Hop the Pawn

It’s quite likely that some time this week you will have to wait at least 5 minutes for something to happen.

It’s also quite likely that you have 14 pennies (or similar coin) in your change purse or pocket or under the couch.

It will take you maybe 1 minute to set up this game. Then you’ll have at least another 4 minutes left to play.

Tip: The instructions say to draw a triangle and 15 circles in the triangle. Do that if you really like drawing triangles and circles. Otherwise, simply form the pennies into a triangle shape and start playing.



Jillian of Montreal, QC, Canada writes:

To set up your game board, draw a big triangle on a piece of paper. Then draw 15 circles in 5 rows inside the triangle. The top row should have one circle, second row 2, third row 3, fourth row 4, and the bottom should have 5.

For your game pieces, you can use pennies. Put one penny in each of the 14 circles. There should be one circle without a penny.

To play, find a penny that can hop over another one into an empty space. Then, you can take away the penny that you’ve hopped over. You can hop diagonally, horizontally, or vertically. Hop more than once if you can!

You can play against yourself orRead the rest of the game activity!

Belated Happy Birthday

A few readers – okay, all 3 of you – asked whether I had meant to write more yesterday, when we turned 2 years old.

Well, yes. I had meant to write more.

But…I realize I completely missed our birthday: the very first post was on July 26, 2007, and I started writing daily on July 30, 2007.

Ohhhh….now that was two years ago today.

I should go make some blueberry muffins right now.

Happy bloggy birthday to us!

We’re 2 years old!

We’re 2 years old already?

I’m not thirsty

Opposites are fun to learn, because the concept is immediately understandable, and they’re a fast way to build your vocabulary in any language.

Word Nerd Moment: kindly explain to me why the opposite of hungry is thirsty?

The textbook says hungry and thirsty are opposites. I disagreed and told my 4th graders that the opposite of hungry is full, but then I wondered what the opposite of thirsty is.


Thus, Word Nerd Moment Number Two: What is the opposite of thirsty? I know there are big words (slaked, quenched, satisfied, etc.). Small words, please.

The English language makes perfect sense until you start to think about it.

Opposites Sandra Boynton

Thundi Chai

Even when it’s a really hot day, I prefer drinking hot drinks.

Weird, yes, I know.

The other day, though, I found this recipe for a new-to-me Indian iced tea, and I’ve been drinking entirely too much of it ever since.

Oh yum.

Thundi Chai

3 cups water

1 tablespoon loose black or green tea leaves

4 to 8 fresh mint leaves

3 cups ice water

juice of 3 lemons or limes

sugar or honey to taste

ice cubes

1. Bring the 3 cups water to a boil in a saucepan, then remove from the heat.

2. Add the tea leaves and the mint leaves, then cover the pot with a tightly fitting lid.

3. Let the tea steep for 5 minutes.

4. Strain the brewed tea into a serving pitcher and add the 3 cups ice water, the lemon juice and sugar. (If you prefer to sweeten your tea with honey, mix it with the hot brewed tea before adding the cold water.)

5. Stir the mixture well and pour into individual glasses into which ice cubes have been placed.

Makes 3 servings.


from The Ethnic Vegetarian Kitchen by Shanta Nimbark Sacharoff (ohhh…such good stuff!)

Diving for pearls

I know the pool rules.

Pool rule number 5 is “Do NOT throw non-pool items into the pool.”

So how are you supposed to dive for pearls?

Find your swimming instructor and sweetly explain that you would really like extra practice keeping your head underwater. This would be a great activity for the whole class during the lesson, yes?

Next, get a whole bunch of marbles – I mean, pearls – and scrub them clean. Bring your pearls to the next swimming lesson, and teach these simple rules:

a) Each pearl color is worth points. You can give more points for the rarer colors.

b) Divide into teams and throw the pearls into the pool.

c) Everyone jumps in at the same time and scoops up all the pearls.

d) Count up points to determine the winning team.

e) Tell your swimming instructor that was fun, yes, but more practice would be good, yes? Ready…set…jump!


from Nancy Blakey’s Go Outside! book of activities. I’ll be scooping up more of her books soon!

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