Monday, December 5, 2011

Looking for Gifts?

While I was looking through toy stores this afternoon on my annual quest to find a boat load of gifts, I came across a couple of interesting games and a digital bookmark. All three of these items are less than nine dollars.
Let’s look at the bookmark first.

 Mark my timemmt=close up

The Mark-My-Time Bookmark can be used like a regular timer or it can keep track of accumulated reading time up to 99 hours and 59 minutes. The really cool thing about it is that it can do both. Most teachers ask that your child read at home for 20 minutes each day. The timer can be set for 20 minutes and a buzzer will go off after the time is up. But it can also add that 20 minutes to the reading times from the previous days. This website has videos that show how to program the bookmark and to change the battery: bookmark.

The first game is one our family has played called Scrabble Slam.

Scrabble Slam

The game cards have a letter on the front and on the back. Either side can be used. The game starts with a four letter word such as GAME. The remaining cards are distributed to the players. For older children and adults, the game can be played like the card game of War. For younger children, we follow these rules: in turn,  each player takes a card from his hand to change the word into another four letter word. If a player does not have a letter that will make a word (according to Scrabble rules), that player passes to the next one. The first player to use all his or her cards wins.

My daughter found the second game, Rory’s  Story Cubes.

Story Cubes

There are nine cubes and each of its six sides has a different picture. There are many ways to play. One of the suggested ways is to roll all nine cubes, look at all the face up images and begin your story with “Once upon a time…” . The trick is to weave all nine images into your story. Last week a first grader of my acquaintance, had to write a story about a gingerbread man with a beginning, middle and end. He was having trouble coming up with ideas. These Story Cubes might have helped.

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