crafting a meaningful little project at a time

Monday, March 5, 2012

Day 5: A New Twist on File Folder Games

Day 5: A New Twist on File Folder Games

Remember those old-fashioned file folder games you played
with in elementary school? The laminate was probably peeling, the folders were
that uninspiring blah-beige, and the pieces were probably colored by your
teacher (or some unsuspecting students)? The file folders were big and unwieldy
for small hands, the pieces were always flying out of the flimsy paper pouches,
and- let’s face it- they were the go-to seat work time fillers when the teacher
didn’t know what else to do with you. Yep- pretty boring.

Say hello to the new and improved file folder game! Now you
can find file folder games online in all sorts of themes- printable for FREE that
are appealing and available in full color (or black & white if you want
some therapeutic coloring time). We found two great St. Patrick’s Day themed
games to whip up today- one was a pattern matching game, one was a sight word
phonics activity- from the following sources:

File Folder Game: Shamrock Pattern from Preschool

Shamrock Phonics File Folder Game from File Folder Fun:

But before you get all excited, hit print, and head to
Staples for a box of manila folders, consider your purposes: where will your
child play with this game? Do you want the game to be portable? Do you have a
purse big enough to accommodate a file folder? Are the pieces going to print in
a size that will work for YOUR child? Do you plan to laminate the pieces?

Make these games useful; customize them for YOUR child. We
prefer portable games that can go with us on play dates, to lunch, to church,
to the grandparents’ house, etc. I do not carry I diaper bag or a ginormous
purse, so we needed a smaller size if I would be the one toting it around.
Also, storage for the small pieces is imperative: nothing worse than a game
that’s missing three pieces!

To make the shamrock pattern match more accessible, I
printed the shamrocks on cardstock at about a quarter size, and made my own “file
folder” out of green cardstock- approx.. 6 x 10 inches opened up. I pasted one
set of shamrocks inside, slapped the smaller version of the title on the front
of our mini-folder, cut a snack baggie in half and taped it to the back to hold
the pieces, and boom! Tiny hands, small purse-sized “file folder game.” We
assembled three of these- one for each of mine, and one to send home with a
friend who was over today- in less than an hour.

To make the phonics game more manageable, we ditched the file
folder idea all together and used business-sized envelopes to make sleeve “pages”
and cardstock to “bind” the envelopes into a little booklet. I also added a
blank line to the beginning of each end sound to show that the words the
littles were looking for should have different beginning letters, but they all
would have the pictured ending. A little glue, a little cutting, and bam!
Phonics flip book, at your service! Total time spent? Maaaaybe 30 minutes- had
several potty breaks during this project, hard to tell. Ha!

The best part about this project was that it was “we”
working on it, not just “me.” We sat at the table together, the littles went
over to fetch the pieces as they printed out, they helped organize and sort
pieces as I cut them out, we talked about what we were doing and why: “Why are
we making new games Mommy?” “This one can help you practice your math skills-
see the patterns? This one helps you practice your letters, and will help you
learn to read.” “Well I can read these little words, because I’m kind of big.” :) Get busy! Get crafty!

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