Memorizing sight words through play.

My oldest daughter (age 6) is often disinterested in reading and learning sight words. Especially when she isn’t in the mood for reading a book I try to implement fun gaming strategies to maintain her interest. I’m always trying to come up with learning strategies that will keep my youngest daughter (age 2) busy as well. She’s always in the middle of our lessons and I need age appropriate content for her.

Today I brought out toys that both my daughters enjoy playing with along with sight word cards. I allowed my daughter’s to lead the gameplay as long as my oldest daughter would read the words on the card. She proceeded to line the cards up making her own gameboard. She placed fidget spinners in different places to make them free spots in which she wouldn’t have to read a card. I asked her what she’d want to use to determine how many steps each character could take. In which she decided to use a stuff animal grey hedgehog. Claiming that if it lands on it’s stomach that’s one space, if it landed on it’s back that’s six spaces. I often let her make up her own rules which allows less resistance when it comes to reading the words.

My youngest daughter played with three fidget spinners. I would help her get the fidget spinners to spin each time they stopped and we placed little toys on top to spin and watch them fly off. In between playing the sight word game with my oldest. The spinners kept my youngest distracted as my oldest read her word cards. I used basic position words such as on/off. The car is on, the car fell off.

Any kind of toys would work it’s really about creating an environment that doesn’t feel as school-like and strict when it comes to reading sight words. I used sight word cards that I made printed out and laminated for durability. I used orange and green stickers to quickly recognize which words are from the preschool list and which are from the Kindergarten list. If you’d prefer not to print anything out you can write out the words on index cards instead. I personally bring out around 12 words at a time to review words she already knows or to work towards memorizing new words.

Teaching Spanish Week 3: Focus words for the week.

Each week I run my oldest daughters (age 6) Spanish lesson alongside my youngest daughters (age 2) letter of the week theme. Week 3 we focused on words that started with the letter C. Therefore I made my oldest daughter a poster that focused on the name of each animal and food item in Spanish. I also made a simple matching activity that goes along with the poster. I placed both within my daughters Spanish binder to reuse and review throughout our Spanish unit.

Week 3: Focus Words Poster
Week 3: Matching Worksheet

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Books listed above are books I use to expose my daughters to the Spanish language.

Teaching the color grey in Spanish.

To teach my children (ages 2 and 6) Spanish I have been using a week by week method. Each week I introduce a new focus color. For the color grey I made a Spanish/English grey color poster and a matching worksheet to go along with it. I placed the sheets within my daughters Spanish Binder to be used as a review throughout our Spanish unit. By placing it within a binder sheet my daughter is able redo the matching activity as often as she likes.

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Above books are helpful books when guiding young learner through colors in Spanish.

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A day of learning. Reminding myself that it’s ok to take breaks and enjoy the moment.

This week has been a struggle to keep my Kindergartener focus. Often when she feels overwhelmed she lashes out and refuses to finish her school lessons. Therefore today we took many breaks between her school lessons and added filler lessons of our own that allowed her some free expression. Art tends to help my daughters regain their focus and allow them to express themselves. After my daughter completed her Art requirements I allowed both my daughters to choose what they wanted to make, and what they would like to use for their art work. Today we used watercolors and dot markers.

My oldest daughters (age 6) artwork.

When finished I asked my daughter to tell me about her artwork. She explained to me that it was inspired by shapes.

My oldest daughter (age 6) artwork.

The above art piece she informed me was rainbow fingerprints with tadpoles and lily pads.

My youngest (age 2) artwork.

When finished I asked her to tell me about the painting. She had told me it was a dinosaur. Although her older sister had helped point out to her that it looked like a dinosaur. In which they decided it was a dinosaur climbing.

My children’s take on gym class.

As like many things gym class at home isn’t quite the same as a traditional gym class in school. I set timers throughout the day in which we spend 15-30 minutes at a time to devote to physical education. My daughter’s grab jump ropes, agility ladders and run around from one activity to the next. Sometimes we just dance, other times they jump on our indoor trampoline. Often they create obstacle courses. Today they played with jumps ropes, danced, and spent some time on the trampoline.

Songs we often listen to during dance time…
See it Say it Sign it by Jack Hartmann
Count to 120
Count 1-20
Days of the Week
The Floor is Lava
Gummy Bear Song

Making snowballs.
Outdoor time

We took a break outside before finishing my oldest daughters last school lesson for the day. I’ve learned it’s ok to take breaks and taking our time is fine. Rushing her only makes her more upset and causes it to take longer to get through lessons. Therefore we just spend the day as everything we do is a learning experience. Life is often taken so seriously and we forget to just enjoy the process enjoy life. Wrapped up in the notion of what everything must look like rather than enjoying each day.

When we got back inside our cat threw up on the trampoline. Pushing the urgency of finishing my daughters last lesson further back. As I cleaned up the mess, with my daughters screaming eww gross in the background. My oldest said “it sounded like he pooped.” Which I replied “No definitely throw up a hair ball.” Again learning at home is different than sending kids off to school in which they’re in an environment with other children their age learning at their level. At home there’s always random hiccups throughout the day.

At home with kids at different educational levels it can often be a struggle trying to find activities engaging and appropriate for both. Through all that though being able to spend extra time with my kids and having an opportunity to be a part of their learning process rather than sending them off to school feels rewarding. Even though most days are spent in chaos trying to keep my kids on track and focused. As my husband often states the most important thing is focusing on what’s going on right now not what will happen next. Reminding myself of that throughout the day it reminds me to enjoy the moment although crazy and chaotic if I focus on the moment with my daughters eventually tomorrow will come and yesterday wasn’t a waste they learned something no matter how small or simple.

