Language Play: Fair Season Language Games

Fair Season Language Games

I’ve never lived in a place so rich with fairs! We’re lucky to be able to go to so many. For my family, it has become a New England summer/fall ritual that harkens back to a simpler time when people got together to play and eat with their neighbors. Enjoying life together in this way, creates a sense of community so naturally. It combines the cycle of the yearly harvest with pride in our achievements in art, craft, food, animal-raising and gardening. It gives us a solid sense of identity and camaraderie. The thrill of the rides, the lights against a dark sky, the people of all generations surrounding food stands, eating at picnic tables, strolling, and running in the delight of being alive. All in all, a country fair is a great human experience. It slows us down so we can experience who we are again.

I remember the drive home from the Cummington Fair one year with my grandson. It was the first fair where he was self-conscious, even though he had been there before as a baby. Even though it was late, he hated to leave. On the way home, he tried to console himself in the back seat: “We can come back tomorrow night.” We explained that the fair was a special, once a year event, BUT we could prolong our pleasure by talking about what we saw and did until we got home. And so a new set of language games were born for the trip home…

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Q&A: 8 Ways to Make Math Fun at Home


In the driveway or on the sidewalk, play Hopscotch Math! Using a grid to play, kids can practice and reinforce number sequencing, odd/even numbers, addition, subtraction and times tables – while having fun!

Deborah Doulette of Whately, MA writes, “How do you bring (fun!) math into your household and engage your kids in real math problems? For example, we play a type of math word game at the dinner table. Would love other suggestions!”

  • Amber Ladley suggests, “We like to cook/bake together. Recipes are great for reading, following directions, learning units of measure, & basic math, including fractions!”
  • Katie O’Hara Edwards suggests, “Check out ‘Bedtime Math Problem‘ on Facebook. They provide fun math problems every night for little kids and big kids.”
  • Katryna Nields suggests, “Yahtzee.”
  • Kara Kitchen suggests, “Darts (multiply, add+subtract).”
  • Carrie St John suggests, “I have a first grader. We use a couple ideas from a book called, Old Dogs, New Math: Homework Help for Puzzled Parents.  I put up a number problem in magnetic numbers on the fridge and leave it to be solved. I save up the pocket change from the week. Once a week I put it out for sorting and counting. We added in the bonus of depositing it into her school savings bank account.”
  • Rebecca Trow Addison suggests, “We do an adding game in the car. We count horses, and my 1st grader remembers how many horses she saw on the morning ride to school (with my husband) and adds that number to the number of horses she sees on the ride home from school (with me). Memory and math.”
  • Jo Buswell Sauriol suggests, “Older children can help you use coupons and line up sale items with coupons. Especially motivating when it is something they want and you won’t buy full price. Also motivating for them to help if you give them a cut of the savings as a bonus!”

[Photo credit: (cc) D. Sharon Pruitt]

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