Friday, May 15, 2020

Educational Games for Middle and High School



Playing games can be a great way to make learning fun, and spend quality family time together.   Below are a list of learning games for middle and high school students you can use to practice and learn about various topics  (for elementary games, click here ).   While there are many great online games too, in this list I'm only listing games you play offline with others (siblings, parents).  

Most of the items on this list are free, but there are a few board games (some of which may already be in your closet) or printable games you can purchase which I've include, which are marked with a $


KEY
$ = Not a free resource
PK = Preschool
E = All of Elementary
LE = Late Elementary (3rd - 6th)
MS = Middle School/Junior High (6th - 8th)*
HS = High School (9th - 12th)*
K-12 = All school age (not PK)
ALL = All Ages

*Why do I even bother including Elementary in the Key?   Because sometimes its nice to find a game you can play with the whole family that everyone can learn from.



English/Language Arts

Spelling
Boggle Word Game (E/MS)



Languages

French
Various French Games by Ellen McHenry (E/7+/MS)

Latin
Latin Games, Various (ALL)




Geography
(Also see History)

South America

Birds of Brazil Bingo (K-12)


US States - Specific States
Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Geogrphy/Geology - Bottom of Page (K-12)



Health/Nutrition

Fruits and Vegetable Nutrition Games (ALL)



History

Digging Up Greece (LE/MS/HS)

Ancient Rome - Tabula, and Ancient Roman Game (MS/HS)

Viking Voyages (LE/MS)

Sail the Seas - Explorers/Bodies of Water (LE/MS/HS)





Science

Anatomy


Bone Bingo (HS $)



Animals and Habitats


Phyla Ecology Game (LE/MS/MS)

Birds of Brazil Bingo (K-12)

Gastropods (Mollusks) Bingo (K-12)

Poison Dart Frog Habitats/Rainforest (Requires cardboard, Lots of Set Up, E/MS)


Biology
(See Animals, Botany, Cells, Human Body/Anatomy)


Botany

Various Games About Plants by Ellen McHenry (ALL)

Photosynthesis Game (MS/HS $)



Cells
 
Pond Scum - A Protazoa Game (LE/MS/HS)

Translation Taxi RNA Game (MS/HS $)

Cellular Respiration Game (MS/HS $)




Earth Science



Chemistry

Various Free Games by Ellen McHenry  (K-12)

Periodic Table Battleship (Requires File Folder, MS/HS)


Carbon 14 Game (MS/HS) $

Nuclear War/Radioactive Decay (MS/HS) $

AP Biology Games  (HS $)


Human Body/Anatomy

Various Games by Ellen McHenry


Habitats (see Animals and Habitats)

Pond Scum - A Protazoa Game (LE/MS/HS)


Nature Study

Nature Scavenger Hunt (K-12)



MISC
 
Family Friendly Version of Cards Against Humanity (LE/MS/HS)

Lego Building Game (Requires Legos, ALL 4+)

Bible Games, Various (ALL)

Concentration, Memorization, and Observation Games (LE/MS)





Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Ocean Themed Party Cake and Snacks

My son loves anything to do with sea life, so of course I had to have an ocean themed party last year.    I had some fun decorative food for this party I want to share with you all.

Ocean Cookie Cake

First, we had I think my favorite cake I've ever made.  



This post contains affiliate links through which I can earn commission.


The funny part is, this wasn't my original plan.  I was going to make the cookies separate from the cake, but the jumping place we were going to only allowed a cake and fruit and veggie trays.   Anything else cost extra to bring.  

So, I thought...I'll just add the cookies to the cake!

First, of course, I made the cookies with the ocean animals from a larger animal cookie cutter set I'd been given.    You can use your favorite sugar cookie recipe, but we used this Eggless sugar cookie recipe I found on a allergy forum.

I made a lot more cookies than I needed for the cake, and only used the best ones.  The rest we saved for after the party.

TIP:  When icing a cookie, add outlines and small detail first, and then fill in around it.





 

Then I baked my cake (just regular store bought cake mix).   I baked two layers in a square cake pan.  

Make sure the icing on the cookies is totally dry and firm before beginning to ice the outside of the cake (don't touch the icing...just leave it for a long while or chilll it in the fridge and it should be fine).   Otherwise, the icing your cookies may drip once turned sideways.   You want to do this before frosting the cake because you want to stick the cookies on right after the frosting goes on the cake.

I used store bought frosting, which I added food coloring to.   You will need A LOT of frosting...so  make or buy more than you think you will need).  This particular cake is nice because it's all one color frosting and you don't need to frost it smoothly.  When mixing in the food coloring, it's ok to not mix the blue completely.  It actually ads a little "ocean foam" like texture if there are parts with a little white, or a slightly darker blue.     

Frost between each layer and cover the cake generously.    After you have frosted it, use the flat side of a frosting spreader or rubber spatula to dab at the frosting to create the frothy wave affect.   Then smush your cookies of choice into the side of your cake, and stick your dolphins straight into the top of the cake. 








