Mimi and the Grands

Educating Through Multiple Intelligences

The Sun and Solar System Multiple Intelligence Unit

I  have three active grandsons that I love to babysit several days a week, and I like to keep them busy with lots of activities that are enriching and possibly educational. My youngest grandson, Tahoe, is in first grade and will be learning about the Sun, its influence on Earth, and other objects in our solar system. My oldest grandson, Tigger (10) will also be studying the solar system and universe in school for fifth grade. And of course, Kona (8) loves reading about the planets and the rest of the solar system.

That’s why I planned some multiple intelligences activities surrounding the sun and the solar system for my grands. We have already completed some of these activities, and others can be done later in the month. Some of the activities I can use with the grands for their homework assignments (such as their nightly recreational reading), but the rest of the activities I will do with them as they have time after their homework, free play time, sports activities, etc. We also worked on this study unit during Spring Break, which meant I could do more of these multiple intelligence activities with all three grands.

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart)

Read and discuss books- It’s always nice to include books as part of any study unit, especially since the grands can use the books for their reading homework and take the Accelerated Reader quizzes at school. I usually get my books from the library. There are many books from which to choose, but I was focusing on first grader, Tahoe, so I chose books which covered those science standards. Several of the books were at a higher reading level, so they were great books for the older grandsons to read with me or by themselves.

Solar System by Samantha Bell is a good book with which to start this unit especially for my early reader, Tahoe. It gives the basic information about the sun, moon, planets, asteroids, meteoroids, and comets. Tahoe loved reading it aloud to me and was able to use it for an Accelerated Reader quiz at school too (and he earned 100% on the quiz). Academic Focus: Vocabulary-I quizzed the grands on the key vocabulary words in this book.



Sun and Shade by Mary Lindeen is a good early-reader book for this unit. It contains the basic information about the sun and the reasons the sun is important. It is too easy for Kona and Tigger, but it was just right for Tahoe’s reading level. He was able to practice his reading skills using this book and take an Accelerated Reader quiz on it at school. Academic Focus: Close Reading: The back of the book has several good discussion questions which I will use with Tahoe. There is also a simple experiment in the back of the book that I will do with all the grands (which is explained in the Spatial Intelligence section).


Day and Night by Margaret Hall is another good beginning book for Tahoe. It discusses how the earth’s rotation around the sun creates day and night on earth and how that affects the living things that live on our planet. Since this book is written at a first grade level, Tahoe was able to use it for his reading practice homework and then take an Accelerated Reader quiz on it at school (and he earned 100% on his quiz). Academic Focus: Synonyms and Antonyms: I had the grands look for synonyms (rotates, spins) and antonyms (day, night) in the text.



Sun! One in a Billion by Stacy McAnulty is a cleverly written book from the point of view of our earth’s Sun and even has a humorous Q and A section with the Sun at the back of the book. The illustrations are very engaging, which might be because the illustrator, Stevie Lewis, is a former animator. Academic Focus: Large Number Reading: I had the grands practice reading the large numbers in the book.



 The Sun is Kind of a Big Deal by Nick Seluk is a factual and clever book that explains the many reasons why the sun is so important. It contains cartoon-like planets that provide the facts, but there is humor that adults will especially appreciate. Tahoe loved this book and wanted to read it over and over again. Academic focus: Main Idea and Supporting Details: I used the title as the main idea and had the grands give me details that supported it (such as providing warmth for our planet, etc.)


Gravity  by Grace Hansen and The Sun by Grace Hansen are beginning science books that describe the basic concepts of their topics. The print is large and the illustrations and photographs are well chosen. At the back of each book are codes that can be used to look up a website with more information and activities. I adapted one of their craft ideas from the website to make a comet (see Spatial Intelligence).These books are written at a second grade level, but they were still good reading practice for Tahoe. Academic focus: Text Features: I used these books to quiz the grands on the table of contents, glossary and index text features.

Let’s Explore Gravity by Walt K. Moon is a very engaging beginning book that explains  with lots of examples that the grands could easily understand. The photographs in the book are also well done. There is a picture glossary at the end of the book, which is a great way to explain the definitions of words. The book is written at a first grade level so Tahoe can use this book for homework and take an Accelerated Reader quiz on it at school. Academic focus: Details: I asked the grands to explain examples of gravity that were explained in the book. 


Let’s Investigate with Nate: The Solar System by Nate Ball is part of a series of books by this PBS star. The grands and I enjoyed this engaging book in which a group of children visit their local science museum every week to go on a science adventure with Nate. The book is part comic book, part science journal and part narrative that explains concepts such as gravity, satellite, planets, asteroid belt, and even… hydrostatic equilibrium (say that word 3 times quickly!) There is even an experiment in the back of the book to make a gravity slingshot. Academic focus: Expressive Reading: There is a lot of dialogue in this book (in the speech bubbles) so I had the grands read the conversations aloud to practice putting lots of expression in their oral reading. 


The Planets  by Gail Gibbons was especially interesting to Kona (8). He enjoyed learning a little about the history of the discovery of the planets and how scientists are continuing to study them from unmanned spacecrafts. This book explains what each planet is made from, how long it takes each of the planets to rotate (comparing to Earth measurements), and how long it takes each planet to orbit the sun.  Academic focus: Sequence of events: I asked the grands to recall and put in order a few of the events described in the book such as: when the Curiosity rover landed on Mars, when Voyager II visited Neptune, when people recognized the first six planets, and when Pluto was re-designated as a dwarf planet.


Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart)

Reading Larger Numbers/Expanded Form: When we read about the solar system, the grands need some concept of the meaning of those big numbers. So this is an excellent opportunity to have them practice reading numbers in the millions and billions. I also showed them what those numbers look like in expanded form. For example: Pluto is 4.6 billion miles from the Sun. What does that number mean? Another way to say that number is 4,600,000,000 or 4 billion plus 6 hundred million or 4 x 1,000,000,000 plus 6 x 100,000,000. I could also talk about scientific notation such as Earth’s distance from the Sun is 93,000,000 miles or 9.3 x 107.

Distance of Planets to Scale: To help the grands understand the distance between the planets and the sun, I have found several websites with hands-on activities that are easy to do. The NASA website uses beads on a string, while the National Geographic site has activities that use centimeters and steps. (So all of these activities require the grands to use some form of measurement.)



 Musical Intelligence (Music Smart)

Listen to Classical Music: There are many pieces of classical music that were inspired by objects in our solar system. I have listed just a few that I had the grands listen to during car rides, working on art projects, or while eating a meal. The grands especially enjoyed listening to the “Mars” section of Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” because to them it sounded like the music to one of the Star Wars movies. Grandpa Jim has a lot of these pieces on cds, but it is easy for me to find them on the internet too:

  • Beethoven: “Moonlight Sonata”
  • Debussy: “Clair de Lune”
  • Grieg: “Peer Gynt-Morning Mood”
  • Grofe: “Grand Canyon Suite: I Sunrise; IV Sunset”
  • Holst: “The Planets”

Sing Songs: I like to make up songs to familiar tunes when I develop a study unit. Here is one that I created:

Our Solar System Has a Sun (Sung to “Old MacDonald Had a Farm“)

Our solar system has a Sun
In the Milky Way
It gives us warmth and helps plants grow
Turns night into day
Made of hydrogen
And some helium
Shining bright
Shining bright
Giving off heat and light
Our solar system has a sun
In the Milky Way

Additionally, many songs about the solar system can be found on the internet that have been written by others. Here are some I found:



Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart)

Shadows: I want the grands to become more aware of shadows so anytime we’re outside, I’ll have them notice their own shadows. They can even use some chalk to draw around each other’s shadow on the sidewalk. We can also observe shadows of other objects as we take a walk to the park. I want them to notice that shadows change throughout the day and why shadows are useful. (i.e. The shade of a tree keeps us cool on warm days.)

Telescope Viewing: Grandpa Jim has a telescope so he has set it up for the grands to see the moon, and a few of the planets when they are in the sky (Mars and Venus especially). Later, we may take them to a local college astronomy night or community astronomy club to have a chance to see the night sky through some larger telescopes.

Cooking with a Solar Oven: We cooked S’mores one day in a solar oven that the grands made using this website: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/sunny-science-build-a-pizza-box-solar-oven/

With my supervision, the grands used a pizza box, scissors, tape, black construction paper, foil, and plastic wrap to make our solar oven. Next they placed their graham crackers, marshmallows, and a small chocolate bar on a small piece of foil and set the S’mores in the solar oven. After 40 minutes (on an 85 degree day), the chocolate was melted and the grands said the marshmallows were somewhat gooey. They sure ate them fast!

Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart)

Shadow drawing: I had Tahoe pick a toy, construction paper, and a crayon. Then we went outside and placed the toy on the paper so the toy’s shadow was on the paper. Then Tahoe drew around the shadow on the paper with the crayon and wrote down the time.


Sunscreen Experiment: This easy experiment was found in the back of the book Sun and Shade which I explain in the Linguistic Intelligence section of this post. The experiment requires a piece of construction paper and some sunscreen. I covered the palms of my grandsons with some sunscreen. Then they pressed their palms on some construction paper so the sunscreen transferred to the paper. Next the paper was placed in the sun for several hours. When the experiment was complete, we discussed why their palm print on the paper stayed the same color while the rest of the construction paper changed color.

Make a Comet: There was a great idea on the abdokids.com website for a comet craft idea. To get to the activity, I needed the code at the end of the book The Sun by Grace Hansen (included in the Linguistic Intelligence section). The basic idea was to use half a styrofoam ball and cover it with foil to make the head of the comet. After gluing that to construction paper, the directions used glitter pens and more glitter to make the tail of the comet.  I had to use different materials than in the example in the book because I wanted to use what we already had available at the house. We went into the recycling bin and cut up a cardboard paper towel holder to cover in foil for the head of the comet. I pulled out crayons, markers, and paints for the grands to use to make the tail. We also cut up small pieces of foil and glued it to the pictures, since we didn’t have any glitter.

Make the Moon: I adapted an idea that I saw on numerous websites. I made a mixture of white paint and flour. Then I had the grands paint a moon with the mixture on some black construction paper. Using the caps of water and juice bottles, they created meteors by pressing into the paint/flour mixture. We added stars by dipping a q-tip into yellow paint.

Finger Painting the Sun: I gave each grandson a piece of white paper and they used a salad plate to trace a circle onto their paper. Then I squirted some yellow and red paint on their paper and covered the entire paper with plastic wrap. The grands were able to “finger paint” their circle without getting their hands dirty. We let the paint dry for a few hours. Finally the boys could either paint the area around the sun with blue paint, or cut out their circle and glue it to blue construction paper. This art project was adapted from this website where you can find more solar system art projects:


Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart)

Circle Storytelling: I will have the grands sit in a circle and give them a story starter such as, “On the first day of our travels in our solar system we landed on…” The grands will take turns adding to the story. The signal for the storyteller to stop and allow the next grand to add onto the story will be the clapping of my hands. I’ll probably allow each grandson to add 3-5 sentences to the story before changing the storyteller. We’ll continue this until we run out of ideas or I can bring the story to a conclusion such as, “And we were all excited to return home and tell all our friends about our adventures.”

