DIY Analog Angry Birds


Angry Birds is a fun – but the downside is only one person can play at a time and if your mom says no more electronic devices, well then -you can’t play at all!  We have just the solution for these types of situations – it’s Analog Angry Birds – all the fun and no electricity! In fact, we don’t know if the kids had more fun making the game or playing it!

Here’s what you will need:

  • several different colors of yarn (the birds are white, blue, black, yellow and red – you can use the same colors or get crazy and use the colors you have!)
  • scissors
  • paper
  • glue
  • colored pens
  • milk top (to trace circle)
  • 5 paper cups
  • green tempera paint

IMG_26471) The first thing you will need to do is to paint your cups green.

IMG_26502) While the paint is drying, start making your birds.  Wrap the yarn around your four fingers (use your thumb to hold the end of the yarn when you start).  You will need to wrap several times – for the really thin yarn we went anywhere from 75 to 100 times, with the thicker yarn we wrapped about 30 times.  This was a good fine motor skill and a great way to get the kids counting.

  • -Not all of the kids can count past 10, so we counted to 10 and then put a tick mark to remember how many times we went around.
  • -The more times you go around your hand, the fuller your pompom will be.
  • – Be sure not to wrap too tightly or you will hurt your hand and have a hard time sliding the yarn off.

Once you are finished wrapping, cut off the end and slide the yarn off your hand.  Tie another small strand of yarn around the center to hold the pompom together.  Cut each loop and then roll the pompom around in your hand to fluff it up a bit.

3) Use the milk bottle top to trace a circle and then draw your Angry Bird’s face (we know what you are thinking – “hey, this could be a great lesson to do emotions”- good idea! we thought so too! you can make some happy, sad, silly etc).  Glue the face onto your pompom.

4) Once your cup is dry, draw on a pig’s face.

IMG_26615) Now you are ready to play!

Thanks to make and takes for this funtastic idea!



Emotional Pumpkins


Since we teach English Through Art, it’s not always easy to create a good balance between teaching English, allowing enough room for the kids to be creative and experiencing different artistic techniques.  This project was a good one clear idea: creating pumpkins that showed various emotions-not too complicated on the English, the kids could get creative by drawing the emotions they chose and the shape of a pumpkin is pretty generic so they could experience watercolors without struggling too much with how to draw.

To learn the emotions we did several games before actually rolling up our sleeves and getting to work each session. We used the cards below we played memory, charades and pictionary.  Click on the link for our pumpkin emotions crossword puzzle.

flip flop cards 2We also had contests trying to create different emotions using our pumpkin game, the first few times we asked them to do which emotions to do and after a while they had fun experimenting and have each other guess what they were doing.  Before beginning to paint, the kids used the game to create emotions and then sketch them – taking careful notice at how the eyes, mouth and eyebrows had to be placed in order to convey the emotion they wanted to do.

IMG_2190When we finally dove in, we first divided a large paper into 4 sections and the kids used a black crayon to draw their Emotional Pumpkins.  They were instructed to draw 1 pumpkin and 1 emotion per section and to do the pumpkin as large as they could, but they had to stay inside the confines of the space and they had to try and use their sketches.  Using water colors the kids had to shade from dark to light inside each segment of each pumpkin to give the pumpkins more dimension.  This was a real challenge – trying to control a very spontaneous medium.  There was one more challenge to this project – the kids were only given primary colors to paint with, so all of the other colors had to be mixed.  (This was not the first project mixing water colors, otherwise I think I would cut this step out so as not to get too overwhelming).   They did great and had a lot of fun.

IMG_2272The final step was to have the kids talk about how their pumpkins were feeling. We were really proud of them, I think they were surprised at how much they learned.

Christmas Flip Flop

It’s Gingey Flip Flop! This is a game that is a lot of fun and will get kids talking in English in no time at all!

Preparation:  Print the template 4 times and cut the cards out (there will be 40 cards in total). You will need either a bell (like the desk bell in hotels) or a bean bag.

This game needs 2-4 players.

The object of the game is to win as many pairs of cards as you can by identifying pairs.

Place the bell (or the bean bag in the center of the table).  Shuffle the cards and deal an equal number of cards to each player.  (If there are 3 players, you will need to take out 2 pairs so that there will be 36 cards). Each player keeps their stack of cards in front of them and face down.

Decide who will go first.  One player at a time must flip over a card, eventually forming another stack of cards in front for each player, but with the cards face up. Cards must be turned face out first, so that the other players will see the picture first.

The first player to see two identical gingerbread men face up on the table, must ring the bell (or grab the bean bag) and identify how the pair is the identical same. The similarity can be that they are both happy or sad, they have green or orange buttons, or because the backgrounds are the same (orange, blue or green). If that player answers correctly, she earns that pair of gingerbread men.  If a player flips over a card and the card immediately under it is identical, players may ring the bell (or grab the bean bag) and identify their similarity. Otherwise, once a card is covered up it isn’t used to make pair, until it becomes the top card again.  Once a player has turned over all her cards, she can take the pile of face side up cards and play continues until all the cards are paired.

Be careful….If you ring the bell (or grab the ball) by mistake, or a player does not identify the similarities correctly, she must give a card from her stack to each player. Once all a players cards are gone, she is out of the game.

The winner is the person that collects the most pairs! Good Luck and Have Fun!

Feeling a Little Like Playing an Emotion Game?

