Last week when I published our Thanksgiving Spelling Stones I promised that I had another simple activity to do with the stones. This is it. It was a rainy day ( can you tell by the not so great pictures?) but I wasn’t ready to turn the TV on yet. This simple game got them moving, playing together , and working on their own levels at the same time. I will be making many more sets of these stones to do this activity and others throughout the year. To find out how to make the stones themselves check out our spelling stones tutorial.
Before your kids start searching. Tell them the word / words you will be spelling and how many stones total they are searching for. This helps sneak in a wee bit of math.
Once all letters are in the basket start piecing together the word. At first my son started doing this step all by himself but I asked him to slow down and ask his sister to find him the letter he needed to spell from the bunch. This let him work on spelling and gave her a chance to work on letter recognition.
Told you it was simple, but hopefully I showed you how many little tidbits of learning you could fit into it too.
Check out some great Thanksgiving Books For Kids.
Rainy days at our house always start with happy play but by early afternoon my kids have used up their patience with each other and mine isn’t far behind. This puzzle hunt took 2 minutes to set up and they played 3 times. More importantly the bad attitudes we were all developing were stopped in their tracks. It’s the perfect easy rainy day activity for kids. It’s also a great way to use puzzles. We used wooden puzzles but if you have older kids it would be fun to try a jigsaw puzzle instead. Another thing I love about puzzle hunts is you know if you forgot to find a piece because the puzzle won’t be complete.
- Gather your materials. You will need some puzzles . <— pretty easy right?
- Pop all the pieces our and start hiding them. I send my kids up to the playroom while I hid them. Hide some in tricky places and some in plain sight if you have younger kids.
- Time to search. They started out trying to beat each other and I reminded them that they are working as a team to beat me. If they find all the pieces then they win , if not I win. That did the trick and they were a team from then on.
- They took breaks every now and then to count how many we had already found and how many were still missing.
- Complete! If anything makes a parent burst with happiness it’s an unprompted hug between siblings that isn’t part of an apology.
Other ways to play include having your kids hide the pieces and you find them , take it outside ( you may want to pop the pieces in a Ziploc or 5 ) , and include words on each to create a secret message .
On long summer days especially if you are stuck inside for whatever reason simple play like this goes so far in improving moods, recharging a bad day and getting kids to work together. For more rainy day ideas ( and sunny day ones too ) check out our Pinterest boards !
Getting my son learning after school isn’t always easy because he’s just been at school all day! This rhyming game was originally supposed to be a Frisbee like game with the hula hoops acting as targets but my dollar store plates were too light and even doubled up wouldn’t fly well. So we turned it into a hunt and my daughter came along for the ride and everyone had fun . You could adapt this easily for different levels using upper and lowercase as pairs to match, sight words ( writing out two and finding the match) or word families. Even though my almost 3 year old participated this activity is part of our Learning After School series . This series is filled with ideas for fun active learning after school gets out.
- Gather your materials. You will need some cheap plastic plates ( just don’t expect them to make good Frisbees… ) , a sharpie and some hula hoops.
- Start by writing some words on the plates. I chose 4 words that offered lots of rhyming words. Bake, car, band and hat.
- Write out as many rhyming words on the rest of the plates for each as you think will offer your child the right amount of challenge. You can always have a few extra on hand to hide on the go if your child is into it and you want to extend it.
- Place the anchor words ( bake, car, band and hat) in the hula hoops.
- Hide the other plates.
- Get your kids ready – I had my son agree that he’d let his sister find her share and not zoom through and grab them all . He also offered up his reading and rhyming skills to help. I wasn’t sure how it would play out … if you are doing this with a number of children with similar rhyming and reading abilities a great way to do it is to start each child off with a different word and have them search only for words that rhyme with their assigned word. * Whenever I am explaining rules I start with a quick game of Simon Says. It gets them focused.
- It was great. He needed a reminder not to grab all the plates but one reminder was enough. They would find a plate, run over and match the rhymes. She got a few solo ( after we read them of course) and he would do his in his head throwing them down fast. But then when she was stumped he took time to help his sister saying things like ” Do you hear they sound the same? Cake and bake rhyme.” It was still pretty much over her head but he got great practice being patient and teaching her. You can see him stretching out the words for her as a hint. Best part is the plates store easily and you can add more when you want to play again.
Books That Rhyme
Here are 25 great books that rhyme . When reading these books with your kids take some time to play with the rhymes , not every single on but a few. Be silly and have fun. Do things like use a synonym in the place of a rhyming word in the familiar text. When your child corrects you explain that the word means the same thing. They will insist it’s still not right . Ask them why. Continue reading. Pretending not to know the answer and letting my kids answer for me always gets a good laugh and the lesson sticks as well.