” Mom how do you spell ______? “ is that a common phrase at your house? Since my son has started reading more and more fluently he has been eager to spell words as well. The catch is he’s not the most enthusiastic writer. I want to fill that desire to spell without creating crazy stress over writing . This is an easy way to make spelling into a puzzle and not a test. If you are a long time reader you probably know I am a terrible speller and I so want my kids to love the challenge of spelling that I never had for fear of being wrong. Games and activities like this are a great way to start.
- Gather your materials. You will need some( many) letter stickers ( you can just write on the blocks but I prefer to do something temporary), blocks, a spinner, animal stickers and time to sit down and play with your child.
- Start by placing animal stickers on the spinner. I chose animals my son would be able to spell with encouragement. Which means a parent helping him sound out when he got stuck. Not quite all by himself, there needs to be some challenge.
- Now add the letters. Spell each word yourself to make sure that you have them correct, remebering that some letters can be used for multiple words… it’s only a little tricky.
- Time to play . It’s simple, they spin the spinner then spell the word corresponding to the animal the spinner landed on.
- Spin and spell! My son kept landing on lion, after a few I thought he’d get annoyed but instead he said ” I know this word L-I-O-N ”
Remember you can break this down for non readers too by looking for the first sound, or for even younger children by providing a basket of toys with matching animals. Lots of options.
I often go to the dollar store for inspiration, and I found these fun paper cuts and spinners on my last trip and decided to put together a math game with a rocket theme. My son likes numbers and rockets so I thought easy peasy, sure fire hit. No. Not with me but for some reason when daddy got home they played after dinner until I had to break it up for bedtime. Goes to show you that if something doesn’t go smoothly at first tweak it ( like maybe let daddy do it) and try again.
- Gather your materials. I bought these rocket cut outs but you could make them ( a helpful time saver would be to find a rocket cookie cutter and trace it), I also got the spinner at the dollar store as well. You will also need a marker.
- Number at least 2 sets of the rockets from 1-8 .
- Place dots from 1-8 on the spinner sections.
- To play: give each player 8 rocket pieces in order.
- Take turns spinning the spinner. When it lands on a section count the dots and take that number out of your line up.
- First person to have no rockets left wins.
- Also to make it more fun, my son and husband would do a count down every time they removed a rocket. They started with whatever the number they had to remove . For example if the spinner landed on a 7 they would say 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 BLAST OFF then launch the rocket into a pile, and spin the next number.
Goodnight Moon 123 by Margaret Wise Brown uses the familiar illustrations from the classic book by Margaret Wise Brown and turns it into a counting book. The page with 100 stars really has 100 stars on it, count and see!
One, Two, Three by Tom Slaughter is super simple, bold, bright and a great counting book! These aren’t complex books, pictures matter because they should encourage the reader to want to count and connect the number they have counted with the number printed on the page. I would happily recommend this book to families with babies through preschoolers , my 3 year old loved it and partly because he read all the pictures and numbers himself!
Mouse Count by Ellen Stoll Walsh is another gem from this author illustrator. In this book the mice outsmart a hungry snake and save themselves from his belly. In the meantime the reader counts along as the mouse are caught and put in a jar , then again when they escape. The simple illustrations are so effective and my son loved this book.