Jumping Clown

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This week’s workshop was Circus Fun – so we made a Jumping Clown (also called a Jumping Jack).  The vocabulary for this project was body parts and to jump, so we sang the Hokey Pokey before getting started.  Here’s a cute and funny version of the song:

To make the clown here is what you will need:

  • clown template
  • construction paper
  • yarn
  • pencil
  • pens
  • glue
  • hole puncher
  • brads (aka paper fasteners) click on the link if you don’t know what they are
Step 1: Print off the body parts and cut them out.
Step 2: Trace template pieces onto construction paper.
Step 3: Cut out each piece.
Step 4: Decorate your clown’s close and draw a face
Step 5: Glue your clown’s hair on.

Step 6: Glue the hat to the clown’s head.  Glue the head to the clown’s body.

Step 7: Punch 2 holes  into the arms and legs as indicated on the template.  Punch holes on the clown’s body at shoulder and hip level.

Step 8:  Line the bottom hole an arm or leg with the corresponding hole in the body, insert a brad and open.  Do the same for all appendages.

Step 9: Thread a long piece of yarn through the top hole of each appendage and tie a knot at the bottom.

Step 10: Your clown is ready.  Pull on the string and watch him (or her) jump!

The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie Memory Game and Crossword

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The IKAOLWSAP is a favorite story of ours – it’s fun, it’s silly and it’s a great way to learn about traditional foods for this holiday.  We’ve got two ways to learn to read and spell the words.  The first one is Memory, just print and cut out the cards. You can play just like regular memory, but matching pictures and words together (instead of two alike pictures).

And there is an IKAOLWSAP crossword puzzle:

Have fun.  Happy reading and spelling and most of all Happy Thanksgiving!  Gobble gobble!

Halloween Slam

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It’s Halloween Slam!
Preparation: print one copy of each card, laminate and cut out.

To play:  each player is dealt 3 small character cards and they are placed face up in front of him.  The dealer holds the big cards.  All players begin with their hands behind their back and then the dealer flips a big card face up into the center of the players.  The first player to see one of his characters on the big card, slaps his hand on top of the card and says ‘slam’  If the card is there, the player may turn his character card over.  If the player makes a mistake and slams his hand, but his character isn’t on the big card, he receives a penalty of another character card to look for.  Only the first person to slam down his hand may wind that round and turn over his character card.  The first player to turn over all his character cards wins the game!

Happy Halloween and Happy slamming!

Flags Slam

Preparation: Print 1 copy of each sheet, laminate and cut out each card.  (There are 10 cards on each sheet, which is a total of 20 small cards):

Print 1 copy of each sheet, laminate and cut the sheets in half on the line. (There are 2 large cards per sheet, which is a total of 12 cards).

How to Play: 1 player is chosen as the dealer.  Each player is dealt 3 flag cards (the small ones).  Each player places their 3 cards face up in front ofherself f.  2  The dealer flips a large card over in the center of the table.  3 The first player to see one of her flags  on that (large) card, slams her hand on the large card.  If he is correct, she puts that card in a discard pile.  If she is incorrect and makes a mistake she is dealt another flag as a penalty. 4. The first player to get rid of all her cards wins and becomes the next dealer.
Hint – I usually play this game to learn I am/nationalities.    So when the player slams her hand – she must answer with” I am Russian” (or French or English etc) in order to win.

Chutes and Ladders, With A Twist!

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We’ve taken Chutes and Ladders and added the option to kick it up a notch! You can play the classic way, which is especially great for younger kids that are learning to count:


  • 2 dice
  • 1 marker for each player

The Object: be the first to reach the end of the board.

To Play: To decide who goes first, each player throws the dice.  The player with the highest number goes first and the player to her left goes second, etc.  All players put the markers on start.  Each player rolls and moves her marker that number of spaces.  If a player lands on a ladder she may go up and put her marker on that space.  If a player lands on a slide (a chute), then she must slide down and put her maker on that space.  The game ends when one person reaches 100.

Variation:Print off the cards above (or write some up with questions that related to what they already have learned).  When a player lands on the a ladder, she may only go up if she can answer a question correctly (have the teacher or adult read to get kids used to listening).  When a player lands on a chute, she can stop from sliding down by answering a question correctly.


Instead of playing with dice, here is our Chutes and Ladders with a Twist:


  • Chutes and Ladders board
  • the category cards (above)
  • timer

and one of each of the following for every player

  • game makers
  • paper
  • pencil

The Object: move forward by having the most original answers, the first person to get to the end wins.

