Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Vocabulary Word Target Practice with Nerf Guns

So we've had our sights on vocabulary words, so to speak. Let me explain.

Over the past six months, my little guy has become obsessed with Nerf Guns. He has a stash of about seven (maybe one of which we have bought him and many that he has traded for or bought himself with his allowance). He and his friends play with Nerf Guns practically every day and talk their crazy Nerf lingo that I barely understand.

I know some people get all uppity about toy guns. We've had people criticize us for it before (despite Aidyn being a super sweet guy who doesn't use Nerf Guns to hurt people or animals or even to pretend to do so). So, if you are of the opinion that "toy guns are evil," you might want to hit the little X in the corner of your screen so that I don't accidentally sway you with a different opinion.

Let me clarify that we don't hand Aidyn toy guns and say, "Have at it, kid!"

We don't do that with anything. There is an ongoing conversation about his interests, things he's exposed to in life, on television, with friends, with family members, with society, with his emotions, etc. because we want to help him establish his own moral compass rather than helicoptering all over him and dictating his interests.

If you're on the fence about it, check out this PBS article about boys and guns.

As I dismount my little soapbox, let me show you this game we made up to combine the Love O' Nerf and Reading. I set up several word cards on the closet doors (any flat surface would do).


Right in the middle of doing school, I very seriously told Aidyn that now I needed him to "pick out [his] best Nerf Gun and make sure it's loaded." He was like one of those cartoons characters that leaves a cloud of dust when they take off fast.

First, he read the words posted in front of him. Some were in the middle, some down low, and some super high. I used a stopwatch to time his target practice, announced a word, and he scrambled to find and shoot it as quickly as possible.




The first round, he scored:


  • 5 words per minute
  • 5 words per minute
  • 7 words per minute
Then I added more vocabulary cards and he got:

  • 4 words per minute
  • 5 words per minute
  • 4 words per minute
The next day I added even more cards, but his scores remained about the same.


I foresee that we will play this game for the rest of our lives  the school year. It has just occurred to me that a game like this could get him suspended from public school, even if he only used a hand gesture to simulate a gun...Reason #324 to homeschool!

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