Saturday, April 16, 2016

Who Am I? A National Geographic Kids Book Activity

Each month my daughter brings home the Scholastic book order forms.  I love how she sits down and circles the books that she wants.  One of the books she circles every time are these National Geographic Kids books.  My daughter is in kindergarten and the books are perfect because they are in line for pre-readers.  This series of books are great for kids as they explore a child's interest and motivate their minds to want to read.  National Geographic for Kids is considered informational reading, which is critical to success as the child progresses through school.  This series of informational books also helps a child learn about the world, while helping them with reading comprehension.  There was also another book I included not in the National Geographic Kids series, which goes to show that you can do this activity with any of your childs favorite book(s)

This Who Am I activity was an extension to these books to help with comprehension skills.

I simply copied the covers of each of the books we ordered, laminated them, cut out and attached popsicle sticks to them.

Next, I made up a list of questions.  Things like: "which animal hibernates in the winter."  OR "which animal is an amphibian."  I made sure to ask questions about each of the animals in the series we have.

It really made my daughter think about the animals we read in each book, working on her comprehension skills.

We also tied a craft into this activity by using the frog book and made our very own frog craft.

What you'll need to make this paper plate frog:
Paper plate
Green Construction paper
White Construction paper
Green paint
Paint brush
Black crayon or marker

Start off by painting your plate green.
While your paper plate is drying help your child trace their hands.  Once the plate is completely dry, use some tape and attach your child's cut out hands to the bottom of the plate.  This will be the frog's feet.
Next, cut out 2 circles from the white construction paper to serve as the frog's eyes and draw black dots in the center of each circle.  Attach to the top of the paper plate.
Take your black marker or black crayon and draw a smiley face.
Finally, take your yarn, attach to the back of the paper plate and hang up.

If you are looking for an educational book series for your pre-reader this National Geographic series is highly recommended.  

Note: The thoughts in this post are strictly my own

Monday, April 4, 2016

Sight Word Game

My daughters kindergarten class is in full blown sight word learning mode!  Each week the students learn a new sight word and my daughter comes home with worksheets that I keep so that we can practice at home.  I decided to use these words and make up a game to make learning/memorizing these new words more fun.

Before Easter I picked up these paper Easter eggs from the dollar section at Target.  I then wrote the sight words on a piece of paper, laminated them and cut them out.  I also added a GO card and a STOP card just to make the game a bit more interesting. The laminating part is optional. 

The rules of the game are simple.  All the sight words are put into a pile and each player draws one of the cards.  If the player can read the sight word they take an egg.  If a STOP card gets drawn, the player loses a turn and can't go again until they draw a GO card.  If the GO card is drawn first, the player holds onto the card and can use it if they draw a STOP card. The player with the most eggs at the end of the game, wins.

I used the eggs because it was around the Easter season but anything can be used.  Other ideas could be matchbox cars, pom-pom's, candies, anything that will catch the attention of your child.

Trying to read one of the sight word cards

Yay......she read the word!!

Their are so many fun ways to learn/memorize sight words.  For more ideas, check out my Sight Words Pinterest board. 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Books That Will Make Your Kids Giggle

I love to read books with my 5 year old.  We visit the library about once every 2-3 weeks and usually borrow about 25 books at a time.  We've been doing this for about 2 years and over the course of this time I've seen how my daughter has evolved from the board book section to the non board book section.  She's learning to look at her book choices in a different way and it's really fun to watch how she decides on whether a book is to her liking or not.

We've read many books, some that bring smiles, laughter, tears and sleepy eyes.  For bedtime reading I try and choose books that have a more calming tone to them.  Here are a list of our favorite bedtime stories.

I love watching my daughter as I read to her and her reaction to the story.  I especially love the stories that make her giggle or out right laugh.  Here is a list of books that we have read that might make your little ones giggle too!

Bark, George

Knuffle Bunny

The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog

The Duckling Gets a Cookie

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves

Peanut Butter & Cupcake

These are just a few of our favorite 'giggle' books.  Mo Willems especially has a line of not just funny but hilarious books guaranteed to make your little ones laugh.

I hope you enjoy our favorites as much as we do!  Happy reading!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

First Signs of Spring

This is such a wonderful time of the year.  As the long cold days of winter begin to end we start to get outside more, enjoying warmer weather and witnessing the first signs of spring.

We live in the Northeast and this time of year is very welcome!  We take advantage of this weather by heading outdoors and searching for the first signs of spring.  This is such a fun activity to do with your child.  This activity requires no set up and teaches a child so much.

Your child will use their sensory skills as they smell fresh flowers and the fresh spring air.  They will use their hearing and sight as they watch and listen to the birds.

