PowerPoint as a play and learning tool

Using PowerPoint to create, play, and learn

We all know PowerPoint as an effective tool to make a presentation. But in the classroom, childcare or at home, you can definitely use it as a play and learning tool too.

You could practice letter recognition by playing the next game. In the example that you can see in the picture, the children are going to look for the letters of the word vlinder (butterfly). Each time they click on a letter, this letter disappears off the screen and the letter in the word vlinder turns green. Because of that they know which letters they already found and which letters they still have to search for.

To make it more playful and fun for the children, you can add effects to it. Like the butterflies flying away after they found al the letters of the word. You should also think about the thing your child loves to play with. If you use pictures of this in the games, the involvement of the child will be much bigger.

When you want to play these games with children that are older than 10, you can involve them in the making of the games. They can help with creating them. In that way, they are practicing their computer skills and are developing something they can be proud of.

Pearls are telling a story

Sorting and drawing with pearls

1) Sorting
You give the children a bowl with all kinds of pearls. The children can sort these in different ways namely on shape, size, and color. To make it a bit harder, you can also let them sort on the amount.

2) Legend
I’ve made a white paper with little rounds. In these rounds are different symbols and a color that goes with the symbol. The children have to look at the legend to find out which pearl they have to put on which symbol. When they put the pearls on it, a figure will appear. You can make an easy or hard legend as you like. You could also give the children a paper with empty little rounds. That way they can experiment with it or make their own legend.

Telling and singing with pearls

3) Story
The story on the pictures goes as follows:

In a land far far away, the sun rose in the sky.
One by one, green and healthy, blades of grass were growing from the ground.
From all that beautiful grassy ground emerged a big red flower.
Fluffy, white and soft, a cloud came in all its glory.
Very wet, but bright blue, raindrops appeared very soon.
At the end of this beautiful day, there was a rainbow that everyone saw.

You can work out the story in different ways with the children:

  • There are pictures on the table, and the children have to find the right picture while you are reading a part of the story.
  • You tell the story, and the children are going to copy what you are telling them with the pearls.

For the younger children, you can make it a little bit easier by giving them assignments that they have to carry out. For example: Two tomatoes are going to the store to buy groceries. They need 4 lemons, 2 apples, and so on.

4) Countdown song
This song is on the rhythm of 10 kleine visjes. (it’s like 10 little fishies but the rhythm is different. If you type 10 kleine visjes in YouTube, you will find the right rhythm.)

10 little pearls they lie in a row. That’s fine said the big pearl, but I won’t go. I rather stay in the big green bowl, cause on the table is a thread and it will string you on on on on… 9 little pearls and so on.

While you are singing the song, you let a child string a pearl on the thread while you are singing the song. You can adjust the song with the children by changing the color of the bowl, the number of pearls and so on.

Sidewalk chalk only for the sidewalk? No way!

Experiment with sidewalk chalk

We use sidewalk chalk mainly to color outdoors. In this post, I will describe 5 activities that you can do with sidewalk chalk on a rainy day.

1) Painting with grated sidewalk chalk
Together with the children, you are going to grate the chalk by using a sieve or a grater. You put the chalk in a bowl per color. Then you take a dry paint brush and dab it in the chalk. Next you can start to “paint” with it.

2) Making contours
I placed my hand on a white paper. With a paintbrush, I dab in the chalk and place it all around my hand. To see a clear contour, you will have to repeat this a couple of times.

3) Making prints
I chose a shoe where you can see a print at the bottom of it. With a paintbrush, I spread the chalk over it. After that, I turned the shoe carefully on the paper and pressed it against it. When you take the shoe off the paper, you can see it’s print.

4) Playing with letters
First of all, you are going to “draw” the letter with glue. Then you sprinkle the chalk over the glue and press it against the paper. Afterwards, you shake off the reamaining chalk, and then the letters will appear.

5) Bodypaint
You can also use the chalk to bodypaint. First you draw a figure with a paintbrush. After that, you shake off the remaining chalk. You repeat this a couple of times until you can see the color clearly. Thus you can bodypaint all kinds of figures on your arms, legs, face or other body parts.

Play corner for kids in your company

Play corner for kids

This post is based on those who own a business and would like to create a play corner for kids. But if you don’t have the time, materials or place to realize it, it can be difficult.

You can make all kinds of play corners such as a drawing corner, building corner, origami corner, fantasy corner, experiment corner and so on. For this post, I chose for a drawing corner because this is the most common.

The situation in the picture is as follows. It’s a very basic drawing corner. It’s a table with a basket with crayons and drawing paper. But when children see this, it doesn’t really appeal to them. However, it is still possible to create an appealing play corner with little material by making small adjustments.

To make the play corner inviting, I changed the basket with crayons by colorful jars. In that way, the children can see which crayons there are and it makes the table a bit more colorful. To encourage the kids to color, I made templates of a fish and a butterfly. By doing this, the children can color on the templates or try to copy it. Because you want the children to play more with it, there is a basket with blocks of different shapes (circle, square, triangle and rectangle). The children can use these to draw around them. To invite the kids to go to the table when they see it, I drew a basic form of a house and put some colors next to it. Now the children can finish the drawing using their imagination.

