Get Your Game On!

With the holidays approaching, we thought we’d give you some resources for some fun holiday (and educational) games to play with your children or students.  They’re fun, they’re festive, and (shh!!!) they teach your children, too!


Of course, we have to give recognition to our fellow educators who share their resources (for just a few bucks each…it’s a steal…some are even free!) on Teachers Pay Teachers.  This amazing website has more resources for educational materials than you could use in an entire lifetime of teaching.


Here are some of our top picks:


This holiday fluency game for elementary grades looks like so much fun I’d like to play it alongside them!  What’s even better?  It’s absolutely free with a simple download of the PDF!  This game correlates with five of the Common Core State Standards in Literacy.   Students work in pairs to read the phrases on the cards, make up sentences using the phrases, and then write their sentences down.  Once they have completed those steps, students can use the “fun phrase reading card”  to step the silliness up a notch by reading the phrases in an elf voice, like you’re very cold, like you’re a sleepy child, and many more!



Here’s another freebie for you!  This math game for middle schoolers, Build-a-Snowman and Build-a-Tree, has them converting improper fractions to mixed numbers.  Working  in pairs, students roll dice and must correctly convert the improper fraction into a mixed number in order to earn a piece to the snowman or tree they are trying to build.  The first person to completely build their picture wins!




High schoolers can practice writing a letter with this White Elephant activity (also free!).  Prepare students ahead of time by having them bring in any item from home that could be a part of the White Elephant Gift Exchange.  Items do not have to be expensive!  The funnier the better.  Ideas include a package of Ramen noodles, a box of tissues, or a tube of toothpaste.  Once students participate in the gift exchange, they are then instructed to write a thank you letter to the gift-giver.  Great holiday fun!




Other honorable mentions….


Holiday Treats Alphabet:  Letter and Sound Recognition Game  ($1.00)

Holiday Math Number Cube Game ($1.50 for 4th-8th grades)

Holiday Owl Poke Math Facts Bundle ($5.00 for the bundle that includes addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  Can be purchased separately for $2.00 each).


Blog written by Lauren Bronson from Tampa Learning Co.

Playful By Design Journey

Hello Education world and welcome to Playful By Design‘s blog. I look forward to sharing ideas with you about fun ways to engage your child in learning. I strongly believe in learning through play and love reading research and studies on the benefits of movement and learning (but there is more of that to come…) Today, I want to share with you a my journey into play-based learning.

I was that child that set up a classroom full of dolls and taught them lessons on reading, math and science. Each doll asked questions and I wrote on that white board like a champ!

Fast forward a few years. (OK more than a few but this imaginative thinker did play with dolls until she was pretty old). I left for college thinking I would begin a children’s fitness franchise. I began with my major being Sports Medicine for I thought that this would give me the base I needed to run a fitness company. However, about a semester in, I realized that I really wanted a more education related degree so I made the fantastic decision to switch over the Special Education. With this switch, so do did my career goals. I haven’t opened a children’s fitness company. (Yet!)

I returned home to teach as an inclusion teacher while I earned my master’s degree in Behavioral Disorders. That is when my belief in play-based learning really started to flourish. I noticed a strong need for children to learn through play. My background in behavior allowed me to look for trends on children’s learning and their need for movement. I try to design all of my lessons around the thought process that children need to move. I have even snuck movement opportunities to many of the worksheets that I have created.

Since then, my love for play-based learning has flourished. I can adapt a board game, come up with a movement or sing a song for about any education standard. It is a blast! I look forward to learning from you and sharing some of my play-based ideas.

I also offer a range of education services, most of which center around executive functioning skills and family involvement.

In a Few Hours

Welcome, friends! I have switched my blog over here and so pleased that I have.


I hope everyone is having a wonderful week. Can you believe that we are one week away from Thanksgiving? I cherish this time of year. Next week at this time, I will be at my parent’s home surrounded with friends and family. Mom and I will have been up for hours prepping the food and putting the turkey in the oven. In a few hours, the smell of spices will sweep through the house. In a few hours, football but the joyful chatter will encourage muting the TV to enjoy the laughs with family. In a few hours, we will fry a turkey so that we have plenty of leftovers to share. In a few hours, my husband’s grandparents will walk in the door with their gracious energy and hugs. In a few hours, life will be nearly perfect. Just as it is every year on Thanksgiving. Not because we have the most beautiful table setting or are the best chefs in all the land. But, it will be perfect… to me because there are many ways to define perfect.  To me, perfect is the opportunity to welcome others into your home with a grateful heart and appreciate all of the blessings of the year.

Fall River

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. (Yes, this post is early, but if you know me, you know I LOVE to celebrate holidays for weeks, not just for one day…)

Holiday Gifts Teachers Really Want

Children, spouses, parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, parents, friends…the list of people to purchase gifts for during the holiday season seems endless.  Add to that list your children’s teachers.  What do you get for your children’s teachers?  Unless you’ve been a teacher yourself…or you happen to have teacher friends whose brains you can pick for ideas…it can be a tough feat coming up with gift ideas for those special educators in your children’s lives.  Here’s our list of ideas in all price ranges to aid in your holiday shopping decisions this season:




  • Say “Thank you!”  Teachers always appreciate a heartfelt note from parents and students alike.  Take the time to handwrite a thank you letter letting your teacher know how they’ve been a positive influence in your child’s life by acknowledging the changes and growth you’ve witnessed in your child thus far.


  • Offer your time…  Offer to help your child’s teacher with classroom preparation such as making copies, cutting out materials at home, helping with an art project, or anything else that your child’s teacher may need assistance in completing.




  • Gift Cards…  Not just any gift cards, try to find quick-stop restaurants in the area of your child’s school.  Panera bread, Jimmy Johns/Jersey Mikes, Whole Foods/Fresh Market, or any other quick and local restaurant gift cards might allow your child’s teacher to grab a quick lunch (and free, thanks to you!) during the day.  Also, unless you know for a fact that the teacher indulges in fast food…try to keep it healthy!


  • Teacher Supplies…  For public school teachers who have to buy their own supplies, it’s a great help to their wallets if they don’t have to buy the classroom essentials such as post-it notes, Expo markers (if there is a whiteboard in the classroom), Sharpies, pens, etc.  Stock up for them.  A little goes a long way!



  • Coffee, anyone?  Does your child’s teacher appreciate a good cup of coffee in the morning?  Find out ahead of time what his/her favorite coffee is and offer to bring it for them one morning.  Maybe even throw in a breakfast item for a “sweet” holiday gift just before winter break begins.






  • Personalized Items…  Some of my favorite gifts I’ve gotten as a teacher have been personalized with either my initials or my name on them.  I’ve gotten gifts that have ranged from a scarf with my initial embroidered on it to notepads with my full name printed on them…and I’ve loved them all!  Most of my teacher friends agree…it’s a personal touch that is greatly appreciated.  




  • A Night Out…  Give your favorite teacher a night out!  Movie tickets, restaurant gift cards, an excuse to go shopping at the mall with a local mall gift card, a manicure/pedicure/spa treatment, even a free massage at a local day spa.  Teachers rarely have the time or extra funds to treat themselves so give them the perfect excuse!




$35 and Up:


  • Give them a combination of any of the above!

Happy holidays and happy shopping!


Blog written by Lauren Bronson from Tampa Learning Co.

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