Category Archives: Games

Fun Stuff to Do with Google

I’ve collected a few fun Google activities during the last week that I thought I would share for this week’s Phun Phriday post.  Remember, these are not necessarily educational – but that doesn’t mean you won’t find a way to integrate them into your classroom :)

I saw this Google Docs trick tweeted out earlier this week via @DenverUbow.  By typing in the Konami code while you are on a Google Doc, the text will reverse to its mirror image.  Type in the same code to get it back to normal.  Someone on Twitter (I can’t remember who) mentioned that this might be a fun trick to play on a student who leaves a Google Doc up on his or her screen when leaving the classroom for a restroom break. ;)  In our district GT program, the students learn about Leonardo da Vinci, so I’m thinking of a way to tie this in to his mirror writing in his journals.

Ozge Karaoglu’s blog has a recent post on this fun Docs Demo: Master’s Edition.  You can type in the Google Doc, and then have famous collaborators add to (or revise) your composition. Shakespeare and Emily Dickinson are two of the people who might join in.  What’s really cool is that Google records the whole process, and then gives you a link you can share with others.

And, lastly, @rpetitto shared that Build with Chrome now offers a Build Academy.  The online Lego building academy walks you through different challenges, and can be just as fun as doing the real thing.

Screenshot from Lego/Google Chrome Build Academy
Screenshot from Lego/Google Chrome Build Academy

Erase All Kittens

Don’t worry.  There is nothing inhumane about this site.  And, if you are a fan of kittens and teaching kids how to code, then you will probably like it.

Erase all Kittens is a game that can be used to teach kids some programming skills.  The demo, which is available online, has several levels that scaffold learning to code (HTML and CSS) as the user plays a simple video game in which the goal is to release kittens from their box prisons.  Whenever you reach a kitten, you are rewarded with a short video of a cute kitten.  Each level is a bit harder, and you learn coding skills such as creating headings and changing colors so that you can more easily navigate.

My 11-year-old daughter was able to play the demo without any help from me.  She has a bit of experience with coding, though.  Whatever age level you try this with, the user needs to be able to read in order to make the necessary adjustments to the code.

If you want the full game, and you have some tech skills, you can visit this link.  Erase All Kittens is currently in beta, so the full version is not currently available to play online.  If you want to be notified about any updates, be sure to fill out your information on this page.

H/T to @wfryer for tweeting this link out last week!  If you would like to see more ideas for teaching kids how to code, feel free to visit my Pinterest Board on Programming for Kids.

Erase All Kittens

VidRhythm

I found myself in Seattle a few weeks ago, stuck in a 12-person van with my daughter’s synchronized swimming team on a road trip.  The girls were getting a bit stir crazy, and I was trying to think of a game we hadn’t played yet.  I desperately texted a music teacher friend, “What was that fun music app you showed me last month?”

VidRhythm.”

vidrhythm

I quickly downloaded it, and got the girls next to me to give their input on the song and style.  Once you choose a song and style, the app tells you certain sounds to make as you are recorded, then mixes them into a fun video. The video can then be shared to your camera roll or on social media (if you desire).

The team loved it.  Suddenly every girl in the van was downloading the app to her phone and making weird sounds.  In retrospect, maybe it wasn’t a great idea to try it out in an enclosed space…

I was reminded of the app when I saw this article on the Huffington Post about a recent video called, “Schoolhouse Re-mix” by DJ Overeasy. (You should check it out. It’s great!)  I don’t think DJ Overeasy used the app to make his video, but the effects are similar.

VidRhythm is rated for ages 9+, and available on iPhone and iPad.  It’s free.  I’m sharing it today because it’s Phun Phriday, and it’s definitely a lot of fun. Of course, kids will be kids and try to make all kinds of sounds that are not suggested by the app – so be prepared if it’s on a student’s device to hear and see some unique videos that only kids would dream up;)

Theme Park Game

Adventure Claw
Adventure Claw

This summer, some other GT teachers and I got together to host some free online classes through Edmodo for our 3rd-5th graders.  My class is called, “Make a Theme Park.”  Each week, the students are invited to make something for a theme park that they have imagined. For the 1st week, the challenge was to build a model of a theme park ride, and the fantabulous Joey Hudy judged.  You can see the post I did on the winners here.  During the second week, the students created theme park mascots, and Braeden the Master of Puppetry was our judge.  Here is the link to that post.  For week #3, I invited Michael Medvinsky (@mwmedvinsky) to judge theme songs created by the students for their parks.  You can find the winner, as well as a link to the Padlet of their submissions, here.

The final week of our “Make a Theme Park” class was judged by Sylvia Todd.  For those of you who don’t know Sylvia, she is the delightful host of Sylvia’s Super Awesome Maker Show.  She also, along with Joey Hudy (our 1st week’s judge) appeared at the first White House Maker Faire this summer.  And, she has a book coming out – hopefully very soon!

Sylvia’s task was to judge the games that students to made to go along with their theme parks.  This project assignment was similar to the Global Cardboard Challenge in which some of my students participated last September and October.  Sylvia chose “Adventure Claw” to be the winner for the week.  The game, pictured at the top of this post, was described this way by its maker: “The alligator on top is the claw, and when you pull the string it moves! If you are lucky, you might even get a prize. I was able to pick up a dime.”

Some of the other entries were:

undertheseaUnder the Sea – You get five tries to throw the water balloon through the holes. The eyes are two points each and the mouth is three points (like basketball).

jellyfishdefenseJellyfish Defense – I made a pinball machine. You have 3 lives to try and get as many points as possible. I used magnets to get the double ball and multiball.

whackamouseWhack-a-Mouse – When someone underneath the box pushes up the cups you will have to whack the mice with the cat paw.

Catch Indiana Jones (sorry I don’t have a picture available as only a video was submitted) – Can you catch him? Or will he escape? You get three tries to roll the boulder and hit Indiana Jones. The first Indiana Jones you hit is the one you score points on.

Robot-1900-BoxShot

Tried and True – Robot Turtles

On this blog, I tend to post about a lot of ideas that I find, and some readers don’t always get a chance to know if I ever tried them – or if they were complete flops.  This week, I want to feature a few past ideas that I did try and that were successful – and that I definitely want to do again.

robotturtles

For this week’s Phun Phriday post, I want to revisit a game that I’ve already mentioned a couple of times on this blog – Robot Turtles.  Robot Turtles was another Kickstarter project that I backed, but the product is now available through ThinkFun, Amazon, and Target.  I used it during Hour of Code last year with my younger students to introduce the whole concept of programming.  After that, my 1st graders loved having it in a center during the year.  When my Kindergartners started class in the spring, they also got to try it.  They thoroughly enjoyed it as well.

The great thing about Robot Turtles is that it can be used for various levels of play, and there is a lot of room for imagination and creativity.  Older students and families find it fun to play, too.  If you have some room in your budget for an educational classroom game that is a great value, then I highly recommend Robot Turtles.

Dominoes

For today’s Phun Phriday post, I have a couple of amazing videos created by people who have way more imagination, time, and dominoes than I do!  Both of these videos come courtesy of LaughingSquid.com.  Some dominoes sources are: Marbles, The Brain Store and Bulk Dominoes (recommended by Hevesh5, who created the 1st video).

http://laughingsquid.com/22000-dominoes-fall-in-mind-bogglingly-elaborate-setup-by-hevesh5/

 

http://laughingsquid.com/37-elaborately-linked-setups-of-falling-dominoes-featuring-an-incredible-number-of-domino-rally-stunts/