Sea Life Snacks





Dolphin Bananas in a Grape Sea



So, I did not come up with this idea...it's something I saw on pinterest and thought was adorable so had to do it.  You can try it with blueberries or jello too.


It's pretty simple.  You cut bananas in half, only using the end with the stem (eat the other ends or save them for something like banana bread).  Slice the stem in half to make a mouth, and put them in a sea of "grapes"  (or in my case a casserole dish pool...can be in clear plastic cups too).  Add eyes with a sharpie.  Put some grapes in the dolphins mouths (some will fall out, but some will stay and that's all you need).


Octopus Pear


This little guy I did come up with on my own, and I'm quite proud of him.  To make him, I cut a pear in half, and then cut two grapes at an angle, stem side up.   I attached the grape eyes with toothpicks.  The legs are slices from a green bell pepper.



Coral Reef






OK, this one I've seen online with veggies, and it looks much cooler the way other people do it (check out this cool veggie reef that was what I was originally intending to duplicate).   But by the time I got to the veggies I was running out of time, so I just sliced some celery and added a coral looking piece of ginger into a bowl of strawberries.  The carrots got put on the plate with the octopus the "cauliflower coral," which I suspected they wouldn't eat anyways, got skipped.







The rest of the party wasn't themed, since we had it at a trampoline place.   But the kids really thought the snacks were cool...and most importantly, the birthday boy loved it!





 




Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Eggless Sugar Cookies





The following recipe was suggested to me by someone I met at an allergy forum.  They came out great!

_________________________________________________________________

Eggless Sugar Cookie Recipe


Ingredients

1 1/2 Tbsp Water
1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder (for separate step)
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter or butter substitute, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla


Put butter out to soften about an hour before you are ready to bake.

Whisk together the water, vegetable oil, and 1/2 tsp of baking powder in a small bowl.   Set aside.   (This substitutes for an egg).

Whisk together the flour, salt and other 1/2 tsp baking powder in a medium bowl.   Set aside.

Cream together the softened butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl.  (To cream the butter and sugar, cut the butter into small chunks, and then beat it with a long handled spoon until soft.  Then add the sugar to the butter and mash it with the tines of a fork.  Stir the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy, using a rubber spatula to scrape the sides back into the middle occassionally.   It should end up a yellowish-white color and double the size it was originally.)


To the creamed butter/sugar, stir in the small bowl of oil/water/baking powder you've already mixed together.

Using an electric mixer, mix at low speed while gradually adding dry ingredients, until just combined.   Refrigerate for 1 hour.


Preheat over to 350 degrees, and line several cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Empty dough only a lightly floured surface and knead slightly, and form into a ball.  If the dough seems sticky, knead in more flour, a tablespoon at a time, until it is the right consistancy. 

Roll flat, to about 1/4 inch thick. 

Lightly dust cookie cutters with flour and cut out shapes.  Move the shapes to the parchment-lined cookie sheets.

Put cookie sheets in the over and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Let cookie sheets cool for a minute or two, then transfer to a wire rack to cook (or if you don't have that, you can lay out on a clean cutting board or on a single layer on plates. 

Once cooled, you can add icing. DO NOT TRY TO ICE COOKIES WHILE WARM! 

I used this eggless royal icing recipe for my eggless icing, and also used some store brand icing which was also eggless.
________________________________________________________________________________



Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Learning Games for Elementary



A collection of learning games for elementary age kids.


This post contains some affiliate links through which I can earn commission.


Playing games can be a great way to make learning fun, and spend quality family time together.   Below are a list of learning games you can use to practice and learn about various topics (for middle and high school games go here).   While there are many great online games too, in this list I'm only listing games you play offline with others (siblings, parents).    

Some of of these games are meant to be played with other children the same age.  If a parent is playing, I suggest adding an element of chance  to the parent's turn to make it more fair (For example, the parent could have to guess what hand your child is holding something in to be able to play their turn, or if it is a quiz style game, or the children could answer all the answers and the parent only moves if they get the answer wrong).   If an older child is playing with a younger child in a game of skill, I suggest giving the younger child some sort of similar advantage (a head start in a race game, two turns for every one turn the other child plays, etc.).

Most of the items on this list are free, but there are a few board games (some of which may already be in your closet) or printable games you can purchase which I've include, which are marked with a $


KEY
$ = Not a free resource
PK = Preschool (May or may not include 2-3 year olds)
KG = Kindergarten
EE = Early Elementary (KG - 2nd)
E = All of Elementary
LE = Late Elementary (3rd - 6th)
MS = Middle School/Junior High (6th - 8th)*
HS = High School (9th - 12th)*
K-12 = All school age (not PK)
ALL = All Ages (May or may not include 2-3 year old)

*Why do I even bother including MS/HS on an elementary school list?   Because sometimes its nice to find a game you can play with the whole family that everyone can learn from.   If you're looking for more games for Middle and High School, check out Ellen McHenry's Basement.

