After School Activity – Word Ladders Printable { Free }

word ladders literacy activity It’s conference week here and we have been so busy. I wasn’t going to post today until I saw this pin by Fun Games 4 Learning and was reminded of Word Ladders. I haven’t used them in many years ( since I was student teaching elementary school actually) but knew immediately my son who is home today would love them. So I made a quick and easy word ladders printable for him and thought why in the world am I not sharing this easy literacy activity with all of you. This is a perfect addition to our Learning After School series ( <— click to see the whole series). What I love is that you can play it the way that they suggest in the post as a game for two people or teams, or as an individual challenge with this printable.

Word ladder

Gather your materials. You will need a word ladder printable ( click on the image above and print) , a pencil, and a kid to do all the rest of the work!  I keep my printables simple so they don’t use up too much ink but you can make your own at picmonkey.com with as many cute graphics as you want!  To make this re-usable slip it in an acrylic document stand, or a document sleeve, and use a fine tip dry erase marker.word ladder supplies

 

Start by explaining that you are going to climb the ladder by changing just ONE letter in the word. With beginners doing a ladder together is a great idea. Then write the first word of their ladder to get them started. I find that when I let him do it he’d chose more obscure words and get stick a few rungs in. word ladder printable for after school activity

 

Next one is solo.thinking hard word ladder literacy activity for kids If you want more of a challenge set the timer and have your child go up against you in a timed race. Whoever writes down the most words in the time period wins!almost done word ladder activity for kids

 

Need a ladder idea for a much younger child? Check out our Ladder L letter craft!

 

Quick Link Supply List

This list includes affiliate links
Low-Odor Dry Erase Markers, Ultra-Fine Point
Avery Heavy-Duty Plastic Sleeves
Acrylic document stand

 

 

Rhyming Dominoes and Speedracer Game – Learning After School

rhyming game for kindergarten The school year has started and that means that some of our longer activities get shortened into smaller bite sized pieces of hands on learning that won’t compete with homework or my son’s need to just chill out after a long day at school.  Our whole Learning After School series is all about how to have fun with learning without stressing our school age kids. My son gets out of school early once a week so that is usually when we do one of these types of activities. I want to support his learning, work on any areas he might need a little work on but more than anything I want to have fun with him. This rhyming activity is simple but so adaptable. For my son I noticed that he was starting to confuse rhyming and word families. They are similar yes but rhyming is all about sound, spelling doesn’t come into it. This game helped him remember that. For children not yet reading you can skip the words and use clip art pictures instead.

 

Gather your materials. You will need some card stock ( I used sentence strips from the dollar store), a permanent marker,  and scissors. If you want to get all fancy you can use a ruler so the lines are exactly in the middle of each card too.  It’s also helpful to come up with a list of rhyming words to have on hand. rhyming bingo

Start by cutting your sentence strips in half.

 

Draw a line down the middle. rhyming bingo game for kids

Write two words on the card that do not rhyme with each other. Make sure you have used all your rhyming words at least once.  I was specifically trying to find words that rhyme but are not spelled using the same spelling patterns like bear and care. Choose words that fit YOUR child. rhyming game for kindergarten

Play!

rhyming game for preschool and kindergarten

Dominoes – For our version of Rhyming Dominoes we split the deck into 2 and hand each player half. The younger player puts the first card down and the other player sees if they can put down a rhyming match. If not the other player goes. The first player with no cards left wins.  Simple and quick enough to keep moving so players are engaged. rhyming dominoes and speedracer game for kids

Speedracer.

rhyming dominoes and rhyming match game

My son LOVES this game. It’s simple and always seems to end up in major trash talk ( in the nicest way) , which means my 7 year old loves it. The rules are easy. You lay two cards down to start and leave the pile as one. You flip the cards and if it rhymes with your card you grab it and add it to your line. If the card has a rhyme that works for both players it’s whoever gets to it first. The only thing you need to watch out for is that when you choose the first two cards that they don’t rhyme. If they do you could end up with a stale mate. rhyming game for first grade

First person to the end of the table ( or any line you make) wins. speedracer rhyming game

 

Books That Rhyme

 

Another fun way to work on rhyming is to read great read alouds that rhyme. Here are some of our favorite books to read together that rhyme. For the full list of 25 Books That Rhyme Click here. All our book lists include affiliate links.

