Early reader coloring pages; Animal shapes.

I frequently use coloring pages as fun additional learning practice on the weekends. As a way to incorporate reading for my oldest (age 6) that isn’t strict. My youngest daughter (age 2) is currently working on recognizing her shapes therefore I decided to make coloring pages that would cover shape learning as well as early reading. To be efficient for both my daughters. I made the coloring pages with and without sentences. That way the pages for my youngest had larger animals with easier to make out shapes. The pages with sentences have sight words in bold font as quick reminders for early readers that those are words best memorized rather than sounded out.

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A new book; We See Colors With Red and Blue.

I’ve recently written and illustrated a book called “We See Colors With Red and Blue.” It is currently available in an ebook form and can be purchased through Amazon. We See Colors With Red and Blue

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Meet the characters! Red and Blue.

Book synopsis:
Red Apple Tree and Blue Eye Guy invite you to play a fun game of We See Colors. Where they welcome you into a colorful reading journey through their world. Introducing young children to a variety of sight words as they learn to recognize their colors. Allowing parents and children to read together building their confidence and setting the foundation to become independent readers.

The book is set up in a way that can be read to small children and as they grow they can begin to follow along and read to you. It’s both a fun way to teach children their colors and introduce them to many sight words at the same time. I kept the characters names simple and chose Blue/Red specifically because they are sight words. Throughout the book sight words are in bold font for a quick reminder to early readers those words are best to be memorized rather than sounded out. Towards the end of the book you will find a list of all the sight words found throughout the book.

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Learning through play: Mail theme.

Recently we’ve been adapting a play based approach during our summer break. That way my oldest doesn’t lose the knowledge she learned all awhile getting the summer break she desires. Trying to come up with ideas to keep both my daughters interested and learning at their correct levels can be exhausting. Lately I’ve been taking a day to day approach in which I ask what they want to play and I just go with it and on the spot I throw in as much learning as possible within the activity. My only catch when it comes to the oldest is I tell her it has to involve writing. She often rolls her eyes and runs away when I grab out her journal and ask her to write. Therefore I’ve been trying to make it more fun.

What I was able to cover in our mail time…
-Reading: My daughter read the notes I wrote.
-Writing: My daughter wrote out notes for me and her little sister to read.
-Shapes: I drew pictures of shapes for my youngest.
-Sight words: I placed sight word cards into the mail box for my oldest to read.
-Alphabet recognition: I placed colorful alphabet pieces in the box for my daughters to name the different letters.

We placed our mail within a bin I had on hand. You can get creative and add to the fun by making a mailbox out of an old shoe box or similar box you have on hand.

Inside the box we all placed our notes to each other. My oldest wrote out her notes giving her plenty of writing practice for the day. My youngest drew all over pieces of paper for her notes. I wrote out notes to my oldest to help practice her reading skills, and I drew shapes for my youngest as a way to work in shape recognition for the day. I even added in letters from an alphabet puzzle we have, and sight word cards I’ve made previously.

An envelope my daughter made out of stickers and paper.
Samples of the notes I made for my daughters.

I’ve been trying to do no print simple activities lately. To make the letters more fancy they could easily be printed from the computer. The possibilities are endless as far as what the notes can cover in the sense of learning. A focus I have with my youngest is currently shapes therefore I chose to do pictures of shapes with you. While working in basic number practice as well. My oldest is at a level in which reading is a main focus therefore I kept her notes reading oriented without pictures.

A purse made out of paper and yarn my daughter made to hold the letters when finished.

After she made hers I made my own version using staples instead of tape to keep it more sturdy. I also tied string to the bag rather than taped it on which was used as a handle for the purse.

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Click image above to find the sight word cards to print out.
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Learning through play: Superheroes

To keep learning fun and engaging throughout summer break we have been taking a play based learning approach. My daughters often pick a theme in which we use within our lessons for the day. My daughters recently wanted to play Superheroes. (ages 2 and 6)

We used construction paper and popsicle sticks to make our own superhero masks. When finished we wrote out facts about our superhero which gave my oldest the opportunity to practice on her writing skills. I had my oldest read the facts I wrote down about the superhero my youngest and I made together.

Learning I was able to incorporate within the Superhero theme…
-color recognition
-shape recognition
-reading
-writing
-creativity
-scissor skills

My oldest daughters Unicorn superhero mask.
Her unicorn had laser eyes, and could fly.
The Purple Cookie Superhero mask.

My youngest daughter came up with all the powers except for laser eyes. My oldest daughter added laser eyes to make the superhero a worthy partner in her eyes. It’s funny to stop and think like a two year old because eating an unlimited amount of cookies without getting sick would be a superpower. One that I never would have thought about. My youngest and I made the mask together. She picked out the colors to use which gave her an opportunity to work on her color recognition. I cut out the eyes as squares and ears as rectangles to incorporate shapes within the activity.

Colorful popsicle sticks.

I laid out colorful popsicle sticks for my youngest to choose from. I had her name each color as she chose which popsicle stick she wanted to use as the handle for the superhero mask.