Lots of talking goes on with this activity which is great for your child's vocabulary.

Lately when we head outside my daughter loves it even more because she feels like she is going on a hunt, searching for new signs of spring.

Here are some of the signs we have found:

Buds on the tree!

Tulip coming up!

Leftover tomato seed from last season!

Tiger lilies sprouting!

More tree buds!

Beginning a new season is a good time to go over the different seasons with your child.  My daughter learned about the different seasons with our Learning Seasons activity. 

How about making your very own first sign of spring with a Birds Nest.   We had such fun making this craft!

Spring is a beautiful season so welcome it with open arms!


Friday, February 26, 2016

Sequencing with Nursery Rhymes

Sequencing is important as it helps a child comprehend what is read and identify with the beginning, middle and end of what they are reading.

We have done sequencing with storybooks and with nursery rhymes.  Nursery rhymes are most familiar to children and are a go to for parents, caregivers and teachers so they are a good place to start with a sequence activity.  A child's favorite story would also be good to use since the child will be familiar with the story line.

I used a piece of cardboard to make a book board which works very nicely for this kind of activity.  However, using a book board is absolutely not necessary and simply laying out the cards on a table or floor will work just as well!

Materials we used:

Printed photos of nursery rhymes
Laminator (optional)

Remember if you are not using a book board simply print some photos or cut from magazines and/or newspapers.  Laminating is also not necessary it just preserves the photos.  

Teachers Pay Teachers is a great site and is where I found these nursery rhyme printables.  Once the nursery rhyme photos are printed:

  • Laminate them
  • Cut them out
  • Put some velcro on the cardboard and on the back of the printables
  •   Keep in mind if not using a book board just skip this part.

Sequencing on our book board

Sequencing without book board - just laid out on table

Figuring out order of Hey Diddle Diddle and Jack and Jill

Reciting the Nursery Rhymes

We also used one of our favorite stories, Hush, Little Ones by John Butler.  I printed off pictures of the  animals in the story and had my daughter arrange the animals in order as they are in the book. 

Sequencing does not need to be done only by using nursery rhymes or books.  If you don't have a printer to print off pictures, try cutting pictures from the newspaper or magazines and do a picture sequence.

You could sequence things like the life cycle of a caterpillar or bedtime routine. Be sure to use words like, "first", "next" and "last".

Sequencing might seem simple to teach but keep in mind it is a skill that is carried over to other areas so take the time necessary to ensure your child fully understands.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

CVC Word Balloon Match Game

With some creativity learning how to read can be fun!  My daughter had a blast learning CVC words with this balloon game.  She also loves a good hunt so this game was a winner all the way around!

Use whatever balloons you might have lying around, we had some of those long skinny balloons so I used those.

Found one of the balloons and sounding out the word

After my daughter found a balloon she would sound out the word and then run over to these bins where I attached different CVC words with the same vowel sound.  She matched up the word on the balloon that had the same vowel sound/rhyming word as the word taped to the bins.

Trying to figure out which bin it goes in

Dog - Log - it rhymes/same vowel sound....a match!!

After all the balloons were found we continued playing by throwing the balloons into the bins.

This CVC game was alot of fun! Burning off  energy running around, finding the balloons and back to the bins again.  All around a great game that got the mind and body working together!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Find Your Name Black Bean Sensory Bin

I am very excited to be working with a little boy in my daughter's kindergarten class who needs some extra attention.  The teacher told me that he has had some trouble recognizing his name so she asked me to work on that with him.  I've come up with some ideas that would be fun all while learning. Last week I used cars to help learn his name with our Car Name Game.  This week I'm sharing a new fun way to learn/recognize a child's name.

I had a black bean bin already set up that I had used with my daughter with different projects and thought I could use this for some name recognition fun.  I added some bright colored balloon stickers with letters on them that looked great against the black beans.  I put all the letters of the boys name along with some other letters not in his name and also some blank ones.

I was thrilled to see him dig right in and really enjoy the sensory part of this activity.  I asked him to find the balloon stickers and to put all the letters of his name in a pile separate from the letters not in his name.  As for the blank balloon stickers he put those in another pile.

We use a laminated sheet with his name on it when we do our name activities so that he has that as a reference when learning to recognize his name.

Once all the stickers were sorted I asked him to stick the stickers on a piece of paper spelling out his name, he did great!  I then asked him to write the letters of his name on the blank balloon stickers and stick those onto paper too.

He was so proud of himself as was I!  The black beans and bright colored balloon stickers was a real hit in helping this little boy learn the letters in his name!

More to come on name activities....stay tuned!