During the summer, especially with the current circumstances, parents can find themselves standing in for absent playmates.
This is a great opportunity to be an example of good sportsmanship, to recognize effort and individual improvement, call out good ideas and teamwork, and so much more. It’s also a good time to draw out creativity and exercise critical thinking in our children—two important aspects of game design, and life!
Play, and outdoor play in particular, is great for encouraging children to take the lead by making up their own games. In “Math is Fun with Dice Rolling Competitions“, we mention how dice competitions are quick, exciting games to play and easy to define. Same goes for playground games, games with balls, or, in our recent case, our game with homemade javelins.
We set out to the nearest playing field with our specially selected sticks, ready for some long distance throwing. When we got there, we quickly fell to roughing out and then refining a competition we would call our “throw and write”.
As we started tracking our scores, rules were added and adjusted to address issues and to increase the challenge. Then we integrated some learning with the fun.
Topics covered throwing techniques and projectile motion, quick multiplication using tally charts, estimating averages with a scatterplot, calculating actual averages, and considering the impact of outliers on bell curves.
We sometimes struggle to make learning fun, especially for material considered “boring” on a given day. But when we can find a way to incorporate learning through play, even with just a couple of sticks, some circles in the sand, and a few well-timed questions, is always a win. 🙂
Note: If you would prefer an indoor tossing, dropping, or rolling version of our throwing competition, consider using age-appropriate items like pom poms, bean bags, bouncy balls, or marbles.
Also, check out our game, “Extinction Event“, for a different sort of educational throwing game.
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