Paint & Read { and sound it out }

learn to readTwo skills children need to master in their journey to independent reading are segmenting and blending sounds. Segmenting is breaking a word apart into individual sounds and blending is very simply the ability to combine the sounds together smoothly. When we tell a child to sound it out , this is really what we are asking them to do.  This activity was designed for my son who is a great reader but who will often read so quickly that if he encounters a word he doesn’t know he simply guesses and continues. If I ask him to sound the word out he will  still often guess and get frustrated at me for asking instead of slowing down and doing it even though he is perfectly capable of doing so.  I had to come up with a playful way that would force him to chill a little, slow it all down and focus on the sounds.  This activity can be adapted for any level even single sounds or sight words. We did a similar one for toddlers exploring letters here.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some white paper, white wax crayon, dark water color ( container is you need one) , a little water and a paint brush. I also used a clipboard to keep the pages secure while painting. reading
  2. Start by writing out the words you want your child to stretch out. I used a book we’ve recently read to help me think of some words. Many of the words I chose were not a challenge to read , the challenge is to get him to slow down and stretch them out. For new readers you will want to do words like cat, dog, ball, map, off, snap etc…  but know that older children and more proficient readers can still work on this skill with more complex words. paint and read early literacy activity for kids
  3. Next I popped the black water color into the jar and added just a little water. To do this well you want a lot of color but not too much water .
  4. I invited my little reader and explained that he needed to paint over the words SLOWLY and read as he went, then to read the whole word normally. I had to emphasize that the goal was not to guess the word after painting over the first few letters, that the right way to do it was to carefully say each sound then put the word back together. paint and read learning to read activity for kids
  5. The activity was an instant hit. paint and read learning to read activity for kindergartenIt really did get him to slow it down and pay attention to all the sounds in the words instead of just guessing. I was happy to find a tool for him to keep working on these skills without making him feel like I was giving him a remedial task.  paint and readQuick activities likes this one can be thrown together easily with some really fantastic benefits to your child’s reading ability. paint and read early literacy lesson for kids

 

Secret Code For Kids { Math Activity }

kindergarten math game

My son loves math and spies so this secret code for kids activity is right up his alley. Math is one way he bonds with his dad .In our 45 Ways To Show Dad You Love Him #29 is ” Do math drills together”  and they really do love doing it. I prefer more playful ways to teach math and I hope between mom and dad my son has a good foundation of support as he learns. This math activity is geared towards kindergarten through 2nd grade but you could adapt it to your child’s level easily. Check out the steps below for my suggestions how to adapt it.

  1. Gather your materials. All you need are 2 pieces of paper as fancy or as plain as you wish, a marker and pencil.
  2. Start by deciding what secret message you are going to write out. and places dashes on the paper. For older children make more complicated phrases and include punctuation. For younger children make sure that you are creating a secret message they will recognize like their name.
  3. Write out the key.secret code math activity for children
  4. Write the clues. For my son I used simple math equations but for younger children you could just use numbers that match up.secret code math
  5. Time to crack the code!secret code math activity for kids
  6. He had a blast – there were a lot of equations and while some were simple, some were tough. I like to balance out challenges with easier ones that help create a sense of confidence.  You may want to have some manipulatives on hand for your child to use . We grabbed some googly eyes for my son to use for some of the clues.secret code math for kindergarten
  7. Getting my son to practice handwriting is tough so sneaking it in with math is my secret weapon. After figuring out a few clues he discovered he had to write his letters more carefully so he could read the message once he had all the clues. This made him slow down which is a challenge at the best of times.secret code math is fun
  8. He did it ! secret code spy mathBeing the just kid that he is he flipped it over and included his own message.secret code math for kids

How do you sneak learning in with your kids during the summer?  For more summer learning ideas check out our Pinterest Boards . I pin new ideas daily ( sometimes hourly… )

Book

summer reading

Detective Camp by Ron Roy is a perfect book to read with this activity. My son and I just finished it tonight. In this easy read chapter book three friends are off to summer camp but it’s not just any summer camp it’s Detective Camp!  I really love this book because not only does it talk about summer camp , friendship and solving mysteries it also introduces kids to Grandma Moses and art forgery. There is even a hidden message that readers must piece together . My 6 year old loved it and even though he is not a reluctant reader the hidden message would be a great motivator for kids who are less excited to read.

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Spell with Alphabet Beads and Build Fine Motor Skills

Spelling with alphabet beads for kindergartenI think I have shared how much my son loathes drawing . He’s a bright kid and most things come easy to him so when something doesn’t he like many of us tries to avoid it instead of attacking it. When a child has trouble with penmanship or drawing one of the first things I would suggest is to find low stress ways to get them to draw and write more ( like playing with an easel , make your own mini chalk boards or design your own cards ) and the other is to work on their fine motor skill development. Building with Lego and squeezing Play-Doh are two of our favorites but when I was sent these alphabet beads from craftprojectideas.com I knew I could mix spelling (something he loves) with developing his fine motor skills ( not as much fun as spelling for him). Here is what we did.

