It’s me, Deanna, the teacher with 20+ years experience who, like you, is practicing social distancing at home with my child. I have decided to use my training and experience to develop a daily list of activities for you to do at home with your kids.
Note: I have been doing more to support teachers in my board as they are supporting their own students. This means I have less time to work on these posts. But feel free to look at previous ones for inspiration. I am also going to start slipping in some suggestions for teachers as I know these blog posts are being shared by teachers.
Reminder: The neighbourhood walk is tomorrow, April 1, and the theme is jokes. Write out your favourite pun or joke and hang it in your window. A tip from a teacher, make your letters big and a solid colour. Avoid using lighter colours like yellow. Or challenge your kids to make a visual pun. Like these ones.
I want to focus on a very important activity you can engage in with your kids: board games. There are a lot of benefits to playing board games. But we all need to find a way to bond and connect with what is going on. You can also try using your favourite video conferencing software to play a game with a friend you are socially distancing from.
Most of us played board games as children and learned to hate Monopoly, but board games have grown and evolved. I am going to recommend some more modern options. I know stores are shut in many areas, but check with online retailers to see about having some delivered. Or better yet, see if your local game store is doing deliveries. In Ottawa, one of my favourites, Kessel Run Games, is doing deliveries and parking lot pick-ups.
Camelot Jr. – A wonderful, hands-on brain challenge puzzle where you play the role of a knight trying to rescue a princess. Or, if you are my son, you play the role of the princess rescuing a knight, because not all princesses need rescuing. Really good for young kids.
Forbidden Island – This is a great co-operative game that you can play together as a family. It is your family against the game as you try to collect the treasures and get off the island before it sinks out from under you.. This might be a good thing after a day of strife. Play together and build relationships as a family.
Apples to Apples – This is a great game where players try to match descriptions to things. It is a game of knowing the other players in the game and playing cards that you think will appeal to them. Lots of laughs and an opportunity to be really silly.
Prime Climb – A great math game where you try to get 101. Practice multiplication, division, factorization and prime factors. Definitely for your tweens and teens, but it is fun.
Dixit – Is similar to Apples to Apples, but participants have to match pictures to a phrase. The art is stunning and quirky (and could be used as writing prompts, fellow teachers) and there are multiple expansions so you can keep adding new ones to the mix. This is a family favourite.
Dungeon Mayhem – This is a superfast card game from the people who brought you Dungeons and Dragons. You play as a Barbarian, a Paladin, a Rogue, or a Wizard and try to be the last one standing
Fluxx – A fast paced card game where the goal changes literally each time a card is played. There are multiple versions of the game, but our favourite is the now out of print, Cartoon Network Fluxx
These are but a few that you should try, but don’t forget there are many more out there. You should also check out Steam, the App Store and Google Play for electronic versions of these games and more. Many have multiplayer modes that you can play over the internet with a friend.
Or have your kids make their own game and then you can all playtest it.
Deanna Toxopeus is a teacher with 20+ years of experience teaching students from Grade 1 to Grade 8. She is currently an Itinerant Teacher of Assistive Technology with the OCDSB. The opinions she expresses in this blog are wholly her own.