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The joys of homework...part 2

Photo credit: Sarah Brown on Unsplash

When I say the word “creative”, what do you imagine?

I can bet that you think of famous artists, designers or celebrity crafters. You think about people who can make things easily. You think that everyone creative has an art degree of some sort. You might think about musicians or architects… you might not consider yourself. But we all have the potential to be creative and if you’ve lost yours somewhere along the way, you can re-learn if you want to (and if you are reading this, I guess you are interested in creativity).

It’s important that children are given the right opportunities throughout their developmental years so they continue to grow their creativity. If you don’t feel competent enough to support this, then maybe here is a chance to develop together? It’s not something you need to go to school for. Getting creative with your children and learning alongside them will enhance your creative skills (that were there but need to be unburied) too.

Photo credit: Paige Cody on Unsplash

So, let’s look again at some ways you can support your child and get creative with their homework.

Last time we looked at some simple learning activities for word building and sounds. This week let’s think about numbers. Now, I love trying to create maths games for learning, because it lends itself well to active learning, which is a fantastic way to improve your memory muscles and help facts stick. These activities are also adaptable for any number/calculation, so use the games at whichever level or for whichever topic your child needs help with and remember that no matter their age, kids love games and love running around!

Just a note before starting – get your children making the resources with you. This in itself is a great way to learn. Making number cards to fit a 6x table game for example will need a basic understanding of what numbers need to be on the cards. Even if they don’t know, you can have that discussion and work it out together. Make it fun – use coloured pens, paint, stickers…, anything that inspires them! Younger children who are learning numbers may need pictures or dots to count (fingerprints make great dots!), but always remember to write the number too so they make the connection.

Photo credit: Sigmund on Unsplash

Let’s get learning!

  • Painting pebbles or stones with numbers is always useful to play hide and seek games, collect the number games or “run to...” games. You can hide them in the garden and do random point and say games, much like using cards dotted around the house (more on that later!). Paint numbers that fit what your child is learning (oh and remember to paint them together!). For example: 1-10; times tables totals; numbers to 10, 20 or 50 to use for calculations and then paint the signs + - ÷ and x.

  • Learning times tables? Write out the totals on cards and lay them out in the garden. Give children a question and they run around to find the card with the answer. Make this more challenging by timing from after giving the question! Give plenty of opportunity to get personal bests.

  • Make clocks. If your garden is big enough, make human clocks by being the hands. Lay out a clock shape using skipping ropes, bits of paper or card, etc. Set the centre point and label the clock together. Decide who is the hour/minute hand. Now, ask children (or yourself) to make a specific time. If you can, take photos from an upstairs window to display inside or make a "Time" book with! A great way to learn the time.

  • Create other clocks if you don’t have the space – make twig clocks in the same way, or flower clocks. Collect resources on a walk or from your garden. Again, try to record the times as photos and display somewhere as a learning tool.

  • Get those old ball pit balls out of the garage! Blow up the old paddling pool and start learning! Give the balls a number value, e.g. red =2, blue=4, etc. but don’t tell the children. Start the game which is to collect as many balls, one at a time, as possible in a given time (3 minutes). Tell them the values and ask them to add up (give them paper and pencil to help). Biggest total wins. Change the numbers each time!

  • Throw numbered (fit the number to your child’s learning) bean bags into hoops. Make hoops out of anything if you don’t have any – newspaper, pebbles, rope... have a target number to get, or a running total (who gets the most in 9 throws).

  • Maybe use bean bags to land on a product (total) of a given calculation. Have cards for the signs +, -, x and ÷ to make things fair. **You will need to plan this activity so that you have the correct products in the hoops. Keep to one way of calculating if it makes it easier, e.g. multiply...**

Have a go and have fun! It’s not about making the game perfect, it’s about the process. No creative process is perfect - look at all the Old Masters that no-one would buy when the artists were alive! The process might bring up some numbers that don’t fit, or some numbers that are missing. You might need a calculator to work out your answers 😉 but all the time you are engaging with your children in these fun activities, they (and you) are learning to think creatively. You may well be surprised how facts stick and also how engaged your children are if you suggest another game.

Learning at school has been constrained during the Pandemic and I have seen many classes struggling with learning because they are confined to their bubbles or pods. Some schools don’t have the space outside to be able to have more than one bubble/pod out at one time, which leaves flexible outside summer learning floundering. If your child has been affected, then using some of these games over the summer break will be a great opportunity to re-build some of their confidence in learning – creatively!

Hope you enjoy these ideas. Please let me know how you get on with them or if you have any fab ideas as you develop them further. The more we can support each other and share our creative ideas, the further we can spread creative learning.

Have a good week :)

Deb x

P.S. Remember our 30 Days Creative Challenge starts on Aug 1. Don't miss out! Sign up today

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