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Remembering the

Order of the Planets

While we're talking about the sky, here's a simple way to remember the order of the planets. In order moving away from the sun, they are: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn Uranus and Neptune. (Remember that Pluto was demoted from a planet and so isnt included on this list).

But anyway, its not the names that are so hard to remember, it's the order. So try passing on this memory trick using the first letter of each planets name:

My Very Educated Mother

Just Served Us Nachos

There you have it. Much easier, isn't it?

Number Stumpers

You know that if you're making math fun, you must really be a great parent. These simple math games just might do the trick.

You could use a calculator for some of these but you might also get older children to do the calculations themselves; often once they see the answers they want to work out the pattern to see how it happened. "What?" you say. "A child doing math voluntarily?" It can happen.

Take any number between 1 and 9, add 3, multiply by 2, subtract 2, divide by 2, subtract 2 again and you get the original number.

For example, using 5:

5 + 3 = 8, x2 = 16, -2 = 14, /2 = 7, -2 = 5

License Plate Games

There are lots of license plate games. Start by making up phrases using licence plate letters.

For example, my old license plate of FHV 709; could mean a fairly heavy vehicle, fried hot vegetables or flying high vultures. This can also introduce the idea of something called mnemonics, (which for some reason is pronounced 'nemonics', like that first m isn't even there), which means using phrases to help remember things.

You can emphasize the mnemonics aspect by adding one rule; that the phrase has to be relevant to something, but you can give a lot of leeway on the something. It might be the car the license plate is on, where you are, where youre going, what time of day, etc.

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