Battle of the Brains, Term 1, 2018

My kids live for Battle of the Brains! It may be because the winner gets to be the keeper of the coveted silk flowers, or maybe just for bragging rights, but either way it is always a big hit.

I divide my school up into four, 12 week terms, and at the end of each term we hold our annual Battle of the Brains. It was something that I came up with years ago to encourage my kids to finish all their books and to also give them some incentive to try and remember what we have studied.

Before you think that this is just another suggestion that is going to be incredibly time consuming, let me tell you my little secret. I literally planned it this morning. No joke. After breakfast I hurry and snuck away and wrote my categories down. Then while we were competing I thought of one more, so I threw it in there.

There have been years where I have put in a lot more effort, but honestly, my monkeys don’t really care either way. The printouts are fun and I would have maybe thrown something together this morning, but my printer has died, so I went with what we had.

We had six different events this year: fitness, spelling, math, science, geography, and art. I will go through each of them so you can have some ideas of how to create your own. I wrote down the different categories on strips of papers and cut them up, so the kids could draw out the next event.

For the scoring, whomever won an event would receive three points, second place would get two points, and third place would receive one point. I didn’t show them the score because in the past if someone sees that they don’t have a shot in winning, they just kind of give up. It also made it more fun because they had no idea who was going to win.

Fitness: I decided to throw in a few events into fitness, just because I thought it would be fun. I was going to have them run a mile, but because Master George sleeps in the girls’ room they weren’t able to get their shoes. The girls were not sad about that.

Event 1: Plank hold. This one is pretty straight forward. Everyone holds plank for as long as they can.

Event 2: Death by squats. Every minute you have to be able to complete all your squats. The trick is, that every round you have to do an additional squat. I’ve done variations of this before and those first 5-10 minutes are boring, so we started our squats at five. Then when we got down to two kids, we would increase every round by two squats instead of one.


I usually have done a vocabulary round where I take all our vocabulary words from the term and they have to write a short story using all the words. However, this year we switched up our language arts, so they all had different words. As we were playing I saw Boggle just lying there, and I thought that I could hurry and throw spelling into the competition. We just did two rounds of the game.

I seriously love Boggle and could play it everyday, so they were not surprised when I snuck that into the battle.


We played a Bingo math game for this event. Whomever got the first Bingo won. If you got multiple Bingos before other people you could win more points. It’s a simple addition math game, so that way every one could play evenly. Sometimes it can be tricky having such a wide span of ages playing math games, so I try to make it as fair as possible.

I thought I had addition flash cards somewhere lying around my house. I could not find them anywhere this morning. I’m sure I’ll find them within the next few days. I was going to have the flash cards be the second event in math.


I made this science game up years ago. We had studied the Apologia science books, so all the questions are straight from those books. We use an old Sorry game board, and everyone gets to pick some random thing for their player. I read all the questions, and if you get it right you roll two dice and move around the board. If I help you, you only get to roll one.


This year we have mixed our geography in with explorers. We have been singing the Explorer song from Sing ‘n Learn, and then reading about the different explorers. So, for this event they had to come with me to another room and sing as much of the song as they could remember. Whenever they made a mistake I stopped them. Whomever remembered the most words of the song won.


Art has been the trickiest of the subjects to add into the competition. I had them blindly pick one of the paintings that we have studied for the term and they get five minutes to look at the picture. After the five minutes are up, they turn their paper over and get to draw or paint their painting. They have ten minutes to try to remember as much of their painting and draw as much detail as possible.

You are not judged on artistic ability, but by how much detail you included from your picture. This year was tricky because some kids had paintings with a lot of people in them, so the people weren’t super detailed, but they would have the right number of people, animals, and or trees. The ones who got a portrait added a ton more detail because it was just one person. I think next term I will have them all do the same picture, so it will be easier to judge.

After we completed all the rounds we then had our awards ceremony. Bella was our last winner, so she had the honor of awarding our new winner…. Joshua!!! He has already taped the flowers up on his wall. Super classy.

Then, after the battle all kids who have finished all their books are invited to my Pizza Party!! We have pizza and the winner of the battle gets to pick a movie to watch. Last night Joshua stayed up, who knows how late, to finish his last book. I’m glad he did because it always super awkward when everyone gets pizza except one or two people.

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