Friday, May 30, 2014

Five For Friday 5/30/14

 1)  Our local pool opened up recently, and we spent a couple days there this week!  This pool is a little small and crowded for our liking, but it's still fun.

2)  We fixed another jigsaw puzzle.  I swear I have an addiction of sorts.  If there's a puzzle on the table, I really can't help myself but to stay up late and try to finish it!  Gin was a good helper on this one.  She did some sorting and finding of pieces!

3)  I ordered a Ninja...the one that comes with the bread dough arm.  We've made smoothies (very smooth!) and popsicles and delicious pizza dough!  All very easy to make too!

History Flashcards at TpT

4)  We're wrapping up the school year, only 2 weeks left!  History is officially done for this year.  We still have a couple more chapters to do, but that's for next year.  You can see the flashcards and concentration cards we've made for history above.  These have really helped us learn this information.  Ginny finds them especially useful for studying.  I've got 6 packs of cards in my store and the American Revolution should be up by tomorrow!  If you're interested in checking that out, just click here.

PuzzleNation How To: Sudoku!

5)  I leave you this week with a post from PuzzleNation.  It's How To: Sudoku!  So if those pesky puzzles have been giving you some trouble, this How To should get you pointed in the right direction!

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Perplexing Puzzles 5/28/14

Today's freebie isn't a puzzle, but they are something fun for road trips! They are Scavenger Hunts!  Just print off the ones you want and bring them along on your summer road trips (don't forget the pencils!)  The idea is for you kids to mark off the items that they see during the trip.  They probably won't see everything on the page, but they can count up how many they saw at the end.  If you've got two or more kids, they can see who saw the most.  These should keep the kids busy for a little while!  There are four themed hunts to choose from.

Animal Scavenger Hunt

Nature Scavenger Hunt

Places Scavenger Hunt

Vehicle Scavenger Hunt

I'm hoping to post more summer themed puzzles over the next couple weeks.  So keep checking back for more activities to keep your kids busy during those long, hot road trips!

UPDATE:  Jack thought I should make a Signs Scavenger Hunt, so here it is!

Signs Scavenger Hunt

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Perplexing Puzzles 05/21/14

Eagle Word Compass Puzzle

This week's free puzzle is a Word Compass!  These are easy to solve puzzles, so I think they would be appropriate for K-2nd.  Older kids might find them a bit easy, but may still enjoy learning facts about eagles!

Just click on the picture and download from Google Drive!

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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Five on Friday (or Saturday!)

1.  Last weekend we visited Pendleton King Park in Augusta.  It is a really cute little park.  It has a 1 mile loop for hiking or jogging, a bark park, a small garden, playground, picnic tables, and a frisbee golf course!  We did the hike and a picnic.  The hike was not challenging, but we rewarded ourselves with fancy cupcakes from the commissary!

2.  The kids and I worked on this Periodic Table puzzle.  It was a 1000 piece puzzle which always makes the kids nervous, but this one went together easy as pie (or cupcakes!)  We're studying atoms and molecules in science right now, so this fit right in to our lessons!

3.  We found this nifty water balloon filler at Walmart this week, and the kids got a little wet!  It has a pump for filling the balloons and a mechanism to easily tie the balloons too!  Very nice.  We played a bunch of Hot Balloon, kinda like Hot Potato, but you keep passing the balloon until it breaks and someone gets wet!

4.  It rained all day Thursday, but it was a nice steady rain with little thunder.  So Ginny and I decided to take a rain walk.  We checked the mail and had some fun!

5. I'll leave you with a funny video my dad forwarded to me.  It's very cute!  Jack thought it was hillarious!

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Perplexing Puzzles - 05/14/14

Fun Friday Set 10

This week's freebie is a set of puzzles for middle grade solvers.  They should be just perfect for your 4th through 6th graders!

Fun Friday Set 10

The first page is cram-packed with little puzzles!  Do you remember the names of those European Explorers?  Missing Vowels will challenge your memory (and your spelling powers!)  Phrase Finder is a fun way to learn more about idioms.  You'll be able to sink your teeth into this one!  And Missing Link (lots of missing things on this page) challenges your knowledge of compound words.

