Friday, November 18, 2011

Spelling Target Practice! Great Nerf Fun!

If your sons (or possibly daughters) are like my boys, they have been BEGGING for Nerf...
That presents a bit of a dilemma as generally, we are not huge fans of weapons.
We explained that while guns may have their place for certain scenarios, such as a tranquilizer gun if an animal has to be checked or given medical care, or for those who work on safaris, either to fend off poachers or if an animal were to charge and they would have not other recourse but to shoot, or in the case of self defense.
We also explained that some people like to use weapons to hunt for food and although we are not a hunting family, that we understand that some people choose to do this as a way to get food for their families.

So, it has been a process when virtually our entire neighborhood, chock full of boys, as well as our playdate and co-op friends, primarily families with boys, all seem to have Nerf and lots of Nerf, from humongous soakers to dart tag weapons of every variety.

After much discussion, Dear Hubby and I decided that the boys could get Nerf Super Soaker Scatter Blasts, essentially over-sized squirt guns / soakers.
They can play with them on our lanai and on certain days when our pool allows these toys.
Well, that led to them wanting to get some blasters called Nite Finders, specifically Nerf N-Strike Nite Finder EX-3's,  that are equipped with laser for precision target practice as well as suction cup darts.
Since shooting and target practice are part of Olympic events, we decided to try to approach the concept of these toys as target practice.
So in an effort to focus on how these are appropriate for target practice, we tried to brain storm ways to make and use targets, both for fun and hopefully, for some learning.
The boys created some targets by re-purposing some items they have for play, including a soccer post, pieces of a plastic toy set, and a plastic basket that normally they use for restaurant themed play.
They set up their targets on our lanai and have a fun time shooting at them.
Today, Big Bro wanted to come up with a game that involved target practice...
So Big Bro took some sheets we have from Reading Resource.Net and cut out each vowel combination and then, we laminated all of the pieces onto two big sheets.
Then, Big Bro came up with several words for each sound...this was a game he generated...I just helped with the laminating...
He chose words including crusade, fuel, Australia, Europe, sword, prey, fir tree, foil, middle, devout, stout, barrel, armor, pie, fur, cloak, coat, toes, fruit, bestow, know, and knight to name a few...
(Can you guess that he read a book about knights and was kind of thinking of this theme with the words he selected?)
So then, he pointed his Nerf N-Strike Nite Finder EX-3 at the letter sounds and then, had to cross off the words with that sound from his list. He kept going until he had crossed off all of the words.
Big Bro loved this! Little Bro joined in for a time, but then, he decided to do another activity.
This did not detract Big Bro, as he was thoroughly enjoying himself while working independently.
Turned out to be a great learning activity that was fun on many levels!

He has decided that he wants to now do the same idea only with math facts.

That is the beauty of can really follow a child's lead and something that would never be possible in a traditional classroom can have a special place in homeschooling.
Big Bro had the opportunity to explore something that could be used in a violent way and was able to use it in a non-violent way. The two key tenets of Montessori that we hold dear, following the child and non-violence, still could be upheld.  Yay!

Here are some photos of Big Bro having a blast (literally!)

Have you thought outside of the box for how something could be used in a way that better supports your family's values?

Do you use toys as non-traditional educational tools?

What are your thoughts about Nerf toys, namely Super Soakers and target practice style Blasters like the Nite Finder?

Well, have a happy weekend!

11/30/11 Update:

While looking for more ideas to pin related to Nerf, I happened upon another neat idea for Nerf and school work that was done by The Only Pink in a World Gone Blue.
Here is a link to her neat idea. Neat to use the whole back yard like they did and to aim and fire at whole words! Am sure Big Bro and Little Bro will love trying this out as well!

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