Word Clouds

Pebble loves sharing what she’s been learning at school. Lucky for us she has a super awesome teacher who also writes a blog! So we get to read about what’s happening at school, as well as hear it from Pebble. Recently Miss H shared that they had been making word clouds (sometimes called a wordle), and Pebble was keen to make some at home. Pebble used weather words because they’re learning about weather at school.

Weather Word Cloud

You’ll notice that Pebble used her ‘internet’ name, not her real name, in her word cloud. We’ve had lots of discussions about sharing information on the internet and she knows to be careful. She also thinks that her internet name is hilarious!

You can make a word cloud on ABCya! There are lots of features, including layout, colours and fonts, which are all super easy for kids young and old to use.

Why make a word cloud? You can use them to reflecting on learning, as creative writing prompts, for making gifts and much more! I made one for Octavia and Vicky using just the web address. Many word cloud creators let you do this, I used Tagul. How cool is this? I love that ‘Play’ stands out loud and clear.

Octavia and Vicky Wordle

You might have noticed that I’m not writing on Octavia and Vicky as often. I have something to tell you … I’ve been cheating on you! I’ve been writing a class blog, a research blog, a maths blog and have just agreed to contribute to a digital citizenship blog. I’m also still doing the odd contribution to some of my other favourite blogs. Phew! Never fear, I will still be here! Just not as often as you’re used to. You can still follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.

Have fun making word clouds! 

Free Christmas Movies for Kids Online

It’s a very busy time of year, right? Everyone is rushing around and getting stressed out. Pebble and I have been enjoying some much needed down time with some of these Christmas movies on You Tube. We thought you might like them too.

The Bears Who Saved Christmas

The Berenstain Bears Christmas Tree

The Snow Man

Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer

What’s your favourite Christmas movie?

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50+ Christmas Games for Kids

The Christmas season is well and truly here! We picked out and decorated our Christmas tree on the weekend, and we’ve been playing with Christmas gloop and enjoying Christmas cooking. We’ve also been playing some online Christmas games! I’ve picked a few web pages to share with you. Some have games that Pebble has enjoyed playing, and some have lots of games for older children . There are more than 50 games to choose from in the links below – have fun :)

Primary  Games

Lots to choose from here and quite good quality too. Most are suited to primary age children, however Pebble liked the colouring page, Trim-a-Tree and Christmas Match.

The Kidz Page

Another collection of Christmas games. Not much here for preschoolers, but plenty of fun for school age children.

Dora’s Christmas Carol Adventure

This game is perfect for preschoolers, it’s an easy mouse roll over game. The Nick Jr website also has the option to search for games by relevance by age group, which is very handy.

The North Pole

A lovely site with LOTS for children to do. Definitely one that young children will need help with, but school age children should be fine.

Santa Games

Another nice collection of games that little ones could play with some help, or for older children to have fun with.

Boowal and Kwala Merry Go Round

This game is perfect for helping young children learn to control the mouse. By rolling the mouse over the merry-go-round they make it spin and play music. No clicking, just moving around the screen – which is a skill that can be very tricky to learn! There is also a similar game with a toy dog, and a trickier darts game for older children, plus lots of other fun things to do.

Decorate a Christmas Tree

A simple tree decorating game which uses click-and-drag to decorate a Christmas tree. Pebble and I played this game together  then used ‘print screen’ to print out her tree.

A Kids Heart

Lots of Christmas games all in one spot, more suited to school age children, but some are good for younger children too. Pebble enjoyed playing the Christmas bells game.

Note: Some of these websites contain advertising. Please remember to supervise your children’s online activity.

Do your kids like playing games online?

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Best You Tube Stories for Kids

The other day I was searching for some good free story apps for kids. I have struggled to find a good free (or paid!) one that is appropriate for Pebble’s age group. Many have very long, wordy stories, which don’t hold her interest. Then I struck gold with You Tube! These classics are currently bed time favourites at our hosue, along with a couple of books (how many stories is standard at bed time? We do about four here…. yep, bed time is a long process).

How do your children enjoy stories? Do they like to use the tablets, phones, CDs and videos, as well as books?

A Story Before Bed

Last week a student brought in their mum’s iPad as a part of their news talk for the day. Her mum helped her to show us a favourite poem, The Jabberwocky, using an app called A Story Before Bed. I thought it was awesome! It showed the poem page by page along side a video of the student and her mum reading it. The first thing I did in my break that day was look for the app on Google Play store, but alas it is only available for Apple. BUT you can use the A Story Before Bed website to create video stories at home. Winning!

It is a subscription site with reasonable rates (minimum of $5.99 per month for access to over 400 books) however you can also access 19 books for free.

I signed up an account for my class, but the wiggedy-wack government internet system is not letting me through firewalls and such just yet (I’ve got our IT guy onto it). I also signed up an account for home, and we made this video for Pebble’s cousins. A little bit cute, no?

{click to watch Pebble and I read a story}

You can share videos by email or Facebook, or copy and paste the link wherever you like. Free books appear to be free for as long as you want them. Other books need to be paid for within 24 hours of recording or they disappear from your bookshelf.

What do you think of A Story Before Bed? Would you use it? Would you pay for it?