Saturn Relays: I will have the grands line up on one side of the front yard and I’ll place a hula hoop on the opposite side. The grands will take turns running to the hula hoop, swirling it around their waist while they spell S-A-T-U-R-N (because Saturn has rings), race back to the line where their brothers are waiting, and tag the next boy in line to run to the hula hoop. I will time them to see how long it took for all the boys to have a turn. They can play the relay again to see if they can beat their first time. Another alternative is to have the grands say the planets in order as they spin the hula hoop or spell other planets. (This activity also counts as  Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence).


Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (Body Smart)

Shadow Tag:  This is a variation of tag, except instead of tagging someone’s body, the person who is “It” has to step on their shadow. Then that person becomes “It” and needs to tag someone else’s shadow.

Planets Relays: First I had the grands trace circles from the bottom of a cup onto construction paper. The three of them had to cut out eight circles altogether and label them with the names of the planets (which took some negotiation because for some reason, two of the grands argued about who was going to do Mars).  Then we took the eight circles outside to the front yard and placed them on one side of the yard and the grands waited for their turn in the relay on the other side of the yard. The object of the game was to take turns running up to pick up a circle and bring it back to where the brothers were lined up. Of course, the planets had to be collected in correct planet order. Tigger and Kona helped the youngest (Tahoe) remember the order of the planets by teaching him “My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Noodles.”  I timed them during the relay. We played the relay again to see if they could beat their first time. (This activity also counts as  Interpersonal Intelligence).

Show the Motion: I wanted the grands to understand the rotation of objects in the sky so I had them demonstrate orbits of Earth around the Sun and the moon around Earth. For example, I would have Tigger stand in the middle of the yard as the sun. Then Kona would be the Earth and orbit around the sun (Tigger). Next I would add Tahoe as the moon and he would need to rotate around the Earth (Kona). I will probably have the grands do this in slow motion so they can better visualize this concept. Also, I would do this more than once, so that each grand has a chance to be the Sun, Earth, and the moon.

 Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart)

Journal Writing: Each grand has a journal, so I will ask them to write in it during our study unit. They can write or draw about anything from the unit, but I may pose this question to them: What is your favorite planet? Explain why.

Star-gazing: On a clear night, the grands could lay down in their front yard and gaze at the moon and stars. The boys can observe the moon on different nights and note how the lunar cycle progresses. They can also look to see if there are any planets in the sky (stars twinkle, but planets don’t because they are reflecting the Sun’s light). There is also an app for cell phones called Sky View that can help us identify what they are seeing in the night sky. Here are some websites I found for more ideas to help the grands star gaze:




Independent Reading: I leave the library books in a convenient place for the grandsons so they can browse or read them on their own.


I hope you are finding these Multiple Intelligence activities useful as you plan lessons for children in your care. If you would like to see more of these unit studies as I create them, you can become a follower of this blog. If you liked this post, you may also want to check out these posts:






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Teaching Multiplication Tables with Multiple Intelligences

My three grandsons (ages 6, 8, and 10) are now in public school full time, although I still watch them before and after school several days a week. While the grands have less time with me, and have homework, I still like to have some activities planned for them after school that go along with the topics they are covering in their classrooms. (Of course, the amount of time I will spend with them on such activities will vary depending on the amount of homework they need to complete each day for their teachers.)

Tigger is in 5th grade so he is reading the book that focuses on multiplication and division (see below).

Often, part of their homework will be to “study” some topic.  Children usually don’t understand what it means to “study” and need to be taught this as a skill, either in the classroom, or by a caregiver (parent, grandparent, sitter).  Since one of the grands, Kona, is in third grade, part of his homework every night is to study his times tables. The teacher hasn’t given specific ideas on “how to study” the times tables as part of their homework, so I have created a study unit and planned activities using each of the eight Multiple Intelligences to use with the grands. I plan to have Kona do one intelligence a day, rotating among the variety of activities. Tigger, fifth grade, will be involved too because he still needs review of the times tables to help him with division. On some days I may include Tahoe, age six, so he will get exposure to the multiplication tables. (In fact, as I worked through this unit with the grands, Tahoe became very interested in multiplication and wanted to read several of the books, which are listed below, over and over again.)

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart)

Read and discuss books- Whenever I plan a study unit, I start with books from my local library. I was amazed at the number of books (and other resources) that were available. While the main point of using the books was to teach a math concept, I also was able to find a way to include a “Reading Focus” as we read and discussed the books together. (And since the grands have to spend time reading as part of their homework, these books can fulfill two subjects on their homework list.)  I have summarized and explained how I used these books below.

Multiplication: Building Blocks of Mathematics by Joseph Midthun and Samuel Hiti: This is a comic-book style nonfiction book that both Kona and Tahoe enjoyed very much, so we read it together several times. The main characters in the book are the multiplication sign and the addition sign who travel together solving problems, which makes it a good book to use to teach the basic concepts of multiplication and how it relates to repeated addition. The grands also liked using the Multiplication Fact grid chart in the back of the book as well. Reading Focus: Group Oral Reading-Since there are two main characters in the story, I had Tahoe and Kona read the story aloud, with one of them taking the character of multiplication and the other grand reading the addition part. Because this book is written in comic-book style, it was easy for Tahoe and Kona to understand which parts they were expected to read.

3 X 4: A Toon Book by Ivan Brunetti was one of six year old Tahoe’s favorites, because it focused on art and how it can be used to show a product of 12. The plot shows a teacher assigning his students homework where they have to draw 12 things, but in sets (such as 2 sets of 6 items or 3 sets of 4 items). This book is also drawn in comic-book style, with its many characters choosing different objects to draw in their sets for the homework assignment. It is a Level One reader which is good for Tahoe as a first grader.  Reading Focus: Character Analysis-I asked the grands to tell me what they could tell about each character from the objects they chose to draw for their sets.

 The Flying Birds by Eun-sun Han: This beautifully illustrated book tells a story about an old carpenter making birdhouses who uses multiplication (and repeated addition) to calculate how many birds are living in the houses. At the end of the book, the author has also included a simple game that children can use to practice their times tables. While this book may be too easy mathematically for Kona, since it focuses on the two and three times tables, it does a good job of explaining the concept of multiplication and how it relates to addition.  Additionally, it was a good book to introduce the concept of multiplication to six year old Tahoe. Reading Focus: Several different types of birds are part of the story  which introduces new vocabulary. 

Multiplication Made Fun by Holly Beaumont: Another helpful resource which introduces the concept of multiplication is this book. It has hints for parents on working with their children on their times tables, shows patterns, and includes illustrated word problems using multiplication. I used the beginning of this book with Tahoe, since it explains the difference between addition and multiplication. With Kona, I used the pages with the harder times tables that he still needs to memorize.  Reading Focus: We discussed how the word problems were written in the book and key words that helped them know these were multiplication problems.

  Multiply on the Fly by Suzanne Slade: With beautiful illustrations, this book combines information about insects, multiplication facts, and poetry. The back pages include more information on insect body parts, life cycles and specific details for familiar insects. Since my grandsons are always interested in insects, this is a great book to use with them for reading homework, science, and studying their times tables! Reading Focus: With Tahoe I discussed the rhyming words and pattern in the poems. There was a compare and contrast page in the back of the book which I used to practice with with Kona and Tigger.

The Mystery Beetle: What’s Multiplying? by John Perritano is also about insects, but is non-fiction. This book is a “Math Reader” which means it includes some math problem solving in a story context. The plot of the story includes a search in the insect room of a museum to match a particular insect the narrator has found. Throughout the story, multiplication problems and strategies are  posed or explained. I loved using this book with the grands because it could be used for math and reading homework, with a bonus of being engaging since these boys are fascinated with insects. Reading Focus: This is a nonfiction book that includes many typical text features, such as Table of Contents, captions, a glossary, and an index. I used these features to model and then quizzed the grands on the information they could find by using them. 

Ready for Multiplication by Rebecca Wingard-Nelson: Besides introducing the concept of multiplication, this book goes even further by discussing key vocabulary (factor, multiples, product), the properties of multiplication (the Zero Property, Property of One, Commutative, Associative, and Distributive), and key words in multiplication word problems. There are also sections illustrating how to multiply with two digits and rounding to estimate. Reading Focus: I love the section of the book explaining how key words are often used in multiplication problems (such as: twice, per, and rate).


 Multiplying Menace: The Revenge of Rumpelstilskin by Pam Calvert reinterprets the Rumpelstiltskin story with a vengeful Rumpelstiltskin using multiplication to cause trouble in the kingdom. This story incorporates whole number and fraction multiplication, so this book is an especially good one for fifth grader, Tigger. Reading focus: We discussed the original Rumpelstiltskin story and how it differs from this version.

The Multiplying Menace Divides by Pam Calvert is a sequel to The Revenge of Rumpelstiltskin which focuses on division. In this story there are two antagonists: Rumpelstiltskin and Matilda (who turned a prince into a frog in an earlier fairy tale). The antagonists squabble and turn creatures in the kingdom into frogs while trying to locate the Multiplier Stick (which was hidden in the previous story). Reading focus: Since Matilda came from another fairy tale, we discussed the plot of the Frog Prince and how the author used the character of Matilda to create the plot of the story.

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart)

Skip Counting: One way I help the grands practice their times tables is by having them skip count. For example, this week Kona was getting ready for his 12 times test, so I had him skip count by 12s. The goal is to have him do this as quickly as he can skip count his 5 time tables. We practiced his 12s aloud while we were in the car or taking walks, but he could also write them down too on a dry erase board. 

Repeated Addition: I can have Kona practice his multiplication tables by using repeated addition. So if Kona needs to multiply 12 x 4, he can write 12 + 12+ 12+ 12 = 48. Hopefully using this method will help him understand how multiplication and addition are related (and motivate Kona to memorize his 12 times tables since multiplication is much faster than repeated addition at this level).

Flash Card Elimination: For this activity I  used a set of flash cards (such as all the flash cards with 12 as a factor). Then I  quizzed Kona on them and separated the times tables cards that Kona didn’t know (or didn’t know quickly enough). Next I had Kona concentrate on the flash cards he didn’t know by tracing the fact in the air with his finger several times (or saying them aloud several times). The next day I  quizzed him on these cards again to eliminate the flash cards he had now mastered and kept him practicing the ones he missed.

 Musical Intelligence (Music Smart)

Multiplication Table CDs: There are many musical resources to help children learn their multiplication tables. They can be purchased or borrowed from the library (which is my preference).

Using Familiar Melodies: I also like to use tunes that the grands already know and insert the multiplication tables as the lyrics. For example, I might use the melody to “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” in this way:

7, 14, 21 (instead of Twinkle, twinkle little star)

28 and 35 (instead of How I wonder what you are)

42, then 49 (instead of Up above the world so high)

56, then 63 (instead of Like a diamond in the sky)

70 and 77 (instead of Twinkle, twinkle little star)

84, that’s 12 x 7 (instead of How I wonder what you are.)

Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart)

When the boys are in the backyard or at the park, they can be practicing their times tables too. For example, they can write their times tables with a stick in the dirt or sand.

They can set up arrays with pebbles or leaves (such as 3 rows of 6 each).

Or we use the natural things they find when they are outdoors and create times table problems such as:

  • Count the birds we see and figure out how many wings that would be altogether. 
  • Find some lizards (or ants, beetles, etc.) and figure out how many legs that must be altogether.
  • Find some clover or flower petals. If each clover has three leaves, how many leaves is that in all?

Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart)

Cruise Ship Arrays Craft project:  I had the grands make a construction paper cruise ship (since Kona is currently enthralled with ships) using arrays of circles for the windows. I saw a similar idea called “Array City” on pinterest (and on his teacher’s bulletin board where the class had put windows on construction paper buildings to show the arrays of various times tables.)

I used flat glass marbles for the arrays in this sample because the grands could reuse the marbles to make more arrays. (Ummm, the orange figure is supposed to represent a cruise ship.)

Snowflake Math Factors: I found another craft project on a wonderful educational website written by Selena Robinson that uses a snowflake pattern to have children explore the factors of a product. She gave the child a snowflake pattern with a product in the middle and some of the factors on the “arms” of the snowflake. Then the child used counters to find the missing factors. You can see more detailed instructions for this craft at this link:  https://www.lookwerelearning.com/2nd-grade-math-factors/

Number lines: This is another great tool to spatially show how multiplication works. I found some good number lines to use with the grands at this terrific website:   https://www.homeschoolmath.net/teaching/md/multiplication-number-line.php

Muffin Tin Arrays: Muffin tins are something most people have in their homes and can be used to make multiplication table arrays and practice skip counting. For example, if I have Kona working on his 6 times tables, I have him put six of “something” such as pom-poms, beads, buttons, pennies, etc. in each muffin tin. This is a great way to visually explain how multiplication tables work.

Six year old Tahoe can easily work on arrays using some craft beads and a muffin tin.

Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart)

Multiplication War: This can be played with two or more people. Either create your own cards (writing different multiplication facts with no answers on separate index cards) or purchase this game (you can find many of these games online). Shuffle the cards really well! Then deal out all the cards to the players. Players do not look at their cards, but create a stack in front of them with the blank side of the card facing up (so other players can’t anticipate which multiplication fact will be turned up until it is in played). At a given signal, all the players flip up their top card. Players have to solve each multiplication fact in their head and determine which product is the highest. The player with the highest card value wins both cards. (I give Tahoe an answer key when he plays this with his brothers since he’s only in first grade.)

Other multiplication war games can be played with regular playing cards or dice. When using regular playing cards, remove the jacks, queens, and kings (or assign those cards as 11, 12, and 13 for the older children). The “playing” of this game is similar except each player needs to turn up two cards at once to form the multiplication problem. If you want to play this game with dice, then each player needs a pair of dice and everyone rolls at the same time. 

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (Body Smart)

Skip Counting with Jump Ropes: In this physical activity, the children skip count while jumping rope. For example, if I want Tigger to practice his 8 times tables, instead of counting his jumps 1,2,3, etc. he would count his jumps as 8, 16, 24, 32, etc. This same idea can be used to count any exercise such as jumping jacks, mountain climbers, sit ups, etc.

Hopscotch: The grands can write the times tables they are practicing in the squares of a hopscotch and say the product as they land into each square.  I used sidewalk chalk to create the hopscotch and times tables for each square. If you don’t have a sidewalk or driveway that you can use to create the hopscotch, the garage floor might be a good place to draw the hopscotch. 

Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart)

Kona works on tiling task cards to study his multiplication tables.

  • My grandsons can always read any of the multiplication books (I have mentioned in Linguistic Intelligence) on their own.
  • The grandsons also have access to flash cards to use when they want to practice by themselves.
  • I have purchased some Tiling Task Card Packets (from Marcy Cook Math) that focus on multiplication and the grands can use them and check their answers on their own. (I created my own “tiles” with construction paper, but they can be purchased as well.) I started with Multi Rep Tiles with Kona because the cards have a visual representation to help him and these can be used by Tahoe too after I have modeled for him several times how to use the representations to find the answers. 
  • One of the wonderful educator blogs that I follow has created multiplication bingo games for one player. You can find her resources here: https://www.themeasuredmom.com/free-single-player-multiplication-bingo-games/

I hope you are finding these Multiple Intelligence activities useful as you plan lessons for children in your care. If you would like to see some study unit lesson plans that I have used with my grandsons, here are a few samples: 




If you would like to see more of these unit studies as I create them, you can become a follower of this blog.


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In-home Day Camp Week 4: Water, Water Everywhere

This is the last week of In-Home Day Camp that I planned for my grandsons for the end of summer 2016. I’m a little late in posting Week 4 because the grands and I had so much fun during our In-home Day Camp Weeks,  that I was too busy to finish this last post. Additionally, I decided to extend the Week 4 theme of water into the school year because there were so many fun activities I found that I wanted to do with the grands and one week was just not enough. So this post includes some of the activities we completed during the Week 4 day camp as well as some activities I still want to do with the grands at the beginning of the school year.

To recap this In-home Day Camp series, I started planning for these activities early in the summer although I wouldn’t be watching the grandsons again until their parents went back to work in August (school teachers). That meant I would have several weeks to watch the grands, Tigger (8), Kona (6), and Tahoe (4), before their school year started. I decided to plan four different weeks of day camp activities for them. I chose four different themes and planned activities for each of the eight Multiple Intelligences when designing each day camp. 

If you would like to see the other three weeks of in-home day camp and their activities, you can find them here:




With the hot days of August, the theme of “water” seemed appropriate for some “cooling” activities for the grands for Week 4 of the day camp. Besides a trip to the beach and a “water play” day at our house, I planned art projects and experiments with water to do with them.

Week Four: Water, Water, Everywhere

 The weekly schedule: Each day I will “dip into” the Read Aloud Book (see Linguistic Intelligence), and have the grands complete at least two other activities. I will choose activities so that all eight intelligences are covered by the end of this day camp unit. I will also mention any academic focus I plan on integrating into any of the activities.

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart)

Read and discuss books- It’s always nice to include books as part of the day camp experience. I usually get my books from the library. During the week these books can be used to go along with the theme:

Read Aloud: 

the_thing_in_the_sewersThe Thing in the Sewers by Roberto Pavanello tells the story of a bat, named Echo, his three human friends, and how they solve mysteries. The mystery in this story concerns a foul smelling toxic waste that suddenly fills the pond in their local park and the town’s fountain. However, the bad smell and strange color are not the only problems with the water. Echo sees a large, slimy green arm reaching for the fish that are trying to escape from the polluted pond. (Special note: Tigger loved this book so much he read the book himself and has since read another book in this series.) Academic focus: Making Predictions:  At appropriate points in the story, I will have the grands make predictions on the solution of the mystery in the story.

Nonfiction : 

Liquid Planet: Exploring Water on Earth with Science Projects by Tammy Enz, Super Simple Things to Do with Water by Kelly Doudna, Water Wow! An Infographic Exploration by Antonia Banyard and Paula Ayer, and Explore Water! by Anita Yasuda are the four books I used to select experiments to do in this day camp with the grands. The books also provide basic information on topics as they relate to water such as density, air pressure, water cycle, weather, transpiration in plants, and waste water. While I won’t read the entire books to the grands, I will use them as reference books. Before and/or after I do some activities from the book, I will read information to explain why the experiments worked the way it did. Academic focus: Following Directions-As we work on some of the experiments, I will have the grands find the directions in the book, read them aloud (Tigger), or point to the steps as we work on them (Tahoe and Kona). Vocabulary-There are so many new vocabulary words in these books, so this will definitely be another academic focus.

Non-fiction that Read like Fiction:

Pitter and PatterPitter and Patter by Maratha Sullivan and illustrated by Cathy Morrison reads like a story, but can also be considered non-fiction since its focus is about explaining the water cycle using two raindrops who fall from a gray cloud. Before the drops change into a gas and become part of the gray cloud again, Pitter and Patter travel through different types of environments and say hello to the creatures they meet along their journey. This book has gorgeous illustrations and more activities in the back of the book for further investigations. Academic  Focus: Vocabulary- This is a vocabulary-rich story which includes the names of many of the creatures that Pitter and Patter encounter, such as herons, crayfish, and minks, as well as the types of environments through which the drops travel: meadows, caves, streams, and wetlands.

Water is WaterWater is Water by Miranda Paul is a book that beautifully illustrates the different ways water can be seen (steam, fog, snow, rain, etc.) It is written in a rhyming verse which adds to its charm. Academic focus: Rhyming Words-After reading each page, I will ask the grands to tell me the rhyming words.


 Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart)

Spray bottle Exploration: I will give each grand a chance to use a spray bottle of water and send them outside by themselves to explore. Usually the grands love to water the plants, spray the block wall fence, and spray the rock garden to see how the water reacts.

Independent Reading: I leave the library books in a convenient place for the grandsons so they can browse or read them on their own.

Journal: I will give each day camper a little booklet, and have them write or draw their favorite experiences from this day camp theme.


Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart)

Drops on a Penny: I love this easy experiment on surface tension because it just requires an eyedropper (or medicine dropper), water, a penny, and a paper towel. I had the grands very slowly add drops of water onto the penny and count how many drops of water the penny would hold until the water spilled off the penny. The grands loved to do this experiment over and over.  If we do this again, I think I will have them try a nickel, a dime, and a quarter and then graph their results. We can also try adding some dishwashing detergent to the water to see if it makes a difference. You can find directions for this experiment at this website:


Stretching Water: I will have the grands explore the concept of cohesion by having them “stretch” some water. Directions: Place a few drops of water (add food color to make the water easier to see) on some waxed paper. Then with a toothpick, “stretch” the water to see how far it will move before the water separates. Measure how far you were able to stretch the water before it separated. Or create a water maze such as the one found on this website:


Who is Faster? I found this experiment in the book Explore Water! Make a hole with a pin in two paper cups. Balance each one cup in a sturdy glass that has a smaller diameter than the paper cups. Fill one paper cup with hot water and place an equal amount of ice water in the other paper cup. Time each cup to see which cup will leak out all if it’s water first. (Hint: Which molecules will move faster?)

 Musical Intelligence (Music Smart)

What would a day camp experience be without camp songs!? Instead of creating my own, I found several websites that have songs about water:

“Water Clear, Water Bright” is one song I plan to teach the grands. It can be found here: http://www.kididdles.com/lyrics/w067.html

Ocean and Beach Songs: Since I am also taking the grands to the beach, I wanted to teach them songs about the ocean: I found some here: http://www.preschooleducation.com/sbeach.shtml

Great Lakes Song: There are also songs about bodies of water, such as this one about the Great Lakes: http://www.songsforteaching.com/fosterbrown/greatlakesjack.htm

Water Cycle: I wanted to teach a song about the water cycle to the grands and found a really good one at this website which uses the tune “The Wheels on the Bus” to go along with the water cycle lyrics: http://www.naturallyeducational.com/2011/04/rain-songs-and-poems-for-children/

Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart)

As I already mentioned, part of this week’s day camp will include a day at the beach. Besides enjoying the cooler weather and water at the beach, the grands will make sand castles and collect shells (or fragments of shells.) We will collect some ocean water before we leave the beach to use later in the week in a simple experiment. 