To Play: All markers are set on start.  A category card is drawn by the teacher (in small groups kids can take turns).  Each team has 1 minute to think of as many items as they can related to that category. Once the timer has stopped, everyone must stop writing. Now someone reads off the words on their list, if one or more of the other players has that same word, everyone crosses that word off their list.  Eventually all the other players can read off the words that aren’t already crossed off from their list until all words that teams have in common are crossed out.  The words that are NOT crossed off are counted and the player may move ahead that many number of spaces. For example:

animals that live in the sea is drawn

Player A writes:

  • fish
  • shark
  • whale
  • octopus

Player B writes

  • fish
  • whale
  • dolphin
  • crab
  • lobster

Both teams would cross off fish and whale.  Team A would get 2 to move ahead 2 spaces because she had 2 original answers (shark and octopus).  Team B would move ahead 3 spaces (for having dolphin, crab, lobster).  Players must go up or down ladders and slides as they land on the spaces with those symbols.  The team to reach the end wins.

This is a good game to play with older kids who know a little more vocabulary.  It’s also fun to play in teams so kids have to work together to come up with the most words.  If kids are too young to write, but know a lot of vocabulary, they can sketch out the answer, but they must know the word in English in order for it to count.

Another variation – players get points for every word (in other words don’t cross off repeated words). The game moves a faster this way and also rewards kids that are not as confident in English.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Counting Game

To read this in Italian, click here.

This is a card game inspired by The Very Hungry Caterpillar, to help kids count and learn fruits.  To play, print out one copy each of all the cards and cut them out.

The object of the game is to have the most fruits and leaves before the puzzle is completed.

1.  Shuffle the cards and put them into the center of the table

2.  On his or her turn, each player draws a card.  If the card has fruit or leaves, he places it face up on the table (so the other players can see and learn) and says how many fruits (or leaves) there are. The turn passes to the next person.  If the card has a piece of the puzzle on it, that card is placed in the center of table to begin (or continue) constructing the puzzle.

3.  Play continues until the puzzle is completed.  When the last piece of the puzzle is in place, the game ends.  Players count how many fruits and leaves they have.  The player with the most fruits and leaves wins.  (Count the actual number of objects, not the number of cards).  Have fun!

Animation (Flip Book) Workshop

To read this in Italian, click here.

Saturday’s workshop was probably the one of the most challenging, but fun workshops yet, we made flip books -which are basically a series of drawings that seem to move, as the pages are rapidly turned. This is a great activity to do for transit verbs (a fiish swimming, a plane flying etc) or to teach stages (a seed growing into a flower or a tree) – Keep in mind that the best ideas are the simplest ideas – especially if it is your first time animating.

What you will need:

  • a pencil
  • colored pencils
  • post-its
  • a stapler
  • tape (masking or scotch tape)

For younger kids, it is easier to grasp the concept if they have an example.

1.  Print off one of the sheets above.

2. Put a post-it on top of each frame (keeping the sticky part on the left hand side) and use a pencil to lightly trace each drawing.

 *If it’s hard to see the lines, you can always put the sheet against the window and then trace.

3. Color each of the frames (make sure that you color every frame in the same way -for example: if you color the flower yellow with a green stem, it should be yellow with a green stem in all the frames),

4.  Write the title of your flip book on a post it.

5.  Take 2 blank post its and set them on the table (this will add pages to the book and make it easier to flip).  Stack the your drawings on top of these 2 blank post-its, in sequence working from frame 8 to frame 1 (so frame 8 should be on the bottom and frame 1 on the top). Take 2 more blank post-its and put them on the top. Stack you title page on the very top.  Stack as neatly as you can, the neater it is, the easier it will be to flip.

6.  Bend the left side of your book back about 5 cm.  This will make the pages stiffer and easier to flip.

7.  Staple the ‘binding’ and secure the staples by covering them with a strip of tape.

8.  Now flip!

Older kids may be able to grasp the concept of how to draw a flip book on their own. Here’s how to do it:

1.  Think of something that can move from left to right or up and down (without having to draw many complicated movements.  For example a fish swimming, a plane flying through the sky, a car driving on the road, a hot air balloon rising in the sky, etc.  A person walking is quite or a horse running is quite complicated and won’t work well for the method we are using.

