Martha Speaks Word Spinner
Subject: Social Studies, Math, Language
Category: Social Skills, Measurement, Comprehension, Vocab, Pre-Reading
Concept: Sorting, Listening
With Martha Speaks Word Spinner the whole family (up to four players) can join in the fun with this interactive board game.
Bonus for parents = no clean up!
The app is hosted by your child’s favorite characters from PBS’s, Martha Speaks. Start by choosing your pup piece, then spin the wheel to see which of the 6 mini-games you get to play. The variety of games has everyone listening, sorting, telling stories and playing charades.
- Name 5 things: Hear a category and name 5 things that belong in the category. Pop balloons as correct names are given.
- Story sounds: Listening is very important in this game. You get a setting to create your story and then tap buttons on a box to hear 5 sounds. Your job is to create a short story incorporating the setting and each sound. Super fun!
- Who Am I?: Charades! Everyone but the chosen player closes their eyes. The player sees a person in a specific career on the screen. Act out the job so that everyone guesses it correctly.
- Stuff Sort: See a box with a category and tons of pictures on the screen. Sort the pictures that belong in the category into the box.
- Word Connector: This game takes some thought. You see 6 pictures, 3 on each side of the screen. You drag pictures that “match” or have something in common together.
- Bucket ball: Kids love this one. You are told a category. Each basket floats by on the screen with a picture. Slingshot a ball into the baskets with pictures that belong in the category.
Younger children may need some assistance with reading or having you explain word meanings. The vocabulary in the app ranges from simple words like “clothing” to more advanced concepts like “prehistoric animals.” Don’t let this stop you. The learning potential is tremendous and the quality family fun time is priceless.
Show What You Know
Remember: Learning is the goal. Fun is the method.
Activity 1: Words That Go Together
Sometimes good ideas can pop into your head out of nowhere. Learn to go with it! This is a vocabulary building activity I came up with sitting in traffic one afternoon with my oldest son who was four at the time.
I glanced out the window and saw kids at the park playing on a playground. My son and I alternated naming playground words (swing, trashcan, litter, frizbie). Whoever ran out of words first lost the game.
Make sure to include some words unfamiliar to your child too. If you are at the grocery store you might introduce words such as bargain, quality, and so on. Just be careful not to introduce too many new words at a time.
This has become a car game in my family. As my boys got older they would often initiate this game rather than make some bad choices and get into trouble. Sometimes our game would end after only two or three words.
Here are some category suggestions:
- terrible smells
- winter words
- fall words
- silly words
- baseball words
- angry words
- nursery rhymes
Activity 2: Marble Maze
When I was a kids I loved marble mazes. In my classroom I always had to have blocks and tubes for my kids to create marble obstacle courses.
You can buy a colorful, sturdy set of blocks and tubes like these:
or set out on gathering stuff from your house and get CREATIVE!
- Cardboard Box or shoe box lid
- Glue or Tape
Starting with your pencil, draw out the main path for your maze inside the cardboard box. After deciding on the path, add extra little twists and turns for some challenge. Then take your straws and outline the path. The straws act as the walls of the maze. When everything is dry, add your marble and start rolling!
Read more about this activity at the “Familyfun.go” website.