Early Learning Skills

Colors and Shapes
Jump and Learn Game (Requires chalk, PK/KG)
Dino Sort - Teaches Sorting/Classifying (Printable, PK/EE)
Soccer Spin - Probability, Predictions, Tally Marks (PK/K)


Math

Various/Mixed Math Skills
Angry Bird Math - Counting/Probability (Printable, EE)
Storm the Castle Game (EE)
Sheep Herding Math (ALL)
Math Card Games, Various (Requires Card Deck, PK/E)


 
Number Recognition
Number Bingo (Printable, PK/KG)
Jump and Learn Game (Requires chalk, PK/KG)

Subsidizing (Ability to quickly tell how many of an object there is) 
Caterpillar Number Match (Printable, PK/KG)

Skip Counting
Various skip counting Games (Printable, KG, EE)

Place Value
Place Value Game (Printable, EE)


Money
Race to a Dollar (Printable, Requires Change, EE)
Coin Recognition Games, Various
Monopoly (Board Game, LE/MS/HS $)


Addition
Five In a Hive - Mental Math/Adding to 5 (Printable, PK, K, EE)
Find 10 - Adding to 10 (Printable, K/EE)
Adding to 10 Game (Printable, K/EE)
Adding Up to 12 Game (Printable, E)
Adding Dice Game (Printable, Requires Dice)
Race to a Hundred  +10/Number Charts (Printable, EE)
15 Game (Printable)
Sea Slide Addition Game (Printable, EE)
Addition Facts that Stick - 5 Week Game Based Curriculum (Printable or Book, E, $)

Subtraction
Subtraction Facts that Stick - 5 Week Game Based Curriculum (Printable or Book, E $)
Dino Subtraction Game (Printable)
No Prep Subtraction Game (Printable)
Robot Subtraction Game (Printable)
 

Multiplication
Loot the Pirate Ship (Printable, LE)
Multiplication Games by Games 4 Learning (Printable)
Multiplication Facts that Stick - 5 Week Game Based Curriculum (Printable or Book, E $)
Kingdominoes (Board Game, LE/MS/HS $)

Division
Loot the Pirate Ship (Printable, LE)
Division Facts that Stick - 5 Week Game Based Curriculum (Printable or Book, E $

Prime Numbers
Loot the Pirate Ship (Printable, LE)


Area
Area/Array Game (Printable)



Language Arts

Various/Mixed
Language Arts Adventure (Printable, EE)


Alphabet - Letter Identification
Jump and Learn Game (Needs chalk, PK/KG)
Alphabet Bingo (Printable) 

Reading - Phonics
Hard and Soft G Go Fish (Printable, E)
Homophones Game (Printable, E)

Reading - Sight Words
Rotten Bananas (Needs Colored Paper, K, EE)
Sight Word Go Fish (Printable, K, EE)

Spelling
Spelling Balloon Game (Need Balloons, Sharpie, E)
Boggle Word Game (Printable, E/MS)

Grammar
Silly Sentences (Puzzle Game or Board Game, E, $)

Vocabulary
Various Vocabulary Games



Writing/Composing
Campfire Storytelling Game (Printable, All Ages)



Computer Coding
Computer Coding Game  (Requires Cards)
Computer Coding game
 

Geography

World
Various Geography Games by Ellen McHenry
Coleoptera (Beetles/Weevils) Around the World (printable, LE/MS/HS)


South America
Birds of Brazil Bingo (Printable, token required, K-12)

Antarctica
Scientists of Antarctica (Printable, LE/MS/HS $


US State - Specific States

Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Geogrphy/Geology - Bottom of Page (K-12)

Texas
Ride 'em Cowboy Texas Game (E)


Foreign Language

French
On Vacation Around the World (in French) (Printable, E 7+/MS)



Health/Nutrition
Fruits and Vegetable Nutrition Game (ALL)



History
Digging Up Greece (Printable, LE/MS/HS)
Zeus on the Loose (Card Game, E/MS $)
Viking Voyages (Printable, LE/MS)
Sail the Seas - Explorers/Bodies of Water (printable, LE/MS/HS)



Science

General/MISC
Scientists of Antarctica (Printable, LE/MS/HS $


Animals and Habitats
Various Animal Games by Ellen McHenry (All)
Phyla Ecology Game (LE/MS/MS)
Birds of Brazil Bingo (Printable,  K-12)
Gastropods (Mollusks) Bingo (printable, EE, MS, HS)
Safari Animals Seek and Find (PK - K)
Poison Dart Frog (Requires cardboard, Lots of Set Up, E/MS)
Pond Scum - A Protazoa Game (LE/MS/HS)


Cells
Pond Scum - A Protazoa Game (LE/MS/HS)


Chemistry
Make 5 - A Game About Mineral Chemical Formulas (Printable, LE, MS, HS)
Various Free Games by Ellen McHenry  (K-12)


Earth Science
Various Games by Ellen McHenry (K-12)


Nature Study
Nature Scavenger Hunt (Printable, K-12)



MISC

Family Friendly Version of Cards Against Humanity (LE/MS/HS)
Lego Building Game (Requires Legos, ALL 4+)
Bible Games, Various (ALL)
Concentration, Memorization, and Observation Games (LE/MS)  




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