Screen time: Online Games

I’m trying to be zen about computer use 🙂 Anyway, I keep my feelers out and I do hear of a lot of online games for children. Primus and Secondus are my chief testers. I pop them in their folder, and we see what sticks. Here are some of our favourites, roughly in the order we found them, so not best to worse.

Boohbah: Because it requires no reading or any mouse skills, it is a great beginners activity (it’s not really a game). Children move the mouse and ‘stuff’ happens. The learning content is the co-ordination, and the cause and effect.

Starfall: From the US but free. Only  small amount of control is needed to start with. It is designed to teach reading. It starts with initial sounds, and moves on from there. There are simple readers and worksheets that can be downloaded and printed too.

Kidspsych:  logic puzzles. It has two sections, one for under 5’s, one for over 5’s. I’m not sure I get the appeal, but Primus enjoyed it for quite a while.

Bembo’s Zoo: Maybe you could say it’s alphabet, but it’s just interesting to watch.

Poisson Rouge: It’s a great site with a wide range of activities. There is no reading – in fact very little language at all, and what is there is French, but don’t let that stop you, you don’t need it to enjoy the games and activities.

Think Math: Math games for K-5, US, some imperial measurements

Cool Math Games: A current favourite of LE, there are a wide range of fantastic games, everything from arithmetic to logic, puzzles, and problem solving. New games added regularly, and for younger children there is Cool Math Games for Little Kids

Fantastic Contraption: Logic and problem solving

Playschool: Classic

Sesame Street Playlists: has short videos interspersed with games covering basic skills, sorted by subject

Putumayo Kids: World music videos to watch

cbeebies: Lots of games, usually tv related

Writing this has shown me how many I have on my bookmarks list to give the boys to try, so now we have to test them. You know, for research purposes 😉



I found an unpublished post from a few months go I thought I’d share.

We have been looking at dinosaurs the past couple of weeks, sort of loosely following the prospective here. I thought I’d share some of our work.

A. making dinosaur skin using a variety of dried pulses.

Layer jelly, showing how material gets stratified in rock.

Dinosaurs are one of those topics that has plenty of activities around. You could spend months on it!

Kings, Queens, Knights, and Castles

The boys have suddenly developed an interest in kings, queens, knights and castles. It wasn’t sparked by the recent royal wedding but a combination of Mister Maker, and reacting to a book (The Knight at Dawn) we borrowed from the library.

By the way, these books are great. There is a whole series of them, and each book is set in a different time period. The language is not especially rich, but that makes it very good for beginning readers.

Anyway we needed something fun to do and we latched on to this. We aren’t tackling it in a particularly accurate way, but happily muddling fantasy in too.

So far we:

  • have made crowns, robes and swords (out of card).
  • Made a coat of arms.
  • made fantasy maps of our kingdoms.
  • are making a castle model.
  • introduced castle and knight vocabulary
  • played fantasy games in the backyard
  • building castles with our wooden blocks

I would love to introduce some architectural things, like building the Roman arch. I have some three-part cards for the parts of the arch but I need some blocks. I’m not willing to spend that much when it unlikely to be used in the long-term, though. Any ideas would be appreciated!

Some other things we may doo, as interest dictates include:

  • looking more closely at the meanings of various coat of arms
  • Investigate stories/fairy tales

The great thing about this, is that I know we can continue while the boys are interested, and then we will return to it again later. It will pop up again in our Little City Kids curriculum again, and in many other things too.

Back Again, With Some History Activities

We have been busy lately greeting newest arrival, so I haven’t posted much, but we have also been having a lot of fun.

We were looking at early writing systems. We compared papyrus scrolls with cuniform, creating one of each.

Making a papyrus scroll

One of the cuniform tablets LE. made
Then we experimented with what happened when we left them outside, heated them in the oven or put them in water, to show why not many surived to the present day. This idea came from the activity books that go with the Story of the World: Ancient Times. These books do have a lot of ‘schooly’ aspects, such as comprehension questions, but the hands on learning activities are great. To be honest, you could probably find a lot similar ideas elsewhere, but having them in one place and linked to the story books, they do make it easy to locate ideas, and quicker for me.

And right now, that’s a huge bonus!