Monday, February 24, 2014

Trying to make flash cards fun

I was all geared up to go on a field trip today.  The sun was out, the temperature wasn't below freezing, and I didn't have anything planned for school today.  I figured that was the perfect time to get out of the house and so we packed up our lunches and got ready to head out.

Ian, my oldest, grumbled and complained about going to the aquarium "can we just walk real quick through the whole thing and not spend tons of time looking at everything?"  Um, no!

My middle son started grumbling that it was cold out and he really wanted to stay home.

So, next thing I knew we were staying home. 

I started scrambling around for something to do!

We finally came up with the idea to make our flash cards fun! 

We started reading a few more chapters in Breaking Stalin's Nose but the older boys begged me to finish it.  Begged me!!  They really enjoyed this story and it's made us all a bit more curious about Russia's history.  We also read Luba and the Wren; a very cute Ukrainian folktale. 

The boys were complaining that it's taking them so long to learn their multiplication facts and I explained to them that it's because they don't practice-- ever.  Whatever we do in school is pretty much all they do for the day and memorizing facts takes time.

So I offered to help them make some boxes I remember from when I was a kid where you put in the flashcard equation side up and the box flips it over answer side up; I explained to the kids that it's a great way to test themselves and try to come up with answer before the flashcard comes out the bottom.

Making Magic Boxes! 

We turned it into an art project since we covered all the boxes in brown craft paper and they pulled out markers, paint and glitter glue.  I searched for a good part of the morning for instructions or ideas on making these boxes since I only had a vague recollection of them. I finally found one picture on Pinterest but there were no instruction so we had to wing it.

Here's what we did:

  • I found three almost empty cracker boxes in our pantry that we finished emptying; they were all various sizes but I mostly made sure they were tall and not too thin (think Wheat Thins or Triscuits).  
  • I found some file folders (we only needed two since we cut them into 6 strips)
  • We needed some craft paper to cover the boxes with and some tape to hold it all in place
1. I then took one box at a time and taped all the ends shut securely.
2. Some of the boxes I covered with craft paper first and some of the boxes I tried to cover with craft paper after it was all assembled; I can't say any one way was easier than another.

3.  Once the boxes were ready for the slits I set the boxes aside and cut the file folders into 6 strips that were 4" wide and as tall as each of the boxes we were using  (making two strips for each box).

4.  I put a strip on each of the boxes and marked the sides so I knew how wide to cut my slits.  I set the file folder strips aside and cut rectangular holes out of the top and bottom of the boxes making sure they were wide enough to pass the file folder strips through. 

My markings


5.  Once the slits were cut I fed the file folder strips through one at a time.  The first strip gets taped to the upper hole on the top slip and taped to the bottom of the hole on the lower strip making a slide inside the box.  The second file folder gets taped from the lower slit on the top hole to the upper strip on the bottom hole.  If you peek inside the box they make a giant letter c for the flash cards to ride on.

 6. The older boys wanted to paint and decorate theirs but Evan chose not to paint his.  Ian made a whole scene with trees, grass and the night sky while Alec choose two friends walking in the grass at sunset.  They both worked really hard on their boxes and were so proud of how well they came out.

Hard at work making a sunset


Self- Guided Spelling and Geography:
While waiting for our boxes to dry the kids took turns playing a few games on the Kindles-- Alec and Ian played Hangman for some spelling practice,  Ian played stack the countries, Evan played Word Monkey.

Evan then asked if he could use the drawing app to work on some letters and words so I sat with him and we went through some of the sight words; he spelled them out to me and wrote them on the kindle screen.  We probably worked on a good 5-10 words and he knew many of them so I was quite pleased. 

Free Play time!  
 After lunch (or during lunch in Alec's case) all the boys headed outside to play.  Ian has been hard at work shoveling paths through the snow to get to the sand and set up a quarry.  He has trucks and shovels and all sorts of forts and things he's working on.  The younger two boys pretended they were characters from Teen Titans Go and played a whole elaborate game with magic sticks, hide outs, bad guys and towers-- so pretty much the usual around here!  For staying home and not heading out we actually had a pretty good day.  

Linking up with:
Love Bakes Good Cakes



  1. Very cute. Those look like fun!

    Thanks for linking up at the #bloggerspotlight! Pinned to the boards :)