When it comes to photographing kids, one of my most valued tips is finding ways to make the process less intrusive on our kids. Instead of asking them to pause and smile for the camera, I’m all about finding activities, games, and ways to play that naturally allow for memory making.
Many times my mind goes to the over-the-top Pinterest worthy types of things: lemonade stands at golden hour, elaborate chalk mural backdrops, fun filled field trips to the summer carnival.
But the truth is, those activities are not what defines the day to day essence of our family. We crave the simplicity of spontaneous visits to the local ice creamery, bubble blowing in the backyard, or easy activities at home.
The easier an activity is to setup, the easier it is will be for you to break away and snap a few images to preserve your fun together.
Which is why I was so excited when my friends Kim and Amanda of The Educator’s Spin On It offered me the chance to review their brand new book: 100 Fun & Easy Learning Games For Kids.
With summer vacation right around the corner, this book offers up so many fun, simple, and educational activities that will get your kids excited to learn and allow you to practice your photography skills while they play.
Little Miss Sunshine and I recently choose one of the activities from the book to try and as the images show, we had a lot of fun.
Note: This activity is being reprinted with permission from the publisher from the book 100 FUN & EASY LEARNING GAMES FOR KIDS and I received a copy from the publisher for the purposes of this review.
Muffin Tin Syllable Counting
Say and count syllables in this self-checking muffin tin game. Sneak in a little fine motor practice and boost early literacy skills while picking up buttons. Let the kids help draw the game pieces and you tie in art and creativity too.
Focus Skill: counting syllables in spoken words
2″ (5-cm) circle
Crayons or markers
12 cup muffin tin
Buttons (we substituted pom poms)
Directions to Make
1. Trace around the 2-inch (5-cm) circle 12 times on the cardstock.
2. Draw a picture of a person, place or thing inside each circle. Cutting pictures from magazines works too! Some examples are dog, caterpillar, fish, bicycle, shoe, car, banana, apple, book, table, circus and library.
3. Color and cut out each picture.
4. Turn the circles over and make a dot for each syllable in the word. The back of the circle with the dog picture would have one dot; caterpillar would have four.
Directions to Play
1. Place the pictures, image side up, in the muffin tin. The player names the picture out loud and counts the number of syllables in the word.
2. The player drops the same number of buttons as syllables in the tin.
3. Play continues until all compartments have been filled with buttons. When this happens, the player self-checks and corrects the number of syllables by turning the picture over and comparing the number of buttons in each compartment with the number of circles on the back of the image.
- Focus the pictures on a specific learning theme such as natural life, ocean or transportation.
- Select and read a story. Use vocabulary words and characters from the story to make the picture cards.
- Focus on number sense by changing the pictures to numbers. Have the player count out the buttons to match the written number.
This activity was the perfect way to start a rainy Sunday morning. Instead of sitting around lazily watching movies — this gave her the opportunity to get some creative juices flowing, while giving me the opportunity to practice and play with the camera.
The kiddo was able to easily come up with a list of 12 objects, she enjoyed the process of drawing them all, and she loved the process of filling the muffin tin with pom poms.
The best part is how this process is simple enough to repeated. I can definitely see us creating new cards another day and doing this activity again and again.
Want to get your hands on all 100 activities? Go get your copy of 100 Fun & Easy Learning Games by Kim Vij and Amanda Boyarshinov right HERE.
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