Showing posts with label Conversation starters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Conversation starters. Show all posts

February 19, 2012

Our Top 10 Fun Learning Activities

LOVE these BOYS!

Some days I feel like there are just not enough hours in a day and then other days, the minutes can feel like hours. We like to mix things up with our school lessons and often our days are filled with fun activities, emphasis on ACTIVE. The traditional school mindset in me has to keep fighting the voice that tells me we're not doing enough seat work at the table.

But then I remember why we began homeschooling. It wasn't so we could do busy work or fill out lots and lots of worksheets. Now, personally, I'm a seat-work kinda girl. I love worksheets and writing, printables and lapbooks. I could spend hours quietly sitting and doing school work. All things done at the table...yep, that's me. I love it. But, our boys don't. They'll take it in small doses, but generally, most of their learning happens away from the table, where they can be active and usually loud.     

We love the ability to be flexible with our schedules, being creative and adventurous and following our passions while learning all of the fundamentals along the way. We're ALL for learning our core subjects along with history, science, social studies and art. But we can do most of those things anywhere there's action to be found and a discovery to be made. 

Here is my TOP 10 list of things we're doing with our boys to keep them engaged, learning, challenged and having fun right now.
  1. Scavenger hunts. My boys (I think all boys) love them! Scavenger Hunts can be used for teaching so many different things as well as keeping things fun and interesting. Here's a link to one of our Scavenger Hunts!
  2. Science Experiments. These are so fun and easy to do.We've been doing at least 3 or 4 a week. I also LOVE it when I can teach God's Truth through one of our experiments. Here is an article I wrote about one such experiment that we refer to over and over again and two great Science Experiment books:  We Dare You!: Hundreds of Science Bets, Challenges, and Experiments You Can Do at Home and Naked Eggs and Flying Potatoes: Unforgettable Experiments That Make Science Fun.
  3. Getting outside to explore...and be more intentional about pointing out God's Creation, asking questions as we explore and collect treasures for crafts at home. (great place for a scavenger hunt as well)
  4. More Unit Studies.(here's one we did for little ones about Super Heroes) And this is how we learn with Unit Studies (for all ages).
  5. Go on field trips that pertain to those areas of study. They don't have to be expensive, just planned ahead of time. For instance, we've been working on a unit study about community helpers. This week it's firefighters. So, I am calling our local fire station to plan a tour. We did this a few years ago, but our boys were so little. It was free and the firefighters LOVED the opportunity to talk about safety and show them the firehouse. And at the end, they let the kids get into the trucks and turn on the lights. So cool!!!
  6. My boys think I'm awesome when I show them magic tricks. So I found a couple books and learned some new tricks. Many of them involve science. I do these when we need to switch gears and lighten things up a bit, like when everyone's cranky. You can also learn many easy magic tricks online as well. Some sites even have demonstrations.
  7. Check into their imaginary worlds more often. Instead of ALWAYS using this time for me to get things done or get the next lesson set up, I want to try and spend time checking in, instead of checking out. So, if they're fighting a battle against the gonk droids or the storm troopers from Star Wars, I can perform a stealth maneuver that gets us out of harms way too.
  8. Object Lessons! I love these! They're easy to find online if you google "object lessons for kids" or you can make up your own. All you have to do is gather up some items you already have and create a lesson. Here's an example. I got out a tube of toothpaste and a baking sheet. Then I asked the boys to squirt it all over the baking sheet. I said, "OK, we're going to try and get this toothpaste back into the tube. I gave them some spoons to give it their best shot. They tried all kinds of ways to get it back in. Impossible. The lesson here was that we need to be careful about the things we say to others. We need to treat them with kindness because once the words leave our mouths, they can't be put back in. They totally got it and it was very effective. HERE is a place that lists some great Christian object lessons. And we absolutely LOVE the Family Nights Tool Chest book series for creating some really amazing biblical object lessons. We have several and love every one of them.
  9. Let them create! I want to make it a habit to fill our table with craft supplies and things found around the house that they can create with. I don't do it enough. Usually our crafts are more planned and have an agenda. Let's call it No Agenda Crafting!
  10. Plan fun celebration parties. My boys LOVE a reason to celebrate. So do I. The anticipation and planning of something simple is fun. I REALLY like this Everyday Holiday Calendar for ideas to celebrate real holidays, famous birthdays, historical events and funny things like Banana Split Day!We even create mini Unit Studies around the lesser known holidays.
OK, so I'm throwing in a few more that I just can't leave off the list because these, too, are goals: 
  • I want to read more stories together that include real life heroes and leaders, full of good and moral character traits.
  • Play more games with them.
  • Use conversation starters during meal times to learn more about one another and open up their hearts. We've done this before and I was amazed at the wonderful conversations we had. I'll be pulling these out again.
I'd love to hear what educational, fun and engaging ideas you have for spurring on your kids' love for learning. Leave me a comment about what you do.  

