1. Do spelling tosses. Gather up a bowl of tossable goodies (popcorn works well, M&M’s are a little too small and chokeable!) and start assigning spelling words (or multiplication questions or whatever you’d like to drill). If the kids get them right, you toss a goodie into their laughing mouths. If not, try another word. My delightfully goofy friend Tiffany did this with a van full of children and a box of popcorn chicken one afternoon and the shrieks of laughter probably reached the next county.
2. Hold an auction. Make some paddles (cut some cardboard handles and then staple or tape on a paper plate and write a number on it) and give each one a handful of play money. Also give them each a piece of paper and a pen to keep track of what they’ve spent and how much they have left. Then start the auction! Up for bid? Special priviledges like extra dessert or computer time, fun things like a trip to the park or small treats like packets of stickers or silly putty. Or you can make it all silly– bid on the right to wear this silly hat, the title of Queen of the house for the day, getting a piggyback ride or to get to rename every household member for the day. Have the kids hold up their paddles to bid and the highest bidder wins. They need to keep track as they go of what they’ve spent and how much they have left.
3. Have them look through a history book and find a time period to read about, then write a journal entry as a character from that time. Encourage them to be dramatic and creative.
4. Play alphabet adjectives. Pick something to describe, and then take turns going through the alphabet thinking of adjectives that start with each letter to describe the thing. Work together and help each other out for tough letters. Example– birds: aerial, bald (eagles), colorful, downy, energetic, graceful… To make it easier, pick a broader category (like nature or people in the room).
5. Give them a store ad or catalog and have them go on a fantasy shopping spree. Tell them they have $300 imaginary dollars (or whatever) and their job is to figure out how they’d spend it. Remind them to figure out sales tax and shipping too. Let them use a calculator and show them how to figure these things out, including shipping charge charts if they use a catalog. They can list their items with the amounts on paper or they can cut them out and glue them onto paper to make a visual shopping cart. Challenge them to spend almost the last penny and then look through their “purchases” together.