Educational Activities Themed Around a Child’s Interests
For many home schooling parents it can be quite a challenge trying to find stimulating and creative educational ideas for their children. In this digital age everything seems to come with a finger touch screen so it can be very rewarding to find some educational activities that don’t require a plug or batteries, and if they dovetail with your child’s interests they are much more likely to produce effective results.
Make Your Own Dinosaur’s Draught (Checkers) Set
For a child that is obsessing with dinosaurs, finding educational dinosaur themed activities and games would be a good start when it comes to trying to enthuse and engage them. For example, a simple game concept such as checkers (draughts) can be adapted to appeal to their young minds. First, there was the art, design and maths project to create an eight by eight square board with alternative black and white squares, the playing board. This taught important skills about measuring, estimating and of course division when the playing board was divided up into sixty-four. The number sixty-four was explored and we looked at other numbers that could be divided into it to produce a whole number. All fun and mathematical games which were merely the prelude to making the play counters.
Triceratops versus Tyrannosaurus rex
Now for the playing pieces, here again there are valuable cognitive lessons to be learned and lots of different learning styles to appreciate and apply. Each side (white and black) in a game of checkers has opposing pieces, so why not make them dinosaur themed pieces so that the young dinosaur fan can learn a the rudiments of draughts (checkers) whilst having fun with dinosaurs. We wanted to create twelve dinosaur themed playing pieces for each side – twenty-four in all, another opportunity to explore numbers and number integers. Taking twelve “tiddly-winks” from another game for each side, we carefully taped a picture of either a Triceratops head or the fearsome jaws of a T. rex to each counter. If you have a printer/scanner at home this job can be simplified as one drawing can be scanned and manipulated so that it fits the size of the plastic”tiddly-wink” that will be the counter’s base. We chose T. rex and Triceratops as we had just been reading together about some of the fossils found by palaeontologists that suggest that Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops did fight each other way back in the Late Cretaceous.
Dinosaur Themed Checkers Game
With care, each of the prehistoric animal drawings can be stuck to their base using double-sided, sticky tape. Then a quick explanation of the rules and there you have it, your very own home schooling project to make a dinosaur themed checkers (draughts) set. This simple project appeals to children in the key stage one and key stage two bracket. It entails a little bit of art and design, with a mathematical underpinning and even builds in a little bit of national curriculum science if you introduce the concept of a herbivore being preyed upon by a carnivore – food webs and food chains.