Experiment with Ocean Water: Using the ocean water that was collected during our beach trip, the grands will pour it into a square baking pan. I will have them taste the ocean water and describe it before putting the baking pan outside in the sun. After all the water is evaporated, we will see what is left in the baking pan. (Salt crystals)

20160914_102809Hole in Bottle Experiment: To help explain to the grands that air pressure can prevent water from leaking out of a bottle with a hole in it, I did the “Bottled Up” experiment from the book Super Simple Things to Do with Water. Make sure to use a plastic bottle that is at least 1 liter. I tried a regular plastic bottle and it didn’t work as well. You can also find directions for a similar experiment at this website:   http://magic-but-real-experiments.blogspot.com/2009/06/bottle-with-hole.html

Water Refraction Experiment: I have not tried this one yet with the grands, but I plan to do so in the future. It is a very simple experiment requiring a bottle of water, paper, and markers. You can find it here:


Transpiration in Plants: I will adapt the directions for Experiment 3 in the Liquid Planet book. I will have the grands discover how much water comes from one of our outdoor plants. I will have them use a plastic storage bag with a zipper closing (can also use a tie twist on a regular plastic bag) to cover some leaves from an outdoor plant. After a few hours, we will check the experiment to see if any water from the plant has accumulated in the plastic bag. (I used to do this experiment as a classroom teacher and discovered the leaves of trees worked the best.)

 Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart)

Craft projects: The grands love to do art projects, so I always have lots of activities in this intelligence.

Paper Towels and Markers: I had the grands use markers and draw a picture on a paper towel. When the picture was done, I had them spray the pictures with water and watch what happened. We talked about water absorption and why the ink from the markers had spread out on the paper towel. (I used an empty and clean spray bottle from a “green” all purpose cleaner as our water spray bottle.) This art project was adapted from another blog that I found online: http://happyhooligans.ca/paper-towel-art/

Watercolors and Oil: I still plan to do this art activity with the grands: http://babbledabbledo.com/easy-art-projects-for-kids-watercolors-oil/

Tissue Paper and Water: The grands will create pictures with tissue paper glued on construction paper, and then spray water on the picture to create an “impressionist” design. Another method for using tissue paper and water is explained here: http://theimaginationtree.com/2012/02/tissue-paper-bleeding-art.html

Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart)

States of Matter: The grands will have to work together to demonstrate the three states of water. I will tell them that each of them represents one molecule of water. For the solid (ice), I will have them hook elbows and stand still. For liquid (water) I will have them move about freely in a small room, like the den. For the gaseous state (steam), I will allow them to run around the backyard. Afterwards we will discuss what they learned about the molecules of water in each of the three states.

Circle Storytelling: Sit in a circle and start a story. Have the day campers take turns going around the circle and contribute to the story. An example of a story starter is: “Our grandparents surprised us with a canoe so we decided to all go together for a canoe trip down the local river. At first…”

Water Play Day: Grandpa Jim and I will have the grands over to our house where they can have a “water play” party. We will set out the wading pool, water table, and super soakers for them to use together. 

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (Body Smart)

Swimming: Since the grands take swim lessons once a week, I will make sure to include a day at a local pool as part of the day camp.

Chasing the Waves: At the beach we will play a game where we run toward the waves when the tide is going in, and then run from the waves as they come towards the shore.

Water Balloon Toss: Trying to catch water balloons on a hot day is good for eye-hand coordination, but also can be very cooling!

More Water Play Ideas: I plan to use some of the ideas from this website too:  http://www.stillplayingschool.com/2015/04/outside-water-play-ideas-for-kids.html


I hope you are finding these Multiple Intelligence activities useful as you plan lessons for children in your care. If you would like to see more of these unit studies as I create them, you can become a follower of this blog.


I love to add my blog posts to link parties such as:






In-home Day Camp Week 3: We Like Bikes

I  have three active grandsons that I love to babysit several days a week, and I like to keep them busy with lots of activities that are enriching and possibly educational.  This summer I will watch the grands, Tigger (8), Kona (6), and Tahoe (4), for several weeks in August before the two older ones return to school in the fall, and I wanted to create an in-home day camp experience for them. I decided to plan a variety of day-camp-type activities by choosing a theme and planning activities for each of the eight Multiple Intelligences when designing the day camp. I also wanted some academic focus embedded in the activities I chose.

We really love our bikes in this family, and the grands are no exception. Their father, uncle, great uncle, and grandfather ride their own bikes on a regular basis, so the grandsons have great mentors. Of course, the grands all have bikes (although Tahoe still has training wheels).  Since my grandsons have lots more time to ride their bikes in the summer, I planned some fun “day camp” activities for them to enjoy their bikes and learn more about bike riding. 

I have planned four weeks of day camp activities altogether and this theme is for Week Three. If you would like to see Week One and Two’s day camp plans, you can find it here:   



Week Four: Water, Water, Everywhere (In the coming weeks I will also post my plans for Week Four.)

Week Three: We Like Bikes 

The weekly schedule: Each day I will “dip into” the Read Aloud Book (see Linguistic Intelligence), have the grands ride their bikes (see Bodily-Kinesthetic and Naturalist Intellgiences) and have them engage in at least two other activities a day (listed in the other intelligences). By the end of the week I will make sure that I have offered at least one activity from each intelligence so that all eight intelligences are covered by the end of this day camp unit. For my readers, I will also mention any academic focus I plan on integrating into any of the activities.

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart)

Read and discuss books- It’s always nice to include a few books as part of the day camp experience, so I usually start my planning by getting some books for the grands at the library. Besides the Read Aloud Book, I will probably read and discuss some of these other books sometime during the week as time allows. 


safety on your bicycleSafety on Your Bicycle by Lucia Raatma is a book I definitely want to read and discuss with my grands as part of the day camp experience. It has great pictures and easy instructions for safety rules including the proper way to wear a bicycle helmet, how to check your bicycle for safety before you ride it, dangers on the road, intersections, and traffic rules. Academic focus: Vocabulary-This book has several important vocabulary words that the grands need to learn including chinstrap, reflector, and signal. Text features-I can also use this book to talk about text features such as Table of Contents and Index.

Pedal ItPedal It! How Bicycles Are Changing the World by Michelle Mulder has tons of information on bicycles: their history, their development, how people use bicycles in their places of work, and how bicycles are making positive changes in the quality of life for people throughout the world. This book includes many photographs and factoids that will catch the eye of many bike enthusiasts (Grandpa Jim was shown this book and couldn’t put it down.). It is written for grades 3-7, and is so full of information, I will read it to my grandsons in small sections. Academic Focus: “Book Walk”-Since this book may be too overwhelming to read in its entirety, I will show the grands how to do a “Book Walk” with it. That means we will look through the whole book first before reading it by checking out: the front and back cover, table of contents, chapter titles, and illustrations. Then I will have the grands choose a section or page of the book which interests them the most and read those pages to them.


The Best Bike Ride EverThe Best Bike Ride Ever by James Proimos and Johanna Wright tells the story of  Bonnie and her enthusiasm for her new bike. Bonnie loves her new bike so much that she immediately begins riding it over imagined bridges, mountains, canyons, and elephants. Unfortunately,  Bonnie hasn’t learned yet how to stop on her bike. This is an adorable story that makes the point that learning safety rules before riding a new bike can be a very good thing to do.  Academic Focus: Predictions-As Bonnie takes off on her new bike, I will ask the grands what they think will happen to Bonnie as she continues to ride her bike. How do they think the story will end? 


BenRidesOn-JacketBen Rides On by Matt Davies is a cute book about a third grader, named Ben, who loves to ride his bike to school. But once he arrives at school, another much bigger third grader, Adrian, decides he would like to ride Ben’s bike too. As Ben tries to retrieve his bicycle, he has to encounter some hard decisions to help Adrian who gets into a scary predicament.  Academic focus: Character traits– I will discuss how the reader learns about the characters in a story by finding the following clueswhat the characters say, what they do, and what others say about them. I will guide the grands to discuss the characters of Ben and Adrian using those three types of clues.

Read Aloud: 

the case of the bicycle banditThe Case of the Bicycle Bandit: A Jigsaw Jones Mystery by James Preller is book #14 in this series of mystery stories. In this chapter book, which is good for grades 1-3,  Jigsaw and Mila investigate the disappearance of Ralphie Jordan’s rusty, broken down, old bicycle that was chained to a bike rack at the library. The story is told with humor and lots of suspicious characters.  Academic focus: Details-I will discuss which details in the story helped Jigsaw and Mila to solve the mystery. Independent Reading-I also hope that Tigger will want to read this book on his own afterwards since it is written at his current reading level.

Storytelling or Writing Prompts: I will give my grandsons at least one of these prompts and have them tell me a story (or write it down depending on their interest or age level). Academic focus: Main Characters and Plot (Complete sentences if used as a written activity.)

  • On my last bike ride with my family, we …..
  • If you could design a vacation for your bicycle, where would it go?

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart)

These are some ways the grands can use their mathematical intelligence to understand their bicycles:

Measurement: Using a tape measure, I will have the grands measure the length and height of their bicycles and the different parts.

Graphing: I may have the grands compare the height and length of their bicycles by making bar graphs after they finish the measuring activity.

Radius and Diameter: I can introduce the concept of radius and diameter by having the grands measure them on the wheels of their bikes. I may even introduce the formula for finding the diameter of a circle using the radius by helping the grands analyze the measurements they took for their wheels.

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (Body Smart)

I want my grandsons not only to enjoy playing on their bikes, but hopefully develop some physical skills as well. Here are some ideas:

How Slow Can You Go? http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/16780/outdoor-fun-bicycle-games

Driveway Games: http://www.bicycling.com/training/kids-cycling/kids-bike-skills

Leap Frog: https://www.trails.com/list_32894_bike-games-kids.html

Bike Rodeo: http://bicycling.about.com/od/organizedbikeevents/a/bikerodeo_event.htm

Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart)

The grands always love arts and crafts so I looked up some ideas online that I could try with the boys:


Making a Bicycle with Pipe Cleaners: http://mykidcraft.com/pipe-cleaner-bicycle/20160926_104815

Bike Streamers and Plates: http://www.crayola.com/crafts/bike-streamers–plates-craft/

Drawing a Bicycle: Tahoe used this website to draw a bicycle and make a really nice art project:



Musical Intelligence (Music Smart)

Songs about Bicycle Safety: I wrote some lyrics for the tune “The Farmer in the Dell” to teach the grands some safety rules I want them to remember:

We want to ride our bikes, We want to ride our bikes,

Helmets on, C’mon let’s go, We want to ride our bikes.

At corners we look right, At corners we look left,

Helmets on, C’mon let’s go, We’ll look both right and left.

Obey all traffic signs, Obey all traffic signs,

Helmets on, C’mon let’s go, Obey all traffic signs.

I found some other bicycle safety songs online that are really good and I might use with my grands:


Other Songs About Bicycles: Here are some other songs. Some of them can be found as videos online:

  • “Bike Safety Boogie” by Will Stroet, from his album “My Backyard.”
  • “On A Bicycle Built for Two” sung by Nat King Cole

Classical Music: Several music composers have been so inspired by their bicycles that they wrote music either about their bicycle experiences or using bicycles as musical instruments. They can be found at this link:


Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart)

Playing with their bikes outdoors; what could be more natural? The grands will need to learn how to adapt their bicycle riding skills to different outdoor environments, so during the day camp week, Grandpa Jim and I will try to take them to a different outdoor area each day to ride their bikes. Here are some examples:

bicycle trail in Rancho CucamongaParks: There are many different playground/park areas in our vicinity, so we have lots of choices for their bicycle riding. Some of these parks are nearby and the boys can ride their bikes to them, under the watchful eye of an adult, of course. Other times, we’ll put their bikes in our car and drive them to one of the larger parks in our area that has a bike path next to a stream.

