Game/Activity for Kids that Supplement Black History Facts – Part 2

light bulb

My toddler is fascinated with turning the lights on and off when we enter and exit a room. We sometimes go around the house searching for light sources such as the lamp or lights on his toys. Because we have so much fun with light, I decided to teach my son about Lewis Latimer.

Lewis Latimer improved the making of carbon filaments (electric light with a wire filament heated so high that it glows), used in light bulbs to help them last longer. His invention made the light bulb less expensive and made it possible for electric lighting to be put in homes and on the street. Before Mr. Latimer’s improvement, the light bulb only lasted a few days.

One way I help my son understand the importance of Mr. Latimer’s invention is to play the game, Lights Out.

In this game, my son closes his eyes and counts to ten. I then hide one of his toys and my son tries to find it.  After my son searches 15 seconds for the toy, I turn off the lights. The 15 seconds represents the short time light bulbs lasted before Mr. Latimer’s invention.

The fun part of this game is to find the toy before the lights go out. My son loves game! I love it too because it teaches the importance of Mr. Latimer’s invention which is longevity of the light bulb!

Have Fun Learning!


Game/Activity for Kids that Supplement Black History Facts – Part 1

  • traffic light

When I am driving the car and my toddler is the passenger, he loves to use the traffic light signal to tell me when to go and stop. “Go mommy! Green light!” he says. Since February is Black History month, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to teach my son the contributions of black people.

I began by telling my son about Garrett Morgan and why he invented the three-position traffic light signal.

One day, Mr. Morgan was driving and saw a car accident. The accident happened because the traffic light signal switched back and forth between Stop and Go with no warning of slowing down. Mr. Morgan designed the warning signal, which today is the yellow light. The warning signal gives drivers a chance to slow down before stopping. This has decreased many car accidents.

I decided to supplement the lesson with a fun childhood game called Red Light Green Light.

In this game, one person is chosen to be the traffic cop. The other children stand in a line while the traffic cop has his/her back to them. When the cop says “Green Light” the children try to run to the finish line. When the cop calls “Red Light” he/she turns to face the children and the players have to stop.

I explain to my son that this is how people drove their cars before Mr. Morgan’s invention.

We THEN play Red Light, Green Light, Yellow Light. This game includes Mr. Morgan’s warning signal (yellow light). My son realizes it is much easier to stop if there’s a warning signal.

We also play both games with his toy cars. Instead of running, we race the cars around the house.

Have fun learning!


Reaching Higher- Teaching Kids to Set Goals


New Year’s Day is coming soon and many people will be setting new goals. Ideally, goals should be set year round but this is a great time to address the topic.

A great way to teach kids about setting goals is to encourage them to think about what they want to achieve and create a project centered around it. 

On our website, in the Sample Lessons tab, you will see an activity called “SMART Goals.” This lesson explains the meaning of SMART goals and uses the “Making the Basket” game to apply the concept. The game encourages students to create goals and to take ownership in achieving it.

Kids can be taught goals in this same manner.

When students create their own goals, they have a stake in the project. However, they can also learn by achieving goals created by their teachers and school.

Below is a suggestion for addressing goals in your educational program and at home.

  1. Have a class meeting for students to create a goal.
    • Refer to our “Smart Goals” Sample Lesson for how to create and process a “SMART Goal.”
  2. Once the goal is created, break students into small groups to brainstorm how they will achieve the goal.
  3. Have each group present their ideas and vote on the best one.
    • For example, if students want to fundraise for a class trip, maybe they want to create a talent show and sell tickets to the community.
  4. Start planning how to achieve the goal.
  5. Execute the plan!

A Stimulating Physical Activity that Leads to Learning

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Physical activity increases learning because it increases blood flow to the brain. Blood flow to the brain increases oxygen which heightens alertness.  Examples of interactive activities that incorporate movement are games, role plays, and learning stations within the classroom.

When students are physical and learning simultaneously, they are using multiple functions. They are activating their sense of hearing, seeing, and touching.   If the students are creating a role play or campaign, they are using all their senses and being innovative, which stimulates the brain.

Physical activity has a way of bringing laughter, if it’s fun. It can also bring a since of accomplishment, if it’s challenging.  Physical activity before or after learning something new is beneficial. If exercise is done before learning, then your brain is more alert to receive the information. If exercise is done after learning, then it helps your brain process the information. If possible, try to incorporate some physical activity in your class. Below is a way to do it!

  1. Have your class stand in a line or a circle (instructor’s choice).
  2. Tell each student they will lead the class in a physical activity.
  3. Examples are
    • Waving hands above head
    • Low kicks
    • Twisting body
    • Touching toes
  4. Each student has 20 seconds to lead the class in their activity of choice.
  5. After 20 minutes is up, say “Switch”
  6. The next student will lead the class in their activity.
  7. At the end of this activity, your brains should be ready to learn!
  8. You can also do this activity at the end of your session to help students’ brains process what they just learned.

