Using beads, toys, and markers to keep learning fun and simple.

My oldest daughter (age 6) is currently on a Summer break before starting First Grade next school year. I’ve been trying to incorporate as much education into her break without it feeling as if she is still in school. We’ve been turning to a play based approach to keep it casual, relaxed and fun during the summer. The goal is to avoid the summer slide and to enhance her reading skills to make sure she is where she needs to be for First Grade. My youngest (age 2) is still quite young and the play based approach is what best holds her interest all year round.

Today I kept it simple by bringing out markers, and paper. I wrote several words down, having my oldest read them and then asked her to write a few sentences to get in some writing time herself today. We traced our hands, our feet, my youngest cut up our scrap paper. We played with beads to work on fine motor skills, colors and basic counting. We looked at educational posters and we played with dolls and had fun together.

I often have to remind myself that all that matters is that they are exposed to education. It doesn’t have to be pretty and perfect looking. Writing out words on a piece of paper is enough. Buying materials for education can become pricey and I’m often searching for ideas in which I don’t have to print out and waste ink for everything. That’s why when I’m able to I just write it out on paper. Other times I use dry erase boards that way I don’t have to use paper. I can write a word, erase it, and write a new one saving on materials.

Writing sight words with dot and regular markers.
Writing words on paper during art time to get my oldest to read.
My oldest writing sentences during casual art time to keep it from feeling rigid and boring.
Tracing hands. I added simple sentences to my hand drawing to get my oldest to read and to count with my youngest. While throwing in a little bit of coloring learning. Blue and orange fingernails.
My oldest tracing her hand and arm as my youngest kept busy practicing her scissor skills by cutting up our scrap paper.
Dolls and posters to learn shapes.

When it comes to teaching kids the basics such as shapes, colors, numbers, etc. you can use various posters and toys that’ll hold their interest. At my house when my daughters aren’t in the mood to learn I’ll grab out posters and slip them into their play. They were playing with dolls today therefore I brought out a shape poster and we had the dolls jump around landing on different shapes naming each one. For my oldest I brought out a fraction poster and when a doll jumped on a fraction for example I’d say that doll ate half of the pie. To introduce the concept of fractions to my oldest. Then she’d add on looking at the different fraction images naming off how much of the pie the doll ate.

Playing with beads.

Stringing beads can be a great fine motor activity. Beads are also great for teaching colors, patterns, and counting. We incorporated their dolls in with bead play today as a way to keep their interest. My youngest needed more to hold her interest than the beads itself therefore I brought out the dolls and had them jump on the beads and name off each color. In which she did the same and began to name off the colors herself. Picking them up for the doll and picking out the dolls favorite colors.

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The above posters and bead sets are what we used in our lessons today.

Click image above for reading play scenes.
Click image above for sight words through play ideas.
Click image above for more shape learning ideas.
Click image above for more color learning ideas.
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