Chasing Cheerios has a cool idea for creating sight words out of cheap beaded necklaces. This got me thinking about other stuff laying around the house that you could also use:
- play dough rolled into snakes
- sticks in the yard
- noodles or dried pasta
The list goes on and on because you could use practically anything in your house. Challenge your child to come up with something and get spelling. Tons of fun and great practice too! If your child isn’t quite ready for spelling words, have them make letters and/or numbers!
You may remember a previous post on fine motor skills. Here’s another idea from I Can Teach My Child to add to your list of activities to strengthen and fine tune this skill. I didn’t even know that they made window crayons. So cool! After further research I found out they also have washable window markers.
When your child is learning to read, looking for patterns in words is huge! If they know the word, “at” for example, then they know all the words that can be made by putting a consonant in front of it, cat, rat, mat, you get the idea. Once they understand blends, they can also read those, that, chat, slat. All these words make up one big happy family, the -at family! Other common word families that are good for your child to know are: -og, -en, -ack, -ig, I could keep going. You can go to Mrs. Alphabet and see a list of more. Word families are good rhyming practice and naturally make writing easier too.
When teaching word families at school, we drew a house and gave it a family name, like the Acks! Then we would write “family members” inside the house.
You could take it a step further and add words with blends.
You can also have them illustrate a picture of the words, ahem, I mean family members!
I also used to read, Flip the Page Rhyme and Read books to the kids to work on word families/rhyming. It’s a great series with Zug the Bug and Tog the Dog. You can also make your own, as Having Fun at Home did. Get your kids involved and this could be a great learning activity that is also FUN!
Want some free alphabet cards? Here are some super cute ones from Homemade by Jill. You can use these the traditional way of holding them up and saying the letter name and sound or you could:
- Print two copies and play Memory/Concentration
- Use them to play wordless (letterless, really!)
- Play “Go Fish” (you’d need four copies)
- Play “Old Maid” (you’d need to print some other card, maybe a period or question mark, for the old maid card)
- Sort out the vowels and consonants
- Find the letters of your child’s name
- Think up other things that make the same letter sounds
- Draw one card at a time and have your child practice writing that letter with sidewalk chalk or bath paint
Print these on card stock and see if you can get them laminated at your local teacher store or Kinko’s. If you plan on really using them for games, the extra cost for the laminate will make it worth it in the end.
How on earth do cookie sheets and alphabet magnets have anything to do with each other? Well, they are the perfect combo for a car trip, whether it’s running errands around town or a long trip out of town. Here’s a few ideas but of course let your child be creative too. Have a few extra sets of magnets available too if you’re child wants to work on spelling.
Depending on your child, you can start out with simpler ideas focusing on just the letters and progress to more difficult ideas like writing sight words or environmental print. This idea is sorting letters that use only straight lines and letters that use a curved line.
Straight letters vs. letters with curves
When your child has a good grasp of letter identification, have them sort consonants and vowels.
Consonants vs. vowels
You can also have them sort out the letters in their name or anyone else’s for that matter.
Letters not in your name vs. letters in your name
When your child is ready for a challenge, have them sort out the letters that make more than one sound.
Letters that make one sound vs. letters that make two or more sounds
Kids also love to copy environmental print.
Copy environmental print
Okay, what kid wouldn’t have blast mixing up their own bathtub paint? Plus, it’s a perfect opportunity to talk about what primary colors make secondary colors. Here’s the recipe from Science Mommy. Of course I’ve got some ideas for how to use them!
- Practice spelling their name
- Write sight words
- Draw and doodle and then tell a story about what they’ve painted
- Math story problems- draw objects and then “add” to them using tub paint to draw more or “subtract” by erasing with water
- Practice writing numbers
Check out the landscape photos from Amy at Let’s Explore. She and her children used stickers to dress up the photo.
These are super cute and I can think of a few ways to use this idea to incorporate writing, reading and math skills.
- Take several photo pages and staple them into a book. Then have your child write (or dictate) a story to go along with the pictures.
- Make the photo into a postcard and send it to Grandma!
- Stick them inside a plastic page protector and give your child an erasable marker. Have them label items in the picture. Then just erase and it’s ready for another photo page.
- Have your child find all the words that start with a certain letter. Depending on their academic level they could just tell these to you orally or make a list.
- Think up rhyming words for different objects in the photos
- Have your child describe where objects are using position words.
- Count objects in the picture.