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Winter theme reading game.

My oldest daughter age six is often reluctant to do anything that feels like learning. Therefore I’m constantly looking for and trying to come up with games to incorporate reading throughout our day that doesn’t involve reading a book. I wanted an activity that would help my daughter sound out words faster and help her memorize sight words. I made a set of sight word cards, CVC cards for sounding out, and 12 picture cards with a Winter theme.

Winter theme picture cards
CVC cards
Pre-K sight words.

I placed orange dot stickers on the back of each Pre-K sight word card before laminating the cards for durability. I used the stickers as a way to easily identify which words belong to the Pre-K sight word list. As we play the game I take a note of what words she’s able to recognize. That way I can cross them off our sight word goal list.

Kindergarten sight word cards

I placed green dot stickers on the back of each Kindergarten sight word card before laminating them. The same as the Pre-K cards I wanted to be able to identify them easily that way I could quickly check them off the correct sight word list.

Cards placed in different piles.
Writing sentences using the cards drawn.
Sentences written on a dry erase board.

When we play the game we place the cards in three piles. Picture cards, CVC cards, sight word cards. We play with only 12 cards per pile. That way the game doesn’t become overwhelming. My daughter and I write out sentences using the cards we draw. When my daughter grows tired of writing out the sentences she’ll tell stories using the cards she chose from the piles. You can use the CVC cards, and sight word cards as standalone flash cards. I incorporate the picture cards because my oldest daughter is more likely to hold interest when she’s able to add her own twist to a game and create her own stories.

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Above books and games are my Amazon picks for teaching young children to read.

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Teaching Spanish Week three: The number is 3 and the shape is an oval.

I made a coloring page and a shape tracing activity written both in Spanish and English to help teach my daughters the words for three and oval in Spanish. Since I myself am not fluent in Spanish I write sentences out in English as well for a quick reference. That way I can easily tell my daughters what it says in English.

My youngest (age 2) enjoyed coloring the page.
Placed with my oldest daughters Spanish binder.

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Books pictured above are my Amazon choices for helping teach Spanish to young kids.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Before children my husband and I didn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. Now that we do have children we treat it as a family holiday. Prior years my husband would buy them a small gift usually a stuff animal hedgehog. This year he continued the tradition by buying both our daughter’s stuff animal hedgehogs. Since Valentine’s Day fell on a Sunday we decided to make a full day out of it.

We played with dough.
We colored Valentine’s Day theme coloring pages. I shared the coloring pages in previous post. Link to that post will be towards bottom of page. : )
We made cupcakes, my oldest and I decorated them.
A bottle of sprinkles later, she was ready to reach in and eat them.

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Items above are items that we use at our house. I don’t bake much so we went the simple route and used a box mix. We used the chocolate cake version of the funfetti mix.

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Valentine’s Day inspired craft and coloring pages.

With Valentine’s Day landing on a Sunday this year I wanted to find fun Valentine’s Day inspired activities for the weekend. I asked my oldest daughter what she’d want to make. I suggested heart monsters. She had informed me that heart monsters were silly and didn’t make sense. I asked her what about animals, she declined that idea and decided she wanted to make a heart person. Often when it comes to crafts she often wants to do it her own way, this time she wanted me to make her a basic template to color and cut out. At her age I try to get her to practice her writing as much as possible therefore I placed a To: and From: spot and turned the heart people into cards. I made one template as a kid with a dress and the as a kid without a dress.

M youngest daughter (age 2) heart people cards.
My oldest daughter (age 6) heart people cards.

For added learning fun I also made five Valentine’s Day theme coloring pages for early readers. One of the coloring pages can also be used as 4 Valentine’s Day cards that kids can color, and cut out to give away to friends and family for the holiday.

Can also be used as fun cards to decorate and cut out for Valentine’s Day.
For additional scissor practice the heart can be cut out and given away as a homemade gift for Valentine’s Day.

Talking about Valentine’s Day and looking at the symbol of a heart I wanted to talk more about the human heart to my youngest daughter (age 2). When we look at the shape of a heart I often ask her where is your heart in which she points to her chest, and I’ll explain to her that her heart pumps the blood through her body. I filled out a simple sheet about the human heart that I printed out in which I could use to remember the main talking points I wanted to cover with my daughter’s about the human heart. I also made a simple sheet to print out with information about Valentine’s Day. The possible theory of how Valentine’s Day came about is morbid. I tried to keep it simple and straight to the point. The world isn’t built on perfect and I don’t believe painting a light in which it is perfect is a healthy thing for anyone. Therefore I try to be honest with my children while not bombarding them with all the terrible truths of the past. Of course as parents/caregivers we all must choose what we feel is appropriate for our children therefore I kept the human heart and Valentine’s Day sheets separate that way it’d be easier if you chose that you wanted to print out the human heart facts and not the Valentine’s Day sheet.

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Week 3: The letter is C, the color is grey, the number is three, and the shape is an oval.

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I printed out a sheet to fill out each week. I placed the sheet within a dry erase pocket that I hang on the wall. By placing it in a dry erase pocket I can reuse the same sheet each week and save on paper.

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Items shown above are my picks for toys and tools to use that help reinforce early learning.