2.  Draw your idea on a post it, keeping the sticky side to the left. We have drawn a spider that will lower itself down it’s web.   If you are going to have something go from up to down, like we are, make sure the drawing stays on the right hand side so you can see it as it flips.

3. Take another post-it (post -it #2) and put it on top of the first post it (post-it #1) so that the right edges are lined up, but the top edge of #2 is slightly above #1.  Remember to put the sticky side on the left.  Trace.  See how our spider looks slightly lower.

4.  Do this again and again, until you have at least 8 drawings. You can have more than (, because the more drawings you have and the slighter the movement when you retrace, the better your flip book will work. Less than 8 drawings makes it hard to flip the book and the animation won’t be a smooth.

5.  Color all your drawings.

6.  Neatly stack (in order) all your drawings, starting with the last one on the bottom.  (If you have only 8 drawings add 2 blank post-its to the front and 2 to the back, this will make it a bit easier to flip and see the animation).

7.  Make a title page and put it on the top of your stack.

8.  Fold back the left hand side of your stack about 5 mm.

9. Staple and then tape over the staples

10. You are ready to flip!

Christmas Story Dice

These are Christmas Story Dice. Preparation is easy – all you have to do is print them out, cut along the outer lines, fold on the remaining lines  (towards the backside w(out pictures) and glue closed.  Once you have that done, you are ready to play.

To Play: just throw the dice and use the pictures that appear on the tops to tell a story.  Use the first image to grab your attention and keep going from there. The game can be played where each person to throw the dice tells their own story OR the story can be played with one long continuing story (every time someone throws the dice, they have to add onto the story that the first person began). You can even write down your stories so you wont forget them!

This game is great because there are no winners or losers, players use their imagination for some good clean fun!

It’s a Christmas Deal, 3 Games in One!

Have we got a deal for you. Instead of just one game, we have three!  Print these sheets out and you can to play Four In A Row, Christmas Memory or Go Fish!

First print out 1 each of these cards onto heavy weight paper: 1). Cut the excess paper off along the top line of each sheet. Put the two boards top sides together and tape along the seam on the backside of the boards. Your board should look something like this: 2). Print 1 copy and cut out cards:

3). Print out 2 copies each and cut out cards:

Great! Now you are almost ready to play!  To play Four in A Row you will need lots of makers.  Choose 4 different colors and you will need 20 makers of each color (so you will have 80 markers all together).  We use bottle caps, you can also use poker chips, paper circles or anything you want to maker the spaces.  Now you are ready to play!

For 2 – 4  players (see variation for options with more players).

Object of Four in a Row  is to cover 4 spaces in a row (horizontally,
vertically or diagonally).

  1.  Decide who the dealer will be and who will go first. Players choose a color..
  2.  Each player is dealt 3 cards.
  3.  The first player chooses one card from her hand, uses 1 of her chips to cover 1 space with the corresponding picture (she must say what the picture is before putting down her chip) and discards the card.
  4. The dealer gives her a new card. The next player plays one of her cards and so on for each player.
  5. Wild Card means that the player that holds the card may put a chip on any uncovered square and the discards the card.  Take 1 Away means the player that holds the card can take off one chip from another player  and then discards the card. Anyone may use the free space, it’s used as though a chip already covers it (you  don’t actually have to cover it with a chip).
  6. The first player to cover 4 spaces wins.

*Variations- if you have more 6-8 players, players can play as a team- 2 people are assigned 1 color, sit seperately and are still dealt 3 cards each.

OR you can also use the deck of cards to play Christmas Memory or Go Fish! We know you know how to play Memory, so we won’t explain it.  In case you don’t know how to play Go Fish, here’s how it’s played:

The Object of Go Fish is to win the most sets of 4 cards by asking players for them.

1. Each player is dealt 5 cards.  The dealer puts the undealt cards in a stack in the middle.  The player on the dealer’s left begins by asking if another player has a card from his hand. (For example- Johnny do you have any gingerbread men?) If that player has it, he gives Johnny all his gingerbread men cards.  If he does not, he responds ‘Go Fish’ and the 1st player must draw a card.

2.  If the player gets the card he asked for, he goes again.  If he doesn’t get the card from another player, but then draws the card because another player said ‘Go Fish’ and the card is the one he asked for, he may have another turn. When the player does not get the card he asks for, nor draws the card he asks for, play passes to the next person on the left.  When a player has a pair, he may take the matching cards out of his hand.

4. The game continues until all cards are drawn and then pairs are counted. The player with the most pairs wins.