As I cut out the eyes of the superhero mask my youngest poked holes in another piece of paper.
My youngest daughter added a pink mask to her mask because she insisted it needed one.
My youngest daughter practiced her scissor skills by cutting the masks hair. She’s still working on proper grip. She often tries to use two hands.

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Above items are my Amazon picks.



Learning through play: Treasure hunt.

Lately since it is my oldest daughters (age 6) summer break I’ve been trying to keep learning simple to avoid the summer slide all awhile not overwhelming her. Also allowing myself a break from the learning meltdowns that occur when she has to do scheduled school work in which she isn’t interested in. Over the summer we’ve adapted a learning through play approach in which I ask my daughters what they want to play and then we quickly get to it. In which I haven’t had to plan ahead.

My oldest decided she wanted to go on a treasure hunt. I gathered old fashion jewelry my kids already own, paper money and placed it within an old basket. In which she chose where to hide it because my oldest feels best when she is in control of an activity. Therefore she hid the bucket from her little sister (age 2) and we both began to make maps to find the treasure.

To make our maps we grabbed paper, pencils, markers, and scissors then got to work. We also made clues, and our own fake coins because my daughters insisted no treasure is complete without coins.

Maps and clues…
-writing practice
-reading practice as my oldest read my map and clues
-shape recognition because I used basic shapes to make the images on the map
-imagination and creativity
-scissor practice my oldest cut her map up and hid it around the house

Making paper coins…
-color recognition
-scissor practice

A map my youngest and I made together.

I used simple captions on the treasure map for my oldest to read. I tried to incorporate shapes. For example I went with the typical house drawing using a square and a triangle in order to work in shape recognition for my youngest

I wrote down simple sentences for my daughters to follow.

I kept the sentences simple for my oldest daughter that is learning to read. I didn’t plan ahead for the activity therefore I wrote out the sentences on plain paper. Of course you could always print out clues/directions to make it look more fancy. Recently I have just been keeping our activities simple and saving time not over planning.

Treasure map my oldest made.
A clue that a map piece was hidden under a chair in the shape of a fox.
Colorful coins to point out colors to my youngest daughter. A treasure isn’t complete without coins of course.
Coins my oldest made.

For added scissor practice kids can make their own treasure coins to find. I simply drew them on a piece of paper using a variety of colors and we cut them out together. You could draw coins in various shapes for additional shape recognition. I didn’t think about it till after I drew traditional circle coins. As I stated before I didn’t plan ahead. I’ve been keeping learning fun, engaging and allowing my daughters to use their imagination by picking an activity and going with it. When they pick the activity I have found they are more willing to learn and stick with it.

My youngest daughters coins.
Looking for treasure in the ball pit.
They found the treasure! Time to dig in.

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Learning through play: Restaurant theme.

My daughters are currently ages 2 and 6. My oldest is currently on her summer break before starting First Grade. Since we homeschool in or household it is hard to separate school from home life. I’ve been trying to keep both my kids learning and avoiding my oldest from the dreaded summer slide. Although since we do homeschool I wanted my daughter to still feel as if she had a summer break all while learning. Therefore we’ve adapted a play based approach.

My oldest often doesn’t feel like writing and reading. When I state it is time for writing and or to sit down and read a book she often gets frustrated and tells me it isn’t school time. Rather than skipping anything educational at all I’ve been asking her what she wants to play and then incorporating reading and writing within the activity her and her sister chooses. My daughters enjoy playing restaurant. We made our own menus and restaurant signs which gave my oldest an opportunity to practice her writing and to express her creative side at the same time. You could also write down customer orders as you play for more writing practice.

Besides writing and reading it is a great opportunity to talk about the concept of money and learn simple counting and math skills when the restaurant owner collects the money from the customer. Depending on the variety of play food you have on hand you can also incorporate color learning for younger children such as my two year old. I often ask her what color is the broccoli, banana, etc.

My oldest daughters menu.
My oldest daughters restaurant sign.
Open sign. I tried to get in as much reading as possible. As I asked my daughter to read each sign I made to me.
My restaurant sign.
I didn’t get all fancy with it. I just simply wrote my menu down on line paper by hand. I left out pictures because I wanted her to focus on reading and not rely on pictures for clues.
I added more menu items to the back upon her request because she wasn’t satisfied with the few options I had given her.
My oldest daughters fries made out of construction paper she made herself.
When finished with our menus and signs my daughter hung them on the dollhouse side of our play kitchen.
My youngest daughter was our first customer.

It is important to remember that learning doesn’t have to be perfectly structured and the best way to learn is through fun. Just enjoy the process. The whole point is for it to be fun and enjoyable that way the child is more willing to learn and their interest is better held. If your child doesn’t enjoy playing restaurant that is ok go with an activity that they do enjoy instead. The possibilities are endless.

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Above items are my Amazon picks.

Learning various skills through pretend play: Doctor Theme

Keeping my oldest daughter (age 6) engaged and interested in the learning process can be difficult at times. I often try to incorporate a play based approach to learning which helps tame her meltdowns and allows for a better learning environment. Since I also have a 2 year old tackling learning using a play based approach also helps bridge their different learning levels. It allows me to keep them both engaged and learning at their correct level at the same time.

