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 a Valentine’s Day word search 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.
Giant Valentine’s Day Word 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 wipeable.
- 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 anything, even names of people you love. It is 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! Now watch them amaze you with their skills as they complete this Valentine’s Day word search! As my son was doing this, I noticed he touched the letters, squished them, and traced a few with his hand. My cuddly guy 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 of the Valentine’s Day word search, but I am going to watch him much closer.
Any tips for correcting this? Experience with this particular tendency? I’m going to have him write on the wall (forces proper grip) but if you have other ideas please share!
Annie Moffatt says
This is so cute! I LOVE all of your ideas!!
This is such a great idea! Ony oldest just started doing word searches in some activity books she got for Christmas so she will love this!
I learned this trick from the OTs I work with: Hand the child the markers/pencil with the pointy end pointing toward him. This way he will will grab it by “pinching” the end with his thumb and forefinger. Then just flip it back in his hand and he’ll have a mature pen grasp. The OTs call this the “pinch and flip”.
I am going to do this ! Great suggestion.
I love this.
i have also seen OT’s who give a kid a stubby pencil or broken crayon which forces them to hold it more correctly. i haven’t seen the pinch and flip before, i love that idea. good luck!
This is such a fun idea!! Thanks for sharing!
Great idea! I love that the letters are raised too. Since you’re sharing OT ideas, OTs would also love for you to have your child trace the raised letters with his/her finger!
Drama Queens Mum says
I just wanted to let you now that I have given you the Versatile Blogger Award.
Joyce @Dinosaurs And Octopuses says
I love this idea and plan on doing something similar with my little boy. He really likes to touch and feel everything and I need to remember this more when I’m planning activities for him. Also, I wanted to say that my son was holding his hand like that as well. It took some time and he still has a tendency to start off that way, but now I can just ask him to hold it correctly and he switches it himself. For the longest time I had to help him position it properly. I found writing on his easel and lots of reminders to be helpful. He also wants to use scissors differently. Any tips for that?
Today I told my son that if he holds the scissors correctly that it will build his muscles properly (true) and he will be stronger than me soon ( true too). That was all it took and he cut away with the right position. For my son nagging is futile and will be met with a stone wall refusal , which I relate to because he gets that from me. If you tell him a story, explain WHY then there is hope.
Megan Sheakoski says
Love, love, love this and will be trying it soon! And as for working on grip window markers are always fun. 🙂
A friend of mine is a Special Education teacher and she suggests the
Adaptive tripod or D’Nealian grasp: The pencil is held between the index and third fingers with the tips of the thumb and index finger on the pencil. The pencil rests against the side of the third finger near its end.
pinch, rest, tuck method….. pinch the marker with their first two fingers, rest it on their third and tuck(nake the knuckles bend)
Love this idea btw. Going to try one for my daughters. Thanks!
Another great tip- thanks. I like to have as many strategies as I can!
stephanie a. says
We did this, thanks for the inspiration! I blogged about it and linked back with your button : )
such a cute idea. My son is in a Spanish Immerson school, so I think I will do his in Spanish
My son had problems with the pencil grip as well; his OT suggested using rock crayons instead of regular crayons. They are fantastic, they forced him to correct his grip since they have these small indentations for his little fingers. I hope it helps….
Allison McDonald says