Bike Trails: I also found some local bike trails on the internet that we might try.

Cul De Sacs: There is a cul de sac near us where the grands can ride their bikes.

Empty parking lots: Some of the schools and churches in our area have empty parking lots in the early evening hours. They are often good places to allow the grands to ride without the worry of traffic.


Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart)

Bicycle Maintenance: I want the grands to learn how to work together to take care of their bicycles, so I will have Grandpa Jim show them how to clean their bikes, pump up tires, and “lube” the bicycle chains. Our focus will be to get the grands to work together on these chores, helping each other. (And pumping up tires includes some Logical/Mathematical activities too as the grands will need to look for the maximum air pressure which is printed on the side of the tire.)


 Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart)

Some activities should be planned for the grands that can be done by themselves such as:

  • Riding their bikes in our backyard.
  • Reading books about bicycles: I will have the books I used during the week available for the grands to use and look at throughout the week.
  • Journal Writing: I want to give each grand a chance to reflect on their day camp week by writing, drawing, or telling me what they enjoyed most about their bicycles this week. (This is an activity that is best done at the end of the day camp experience.) 


I hope you are finding these Multiple Intelligence activities useful as you plan day camps or lessons for children in your care. If you would like to see more of these unit studies as I create them, you can become a follower of this blog.


I love to add my blog posts to link parties such as:






In-home Day Camp Week 2: The Game Plan

When I was a child, our entire neighborhood was filled with children around the same ages as my siblings and me. We loved to spend our summer days and evenings playing games: board games, kickball in the street, hide and go seek in the neighborhood, Red Light-Green Light, Red Rover, ping pong, etc. I want my grands to know and play lots of games too, so I planned an In-Home Day Camp experience for them that focuses on sports and games. Since this is also a Summer Olympic year, I decided to incorporate the Olympics into this day camp as well.

As I planned this day camp theme for the grands, Tigger (8), Kona (6), and Tahoe (4), I designed activities for each of the eight Multiple Intelligences.  I also incorporated some academic focus in the activities I chose.

I have planned four weeks of day camp activities altogether and this theme is for Week Two. If you would like to see Week One’s day camp plans, you can find it here:


 In the coming weeks I will also post my plans for Week Three and Week Four:

Week Three Theme: We Like Bikes 

Week Four: Water, Water, Everywhere

 Week Two: The Game Plan

The weekly schedule: Each day I will “dip into” the Read Aloud Book (see Linguistic Intelligence) and have the grands (or day campers) play at least two different games (found in several places in this post). By the end of the week I will make sure that I have offered at least one activity from each intelligence so that all eight intelligences are covered by the end of this day camp unit. I will also mention any academic focus I plan on integrating into any of the activities.

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart)

Read and discuss books- It’s always nice to include books as part of the day camp experience. I usually get my books from the library. During the week these books may be used to go along with the theme:


Play With Us bookPlay With Us: 100 Games from Around the World by Oriol Ripoll is a great resource explaining both indoor and outdoor games from many countries. There are a variety of types of games too such as hopscotch, marble games, hide and seek, and tag. Academic Focus: Following written directions-First, I’ll point out that directions for games usually include the number of players, materials needed, and steps in the game. I’ll have the grands choose a few games from this book and follow the directions to play them. (The oldest grandson can read it to the other two grands.) 

The Fastest Game on Two FeetThe Fastest Game on Two Feet and other Poems about How Sports Began by Alice Low uses poetry to explain the origins of some sports and games that require legwork. (Many of these sports are also played during the Olympics). Some of the sports included are running, gymnastics, bowling, figure skating, and rugby. This book is written at a higher level, but I think my oldest grandson will enjoy it. Academic focus: Rhyming words: Many of the poems in this book are rhymes, so identifying rhyming words is definitely a literacy skill to practice when reading this book.


  • Let's Play bookLet’s Play: Poems about Sports and Games from Around the World edited by Debjaniu Chatterjee and Brian D’Arcy contains over thirty poems about a variety of sports, mostly from English speaking countries such as USA, UK, and India. Some of the poems were familiar to me: “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and “The Swing.” Most of the poems are new to me including: “The Skater Boys” and “Right Royal.” Sports and games that have inspired these poems include ping pong, judo, boxing, diving, cycling, American football, and cricket. Academic Focus: Context clues–Are there unfamiliar words in the poems, especially those written in other countries? What clues can we find in the prose to help us uncover the meaning of these unfamiliar words? 

The Mud Flats OlympicsThe Mud Flat Olympics by James Stevenson is an easy and adorable chapter book about some animals that are holding an Olympics. The events are varied including Digging the Deepest Hole (which featured the moles) and the All-Snail High Hurdles. Academic focus: Inferences–The animals don’t always win the races in the conventional way, so the grands will have to employ some inference skills to understand who (or how) the winners were determined.


Hit the Ball DuckHit the Ball Duck by Jez Alborough is an adorable rhyming picture book about a group of friends who want to play baseball. However, with duck’s first hit, the baseball gets stuck high in a tree, so the friends try different methods to get it down. Academic focus: Problem and Solution-This is a great book to discuss the main problem in the story and how it is finally solved. Rhyming-Since this book is written in rhymes, I will have the grandsons identify the rhyming words. Sight words–This will be a great book for Kona to identify his sight words.

Read Aloud: 

Going for Gold!Going for Gold! by Andrew Donkin tells the story of six Olympians: Jesse Owens, Shelley Mann, Mamo Wolde, Daley Thompson, Jennifer Capriati, and Kerri Strug. The book includes photographs and interesting sidebars giving facts about the Olympic Games. In addition, Going for Gold! includes information about the sport of each of these athletes. Academic focus: Main Character–Discuss each Olympians’ motivation and/or obstacles in achieving their gold medal.

Poetry Recitation: The grands are really into memorizing short poems at the moment (encouraged by their parents) so I’d like to have each of them choose one of the poems in Let’s Play: Poems about Sports and Games from Around the World or The Fastest Game on Two Feet and other Poems about How Sports Began and memorize it.

Storytelling or Writing Prompts: I will give my grandsons at least one of these prompts and have them tell me a story (or write it down depending on their interest or age level.) Academic focus: Main Characters and Plot (Complete sentences if used as a written activity.)

  • I wanted to be the best _______ player in town, so I made a plan.
  • Mom and Dad surprised us one morning by saying they had some tickets for the Summer Olympics.
  • I decided to create my own game. I called it ________ and these are the rules for the game:

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart)

Most games use some type of math anyway, but here are some games I plan to use to engage the grands’ logical/mathematical intelligence:

Basketball Shots: One of the games I will play with the grands is shooting baskets. I will have the older grands, Kona and Tigger, practice counting by 2s amd 5s by making their baskets either worth 2 points each or 5 points each.

Dominoes: A set of dominoes has many options for using math skills.  First I will work with the basic rule in which the grands will have to match the number of dots on the end tiles to place a new domino. For the older grands, I will move onto the rule of 3s and 5s. For more information on this game and other ideas for using dominoes I will use this resource:


There are more ideas for game related math at this website:


 Musical Intelligence (Music Smart)

Music has been written about games and is additionally an integral part of some games.

Songs about Games: Some samples of songs about games (baseball and Olympic in particular), that I will play for the grands are these:

  • “Centerfield” by John Fogerty 
  • “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” by Jack Norworth, and 
  • “Olympic Fanfare and Theme” by John Williams.

Singing Games: There are so many traditional games that involve singing such as “The Farmer in the Dell,” “London Bridges,” and “Skip to My Lou.” I found other sources of singing games to try at these links:



Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart)

So many games can be played outdoors, and I want my grands to learn a variety of them. I also want to show them that they can use natural materials as part of their play.

Shadow Tag: To play this game, find a large sunny area. Since the game requires players to step on other players’ shadows, it is probably best done in the late afternoon. This game can be done by only two  participants, but it is more fun with at least three players. Shadow tag is similar to other types of “tag” games except the only way that the child who is “it” can tag another player is to step on their shadow. Then that child becomes “it” and has to try and step on someone else’s shadow. There are lots of other variations of the “tag” game. I found a great resource here:


Other Classic Outdoor Games: I also want to teach my grandsons some outdoor games that I loved as a child such as Kick the Can, Red Rover, and Red Light, Green Light. I found this resource which has the rules for these games as well as several others that I might try: http://www.wired.com/2013/03/30-classic-games-for-simple-outdoor-play/

Tic-Tac-Toe: I want the grands to understand that natural materials can be used in place of paper and pencil to play some familiar games. For example, I’ll have the grands collect long sticks to make the grid for tic-tac-toe. Then the grands can gather natural items for the “X” and “O” pieces by collecting items such as rocks, bark, or pinecones.

Other games using natural materials can be found at this website: http://artfulparent.com/2014/05/10-diy-outdoor-games-to-make-rocks.html

Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart)

One of my favorite childhood games uses the Spatial Intelligence as part of its playing area. 

Hopscotch: Information on the more traditional hopscotch games can be found at this hopscotchwebsite: http://www.parents.com/fun/activities/hopscotch/

I also found a different type of hopscotch using the book, Play With Us (see Linguistic Intelligence),  where the player kicks a stone instead of hopping from each numbered space. The game is called “Kicking the Pebbles” and uses a different type of hopscotch formation: a large square playing area that has been divided into 8 different five sided or four sided spaces with some chalk. The player throws a “pebble” into space #1 and then tries to kick the stone from space to space in number order until the player gets to the end. If the player is successful to getting to the end without kicking the stone out of a space, then they get a second round by throwing the “pebble” into space #2 and repeating the pattern of kicking the stone from space to space in number order. 

Treasure Hunt: My grandson, Kona, just loves to follow maps so I will include at least one treasure hunt during this day camp week. The first time we play the game, I will hide one of their toys as the “treasure” and draw a map for the boys to follow to find the toy. In subsequent games, I will have the grandsons take turns hiding the “treasure” and creating a map. (I’ll have someone help Tahoe when it is his turn.)

Olympic Ring Craft: I discovered an idea for a craft from another blogger. This idea uses bottle caps to create the Olympic rings. It can be found at this link: http://www.icanteachmychild.com/olympic-rings-cap-sorting/

Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart)

checkers playingMany of the games listed in other places in this post would also fit under the Interpersonal Intelligence because you need more that one person to play these games. Besides those activities, other examples of interpersonal games that I plan to include in my day camp week would be Hide and Seek, Mother May I, board games (like Checkers), and card games like “Go Fish.”


Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (Body Smart)

I want my grandsons not only to enjoy playing these games, but hopefully develop some physical skills as well. That is why I will include “lead up games” in my day camp for the grands.