February 14, 2011

Conversation Starters

I came across this incredible idea somewhere online not too long ago: CONVERSATION STARTERS. For the life of me, though, I cannot remember which blog I found these on, but I do remember they were listed as a free download to anyone who was interested in using them for their own personal use. So, I'm passing these along to anyone who may be interested in using them with their kids. 

Here is how we've used these conversation starters (and plan to): 
  • Last Christmas I printed these little thought provoking one liners up on colored paper, cut them into strips and put them into a recycled peanut butter container. Then I decorated the outside with a sharpie pen and stickers. It made a perfect gift for our friends who also have four kiddos, 10 and under. 
  • We use these as conversation starters around the dinner table. Each one of us takes turns picking a strip out of the container we made for ourselves. Sometimes we take turns answering the same question and other times we each choose our own. Great way to share in family discussions and get to hear what's on our kids' hearts..
  • Often, if I am needing a major shift in our day, I'll grab our container and tell everyone to pick a strip. Works like a charm every time when there's dissension going on between our boys. 
  • Because our container is compact, it's easy to take on the road with us and is a great way to pass the time while driving. 
  • With our oldest son, these make excellent writing prompts. 
  • These conversation starters also make a nice gift for any mom with kids for any and all occasions. 
I added quite a few of my own questions toward the bottom of this list and will continue adding more as I think of them. I like being able to add to the list when I  think of something I'm interested in knowing about my boys.These conversation starters have been such a great way to tap into their hearts and minds. I'm often surprised and so thankful after hearing (or reading) their answers. Many of these questions are such simple things, but in our busy day to day...sometimes I forget to ask them what they think or how they feel about certain things. 
I hope you enjoy them! If you decide to print them out and use them, let me know. I'd love to hear how you'll use them. And if you have more questions you'd like to share to add to this list, let me know. I'd love to add them.

You can print the following 180 Conversation Starters below by clicking HERE.

The easiest way to way to print this these up is to just copy and paste the entire list into a word type document and then print it out. Hope these Conversation Starters serve as a fun way for you and your family to enjoy deeper discussions and furthering the lines of communication like it has for us. 


P.S. Thank you for stopping by. If this is your first visit to House of the Rising Sons...welcome! Part of what I love about writing here is getting to know other moms that I otherwise would never have the opportunity of meeting. I would love to hear from you. And if you'd like to join my own little circle of moms and friends, you can add us to your favorite reader, find me on Facebook and even on Twitter. 
Writing Prompts

What is something you do well?

What is your favorite room in your home and why?

What is your favorite time of day?

What is something you are hopeful about? 

What is your favorite song and why?

What is the best birthday present you ever received?

What is the best birthday present you could receive?

What is something that makes you feel sad?

What is your favorite book and why?

What is something that really bugs you?

What is something that really makes you angry?

What is your favorite holiday? What makes this holiday special?

What is your favorite day of the week?

What is your favorite month? Why?

What would happen if you could fly whenever you wanted? When would you use this ability?

What would happen if there were no television? Why would this be good or bad?

What if cows gave root beer instead of milk?

What would happen if people never co-operated? Why do you think it is important to co-operate?  

What would happen if it really did rain cats and dogs?

What would happen if animals could talk? What are some of the questions you would like to ask animals?

What would happen if you could become invisible whenever you wanted to? What are some of the things you could do that you cannot do now?

What would happen if everyone wore the same clothes?

What would happen if you threw a piece of trash on the ground? What if everyone did?

What if you could walk up walls and across ceilings?

What would happen if you loved your neighbor as yourself? What if everyone did?

What would happen if you grew taller than trees? How would this change your life?

What would happen if there were no cars, buses, trains, boats, or planes? How would this change your life?

What if everyone lived under water? Where would people live? What games would children play? What would school be like?

What would happen if you found gold in your backyard?

What would you do if a bully bothered you?

How would you cheer up a friend who was sick or had a broken leg?

What would you do if an hour before a friend’s birthday party, you remember you don't have a gift?

What would you do if you found a magic wand?  

What would you do if you wanted to be friends with someone who spoke no English?

What would you say if someone told you it was all right to steal?

If you could have been someone in history, who would you have been?

Who are your closest friends and why?

If you could give any gift in the world, what would you give and to whom?

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

If you could do whatever you wanted to right now, what would you do?

If you were the teacher in your homeschool or traditional school, describe how you would teach.

If you were a mouse in your house in the evening, what would you see your family doing?

If you were lost in the woods and it got dark, what would you do?

If it were your job to decide what shows could be on TV., how would you choose?

If there were no rules, what do you think would happen? 

If you could participate in an Olympic event, which one would you choose and why?

If you had to describe yourself as a color, which would you choose?

What do you think about when you can't fall asleep?

What do you think courage means?

What do you think makes a good friend?

What do you think makes a happy family?

What do you like most about yourself?

What do you like to do in your free time?

What kind of animal would you like to be and why?

What kind of trophy would you like to win?

What TV or movie star would you like to invite to your birthday party?

What are you afraid of? Why?

What are junk foods?

What are some nutritious foods that you like?

What are some rules you have to follow at home?

What makes your best friend your best friend?