Fun Friday Set 10

Page 2 is one great big puzzle!  It's called a Long Letters puzzle.  It's kind of like a Fill In except that words are only entered in horizontally.  The long spaces are entries where the letters are stretched and intersect with all the words they cross.  Is that a confusing explanation?  These puzzles are fairly easy to solve, if not to explain!

I hope you enjoy this new Fun Friday puzzle set!  Click on any of the above pictures to download from Google Drive.  Just leave me a comment here if you have any questions!
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Monday, May 12, 2014

Swish from Thinkfun

Swish from ThinkFun
Today's review is Swish!  Swish is actually a multi-player card game, but it definitely has puzzling aspects. 

Swish comes with 60 clear playing cards (that's just cool in itself!)  Each card has a ball and a hoop on it in various colors.  To play, a dealer will set out 16 cards in a 4x4 grid.  Then everyone gathers around (there is no limit to number of players) and tries to create a Swish. 

To create a Swish, you must find 2 or more cards that when layered, flipped and/or rotated place one ball into one hoop of the same color (there can be no extra hoops without balls or vice versa!).  The trick is that you must figure out which cards to use, and how to manipulate them, all in your head BEFORE you call out "Swish!"  Then you can pick up the cards you need and prove that your Swish works.  Above you can see a 2 card Swish.  Those are the easiest to spot!

A 3 card Swish is a little trickier.  You can see how the 3 cards above will layer to make the Swish with all balls inside hoops of the same color.  Note: As players find Swishes, they get to keep those cards, so the more cards your Swish uses, the more points you get.  The dealer replenishes the board with cards as each Swish is carried away.

This is a 4 card Swish Jack created!  He's even made 5 and 6 cards Swishes!  The rules say you can use up to 12 cards to make a Swish.  I'd like to see that!  Jack really likes this game as he's quite good at it!

Swish is a great game to play with a group of people.  We've only played it with 4 players, but I'm pretty sure it'd work well with about any number.  Swish gives your visual thinking and spatial relationship skills a great workout!


And if you like these kinds of games, you'll also love Set!

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Friday, May 9, 2014

Five On Friday

1) This week we have been working on spending less time on the computers. And believe me, it is WORK!  So when the allotted amount of computer time has been played, I have two kids saying, "Mom, what are we going to do next?"  I do often feel like the activities director.  No one ever knows what they want to do and no one can ever agree on a group activity.  Even so, we did manage to play some games this week.  A big hit was Pick-Up Snakes!  J&G love some snakes!  One thing to make known before you play any version of pick-up with kids is that if anyone sees something move, you HAVE to believe them (even if it's your sister!)

Anton and Cecil Cats at Sea

2)  On the book front, we have finished reading another couple books.  I finished up book 15 in a series I've been reading since it first came out.  I absolutely adore  CJ Cherryh!  Peacemaker wasn't my favorite Foreigner book, but it was good.  I like what John Carter McKnight said about it in his GoodReads review.

"The Foreigner series is definitely an acquired taste: it's a lot like Game of Thrones without the bloodshed, action, weirdness, and fantasy. If you see what I mean. But if you're a longtime fan, just spending time with with the characters and their world is a great delight, an annual spring ritual. I've often said I'd happily read 300 pages of Bren Cameron going about his day - and sometimes Cherryh just about obliges."

Well, I supposed this is not a Science Fiction blog, so I'll wrap that up!  Jack finished up book 6 of his Wereworlds series.  He was quite gloomy at the end.  He says that 2 fairly major characters die at the end and that made him rather sad.  So he picked up "Anton and Cecil Cats at Sea" and that made him feel a little better.  He's finished that one in just a couple of days!  I think he liked it!

3)  Jack dusted off our copy of the game Munchkin and coerced Papa into playing a round.  We had to re-familiarize ourselves with the rules.  We'd only played it once before!  But it turned out to be pretty fun.  It's a bit of D&D with Magic the Gathering all rolled up into one.  Except that it takes the humorous approach to things!

4)  We also played a little bit of this....but I'll keep that a secret as I'm planning to blog about it on Monday for Puzzle in the Spotlight day.  Anyone recognize this game?