Red Light, Green Light Dribble: This basketball lead up game will allow the grands to practice dribbling a basketball. To play the game, each player needs a basketball. Then the grands will line up on one side of the basketball playing area and the “Leader” will be on the other side. When the “Leader” calls “Green Light” the day campers move forward while dribbling the basketball. The players must stop when the “Leader” calls “Red Light.” If a player doesn’t stop at “Red Light,” they are sent back to the beginning. The first player to catch up to the “Leader” is the winner. (I may have the youngest grandson start the game closer to the “Leader” since this skill will be more difficult for him.) I found other basketball lead up games that I might use with my grandsons at this website: http://www.csosports.org/4-fun-basketball-dribbling-games-for-young-players

Water Balloon Toss: Besides being a very cooling game for a hot summer day, this game teaches skills such as catching with two water balloonshands and throwing with accuracy. You will need even numbers of players for this game. Day campers play with a partner and stand about three feet away from each other. Each partnership has one water balloon. At a signal, the player with the water balloon tosses it to their partner. If the partner is successful in catching the water balloon, they take a small step back and then throw the water balloon back. Play continues like this until the water balloon breaks. I plan to have lots of water balloons ready for this game so the grands get plenty of practice in throwing and catching.

Soccer Pirate Attack: This lead up game will help my day campers to practice their soccer dribbling skills. To play this game, you will need several hula hoops and several soccer balls. Using a large flat playing area, place the hula hoops (Safe Islands) about the field. All players start the game at the edge of the playing area. The child who is the “Pirate” has to turn around and count to ten before “attacking” the other players. Meanwhile the other players are allowed to roam and/or dribble the soccer ball around the field. Players are not allowed to touch the soccer balls with their hands. When the “Pirate” finishes counting to ten, the “Pirate” calls out “Attack” and runs to tag the players with the soccer balls. To be safe, the players with soccer balls must be inside a Safe Island with their soccer ball. Anyone who is tagged by the “Pirate” before reaching the safety of the Safe Islands (or who doesn’t have a soccer ball) becomes the new “Pirate” and the game starts over again.

 Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart)

While most of the games that are in this post require other people as part of the activity, there are some games and projects for this day camp experience that are Intrapersonal:

  • Some games can be played with one person such as shooting baskets, single jump roping, playing with a hula hoop, hopscotch, and hitting a ball against a wall.
  • Reading books about games: I will have the books I used during the week available for the grands to use and look at throughout the week.
  • Journal Writing: I want to give each grand a chance to reflect on their day camp week by writing, drawing, or telling me what they enjoyed most about the games this week. (This is an activity that is best done at the end of the day camp experience.) 


I hope you are finding these Multiple Intelligence activities useful as you plan day camps or lessons for children in your care. If you would like to see more of these unit studies as I create them, you can become a follower of this blog.


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In-home Day Camp Week 1: Ice Cream Dreams

I  have three active grandsons that I love to babysit several days a week, and I like to keep them busy with lots of activities that are enriching and possibly educational.  This summer I will watch the grands, Tigger (8), Kona (6), and Tahoe (4), for several weeks before the two older ones return to school in the fall and I wanted to create an in-home day camp experience for them. I decided to plan a variety of day-camp-type activities by choosing a theme and planning activities for each of the eight Multiple Intelligences when designing the day camp. I also wanted some academic focus embedded in the activities I chose. (Update: This is a great day camp unit to repeat. In 2019, I decided to use this unit again and added some new books to the program. The grandsons are now ages 11, 9, and 7 and enjoy making ice cream even more than they did in 2016.)

I have planned four weeks of day camp activities and will make each week a separate post. Here are the four themes that I will offer in this series:

Week One Theme:  Ice Cream Dreams

Week Two Theme: The Game Plan

Week Three Theme: We Like Bikes 

Week Four: Water, Water, Everywhere


Week One: Ice Cream Dreams


The weekly schedule: Each day I will “dip into” the Read Aloud Book (see Linguistic Intelligence), have the grands (or day campers) make ice cream using a different recipe or method (see Mathematics Intelligence), and offer a craft project (see Spatial Intelligence). I will prepare at least one activity from the other intelligences sometime during the week, so that all eight intelligences are covered by the end of this day camp unit. I will also mention any academic focus I plan on integrating into any of the activities. For a sample schedule for the week at the end of this post.

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart)

Read and discuss books- It’s always nice to include books as part of the day camp experience. I usually get my books from the library. During the week these books can be used to go along with the theme:

How to Make Ice CreamNonfiction:

How to Make Ice Cream by Tom Greve is a book that gives directions for making ice cream using  zipper type plastic bags. There is also some information on the science used in making ice cream. It is especially good for grades 1-3. Academic focus: Following Directions or Sequencing-If I use the method for making ice cream described in the book, then the academic focus will be on following written directions. Otherwise, I will use this book as a sequencing activity. Since there is also a table of contents and picture glossary in this book, I will make sure to point those features out to my grands as well.


From Milk to Ice Cream (Who Made by Lunch? series) by Bridget Heos explains how the ingredients for ice cream are made (specifically milk and sugar).  Additionally, the book discusses how the milk and sugar contribute to making the ice cream at the factory, before eventually reaching the grocery store. The grands enjoyed the beautiful illustrations.  I found that this book went well with the activity I had planned in the Naturalist Intelligence section.  Academic focus: Text Features: Map and Glossary- At the back of the book there is a simple world map showing where dairy cows are raised and where sugarcane is grown. I will use this with the grands to practice reading map keys and identifying the continents where each of these foods are raised. There is also a glossary with words such as homogenizer and pasteurize, so I’ll have the grands use this text feature to make sure they understand those words.

Ben and Jerry: Ice Cream Manufacturers by Joanne Mattern is mostly about how these two entrepreneurs started their successful business. I chose to add this in 2019 to this day camp, because I wanted to show the grands how people can develop their interests into a lifetime job. The book also shows the charitable side of the Ben and Jerry’s business which I think is an important lesson for the grands. Academic focus: Vocabulary- This book has a glossary with words such as franchise, mission statement, and stockbroker which are words my grandsons don’t encounter in their usual reading, so I thought it was important I focus on helping them understand those words and how they are used in the context of this book.



Ice Cream Summer by Peter Sis: This is such a cute story of a little boy who writes a letter to his grandfather about all his adventures during the summer. Interestingly, all of his summer activities seem to involve ice cream in some way. He practices his math, spelling, reading, and even learns about other countries and some history…all in the pursuit of his favorite pursuit: ice cream. The pictures are adorable because they use the ice cream cone motif in the illustrations of  sand castles, airplanes, and even maps. Academic Focus: Details-I’ll have the grands give me a few details from the story.


Ice Cream Soup by Ann Ingalls is a cute rhyming book about a boy making an ice cream cake that eventually becomes a yummy ice cream soup. I chose this book in 2019 to add to this day camp unit because I wanted a book that my youngest grandson,Tahoe, could read on his own. This book is a Level 1 Penguin Young Readers book, so it was just right for Tahoe’s independent reading level. Academic Focus: Rhyming- The story is told in rhymes, so after reading the book, I had the grands review the rhyming words and had them create their own “additions” to the story using rhymes.


Boxcar Children Choc. Sundae MysteryRead Aloud: The Boxcar Children-The Chocolate Sundae Mystery  by Gertrude Chandler Warner explains the story of four siblings (Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny) who help out at a local ice cream shoppe during the summer and solve several mysteries regarding missing parfait glasses, chocolate syrup, broken windows, and spoiled whipped cream. My grandsons love this series already, but this story is certainly a favorite since it deals with ice cream. I love how the Alden children enjoy helping others and the thought processes they use to solve the mystery. This is a great read aloud book, and is also available as an audible book (which is great to use when traveling in the car with children). Academic focus: Making Predictions:  At appropriate points in the story, I will have the grands make predictions on the solution of the mystery in the story.

Storytelling or Writing Prompts: I will give my grandsons at least one of these prompts and have them tell me a story (or write it down depending on their interest or age level.) Academic focus: Main Characters and Plot (Complete sentences if used as a written activity.)

  • The Ice Cream Shoppe down the street was having a contest to see who could make the yummiest new kind of ice cream. The winner got free ice cream sundaes for the whole family. I decided to enter the contest and went right to work… 
  • Yesterday afternoon, I accidentally left a carton of ice cream on the kitchen table and went out to play. When I returned two hours later, I couldn’t believe what I saw in the kitchen…
  • The ice cream truck was parked next to the playground so I asked my dad for some money to buy an ice cream. But when I walked up to the ice cream truck, there was no one inside…

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart)

Make Ice Cream: There are many ways to make ice cream, even if you do not own an ice cream maker. Even if you have an ice cream maker, I think it is fun to have the children learn different ways of making this cold and yummy treat. Why not make a different recipe or method each day? Academic Focus: As part of making ice cream, day campers have to use measuring spoons, measuring cups, etc. so they are using math as part of the process.  

Here are some different recipes and methods for making ice cream:

Using coffee cans: http://www.food.com/recipe/homemade-ice-cream-in-a-coffee-can-244054

Using Zipper type baggies: http://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/edible-innovations/ice-cream3.htm

Using a blender: http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-blender-ice-cream-recipes/coconut-bliss

Using an ice cream maker: There are plenty of recipes on the internet for making ice cream with an ice cream maker. Some require cooking first, but I like to use recipes with my grandsons that are easier than that. Here is one of my grandsons favorite ice cream recipes: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/140877/easy-eggless-strawberry-ice-cream/

Tigger needs to have a dairy free option so we have been using this recipe (with or without the cocoa powder) in the ice cream maker and using the ziplock bag method. In both cases, we had to place the ice cream in the freezer to finish the process. https://detoxinista.com/chocolate-coconut-milk-ice-cream/

 Musical Intelligence (Music Smart)

ice-cream-cone-1What would a day camp experience be without camp songs!? Instead of creating my own, I found several websites that have songs about ice cream that I can teach my grands (or day campers):




Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart)

Where do the ingredients for an ice cream sundae come from? This is a great discussion or research topic for the grands (day campers). I’ll have the grands list the ingredients for ice cream and some of the other foods that might be used to make an ice cream sundae and then either tell them or have the oldest grandson look this information up on his computer. Academic focus: Use a map or atlas to identify the origins of some of these foods used to make ice cream.

Here are some ingredients we might discuss:

Cream: Cream can be produced by cattle or goats. Cattle that grazes on natural pasture usually gives cream with a slight yellow tone. Indoor fed cattle or goats produce cream that is more white. 

Vanilla: This delicious spice comes from the vanilla orchid, a vine that grows up in trees. It originally grew in Mexico and Central America, but now is grown around the world.

Sugar: Most sugar in the United States comes from sugar beets. Modern sugar beets were first cultivated in Prussia. The sugar is made in the leaves of the sugar beet plant during the photosynthesis process and then stored in the taproot of the sugar beet plant. Another popular source of sugar is from sugar cane which is a tall grass native to tropical and subtropical areas of South Asia.

Chocolate: This comes from the seed pods of a small tropical tree, the Theobroma cacao, which is native to Central and South America. It is grown in many places in the world now, with about 70% of the world’s chocolate being grown in Africa. 

Strawberry: The garden strawberry can be grown in many places in the world, but was first cultivated from wild strawberry plants in France. This compact plant can grow in small areas that get at least eight hours of full sun. (Another project could be to plant some strawberry plants in the backyard to grow strawberries to use in recipes or to top ice cream sundaes.)

Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart)

Craft projects: The grands love to do art projects, so I always have lots of activities in this intelligence. Lot of materials that you already have around the house can be used to make the crafts including egg cartons, cotton balls, paper plates, and playdough.


