Learning through play: Making Magic Potions.

For a fun educational Halloween inspired activity my daughters (age 2 and 6) and I made magic potions. To incorporate as much learning within the activity as possible I made colorful apples, shape pumpkins, and plain pumpkins to write sight words on. That my daughters could mix into their potions. The purpose of the activity was to supplement my oldest daughters daily goals which are reading, sight words, writing, and math in a fun way. A way that also covers going over basic skills with my youngest consisting of shapes and colors. Originally I had planned on adding in alphabet pieces either alphabet magnets, alphabet puzzle pieces, or alphabet lacing beads. However this time my youngest quickly lost interest in the activity although we were able to cover shapes and colors before she moved on.

Learning I incorporated within activity…
-colorful apples for color recognition
-shape pumpkins for shape recognition
-writing practice as my oldest wrote down her own potions
-sight words written on pumpkins
-reading 2 pages of simple directions for the activity
-basic math as we added up the ingredients to make the potions

Stirring a magic potion.
Googly eye feathers my daughter made for the potions.
Zombie potion.
Zombie potion recipe.
Zombie face mask made out of a paper plate.
Basic math. Fitting in more double practice. 4+4=8 add one more and you get 9.
Pumpkin shapes cards laminated for durability.
I kept the cards blank that way I could laminate them and write new sight words each time we play with the cards.
Colorful apple cards laminated for durability.
Adding reading into the activity.
Adding reading into the activity.

I hope our Magic Potions inspired some fun learning through play ideas. If you prefer print free activities instead of using the pumpkins, and apple cards you could cut out fun potion ingredients out of construction paper.

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Above items are my Amazon picks.

Click the image above for more Halloween inspired learning fun.

Sight word pocket wall.

Teaching my daughter sight words has been difficult. Trying to stay on track, and determining how many to teach at a time has been a challenging process for me. I’ve tried buying sight word cards in the past and I haven’t liked them. Most of the ones I’ve found have been double sided with different sight words on each side. I’ve tried creating a wall in which kept track of sight words she learned in which I quickly fell behind on. Recently I’ve decided to change my approach. I wrote sight words down on index cards list by list. In which I wrote which list the card was from on the back and the sight word on the front. Rubber banding each list together. I grabbed 6 dry erase pockets I already had on hand and placed them upon a wall in my daughters bedroom. I used 3 categories.

Categories for sight word wall…
1. Words that I know.
2. Words of the week.
3. Words that I do not know.

Sight word wall organized by dry erase pockets.
Sample of front side of sight word card.
Sample of back side of index card.

The way I went about it is I wrote down list by list rubber banding each list together. The first week I had my daughter read each card if she knew any already I placed it within the “Words that I know” category. Any cards she didn’t know I carried over into the following week. Week one I started with list one, she knew all those words therefore I placed them all in the “Words I already know” category and grabbed list two. The idea is that words placed within the “Words that I know” category I can quickly access grab out and use for review. It keeps my scattered brain in control of the situation and makes the process of teaching sight words less stressful for me.

If you yourself are finding it difficult to teach your child sight words and stay on track I hope my struggles can help inspire a process that works great for you and your young learners. Personally I know how stressful it can be. When it comes to how many sight words to introduce to your child a week that’ll depend on your kids attention span. You can start with five and if they seem willing to practice more at a time add more, if not try three a week. Work with your child where they are at and remember if the process feels overwhelming your not alone and keep at it.

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The velcro command strips and dry erase pockets are examples of what can be used to set up the sight word learning wall.
The sight word placemat is a helpful resource when it comes to teaching sight words.

Click image above for alphabet learning fun.
Click image above for sight words learning fun.
Click image above for reading play scene printable activities.

Learning checklists for Preschool: Colors, 2D shapes, and numbers 1-12.