What makes you feel safe?

What makes you laugh?

What would you invent to make life better?

What would you do to entertain your family without spending any money?

What talents do you have?

What three words would describe you right now?

What four things are most important in your life?

What color makes you think of happiness?

What kind of pet would you most like to have--  monkey, snake, goat--why?

What parts of nature do you like best?

What is the funniest outfit you can think of?

What is the funniest dinner you've ever had with your family?

How do you feel when it's your birthday? Why?

How do you feel on the first day of winter? Why?

How do you feel on a warm sunny day?

How do you feel when you want something very badly and you cannot have it?

How do you feel during a thunderstorm?

What are you thankful for?

How do you have the most fun--alone, with a large group, with a few friends--and why?

Explain how to play your favorite game.

How would you describe your house to someone who has never visited there before?

Describe a time when someone showed you compassion.

Describe a time when you showed someone else compassion.

Describe God.

How does God show you He loves you?

How can you show God that you love Him?

What do you think Heaven is like?

Do you have a hobby?

What do you like about school? What don’t you like?

What silly names does your family use for everyday objects?

Have you ever been blamed for something you didn’t do? What happened and how did it make you feel?

List 5 things that make you happy. (and mad, sad, excited etc.)

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

What have you learned about being a friend?

If you could meet any character from a book, who would it be?

What do you like to daydream about?

What is the silliest thing you’ve ever done?

What is your favorite season of the year and why?

Did you have a special toy as a baby? Tell about it.

Which musical instrument would you like to learn to play?

What kind of job would you like to have when you grow up?

What is the bravest thing you’ve ever done?

If someone gave you a million dollars, what would you do with it?

If you could meet any real person on Earth, who would it be?

Write about something that drives you batty.

What are the rules in your family? What happens when one is broken?

What has been the happiest day in your life so far?

Do you have a pet? Tell about him or her.

What is your favorite game?

What has been the saddest day of your life so far?

What have your parents taught you about money?

What have your parents taught you about love?

Do you have brothers or sisters? Tell something about each one.

Tell about the ways that your mom and dad encourage you.

What are some sayings your mom uses?

What are some sayings your dad uses?

Do you have cousins? Tell something about each one.

If you could have an exotic pet, what would it be?

What is the most important thing that you do?

List 5 things that you would like to do this year.

List 5 things you would like to do as a teenager.

List 5 things you would like to do as an adult.

Do you remember losing your first tooth? What happened?

Ask your parents about your first haircut. Tell the story.

If you could eat the best dessert in the world, what would it be?

Where is your favorite place to eat out? Why?

What is the best topping for pizza? Why?

Have you ever done volunteer work? What did you like about it?

Does your mom have a nickname for you?

Does your dad have a nickname for you?

Tell about a family tradition you enjoy.

Where would you like to go on vacation?

Tell about a Christmas tradition in your family.

Tell about a Thanksgiving tradition in your family.

What’s your favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner? Why?

What is the funniest thing you remember as a little kid?

What is your favorite sport to play?

What is your favorite sport to watch?

Do you have a hero? Tell about what he or she has done.

Do you have curly hair or straight hair? Tell something you like about your hair.

Do you have scars? How did you get them?

Tell about a time you were really sick.

Have you ever gone for a ride on an airplane? Tell the story.

If you could be a character in a book, who would you be?

What is your favorite song? Write a verse or two from that song.

Does your mom or dad sing songs to you? If so, which ones?

Would you like to own a candy store? What is your favorite candy?

Have you ever earned any money? If so, how did you earn it?

If you have any money saved, do you have anything special you are saving it for?

Tell about something special that’s yours. Why do you like it?

What is your favorite thing to do in the summer?

What is your favorite color?

Have you ever helped cook or bake anything? What was it? Was it good?

Do you enjoy cooking?

Have you ever gone camping? Tell about your experience.

What is your favorite thing to do in the winter time?

Who do you look most like in your family?

Where is the most interesting place you’ve ever visited? What do you remember?

What’s the most exciting adventure you’ve ever had in your life?

What kinds of things do you like to play with or do with your best friends?

What is your favorite movie? How many times have you seen it?

Name your grandparents and tell something about each of them.

Do you have a favorite aunt or uncle? Tell a story about them.

Would you like to be older, younger, or your age right now? Why?

Do you have a special skill or talent? Who taught you?

Have you ever competed with others in a competition or contest? What happened?

What is your favorite way to spend free time?

Would you like to go to the moon? What would you do there?

Have you ever won anything?

How many schools have you attended? Tell something about each one.

If you were going to write a book, what would it be about?

Can you think of someone who needs help that you might be able to help? How can you help them?

What are the Fruit of the Spirit? Tell something about each one.

What is your favorite scripture? How do you memorize scripture?

If you know how to read, how did you learn? If you are still learning, how are you learning and who is teaching you?

What are your favorite subjects to learn about in school?

What are you interested in learning about next?

Do you enjoy drawing? What do you like to draw? 

Have you ever been to Vacation Bible School? What was it like and what did you learn?

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