5)  Parents of kids probably recognize this picture.  Mine have got the bug BAD!  We spent most of today's computer time trying to download mods and forge and make it all work.  Well, most of it worked just fine, but we found that .zip mods would not work, so we spent a lot of time trying to make them.  They just didn't listen.  Anyhow, Jack and Ginny both adore this game.  They can create so many things in this world.  For some reason, the goofy graphics don't bother them at all!  Ginny has built a bunch of worlds with towns and she's having a great time decorating all the rooms.  She made a hotel with color-themed rooms and a town from a manga series she likes.  Jack has spent his time figuring out how to blow stuff up, build roller coasters, and explode fireworks.  It's hard to hate this game too much.  At least they are not just killing things!  (well, I guess there are creepers and zombies, but not too many!)  Some of the things they have created are pretty neat, and Ginny is now convinced she will probably be an interior designer!

Hope your week was great!

Weekly Wrap-up Linky

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Perplexing Puzzles 5/7/14 - Mother's Day Edition

In honor of mothers everywhere, I've created a couple of Rebus puzzles!  Download these free puzzles today and send them home with your students over the weekend.  Or download them for your own kids and work on them together.  And if you're a kid, you could print off the puzzles, slide them under your mom's special breakfast-in-bed plate, and challenge her to complete them!

Mother's Day Rebus Puzzles

There are two different sets, one a bit easier and one a bit harder.  Click on the above picture to download both puzzles from Google Drive.

And have a great Mother's Day!

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Pathwords JR from ThinkFun

Pathwords JR

Today's Puzzle in the Spotlight is Pathwords JR!  Jack pulled this out of the drawer yesterday and reminded me of how cool it is.  This puzzle is recommended for ages 6 and up.  This is probably pretty spot on, as you do need some spelling skills to be able to complete these challenges.  It is a word search game after all!

Pathwords JR has a great storage system!  Let me just digress about that for a moment.  I really am pleased with a game or puzzle that comes with built-in-storage!  Here's what Pathwords JR look like when everything is snuggled safely inside.

Now slide the clear top aside and you have access to the Challenge book.

Remove the Challenge book and you will find the Instructions and Solutions book plus the nifty playing pieces.

Everything is free of the case, so let's look at the pieces for a minute.  There are 6 acrylic pentominoes in various colors.  They are very smooth and pleasant to touch.  The clear game top is grooved which allows the playing pieces to sit on the board without too much wiggling.

Now let's pick a challenge.  Here is Beginner Challenge #3.  Look on the bottom left and you will see the pieces that you need for the challenge given.  At the top you can see picture of the words you will need to find.  And in the center is the word search grid of letters!

Place the Challenge book back in the tray and slide the clear top closed.

Now you can begin working on the challenge.  In this challenge, we need to find the names of 4 animals.  The added challenge with Pathwords JR is that you also have to figure out which playing piece will cover the word that you find!  Above you can see that I found the word goat and used the red piece to cover it.

Once you've found all the words, the grid should be completely covered with pentominoes!  So you do need to know how to spell to play this game.  But even if you don't know how to spell all the words, fitting in the playing pieces will help you figure them out!

And if you get stuck, you can always consult the Solutions Manual!

Jack doesn't like it when I take a sneak picture of him.  He caught me and made an ugly face!  But here he is playing Pathwords JR.  He figured he could just skip to the last challenge since this is for "JRs" and he is a teenager now, but he did find that last challenge pretty tough!  So he tried some of the other challenges first.

Oops!  I forgot to talk about the challenges!  There are 4 levels of challenges from Beginners to Expert (10 of each).  The Beginners challenges list the words you need to find or their pictures and gives you the pieces you need.  But as you progress through the challenges you start to loose information!  Some challenges will not show all the pieces and some will be missing some or all of the words!  So it sound easy, but it does get challenging!

Jack did finally complete that last challenge.  You can see that the only hint for this one is "O" My!  It does show which pieces to use, but since it uses all of them, that doesn't really help much!

I worked through all the challenges without too much problem, but I'm rather more of a "SR" myself.  I would totally recommend this puzzle for the younger set.  It works your spelling skills, but also your logical thinking skills.  It's a nice mix!

 Pathwords from ThinkFun

Now we need a copy of the "SRs" edition!

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