 

Granny Went To Market

Granny Went to Market by Stella Blackstone is a book I got to know very well when writing lessons for Itty Bitty Bookworm preschool curriculum using it. This a a really fantastic book that is filled with language arts, geography and math lessons. Granny is a traveler and everywhere she goes she picks up a number of souvenirs. Not only are a number of countries like Switzerland, Mexico and Peru visited, but the souvenirs she buys relate to the country’s culture and offer even more learning opportunities for interested kids.  The rhyming text will enchant even the youngest world traveler , this is a must for any jet setting family!

My trucks is stuck

My Truck is Stuck! by Kevin Lewis is a fun book full of great rhymes and funny illustrations from Daniel Kirk. The story is simple a truck is stuck and even though other vehicles come to help, nothing budges until a tow truck arrives. The best part is the cargo of bones in the truck are slowly stolen by hungry gophers while the others work to free the truck. It’s got a great message about helping people and the illustrations make me giggle, especially the guy in the moving van who is blowing bubbles. I have never understood that but it makes me laugh.

Flashing Fire Engines

Flashing Fire Engines by Tony Mitton is a favorite at our house. The book is a rhyming masterpiece, somehow keeping up the rhyming pace as it explains how firefighters fight fires and rescue people! Details like what gear they wear, and how hoses and hydrants work are included as well as ladders and sirens. My son loves this book and as an adult who has  read it hundreds of times it’s fun to read,  even over and over again . We also love all the other books in the series like Cool Cars   and Terrific Trains   it’s completely worth checking out anything they do!

 

 

 

 

Pokemon Math – Learning After School

pokemon educational activity The stomach flu hit our house hard last week and my son who is in first grade was home for a few days. Last time he was sick he did our Sick Day Printables but this time he asked me to make him something with his Pokemon Cards.  Are your kids into Pokemon? I could not tell you that I know much about how to play the actual Pokemon card game but I do know my son adores it and tapping into their interests is a sure fire way to get them into whatever learning goals you have for them.  We have been working on addition and subtraction so why not turn that into Pokemon math?! This post is part of our Learning After School series which is a series of short but fun activities for school age kids.

Gather your materials. You will need some Pokemon Cards ( you could use regular cards too) , painter’s tape ( I swear I use this more than any material), paper, and a pencil.use pokemon cards for math

Using painter’s tape secure the cards onto the paper. I did four rows of two cards on each page and made three pages.pokemon math for kids

Turn the pairs into either addition or subtraction. DIY Pokemon math sheetsYour child will be using the numbers in the upper right corner which according to my son is the Pokemon’s health number.pokemon math activity for kids

Do the math!pokemon math activity for kids

He told me it was too easy so then I had him write out the answer underneath the number. pokemon math sheet activity for kidsThrowing in a little spelling too.pokemon math learning for kids

Short little bursts of learning like this centered around your child’s latest obsession really adds up to a lot of learning without a lot of stress. School age kids are busy and I don’t do these activities with my son every day. Homework is his priority but when we have a down day I will throw together something like this to remind him how fun learning can be in or out of school.

 

Pokemon Book My Son Can’t Put Down

( seriously it goes everywhere with him)

pokemon book for kids

Tapping into your child’s interest is especially important with reading for fun. This is my son’s absolute favorite Pokemon book! The title link is an affiliate link.

pokemon essential handbook

 

 

Pokemon: Essential Handbook by Chris Silvestri

There are a lot of Pokemon books on the market but this one gets the biggest possible thumbs up from my seven year old son. We had to replace his first copy because he read it so much it fell apart. This book is an encyclopedia of all the Pokemon characters. Each description includes a little blurb about the Pokemon and some stats. We have had a blast reading this book together. He memorizes everything about the Pokemon, looks to see which ones are about his height, about his weight and of course asks me to quiz him on all of the above. I can not tell you how much he loves this book. It goes everywhere with him and when he says ” Where is my book?” we know which book he is speaking of. If your child is into Pokemon they will love it.

 

How do you use your children’s current obsessions for learning?

Spelling Activity

spelling practice activity for kids Spelling is a hot topic at our house these days. My son loves to spell and now his sister has started requesting to sound out and spell simple words as well. One day when he had a day off school I put together this spelling activity for him giving him a challenge while working on his spelling. This activity cost me nothing but if you don’t have a dowel on hand you could use a pencil in a pinch! Have fun with spelling and your kids will think it’s fun too.