Note: Please adjust activity if you have physically disabled students in your class.


Entertaining, Interactive Activity that Increases Memorization


Incorporating interactive activities in the classroom increases a person’s memorization rate of a lesson or subject. Interactive activities encourage you to think about the material in different ways. For instance, a group of students is learning about the lifecycle of a butterfly.  Sure, you can tell them the stages and expect them to remember.

But why not supplement this lesson with a project where the students become the butterfly and then they teach others the life cycle?

This will help students absorb the material. Teaching others a concept is an effective memorization and learning method. As a teacher, you want to grasp the material in case your students ask questions. If you know the subject, you will also be confident in delivering the material. Below is an example of how to incorporate this in the classroom.

  1. Choose a subject you want your students to learn.
    • Let’s use the lifecycle of a butterfly for this example.
  2. Explain to your students the four stages of a butterfly in 15 minutes or less.
  3. Break your class up into 4 groups.
  4. Each group will have to act out (role play) the four stages of a butterfly and teach their classmates.
  5. Tell students to be creative.
  6. After this class, students will have a better chance of remembering the lesson because the following memorization methods are used…
    • Lecture by instructor
    • Prepping for role play
    • Performing the role play
    • Repetition by seeing each group’s version of their role play



Exercise Your Students’ Brains with this Critical Thinking, Interactive Activity



Interactive activities are a powerful way to build critical thinking skills. Critical thinking is evaluating something and making a conclusion from what you observed. Experiential learning is the perfect method for building this skill because your brain is drawing conclusions as you participate and think about the activity.

One way to incorporate this in class is by asking an open-ended question. The question/problem could be:  Time has just been taken away from the world. How would humans function without time? If students are analyzing this question in groups, then they will combine each other’s thoughts and form a conclusion.

This question will allow them to think about their daily routines within their families and environment and answer accordingly. This also encourages students to think about the importance of time. Now let’s make this an interactive activity.

  1. Break students up in to groups of 3 or 4.
  2. Cover all the clocks in the classroom.
  3. Put everyone’s cell phone and watches into a box or a safe place.
  4. Put away anything that keeps time like computers.
  5. Tell students they will answer the question/problem: Time has just been taken away from the world. How would humans function without time?
  6. Have students create a commercial that gives the world tips on how they can function without time.
  7. Have each group perform the commercial for the class.



 A Fun Interactive Activity using Hands-On Learning in the Classroom



Hands-on learning is a great tool to use with students. Hands-on learning is when children can physically experience information. Examples are use of games, role plays, building, and creating. These methods engage both the right and left hemisphere of the brain and incorporates various learning types.

Let’s say you have your students break into small groups and create roles plays. Children will do the following: Create props (Visual learning), Write a dialogue (Verbal learning), Act (Physical learning), Create a story line (Logical learning), Work in groups (Social Learning). Children may choose to incorporate music in their role play (Auditory learning). Some groups may choose to delegate one specific role such as the Prop manager (Intrapersonal learning).

Hands-on learning can be done individually, but is really effective when done in small groups.

Why not try both in the classroom? We will show you how below.

How to apply it

  1. Tell students they will learn about communication skills in this activity.
  2. Pick a topic or lesson (examples are below) …
    • Manners
    • How to count to 15
  3. Have the students work individually to create a game that would…
    • Teach preschoolers certain manners
    • Teach preschoolers to count to 15
  4. Give students time to create their game individually
  5. Then break students into groups of 3 or 4
  6. Have students combine their ideas to create one game.
  7. Have each group play their game with the class.
  8. Create a discussion by asking students if they liked creating the game individually or in groups.

An Engaging Interactive Activity that teaches Diversity in the Classroom



One benefit of using Interactive activities in the classroom is receiving diverse opinions and responses. As a facilitator, have you ever asked a group of students an open-ended question with no response? Why does this happen? It could be students are shy or they are afraid to give the wrong answer?

Sometimes, students need additional thinking time in order to answer the question. One solution is to ask the same question while students are in small groups. Afterwards, have the group answer your question.

In small groups, youth can reflect and reply to the various responses of their group members. Hearing diverse responses can channel ideas in other group members, encouraging shy members to participate. Groups can incorporate diversity whether it is different genders, cultural differences, or religion. Children can also have different preferences in sports, clothing, and genre of music.  Communication with a variety of people can teach children how to understand others’ views.

How to apply it

  1. Break students up into groups of 3 or 4.
  2. Ensure groups are diverse.
  3. Ask students an open-ended question or present a problem the group.
  4. Give groups 5 minutes to answer the question or create a solution to the problem.
  5. Tell groups to pick one representative to present the group’s answer or solution.
  6. After all groups have presented, then reflect.
  7. Reflect by asking…
    • Which answer or solution did you like the best?
    • Did anyone in your group disagree or agree with an answer?
    • What did you learn from your group members?