Extra ideas

Here you can find some extra ideas for the drawing corner:
– step-by-step plan to copy figures
– half a drawing that they can mirror
– paper games like oxo, word search, maze, …
– materials like a bottle cap can be used as a template to draw around them

Stop motion: away we go with fantastical multimedia

Stop-motion movie

Making a stop motion movie with children challenges them to use their imagination. You can use all kinds of materials like wooden blocks, paper, Lego, kitchenware, clothing, … The crazier, the better.  To let the children get acquainted with stop motion, you can begin by letting them take a few pictures in a row. You put the pictures on your computer and add them in movie maker or another program. Now the kids can see the effect when their pictures have been put together in a loop. Afterwards, you can let them make a story. You can start easy by letting them fold a flower from a paper. When they figure out how it works, you can make it more difficult by letting the flower evolve into a flowering tree. This way, you can make bigger projects each time.

Wooden blocks to play and learn with

Wooden blocks, they rock!

When you see wooden blocks, you immediately want to play with it and build all kinds of constructions. Yet I would like to give some extra tips how you can use wooden blocks in an activity to make it more challenging. In this post, I will describe four activities you can do with this building material.

1) Constructing based on a picture
You give the children a picture of a construction. They get the wooden blocks which they have to build the construction with. They have to figure out how to build the construction while looking at the picture. You can differentiate by adding more blocks. In this way, both the children who need extra help and the children who need more challenge, get the opportunity to grow. You can do this as a guided activity or you can give the children construction cards that they can choose from.

2) Problem-solving thinking
On the picture, you can see a little lion that wants to get to the big lion. The children can choose between 3 blocks to make this possible. They have to think about which block is the best choice. You can make the assignment harder by adding more blocks with different shapes and sizes or adding more animals.

3) Spatial insight
On the table, you can see a figure made with the blocks. The children are going to copy it, but they get smaller blocks than the blocks they see on the table. So the kids have to make the conclusion that 2 little blocks are one big block in the figure.

4) “Puzzling”
On the picture, you can see a big cube, made of smaller blocks. The children get this picture along with the blocks they need to copy it. They have to think how the blocks fit together to get to the same result. Instead of using a picture, you could put the cube in front of the kids. Because of this, the children can look at the construction from every angle to get a better perspective of how the blocks are going to fit together.

Playdough: Let’s get started


Playdough is a very thankful material to work with. In this post, I will describe four activities that you can do with it.

1) Making figures
On the picture, you can see 4 balls that will eventually become a rose. You can give the children a step-by-step plan using playdough, a step-by-step plan in pictures, or you can give them a finished rose. By looking at it, they will try to figure out for themselves how to get to that point.

2) Finish the row
On the picture, you can see all kinds of shapes and two different colors. The children are going to finish the row of the figures with playdough. So they will have to be conscious of the shape, but also of the color.

3) Counting
On the picture, you can see the number 2 and 6. You can put 20 balls of playdough next to it and let the children divide the right amount next to the numbers. Or you can put one ball next to it and then the children have to pull bits off to roll the right amount of the numbers.

4) Mirroring shapes
On the picture, you can see half a butterfly. The children get a roll of playdough and have to try to mirror the other half of the butterfly.

Easter theme

Do you spy, what I can’t spy?

This is a game that you can play for Easter theme. The game consists of 30 circles. On each circle, there are 3 elements that the children have to reckon with. These elements are the color of the outer circle, the color of the inner circle and the figure in the middle of the inner circle. Each child gets 6 chips. The game goes as follows: The supervisor throws with 3 dices (One for the color of the outer circle, one for the color of the inner circle and one for the figure they have to find). The children have to look for the circle that has these 3 elements. When someone finds the right circle, they have to put their chip on it. Once a child has no chips left, he is the winner of the game.

Fishing ducks

Hook a duck game

Fishing ducks is a fun game to play, but also a good practice to strengthen the motor skills. If you can’t play the game with water because of the weather, you can put a blue plastic bag or a blanket on the floor. On this area, you can spread the ducks. At the bottom of the ducks, you place colored stickers. (red, yellow, green and blue). Each child gets a fishing rod and an instruction card. On the card, they can see how many ducks they need to fish up and in which color. To wrap up the activity, you can give the kids a price like they do at the fair. But these prices don’t have to be material things. You can also use papers with fun assignments such as choosing which craft activity they would like to do.

You can make the game a bit more difficult by doing a competition with the children. Who will fish up all of his ducks first? You can set a timer that they have to beat or adjust the stickers so that it’s harder to fish up the right colors. In every game, there are options to differentiate and that’s how you can create diversity for different ages.



Fair theme: horse race

Horse race

This is a game that you can play when you have a fair theme. There are four horses and each horse has it’s own color (red, yellow, green and blue). Each child has its own color of horse and gets a ball in that same color. The children got to try to roll their ball to the end of the cardboard box. In the box, there are holes. Each hole stands for a point and the person guiding the game has to count how many points each child scores. That’s how many steps the horses can go forward on the board. The child that reaches the other side first, wins the game.