Both my daughters enjoy playing doctor. Which gives an opportunity to talk about organs and different body parts. For example when using a toy stethoscope I’m able to talk about the heart and what it does. For my youngest I simply mention that everyone has a heart in their chest and its job is to pump the blood through your body.

On days my oldest daughter isn’t in the mood for reading a book we are able to sit down together and create our own illnesses in which I have her read what I wrote about my made up illness. When I’m able to get her to focus it is also a great writing opportunity for her in which she can write out details about the illness she makes up and we can count that as her writing for the day. Although the other day she was only in the mood for drawing out pictures and writing very little.

The Green and Red Pox.
Elephant Pox.
The Bubble-Pops.
Unicorn sickness.
Hung on a door to display in our pretend doctor clinic.

To add in a fine motor activity I cut various sizes of yarn and used them as pretend worms in which my youngest removed from her stomach. Since she had a pretend tummy ache from all the yarn worms. When finished we lined up the yarn and went over the concept shortest, longest. In terms of the worm (yarn) sizes in comparism to each other.

Gross yarn worms!
shortest, longest

When it comes to learning through a play based approach I’ve learned not to take it to seriously, and go with activities you know your children enjoy. My kids lean towards playing doctor therefore I just go with it and add in as much learning to the activity as possible.

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Paper plates masks.

After her younger sister (age 2) goes to bed my oldest daughter (age 6) and I spend around 30 minutes to an hour together playing or experimenting with art nightly. During the day it’s difficult to play board games and create art using various supplies because my youngest is at the age in which she likes to participate although she gets bored rather quickly and begins grabbing everything and tossing it all over the place. Which can make playing a game of my oldest daughters choice difficult.

Tonight my oldest decided she wanted to make paper plate masks for her dads birthday. I often allow her to choose the materials she wants to use in which she chose paper plates, popsicle sticks, glue, and markers. I brought out water colors as well. I use art time in our home as a time for my daughters to feel in charge and break away from a strict learning regimen. My oldest gets upset quickly when she feels she isn’t in control of a situation, she likes to make the rules and do things the way she wants. Therefore I allow her to choose projects she’d like to make during art time to give her a safe place to be in control and allow her creative side to show through.

A mask my daughter made for me to wear.
A tiger mask that I made.

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Click image above for a fun super hero theme craft idea.
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Butterfly theme coloring pages for early readers.

I often make coloring pages with simple sentences for early readers to color with my children over the weekends as a way to get my oldest (age 6) to read in a fun relaxed way. I keep the coloring pages simple to allow my daughters space to draw in their own images if they choose to do so. Adding in a chance for their creativity to shine through. On the coloring pages I bold sight words as a way to remind my daughter those words are best to memorize rather than use sounding out techniques on. She often gets confused and since she is still learning the basics of reading I use the bold font as an extra cue.

Both my daughters enjoy looking at butterflies outside therefore I decided to make butterfly theme coloring pages.

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Above items are my Amazon picks.

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Simple craft activity making pretend fish.

Today I decided to try a craft activity to cover several subjects at the same time. Colors, shapes, scissor skills, tracing, creativity, counting and writing. It worked better than I had envisioned in my head. Although my youngest became bored early on I was able to hold her interest long enough to go over a few basic skills. We made fish without templates. I wanted an activity that allowed especially my oldest to use her imagination and create her own creations.

The activity was simple and I did it without prep. I simply asked my daughters if they wanted to pretend fish today and when they replied yes I then asked if they wanted to make their own fish. In which I gathered construction paper, markers, glue, scissors, and my oldest grabbed an old box. When finished you can count the fish with small children to practice counting. Using various construction paper colors gives an opportunity to mention colors. More variety the better. The fish can be cut into various shapes to add in shape learning. You could write sight words down on the fish to add in additional reading practice. Kids can write their own words on the fish for writing practice. The activity is limitless.

Fish in pond box.
Fishing with poles made out of paper and toilet paper rolls.
Adding in color and shape learning for my youngest. (age 2)
Adding in writing practice for my oldest. (age 6) By asking her to write out each fishes name.
My oldest making a shark for the box.
My oldest daughters fishing pole design.
Shark attack.

My youngest began to grow tired of art time. She began to throw a temper tantrum stating she wanted screen time. I often try to engage them in hands on activities throughout the day. To bring back her interest in the activity and steer her away from screen time my daughter put on a play. She placed a toy in the box and began to act as if it was under attack.

Drawing on toys.

I turned my head away from my youngest because my oldest wanted to show me the fishes she was creating and by the time I looked back it was to late she had already drawn all over a toy. I had brought out the toy trying to be silly to further bring her back into the activity and make her laugh. Unfortunately the doll became a casualty in the battle of keeping my daughter away from screen time. That’s why we use washable markers.

Giving the toy a bath to wash away the marker.

( I am a participant in the Amazon Associates Program and any qualifying purchases made through affiliate links I may earn a commission on at no additional cost to you.)
Items shown above are my Amazon picks.

Click image above for more counting and number fun.
Click image above for more ways to teach shapes.
Click image above for more ways to teach colors.
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