Gather your materials. You will need some empty ribbon spools a dowel and a sharpie to make the spinner and then paper and a pencil to write down the words that are created.spool spelling supplies

Start by writing letters on the spools. I tried to have a mix of vowels and consonants on each spread out then as I played with it I added more when I realized I was off by one letter to spell something. spool spelling activity for kindergartenPlay round with it because only then will you also see if you can spell any naughty words. I missed one and our lesson included a lesson in the power of words and when and where they are appropriate. I actually didn’t mind getting a chance to talk about this issue at home but if you are doing this with a class or a child that isn’t yours it’s best to make sure no naughty words can be made.spool spelling activity for kids

Pop them on the spool and write a prompt. Ours was simply how many words can you spell but then together my son and I came up with other challenges :

How many words can you spell?
How many verbs can you spell?
How many names can you spell?
How many foods can you spell?
How many Pokemon types can you spell?
How many numbers can you spell out?
How many adjectives can you spell?
How many country names can you spell?

The list could go on and on.

Have fun and spell! spool and spell

This was my real goal for the activity… writing. My son loves so many things but the physical act of writing is not one of them. Any time I can get him to write anything is a win for us. spool spelling game

He loved the spelling which made the writing a non issue. See how sneaky I am? He’s totally hip to my groove but if it’s fun enough he doesn’t resist. I want to keep it fun at home as much as possible because I know he works hard at school. spelling activity for kids spool Kids need downtime, they need time to rest their brains so even when they have something ( like writing) that needs work we can make it more fun and less work so they will never get anywhere near burning out especially at 7! For more activities like this for school age children check out our Learning After School series. fun spelling activity for kids

Place Value Robot – Math Activity

place value math activityOne of my great pleasures is to volunteer at my son’s school. I have been lucky enough to be a math docent this year and one of the activities I have been doing with the children is to create words and structures with base ten blocks then break them down to find out the value. This is a great hands on way to work with the concept. At home though I have no base ten blocks and between the expense and the shortage of storage space I didn’t want to buy them. Here are some base ten blocks if you do ( yes it’s an affiliate link) but really you don’t have to because I have included free printables! I decided to create my own so that I didn’t have to buy a set just for one or two activities. If I was a full time homeschooling parent I would probably invest in some but since this activity is one of our Learning After School activities for school age kids I am using these PRINTABLES <— print via this link.

This activity is designed for 1st and 2nd grade children. For younger children I would stick to 2 place values and using only a few ( less than 10 of each) blocks without regrouping until the basic understanding of place values is mastered.

Gather your materials. You will need the place value base ten printables or if you have the blocks you will need some one unit, ten unit and hundred unit blocks. You will also need some glue, scissors , and a sheet of construction paper.place value robot supplies

Start by cutting the place value printables out place value robot ready to create( I printed them out as 2 5×7 pictures on one sheet) and getting them ready to create. The goal of this activity is to create a robot and then count up how many ones, tens, and hundreds were used to create it. After that step you will figure out the total number of blocks used using re-grouping if need be. That will be the total value of the robot.

Here is an example:

Let’s say I used  : 2 hundred blocks , 11 ten blocks ,  14 one blocks.  Using the worksheet I will fill it out starting at the ones. I will keep 4 and regroup 10 over to the tens column where that 11 will turn into a 12. So at this stage I have 2 hundreds, 12 tens and 4 ones.  Next I need to regroup the tens because I can’t have 12 tens. I will keep 2 and move 10 of those tens over to the hundreds column. So I will have  3 hundreds, 2 tens and 4 ones.   Next I condense the  expanded form into 324 for the total value of units used to create the robot.

If this is new to you practice a few times before presenting this to your child. Most of us haven’t done math like this in a long long time so be kind to yourself while you get reacquainted with it.place value robot making

Welcome your child and start creating.place value art project for math

Next count up your blocks. Encourage your child to count them as blocks saying 1, 2, 3, for all the place values not just the ones. My son was counting the tens by ten and while technically correct in amount that skips the steps needed for this activity. The whole point of this activity is to understand what numbers in each place mean. When you count like that you may end up with the correct number at the end but you won’t get a full understanding of place value.place value activity for first grade

Write  out the amounts of each type of block in our worksheet printable place value robot regrouping

Now regroup if need be.  When regrouping if you notice difficulty get the blocks out and physically show your child what you are regrouping. You may want to print out multiple sheets so you have extras!  If you are moving 10 ones into the ten column show your child tens ones make up a ten rod and then become 1 ten in that column. Seeing the blocks can help kids avoid mistakes like adding 10 into the next column when she should be adding 1 ( dropping the 0 because of the move from one place value to the next).  This is a common mistake but using the blocks helps with understanding.

Write out the final value.place value regrouping with base ten blocks

In groups having kids compete for the largest value is a wonderful motivation. If you have the blocks working together to make huge structures is a ton of fun as well. If you are frugal like me here is the link to the printables one last time.