Why is memorizing new facts so hard for some kids? Maybe because they tend to rely on old tools: work sheets, flash cards, or notes they can only stare at, hoping the information will sink in. Here's a better idea. This dry-erase board, made from scrap wood or wood cut at the lumberyard, transforms the traditional work sheet into a tactile learning machine. The next time your child has math to memorize or reading skills to hone, hand it to him and watch him nail homework hour.
1. With a brush, paint, and painter's tape, divide a sanded wooden board (ours is a 12-inch-wide board cut to be 16 inches long) into color blocks as shown. Let it dry.
2. Apply whiteboard decals (we used Whiteyboard, $25 at whiteyboard.com) or packing tape to create areas for writing.
3. Hammer two columns of carpet nails into the board. Each nail should be secure but still protrude enough to hold a rubber band.
Use a dry-erase marker to fill in the grid with math equations, vocabulary words and definitions, or other paired information your child needs to study. Give him rubber bands in various sizes (the long ones are for connecting pairs that are farthest apart) and let the matching mania begin. When it's time to study something new, simply remove the rubber bands, wipe the board clean with a damp paper towel, and start again.
Originally published in the August 2013 issue of FamilyFun magazine.