To keep myself accountable and to be able to visually keep track of my youngest daughters (age 2) progress I’ve recently made tracking sheets to place within laminated pocket sheets. That we hang upon our learning wall. As of now our primary focus is recognizing colors, 2D shapes, and numbers 1-12. I made two versions of numbers one in which they were placed in correct order and the other all mixed up. That way once my daughter began to recognize her numbers in order I could then turn to the sheet out of order. To make sure she truly recognizes numbers 1-12.

The tracking sheets can be used by crossing off as they learn to keep track of the child’s progress. They can also be used as posters to hang upon the wall, in which could be laminated for durability. The shapes poster I used dashed lines for each shape because I wanted my daughter to be able to practice tracing each shape as a way to mark it off as she memorized the name.

Often times rather than laminating materials I place them within laminated pockets in which I’m able to reuse for other materials.

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Making kid friendly scary art and a word pumpkin.

My oldest daughter (age 6) loves Halloween and anything involving arts and crafts. Which is often why I incorporate them within the learning process. Approaching the end of September my daughters already in the Halloween mood. Picking out her Halloween costume, and watching kid friendly scary movies. Therefore a Halloween craft activity involving writing and reading sight words felt perfect to keep my daughters attention and allow her to get lost in the creative process as she practiced sight words.

My oldest daughter struggles to stay focused during lessons. After we finish her school curriculum on the computer it’s difficult to hold her attention long enough to go over sight words. I’ve tried playing sight word games although often times she runs off agitated because she’s over school for the day. If your child is a creative type who strongly dislikes being told what to do and how to do it then trying to incorporate sight words within art may be a helpful tool for you as well. To get her to stay focused today I asked her if she wanted to make scary art to hang up through the house and the only criteria I expected of her was to write a sight word upon each monster.

I am a sight word pumpkin.

As my daughter created her scary art I made a sight word pumpkin with several sight words I wanted my daughter to read. It would also be a fun activity for a kid to make themselves and write their own sight words on the pumpkin. Although my daughter had no interest in creating her very own because she likes creating art her own way and dislikes following guidelines.

Supplies I used for the pumpkin.

Supplies for the pumpkin…
-glue stick
-construction paper

(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.)
Above items are my Amazon picks for Halloween movies, or sight word learning, or arts and crafts.

If your young ones enjoy arts and crafts and often struggles with sight words hopefully these Halloween theme sight word activities can spark some interest and inspire more art centric ideas to incorporating learning.

Animal shape puppets.

Yesterday I shared animal shape coloring pages I made for my daughters to color over the weekend. My daughters were excited about the coloring pages and decided they didn’t want to wait for the weekend and we went ahead and colored them today. My youngest insisted on making them into masks in which I suggested making them into fun little puppets instead. Which gave my daughters scissor practice for the day. Although my youngest (age 2) is still learning how to hold scissors properly I allowed her to cut the paper and then finished cutting out the animals.

Supply List For Puppets…
-Animal Shapes coloring pages
-crayons, markers, coloring pencils, etc.
-popsicle sticks

My oldest daughters puppets.
A puppet my youngest daughter made.
My youngest daughter claimed her puppets weren’t being nice therefore she had to rip them up.
Click the image above for the link to free animal shape coloring pages.
Outside for active learning.

After our mess was cleaned from the puppet making we headed outside for an active learning session. In which we played tag, went for a short walk, and my oldest made a fun maze with sidewalk chalk. She wrote out the words (start) and (finish) which gave her a chance to practice sounding out words in a way in which she approved. For extra learning you could add sight words throughout the maze and have your young learners read them as they walk upon each word to get to the finish line. In my household I only add in the amount I know my daughters will be willing to take on for the day. If I add to much outside of my daughters school curriculum in learning she gets upset and it’s a struggle to bring her back to a stable place in which we can get her to learn for the day.

(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 above are my Amazon picks.

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.

(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.)
Above items are my Amazon picks.

Click image above for more shape learning fun.

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.

(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 to find the sight word cards to print out.
Click image above to go back to the HOME page.

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
-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.

(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.)
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.

(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.)
The above items are my Amazon picks for playing doctor and learning about the human body.