Per leggere questo post in italiano, cliccate qui.

You’ve now played Build A Monster and Emotions Memory, so you’re probably an expert at body parts and feelings. We’ve now combined the two and kicked it up a notch with The Pumpkin Emotion Game! (Yes, we know we weren’t very creative on the name, if you have a better one, please be sure to tell us)!

Pumpkins for the face:

pumpkins 2

Parts of the face:Your choice of die:or

To get started:

  1. Download and print enough pumpkins for each player.  Cut the sheet in half to separate the pumpkins.
  2. Download and print the sheet with the parts of the face (or make up your own from construction paper). Cut out the parts of the face. ( If you are laminating, laminate the sheet first then cut out the parts).
  3. Download and print 1 die (either the one with pictures or the one with words). Cut out and glue together.
  4. Download and print a sheet from the Emotions Memory (either the one with pictures or the one with words).  Cut into squares.

Now you are ready to play!  The object of the game is to complete a jack o lantern with the correct emotion on his face. The Instructions:

  1. Put the pumpkins and facial parts into the center.
  2. Put the emotions squares face side down and each player chooses out one.(The extras can be removed while the game is being played).
  3. Decide who goes first. The first player rolls. She must say what she has rolled and then may take 1 of the according piece from the center pile.  (i.e. if she rolls an eye, the she takes 1 eye).
  4. The asterisk may be played in two ways – if rolled, that player gets nothing or if rolled, that player may choose a piece of his choice.
  5. The first player to complete a whole jack o lantern face with the correct emotion wins.

Have fun!

Flippin Out for Flip Books

Halloween is a great time to work on projects about emotions – monsters and pumpkins are always more fun if they are scary or happy or sad or angry, right?  How about making a monster or a pumpkin flip book?

Supplies:  Paper     Ruler      Pens    Scissors     Stapler     Imagination

-To make a Monster Flip Book, use the ruler to divide a piece of paper into 6 equal sections.

-To make a Jack o Lantern Flip Book – Take a piece of paper and use a ruler to draw the halfway point along the width (if you are using an A4 it’s about 15cm).  Now use the ruler to to divide the paper into 3 sections along the width, keeping the height of the middle section a bit smaller than the outter two (if you are using an A4 – the tick marks are at 6 cm,  9cm, 15 cm (the middle), 21 cm and 24 cm).

– Cut the paper in half.  Stack the two halves on top of each other, fold (with the lines toward the inside) to make a book and staple along the folded edge.

– Start drawing, back page first.  This is so that you can more or less keep the proportions
of your monster/jack-o-lantern the same.  Make sure that you keep the eyes in the top section, the nose in the middle section and the mouth in the bottom section.  (On some of the pages, you wont be able to see the guide marks, which is we folded with the lines in and started on the back page.  This way you can see through the paper and use the previous monster/jack-o-lantern as a guide to wear the face should go). Try drawing a different emotion on each page.

-Once you are finished drawing on all 4 pages, you are ready to cut.  Remember to cut on the first 3 pages and do not cut the last page! Of course if you do, you can just tape it back together.

Now you can flip the sections back and forth and change the emotions of your monster/jack-o-lantern!

In case you need some monster inspiration, here is Grover singing the Monster in the Mirror song:

Emotions Memory Game

To read this in Italian, click here.

There are so many emotions, it will take forever to cover them all! But, we sure are going to try! Here are the first 12:

emotions memory color words

Print 2 versions of the faces above


Or one each of the versions below OR 2 of just the faces to make your memory game:

emotions memory color 002

As you may have noticed we’ve formatted the cards a little differently this time. We’ll try to include vocabulary words to include older kids in the future.

Remember get creative with your memory games! Aside from fishing games or pictionary or sculptionary you can play:

(these are better for small groups, next time we will do something for bigger groups)

1- Memory on Wall: tape cards upside down on the wall and the kids play a vertical version of memory. The cards can all be placed on one wall or if you have the possibility, you can scatter them on to different walls.

2 – Run and Touch –  Use only half the deck (one of each set), tape the cards face up on the wall and the teacher calls out one of the cards and the kids must run and touch the correct card.

3 – Bowling – Tape the cards onto bowling pins. On his or her turn, each child has to say what emotions got bowled down (or are still standing).

4 – Musical Flashcards – put the cards face up on the ground. The teacher plays music and the kids dance around.  The teacher stops the music and all kids must jump on one card and take turns saying what it is.

5- Charades – On his/her turn, each child takes a card and acts out what’s on the card.

(for some of these games you may have to enlarge the cards so the kids can see them).

Sweet Emotions

How about trying to make a face using little pieces of colored paper (maybe even something that has decorations on it, like wrapping paper or bits of magazines)?

First, carefully tear up some large pieces that could be the face.tear up lots of little pieces

Next, tear up lots of little pieces that could be eyes, noses and mouths.

Now, put them together and try to create different expressions like happy, serious, perplexed, annoyed, thoughtful, sad, really mad or surprised!

This is a great ESL activity to learn parts of the face and emotions.

Per la versione italiana, cliccare qua.

If You’re Happy and You Know It…

If You’re Happy and You Know It is a fun song to teach to bilingual and ESL kids. It’s easy to sing and that has actions to go along with it, so they love to sing it.  It’s also sung in many languages, so they also more or less know the meaning.

This is a really cute video for If You’re Happy and You Know It. It’s a twist on the classic version:

As always we have a little something to do: