Did you know that your child’s Nerf blaster has the potential to become his favorite tutor? Are you trying to think outside the box (of flashcards) to get your child interested in their studies? If your son or daughter is a Nerf head, consider organizing a variation of one of these three games. You’re sure to find one that will give your kiddo a jump on school on Monday.
Each game can be easily modified with different topics, subjects, or learning levels for all the kids in your home. Squeeze in a round or two after school or make a Saturday of it. Keep it light by picking up some fun prizes, like mini candy bars. Hey, we’d learn math for a Nerf blaster and a Snickers bar.
1. Alphabet or Spelling Game
This is a simple game for little ones to play. It requires some minimal effort on your part, but the materials can be used again and again. First, create paper targets using cardboard, sturdy cardstock, or posterboard. You can also use disposable plastic cups. Make a target for each letter of the alphabet.
Select a handful of the letters at random and set up your child with his Nerf blaster. Say a word and have them knock down the letter that the word begins with.
If your child is beginning to learn how to spell, set up an selection of letters and call out simple words to spell, so they can knock down letters one at a time. As they knock down each letter, piece together the word on a easel or a piece of paper so they can see it. If you want to get more intense with this version and create more complicated words, you will have to make additional targets.
2. Shoot the Sight Word
For children of reading age, this is a great game to play if you have access to a dry erase board or easel. Draw circles on the board and write sight words inside each circle.
The term “sight words,” for early reading instruction, refers to a set of about 100 words that appears on almost any page of any book or reading material. By running a quick search online, you can easily find lists of the most common sight words so you can get an idea of where to start.
For the game, simply call out sight words and have your kiddo shoot them out with the suction cup darts. This is always a great confidence builder! Even those kids who are just beginning to learn to read already know more sight words than they think they do.
This same concept could be applied to just about anything: colors, animals, or countries and capitals for example.
3. Shoot and Add Math Game
Similar to the “Alphabet and Spelling Game,” this math game requires just a bit of preparation and the materials can be used over and over again. This one can be played with one person, but is more fun with two. There are also quite a few variations on this came you could develop for different math and learning levels in your home.
Create targets by writing numbers on plastic cups. You will be building pyramids, so you could label them 1 - 6, or anything you like. You could build three towers of cups and label them 1 - 18. It largely depends on where your kids and where they are in their learning.
Using Nerf blasters and plenty of Nerf darts, let your kids knock those numbers down! Have each child add the numbers of the cups they hit. Use a chalkboard or piece of paper to record each person’s score.
Set up the cup pyramids again and have them go through another round. Now have them add up the tally. You could also have them subtract or multiply, again depending on their learning level. Even the youngest tots can start by just identifying the numbers on the cups. This game provides a lot of possibilities for learning and fun!
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