Here are links to some crafts that I will use for the day camp:




I will be using a few more craft ideas from these links:




Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart)

Circle Storytelling: Sit in a circle and start a story. Have the day campers take turns going around the circle and contribute to the story. An example of a story starter is: The ice cream store down the street has so many new flavors. Each day last week I went to the ice cream store and tried a different flavor. On Monday I ordered……

Dramatic play: Running an Ice Cream Parlor-I will have the grands pretend that they own an ice cream shop. Besides using household objects to create their ice cream parlor, I will have my three grandsons design a menu of ice cream cones and sundaes for this shop. Besides having them plan their own special items for the menu, I will encourage them to name each of the items using the names of book titles or storybook characters, such as “Pete the Cat’s Too Cool Banana Blast.” Then the grands can work together to make a poster of the featured items at their ice cream shop.

Ice Cream Social: Plan a party for friends, family, or neighbors using ice cream that the day campers make themselves. Have them make invitations and menus for the party (which is also a Spatial Intelligence activity).

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (Body Smart)


Racing for Toppings: In this physical activity, the grands (day campers) will have to run back and forth a few times to pick out the toppings they want on an ice cream sundae. The winner, of course, gets their ice cream sundae made first. To prepare for the race: Find a place to hold the race, whether it is in your backyard, playground, or playroom. Make pictures of the different toppings and/or ice cream flavors from which the day campers can choose such as  chopped walnuts, chocolate syrup, strawberries, cherries, whipped cream, etc. (The day campers can make the pictures or you can find pictures on the internet and paste them onto paper. I will make multiple pictures of each item so more than one grand can choose the same topping during the race.) Spread the pictures out at one end of the racing lanes. Then decide how many toppings you want the day campers to have on their sundaes. The object of the race is to run and pick up one topping each time the day camper runs to the end of the lane. So if you have allowed each child to have three toppings on their sundaes, they will have to run back and forth three times.

Ice Cream Exercises: To prepare ahead of time: Cut out eight paper circles (to represent scoops of ice cream). On one side of the circles, write a letter from the word ice cream. On the back of each circle, list an exercise. Put these circles in a container such as a bag or basket. To play: I will have the grands take turns picking a circle out of the container. They will read the letter on one side and then read the exercise on the other side.  Then all the grands will do the exercise before the next child gets to pick out another circle. Here are suggestions of exercises I will use for my grands (day campers):

  • Ten jumping jacks0523160737a-1
  • Two forward somersaults
  • Run in place for 20 seconds
  • Hop on one foot ten times
  • Ten mountain climbers
  • Hold plank position for ten seconds
  • Hold downward facing dog position for ten seconds
  • Do a crab walk for ten feet


Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart)


  • Discuss individually with each grand: What is your favorite ice cream? Why?
  • I leave the library books in a convenient place for the grandsons so they can browse or read them on their own.
  • Journal: I will give each day camper a little booklet, and have them write or draw their favorite experiences from this day camp theme.







For more activities and books based on an ice cream theme, look at these links from educators:




Sample Daily Schedule for Day Camp


Musical Intelligence (Music Smart): Sing “Take Me Out For Some Ice Cream.http://www.preschooleducation.com/sicecream.shtml

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart): Read How to Make Ice Cream by Tom Greve and Ice Cream Soup by Ann Ingalls.

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart): Make vanilla ice cream in zip-lock baggie (and offer sliced strawberries or blueberries for topping). http://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/edible-innovations/ice-cream3.htm

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart): Read several chapters from read aloud book while grands are eating the ice cream they made: The Boxcar Children-The Chocolate Sundae Mystery

Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart): Start making list together of ingredients that are in ice cream. (Save and add onto this list in the next few days.)

Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart): Make ice cream cone art from construction paper. http://artasticartists.blogspot.com/2012/03/we-scream-for-ice-cream-and-cupcakes.html

Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart): Write (or draw) in journal about their favorite part of the day camp today.


Musical Intelligence (Music Smart): Sing “On Top of My Sundae.”  http://www.preschooleducation.com/sicecream.shtml

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart): Read From Milk to Ice Cream by Bridget Heos. Begin Ben and Jerry: Ice Cream Manufacturers by Joanne Mattern.

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart): Make vanilla ice cream using coffee can (may offer chocolate syrup for a topping) http://www.food.com/recipe/homemade-ice-cream-in-a-coffee-can-244054

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart): Read several chapters from read aloud book while grands are eating the ice cream they made: The Boxcar Children-The Chocolate Sundae Mystery

Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart): Add to the ingredient list started on Monday. Discuss the origin of some of the ingredients (as mentioned in the Naturalist section) or have each grand do some research on one of the ingredients and report back.

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (Body Smart): Ice Cream Exercises activity.

Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart): Make ice cream cone craft using egg cartons and cotton balls. http://intheplayroom.co.uk/2015/04/18/egg-carton-ice-cream-cones/

Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart): Journal writing or individual discussion: Describe the taste of ice cream using as many descriptive words as you can. The grands are free to read the books from this unit independently whenever they have a break.


Musical Intelligence (Music Smart): Sing “Hot Fudge, Cherries, Toffee Crunch.”  http://www.preschooleducation.com/sicecream.shtml

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart): Read Ice Cream Summer by Peter Sis. Continue reading Ben and Jerry: Ice Cream Manufacturers.

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart): Make peach ice cream using blender (and offer sliced fruit as a topping). http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-blender-ice-cream-recipes/coconut-bliss

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart): Read several chapters from read aloud book while grands are eating the ice cream they made: The Boxcar Children-The Chocolate Sundae Mystery

Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart): Dramatic Play – Owning an ice cream shoppe.

Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart): Make a poster advertising the ice cream shoppe they created in dramatic play.

Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart): Journal writing, independent reading, or individual discussion: What is your favorite ice cream. Why?



Musical Intelligence (Music Smart): Sing “Here’s the Scoop.”  http://www.prekfun.com/themes/prekthemes/g-m/IceCream/IceCream__Songs.htm

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart): Finish reading Ben and Jerry: Ice Cream Manufacturers.

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart): Make strawberry ice cream using ice cream maker (and offer chocolate chips for a topping)  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/140877/easy-eggless-strawberry-ice-cream/

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (Body Smart): Ice Cream Exercises activity while waiting for the ice cream maker to finish making the day’s ice cream.

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart): Read several chapters from read aloud book while grands are eating the ice cream the ice cream maker made: The Boxcar Children-The Chocolate Sundae Mystery

Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart): Use an atlas or map and find the locations where the ingredients from ice cream originate. The grands can use the ingredients list and research they have done during the week.

Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart): Plan an ice cream social for Friday. Choose who to invite and which ice creams and toppings to offer.  Remind them that there were four methods they learned and try to make an ice cream with each method. (Make a grocery list too which is a Logical/Mathematical activity.)

Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart): Make invitations and menus for ice cream social.


Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (Body Smart): Racing for Toppings-Have grands do this activity to choose the toppings they will use on their own sundae at the ice cream social.

Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart): Circle Storytelling

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart): Make the ice cream recipes that were planned on Thursday.

Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart): Prepare for the ice cream social by setting up the ice creams, toppings, bowls, and utensils. Hold the ice cream social with the ice cream the grands just made.

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart): Read (and hopefully finish)  The Boxcar Children-The Chocolate Sundae Mystery.

Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart): Paper plate ice cream craft. http://www.hellowonderful.co/post/12-OF-THE-SWEETEST-ICE-CREAM-CRAFTS-EVER

Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart): Journal writing, independent reading, or individual discussion: What was your favorite part of this day camp?


I hope you are finding these Multiple Intelligence activities useful as you plan lessons for children in your care. If you would like to see more of these unit studies as I create them, you can become a follower of this blog.


I love to add my blog posts to link parties such as:





Creating A Multiple Intelligences Lesson Plan

With the start of the new year, I know many of you are going back to planning lessons for the children in your care. Whether you’re a classroom teacher, a homeschooler, a Sunday School teacher, a caregiver, or an afterschooler, I’m sure you always try to plan lessons that will create lifelong learners among the beautiful minds that you teach.

And since I am a big advocate of Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, I highly encourage anyone who writes such lesson plans to include multiple intelligence strategies to ensure that every child in your care has an opportunity to be taught to his/her strengths. If you would like to see some sample study units I have created using Multiple Intelligences, I have placed some blog links at the end of this post.

While I have created and posted several lesson plans/study units that I have used with my young grandsons over the past years, I certainly have not covered all the topics that you may be covering in your classroom or home. So this may be a good time to explain how any lesson planner can easily incorporate multiple intelligence strategies when planning and implementing a unit of study for children.

I also recognize that many of you use a curriculum that has been purchased that includes textbooks and worksheets. You do not have to abandon these resources in order to use multiple intelligences. In fact, many publishers do include multiple intelligence activities in their unit plans, although they might not be part of the “basic” lesson plan, but listed under Extension, Enrichment, or Differentiation sections of the teacher’s resource book (so you may have to look for the multiple intelligence ideas).

Think about lesson planning as though you are creating a “learning buffet” for children. While it may seem easier to just use the “basic meat and potatoes” textbook and worksheets with the children under your care,  keep in mind that many worksheets are written to engage the learner in the lower levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy (with no interesting seasonings, gravies, or sauces). So even if a child really likes to do worksheets, they may not get enough higher level thinking skills if worksheets are the “main course” for the “learning buffet” that is provided to them. I try to keep that in mind if I decide to offer worksheets to  my grandsons. (Actually my grandsons’ school and preschool give them worksheets for homework, so I prefer to whet their “learning appetites” with more savory fare anyway.) Using multiple intelligence strategies can be part of the “main course” as well, but think of these activities also as the other foods you would find at a buffet: the appetizers, salads, side dishes, and desserts. Don’t leave these off your plate…I mean lesson plans.

To make adding multiple intelligences to your lesson plans as easy as possible, I have created a handy guide and listed a variety of ideas for each intelligence. While these lists are certainly not exhaustive, they have several activities under each intelligence that I liked to use in my classroom or with my grandsons. Choose and adapt at least one activity from each intelligence to use during your unit of study. In addition, keep in mind that some activities could be categorized under several intelligences. For example, writing a reflection in a journal would be both an intrapersonal and linguistic activity. Using crayons when writing spelling words would be using both the linguistic and spatial intelligences.

While it is possible to use all eight intelligences in just one lesson, you will probably be choosing to spread out your unit of study over several days. If you happen to read any of my previous posts on study units, I usually plan them for 4-8 days, depending on the topic of course. So plan away….

Linguistic (Word Smart)

  • Read Textbooks or other Books-This includes reading aloud, reading silently, group readings, guided reading, choral reading, etc.
  • Audio Books-Listening is an important linguistic skill, so I always keep an audiobook in my car for myself and for the grands since I end up doing a lot of driving with them. Listening to audiobooks  helps children learn about expressive reading. Many textbooks have audio versions which can be very useful. I get most of my audiobooks from the library for the grands.
  • Discussions-Speaking is part of the linguistic intelligence, whether you’re discussing the pictures on the pages of the book, vocabulary, or main ideas. At the school where I worked (before retirement), all the teachers had a poster on their walls with Bloom’s Taxonomy questions that could be adapted to pretty much any reading. For more information, start with this link: http://www.bloomstaxonomy.org/Blooms%20Taxonomy%20questions.pdf
  • Bottle Caps, Letter Stamps, Magnetic Alphabet Letters, or Dry Erase Boards-I like to use hands on materials other than pencil and paper to engage my grandsons in linguistic activities.
  • Make Lists-Some ideas of lists would include: main characters, main events, words that rhyme, sight words from the story, new words in the story, questions to explore, etc.
  • Word Puzzles-I purchased some wooden word puzzles for my grandsons, but for older children crosswords and word searches are lots of fun. Find them on the Internet or create your own.
  • Writing-I think some sort of daily writing is very important, whether you write a story with the children, model how to use their new vocabulary in sentences, give the children a story starter, have them answer questions in writing, or give them time to write in a journal.

Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart)

  • Crafts-Related art activities are always on the lesson plans I create for my grandsons.
  • Videos-There are some amazing videos that can be found on the Internet, library, or other sources to go with your curriculum. (I always preview them before showing them to students or my grandsons.) 
  • Graphic Organizers-The most common graphic organizer is the Venn Diagram, but there are so many more great ones to use. Children can use them with you during discussions or as a way to organize their thoughts. Here is a link with several samples of useful graphic organizers:           http://www.eduplace.com/graphicorganizer/
  • Taking notes with Color-Both you and your students can use crayons, colored pens or pencils, markers, or highlighters when taking notes during lessons or reviewing key points. Using colored writing instruments is also a great way to practice spelling words.
  • Drawing Pictures-This isn’t just an activity for students who can’t yet express themselves in writing, but a valuable tool to help your spatial learners remember vocabulary, science concepts, and to help understand math word problems.
  • Picture Cards-Many purchased curriculums include picture cards, and you can also make your own. They have so many uses. They can be part of an exploration bin (see Intrapersonal Intelligence), used as flash cards or to create stories, hidden as part of a Treasure Hunt or Scavenger Hunt (see Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence), or used as you read books aloud together.
  • Playdough Mats- Since I have young grandsons, I use this activity a lot. They love to play with this material anyway, plus it is useful in developing their fine motor control (so this activity could also be considered under the bodily-kinesthetic intelligence).
  • Maps, Puzzles, Tangrams, Number Lines, and Timelines-These are great spatial activities, especially for social studies and math. Some schools have painted maps, planets, and number lines on their playgrounds. So even during recess, the students are practicing their learning while they play. When I taught, we had a world map painted on our school playground. While studying explorers, I would give my students some sidewalk chalk, and they would trace the explorers’ routes on the outdoor map. If you homeschool, you may be able to use chalk to make a number line on your driveway. I used number lines a lot with my class to teach addition and subtraction of negative and positive numbers.
  • Realia-These are “actual” artifacts of the topic you are studying. For example, if you are studying the short sound of the letter “a” then you might have apples, apricots, and “toy” alligators around as part of your lesson.
  • Experiments-You don’t have to do experiments just when you are teaching a science lesson. For example, if you are reading “The Long Winter” by Laura Ingalls Wilder, why not add depth to your children’s understanding of the book with some ice or weather experiments?

    Interpersonal (People Smart)

My grandsons love to cook with me.

My grandsons love to cook with me.

  • Dramatic Play-This can be as simple as letting children make up their own stories with the toys in an exploration bin, or as involved as allowing children to create their own small plays based on a topic given by the teacher. When I taught in the classroom, this was always a favorite activity with my students. Whether they were creating their own skits using their new vocabulary words, or depicting a scene from their social studies book, they always loved to form groups, rehearse, and present their skits to the rest of the class. While props and costumes aren’t necessary, my students usually begged for more time to make props and simple costumes as well.
  • Cooking-Since I am now teaching my young grandsons in their home and they need a lot of supervision to cook, this is a group activity and can involve recipes requiring a stove or oven. When I taught in the classroom, I did not have access to a stove or an oven. Since my students were in the fourth or fifth grade, they were responsible for following the steps of a simple recipe, so it was more of a linguistic and logical/mathematical activity.
  • Games-Any type of educational game that uses two or more people would fit into this intelligence. They could be as simple as guessing games like 21 Questions or an actual purchased game. I often had my fourth and fifth graders create their own board games to help review for a test.
  • Elbow Partners-If you have more than one child that you teach, you may have them work with a partner during the lesson. For example, they might be creating a project together or reviewing the lesson with each other during or after a lesson. (An “elbow” partner would be the person sitting next to you.) When I taught fourth and fifth graders, I frequently would include opportunities during the lesson for my students to turn to their elbow partner to review what I had just covered with them (meaning of the vocabulary words, steps in a math problem, main idea of a section in the social studies book).

Bodily-Kinesthetic (Body Smart)

When studying the letter R, Kona had to say a word with the "r" sound before he could toss a ring over a cone.

When studying the letter R, Kona had to say a word with the “r” sound before he could toss a ring over a cone.

  • Responding with Movement-During lessons in my classroom, I liked to do plenty of review and I wanted all the students to respond. So instead of having students say their answers or writing them down on paper, I would have them respond with movement. For example, I would use true or false statements to check their understanding of the content in science or social studies; I would have them jump up and down for true statements, and turn in a circle for false statements. If I was checking their understanding of prime numbers, I would have them stamp their feet if I called out a prime number, and wave their arms if I called out a composite number. There are many ways to adapt this concept to the topic of your lesson.
  • Pantomimes-I love using pantomimes with students. I used them a lot in my classroom when I taught vocabulary or steps in a math problem. It is amazing how much this helped my students remember new words and math formulas.
  • Scavenger Hunts-Help your children become more observant while getting a chance to move around by frequently using scavenger hunts. Pick a topic “looking for things around the house that have circles” or use picture cards to locate items that match what you are studying. (If you do this activity outside, you are also adding the naturalist intelligence.)
  • Learning while Exercising-When doing jumping jacks with the children, think of other ways to count besides from one to ten. I had my students practice their multiples by counting by twos, fives, even sevens while they exercised. Our physical education teacher had them count their exercises in whatever world language they were studying in the classroom. If you play games such as “Steal the Bacon” you can use vocabulary words instead of numbers and then students get to run to get the flag when they hear their definition.
  • Indoor Treasure Hunts-Hide some items of “realia” around the house or yard and give hints to help them find them. It could be as simple as saying “You’re getting warmer” or as complex as a treasure map with hidden clues.

Naturalist intelligence (Nature Smart)

  • Field Trips-Leaving the confines of your classroom or home can be very motivating. You don’t have to visit a museum or fire station to consider it a “field trip”. My class loved going to a nearby park with their sketching pads or reading books. 
  • Using Natural Materials-Use items found in nature for art projects,  making the shapes of letters, or just for sensory lessons.
  • Observing Nature-Draw pictures of clouds and flowers, do bark tracings, take along magnifying glasses and binoculars to get “close and personal” with nature.
  • Outdoor Scavenger Hunt-This is similar to the Indoor Scavenger Hunt, but done outside in your backyard, neighborhood, or local park.
  • Gardening-This activity is great for science lessons (how plants grow), health (growing new foods to introduce into their diet), fine motor control (digging and weeding), math (counting petals, categorizing leaves), and even social studies (growing plants from different continents).
  • Teaching Outdoors-Just move your “classroom” outside. Use a blanket for chairs and take any lesson which doesn’t require a lot of supplies to a location on a grassy knoll or under a tree. I visited a school that had actually designated a large tree in their playground as the “Poet-tree” and had small benches underneath it. You wouldn’t have to use this space just for reading or reciting poetry, although that would definitely be a fun activity for it.

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart)

Tahoe was eager to use his pattern blocks on pre-made mats to make Nativity scenes.

Tahoe was eager to use his pattern blocks on pre-made mats to make Nativity scenes.

  • Counting Activities: For younger children, counting is always a great activity whether you are counting the pictures on the page of a book, the number of sides on an octagon, or the letters in a word.
  • Measuring:Besides measuring any artifacts (realia) that you may be using as part of your studies, you can find the measurements of animals, airplanes, distance between planets, etc. on the Internet. For example, are you studying explorers? Take a meter or yardstick outside along with some sidewalk chalk, and measure the length of the deck one of their ships. http://www.thenina.com/
  • Shape Search-Look for a particular shape in your environment or use pattern blocks to make pictures of topic related items.
  • Creating Word Problems-One of the easiest ways to incorporate this intelligence into your lesson plans would be to create word problems for the topic you are studying. For example, “The deck length of the Pinta was 85 feet, while the deck length of the Nina was 65 feet. Which ship had the longer deck length and by how much?”
  • Finding Patterns-This doesn’t just mean mathematical patterns (such as red square, green square, red square, green square, etc.) but can be related to any pattern. For example, the water cycle is a pattern, human behavior can follow a pattern, the seasons follow a pattern, and so forth…

Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart)

Allowing children an opportunity to explore with materials on their own is a great learning experience for them. Kona enjoyed playing with the nativity set by himself.

Allowing children an opportunity to explore with materials on their own is a great learning experience for them. Kona enjoyed playing with the nativity set by himself.

  • Independent Reading-Reading books, magazines, or Internet articles related to the topic you are studying is just one way children can use their intrapersonal intelligence.
  • Exploration Bins-Gather together books and artifacts (realia) related to the topic and keep them in a bin or bookshelf. Allow the children time to investigate and explore these items by themselves during their free time.
  • Computer Apps-I am always looking for good educational apps for my grands to use as part of their intrapersonal time.
  • Reflections-After a lesson or unit of study, it is very useful to have the children reflect on it. You can either ask the children what they learned and/or how they could apply it to life. This could be done orally or the children could write/draw pictures in a journal.

Musical Intelligence (Music Smart)

  •  Fingerplays and Songs-Finding fingerplays, songs, or chants that will follow the topic you are studying is a useful activity. (Most children remember the order of the alphabet by singing the “ABC Song”.)
  • Create your own Fingerplays, Songs, or Chants-If you can’t find fingerplays, songs, or chants that are related to your topic, they can be created by you or the students. I usually incorporate familiar tunes when I create my songs, but there is no reason why you couldn’t use original compositions as well. Many of my students would write the best lyrics!
  • Listening to Music/Songs-Another way to incorporate the musical intelligence is to find music that relates to your topic. For example, use Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” when you teach about the seasons or Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” when teaching astronomy.
  • Background Music-Just listening to music while you are working on some other activity can be beneficial. I’m sure you already play music while working on art projects, so why not try it during other subjects? In my classroom, students enjoyed listening to some soft Spanish guitar music while doing their math problems.  Another great time to use music is during transition time between subjects. Put on some peppy band music or dance tunes while they put away their math manipulatives or art supplies, and the rhythm of the music will make these tasks more enjoyable. (Listening to my favorite rock songs certainly invigorates me when I do housework.)


There are so many other ideas I could mention in this guide, but I hope you will find this post useful when creating your own units of study. In the upcoming months I will continue to post lesson plans I have created for my grandsons. My wish is that these posts will stimulate your creative juices when designing engaging lessons for the children in your care.

I hope you are finding these Multiple Intelligence activities useful as you plan lessons for children in your care. If you would like to see how I have used Multiple Intelligences to plan study units for my grandsons, here are some samples:





If you would like to see more of these unit studies as I create them, you can become a follower of this blog.


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