Planning for Fun: Homeschool Games Day

When planning for this year, I tried to think of ways I could integrate the huge number of board games, card games, puzzles, and video games I’ve collected for school over the years. When every day of school is full of work, it’s hard to fit those games in. It seems like a game might take too long, or we’re all too tired by the end of the day to start a game.

I also had trouble fitting in the time to have fun with an art project instead of rushing it in order to get on with the next subject.

This year, I planned an entire day of each week for fun and games. One day a week, rather than the list of fairly traditional school tasks, we are spending the entire day doing nothing but hands-on, fun, creative stuff.

Today, we started by doing the first problem in a Critical Thinking book about Arguments. It was about helping a man figure out what he was doing wrong in his quest to gather moths (his big problem is that he was trying to catch them during the middle of the day). There were two paragraphs to read and a few questions to answer. We did it all out loud together and it was quite fun. We got very creative in our possibilities for inventing the perfect moth trap and spent some time imagining what it would be like if we had really good hearing.

After that, we started our Elements of Art Journals, thanks to Art Projects for Kids. Art is my daughter’s favorite subject, and my son’s least favorite, but we all¬†enjoyed today’s lesson on the different kinds of lines used for drawing. The girl chose to draw butterflies, the boy chose to draw slimes which are his favorite mob from Minecraft, and I chose to draw owls.

elements of art page 12014-08-27 14.42.372014-08-27 14.42.59

Then, we were on to the game of the day. I decided I would be fairly spontaneous about this and play whatever catches our mood on a given day. I threw out a few ideas, and was surprised when both kids said they wanted to play Corners from Right Start’s Math Games set. The object of the game is to place your card so that the numbers next to each other are the same color and add up to a multiple of 5 (5, 10, 15, or 20). It was great fun, and even my non-mathy girl enjoyed the challenge of finding the numbers that would work together.

A great play by the boy -- notice that all 3 sides make a multiple of 5, giving him a score of 40 for this one play!

A great play by the boy — notice that all 3 sides make a multiple of 5, giving him a score of 40 for this one play!

So far, I’m very happy with my decision to plan an entire day for nothing but fun and creative stuff. The kids still did math, reading, writing, and art, but it didn’t feel like school “work.” Next week, I think I’ll have some music playing so we can add music appreciation into the mix as well. We have games that cover history, science, geography, spelling, math, economics, and time, so I imagine Wednesdays will be one of our favorite days each week.

How do you integrate games and hands-on activities into your school day? What are some of your favorite games and activities for education?


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