  1. Gather your materials. You could make a printable with clip art but I just grabbed some stickers because I had 10 minutes to throw this idea together before we had to grab him from the bus stop.  You will also need some tape, pipe cleaners and of course alphabet beads. spelling with alphabet beads 2
  2. Pop the stickers on . Cut the pipe cleaners into small sections.Tape on . Give the tape a good rub to make sure it sticks. spelling with alphabet beads
  3. If you want pop on the first letter to get your kids started. alphabet bead spelling 4
  4. Separate out the letters needed to complete the words and then add in a bunch of random ones. alphabet bead spelling stuff
  5. Add your kiddo and go for it.  He had no trouble spelling any of the words but threading the letters on was a little challenging. He had to press hard but not too hard or else the pipe cleaner would buckle. 8 words was exactly the right amount any more and frustration would have set in.fine motor spelling activity for kindergarten

For more simple learning activities to do with your school age kids after school check out our whole Learning After School series.

Long & Short Vowel Sorting with Snakes

by Allison McDonald

early learning literacy activityGetting kids to learn after school can be hard. Bribery, delayed rewards even punishment seems futile because we want them to WANT to learn. Making it a game or using some novel tools for learning are my son’s favorite ways to learn after school.  These little slimy snakes are favorites around here . I find them all over the playroom so I decided to use them for a quick lesson in long and short vowel sounds. Learning to distinguish these sounds is an important skill for reading and spelling.  Have fun with learning after school activities and remember that these aren’t in place of homework they are in addition to. Use them as you see fit . My kindergartner usually does 2-3 a week and they are all pretty quick lasting between 5-15 minutes.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paper, markers, scissors and plastic snakes you can cut. **If you don’t have access to these try gummy worm candies, ribbon, or yarn.early literacy activity
  2. Start by writing out pages of simple words with long and short vowel sounds . Remember that long vowels say their name (o- open , a-grape, i- bite) . I would work on one letter at a time.early literacy activity 2
  3. Invite your word detective to the table and ask him or her to help you cut some of the snakes into short pieces . My son thought I was joking and was excited to be doing something destructive. Is it a boy thing?early literacy activity 3
  4. Use the short pieces to indicate a short vowel sound and a full snake for the long vowel sounds. He was pretty into it. It was sorta silly but that worked in our favor because he loved it. The combination of a concrete object to show a concept that is not concrete can really help some kids grasp these tasks better than just saying words and having them listen and decide.earlyliteracyactivity4
  5. You can see how he was sounding the words out as he read them. Teach your child to read the words slowly exaggerating the vowel sound. He liked to stretch the sound the same time he stretched the snake. early literacy activity 5Make multiple sheets but don’t worry if they want to work on them one or two at a time. earlyliteracyactivity6
  6. Clearly he was having too much fun to be learning! At least that is what he thought. earlyliteracyactivity9

If this Learning After School activity isn’t exactly what you need but you want to keep learning with your school age kiddo check out our other posts in this series here.

Learning Games For Kindergarten

Easy St. Patrick's Day Activities for kindergartenThese are simple learning games for kindergarten one focusing on breaking down syllables the other is math but they use the same materials from the dollar store. Learning After School at our house is all about doing quick and simple games that reinforce what my son is learning in Kindergarten. These lessons or games need to be fun, active and not too long. This isn’t homework ( he gets some very simple but useful homework) it’s in addition to it. What I love best about these activities is you really get to see how much your child has learned and while we play he will naturally open up and tall me about school.

  1. For both activities you will need a pen, some foam craft sticks ( wood would be fine too ) in rainbow of colors and green foam shamrocks. gamess for st. patrick's day for kindergarten
  2. Start with the syllable break down by writing one, two and three syllable words on the craft sticks. You will want one word per rainbow color stick per shamrock. I had five one syllable, five two syllable and 5 three syllable words each.  Our list was as follows 1: mop, mom, pan, run, son  2: color, garden, panda, super, open 3: umbrella, telephone, dinosaur, butterfly, elephant
  3. Write the numbers ( 1, 2, 3) on the different shamrocks. st. patrick's day math game for kindergarten
  4. Play! Set out the words and shamrocks.syllable break down game Ask your child to clap out or breakdown the words into syllables and place it on the shamrock with that number.syllables for st. patricks day He was way faster at this than I could have imaged.  Each shamrock has one craft stick in each color.syllable sorting reading activity for kindergarten My son didn’t need the prompt but had I been doing this at his age I would have welcomed the hint that the colors give without having to ask for help. If your child is struggling you can say ” Does the number 3 shamrock have a red stick yet?” * Also there is no shame in googling ” 2 syllable words” or ” How to break a word into syllables” as a parent it’s probably been years since you have clapped out a word . syllable sort reading activity
  5. Adding in a little lesson about rainbow colors I had him place the words in proper rainbow order after he’d sorted them. Syllable Counting
  6. This is when he said ” Ok now can we make it math?”
  7. So I flipped the sticks and wrote out simple equations. Again making sure to have one of each color matching the answer on the shamrocks. math activity for kindergarten
  8. He loved this . st. patrick's day mathHe decided he wanted to write the answer on each which slowed it down but I was so happy since writing is still not his favorite activity but is something he is doing in class right now. st.patrick's day math for kindergartenHe didn’t finish all the equations. That’s OK!  15 equations is a huge amount in one go .  This game can be played over and over again . math for kindergarten

For more Learning After School ideas check out these posts.