy of the words, ensuring that there are a few extra then the amount on the page. Cut them up into squares, scrunch them up into balls and place them all in a bowl. Take turns pulling out a word and reading it aloud. The first person to find all of their words shouts out BINGO! and is the winner.
This is a particularly good game to play when revising spellings – you can each spell out the word instead of reading it , E.G bed could be read out as ‘B’ ‘E’ ‘D’.
- Word Families
This game is all about rhyming words. Choose a word and compile a list together of different words that rhyme with it. E.G: if the word is ‘Cat’ answers could be sat, rat, mat , bat etc.
If your children are a little older, this could be done as a competition and the person with the most rhyming words wins.
- Words within a word
This game is also a classic that I used to love playing as a child and one which I regularly use as warm-ups when teaching older children. Choose a long word (one that has at least 8-10 letters in it) and then make a list of all the words which can be found within it. The rules are simple, you can only use the letters in the word, and only the number of times they appear in that word. E.G: Chocolate includes; hat, ate, eat, late, cola, teal etc. Person with the most words wins.
- Unscramble the Words
Really simple game, choose a list of words (possibly from their spelling lists) and write them down on another piece of paper, but all scrambled up. The child then needs to look closely at the letters and unscramble the word. – This is great for working on proof-writing skills.
- Rewrite a story
Read a story together, it can be a well known story or a new one. After you read it once, discuss the text together and bullet point the story together. Explain to your child that they will be writing this story in their own words, together write a list of works (in a random order) which your child may need to write the story. Make sure that they can see this list of words while working. It is important to go over the story a number of times E.G: The three bears made some porridge and decided to go out for a walk. Goldilocks was in the forest….etc Encourage them to read through the word list to find the word they need, but point it out to them if they are struggling.
Older children can also do this, but make it more exciting by encourage them to rewrite the ending or place them selves in the story.
Become a Hero!
Ask children to imagine themselves as a superhero. What is their special power? What is their mission? Include funny ideas too. Once they have drawn and labelled their superhero, encourage them to imagine an adventure for them to go on. Discuss the adventure in detail and then encourage the child to write this adventure, either in a story format or as a comic book. Remind them to use capital letters, full stops and exclamation points etc for the speech bubbles.
Tricky Spelling Posters
Discuss with children any unusual spelling patterns (climb, beautiful, etc). Children could pronounce words phonetically to help embed the spelling pattern. Children can display these posters around their room.
Upside Down story
Read a traditional or familiar story, discuss the hero and the ‘villain’. Think about how the story would change if these roles were swapped. Explain that villain characters usually have a reason for being bad. Have a discussion about what could happen to make the ‘good’ characters turn bad, and how does this affect the story. Its usually good practice to have your child write a story plan first, this will help them organise their thoughts and structure their story better. We usually recommend these headings for an OLDER child’s story plan: Characters / Setting / build up / problem / solution. For younger children we would stick to Beginning / Middle and End.
Write and perform a short play
Our children have great imaginations, let’s harness that and encourage them to write short scripts which can be performed and recorded and then either saved for posterity, or sent to loved ones.
Make a card for a loved one who children may be unable to see due to the lockdown. This could be an actual physical card, which you then take photos of and send it virtually or the children could create a video talking to them about their day, etc – this is sure to brighten up the recipients day! For older children this could be an email which they send a friend or a loved one – possibly elder members of the family who are unable to leave their homes?
Design a monster!
Ask children to picture a monster, think about habitat, does it have scales? fur? wings? Can it fly? breathe fire? Have your child decide whether the monster is good or bad. Discuss how that might affect the way the monster looks and behaves in the story. Complete this in stages. First draw the monster and encourage the child to label the picture using as many adjectives as possible. Next draw the monsters lair, think about that the monster is like in order to draw their lair. E.G: if the monster has a lot of fur, they likely live in a cold country – maybe they live in a snow capped lair etc
Design and create an advert for a useless product
Discuss what would make a product useless, such as a window made entirely of metal, or a fire guard made of chocolate. Or a fork made of tissue paper Explain why. Encourage your child to write create an advert for this useless product.
These ideas have been created and collated by Ian Capurro, Chantal Ritchie & Julia Stych, if you have any ideas which we could add to our list, please let us know!