This was originally supposed to be part of our Alphabet For Starters series with alphabet letters on the windows and a rag for my daughter to erase them. But someone got visibly upset when it was suggested she could erase the letters and didn’t want anything to do with that part of the activity. So after we settled her my son and I adapted this for him. I wrote out summer themed words and unlike his sister he loved it.
- Gather your materials. We used window markers, baby wipes and a bucket for yucky wipes. Now feel free to use anything to wipe the windows I am using baby wipes because my son has sensitive skin and anything but sensitive fragrance free wipes pose an issue for him. After the activity I took window cleaner and cleaned it properly.
- Write out words on the windows. Like I mentioned we did summer / beach house words since we are gearing up for a mini beach vacation and getting really excited. Use any words your child can handle and will be fun for them. If words are too much try letters or shapes.
- Next get your bucket and wipes ready …. and watch your child wipe everything in 3 seconds flat. I umm forgot to explain the game to him I was so excited. So after I wrote the words out again and explained the game I called out the words and he wiped them once he found them. If you have more than one reader you could even write out the words twice and have a race.
- I popped out to the porch for a different view. I should have taken the screen off but really I never plan these activities that far in advance and this was very much a spur of the moment one . Make sure to have some challenging words in the mix, most of these were easy for my son to find but a few were a good challenge too.
Books About The Beach
Great round up of the beach themed picture books pictured above.
Many moons ago ( OK 2003) I was student teaching the 6th grade ( yes most were taller than me) and I was teaching a unit on the book Holes by Louis Sachar. I was reading the book to my students and losing their attention . To keep it I created a bingo game of words in each chapter. I’d hand out the sheets, they’d listen for the words and mark ones they heard. It was exactly what they needed to stay engaged and our discussions at the end of the chapters went from 2 kids to most of the class. Today I am sharing how I modified this for my son who is 5 and just starting to read independently.
- Gather your materials. You will need some paper, a marker, a book and a dot paint marker .
- Before calling your child to play flip through the book and choose some words. I only chose each word once, and did one for every two pages so I could read it out loud to him at a normal speed without him having to stop too often to bam the paper. With one kid I just had a sheet to fill, not a bingo format.
- Start reading.
- It was a hit from the start . I will be doing this with many other books in the future.
- When he missed a word I invited him to look for it in the book.
- Got it!
Making reading a game has been a big part of my son’s ease into reading. Still even now that he is reading well he doesn’t always want to read books to my husband or I opting to read to his sister or alone. Building confidence is tricky. Instead of forcing them to read aloud when they don’t want to , play some games and let the fun build the confidence. After their confidence builds they will be much more apt to read aloud .
My son loved the 3D Word Search I made him a while back so when I saw that the dollar store had pink and purple foam letters I grabbed a few packs and headed home to make another for him. The great thing about this activity is that it incorporates different senses . Kids can see and feel the letters that make up the words. I kept the words easy to find by making them all a uniform color for my beginning reader but make it as tricky as you want. Also even if your child isn’t reading you can still make this , just turn it into a letter search .
- Gather your materials. You will need a canvas or other stiff cardboard base, contact paper, foam letter stickers , scissors and a marker. Depending on which contact paper you get you will want to either use a dry erase marker or a regular washable maker if you want to use the word search as a write and wipe surface. I bought a new type of contact paper this week and dry erase is a pain to wipe off it, but washable markers do great with a baby wipe. If you want this to be a one time only activity you can skip the contact paper and just add the letters to some construction paper.
- Cover the canvas with contact paper- this makes the surface wipe able.
- Add your words. I tried my best to stay lined up but I never worry about it being exactly perfect. I took words from classic conversation hearts but you can do any thing , even names of people you love. I find it easiest to add one row vertically and one horizontally first then fill the columns in .
- Write the words out on some paper .
- Add a marker and a kid and watch them amaze you with their skills! As my son was doing this I noticed he touched the letters, squished them and traced a few with his hand. My cuddly guy ( he’ll hate that I said that in a year or two) seems to have a real need for kinesthetic elements in his lessons.
- I also noticed how he was holding his marker, after I took these pictures. He has a natural tendency to twist his wrist like that for cutting but it’s the first time I have witnessed it for writing. Not sure if it was just because of the raised letters but I am going to watch him much closer … Any tips of correcting this ? Experience with this particular tendency? I am going to have him write on the wall more ( forces proper grip) but if you have any other awesome ideas please share !
I can’t take full credit for this activity idea . Word searches in bottles of rice, popcorn kernels etc.. have been around for as long as I have been teaching and probably much much longer. I was reminded of the simple genius of these last night when searching Pinterest for sight word ideas for a reader who was looking for more activities for her son. I pinned this activity onto my early literacy pinterest board but felt like I needed to make my own version using Halloween words. Here is what we did.
- Gather your materials. You will need some filler ( we used our Halloween Sensory tub filler ) like black beans , orange lentils and creepy toys! You will also need some stiff paper ( we used paint chips but card stock will work too), a clip board, markers and a permanent marker. You will also need a large plastic jar, water bottles work too but you may want to take the larger spooky toys out of the mix.
- Write out the words your child is searching for I had my son help me think of Halloween words.
- Write them on the paint chips or card stock. I wrote some words out multiple times and some like Boo! only once. Just to make it successful but challenging.
- Cut and pop them in the jar with the filler.
- Search !
- Cross the words out when you find them.
- We challenged each other to find words. I like this game because it gets kids reading, searching and can be adapted to any level. For younger kids use plain letters, older ones cut the letters of the words out and have them search and spell!
My Favorite Halloween Book For Little Ones
Ghosts in the House! by Kazuno Kohara is on my must buy list! A little girl moves into house and soon finds out it is haunted. Luckily she is a witch and knows just what to do. The ghosts in the story seem mischievous but never scary and even when she washes them in the washing machine, they are still smiling! My son loved this book, the text was the perfect length for a 3 year old, short but still descriptive. I loved the simple black and orange colors and had to look at the copyright twice because I was certain this was written sometime in the 30s, nope 2008. The simplicity of the book and colors is balanced so well with the little details like the litt;e girl’s constant companion , a white cat that puts on a black costume when the little witch pops on her hat. This detail had my son in stitches, “Cats don’t wear clothes , silly cat!” . Absolutely a perfect Halloween book for children not yet ready to be scared for fun!
If an I-Spy book and a sensory bin had a baby this is what they would wake up at 2am to feed. My son’s interests are geared mostly to games and pretend play these days and while most of our time is spent doing funny accents I like doing these fun games that work on a bunch of skills in a short amount of time. This works on handwriting , reading and observation skills.
- Gather your materials. You can use almost anything , easy right? You need toys, and other small objects that your child can read but that aren’t too easy or it’s not going to be a 5 minute sparkler , it will be done in 30 seconds. So go around your house and trust me you’ll find things pretty fast. If your child is not a reader use colors or just the first letter. You will also need a bin, marker, sheet of card stock , and a crayon.
- Write out the words of all the objects on the card stock with marker.
- Pop the toys in the bin, hand your child the list. Stick around so if words are tricky you can help them try different strategies like using the objects for clues, sounding out the word or passing on to the next to return to it after.