With my eldest child starting year one this year, part of her homework involves learning sight words. We have a few favorite games we play to learn these words as well as games for younger children to assist with letter recognition.
For kinesthetic learners some favourites include:
Bubble Wrap Tiles
The set up featured below was used a few years ago when my son was learning shapes and my eldest was learning letters. That’s what I like about this game – the fact that you can easily modify it to suit different learning needs.
The set up involves writing letters or sight words onto pieces of bubble wrap. I also cut out shapes from different coloured paper and covered these in bubble wrap so that my son could participate too and reinforce shape recognition.
To play the game you need the bubble wrap tiles and we also used two dice (featured below) that I made from foam sheets . One die was numbered 1-6, the other contained six pictures to represent six different movements (jumping, start jumps, marching, hopping, a frog to represent leaping like a frog and kangaroos to represent bouncing like a kangaroo). To play the game, roll the dice and the number rolled (from the red die) tells you how many times you need to perform the action (rolled on the yellow die). Then name a letter, or word and coloured shape. Each child locates that bubble wrap tile and jumps/bounces/marches the number of times rolled on the die on that bubble wrap tile.
Here my children are leaping like frogs on the bubble wrap tiles.
Large Board Game
Create a large board game using masking tape. One example is to create three columns and three rows for a game of modified noughts and crosses. Replace the noughts and crosses with upper case and lower case letters.
You could also use the game board for a game of alphabet or sight word twister (or number twister as is shown in the photo below). To play, place a letter or sight word in each square. Nominate a body part (left hand, right foot, knee, head etc) for each player to place on the letters and words contained in each square.
By the way, shape twister is also a fun way to learn shapes.
Take It Outside
We have been using our boulder wall to learn some sight words. We have been writing the words on the rocks with chalk. My daughter arms herself with a spray bottle of water and then it’s game on. I say a word and she runs over to it and sprays it with water. Simple, but oh so effective for her.
Teaching children correct letter formation is crucial. Tracing activities are perfect for this. My son enjoys using stones to trace letters.
Tracing over letters with a paintbrush and water is also a favourite with my son.
Both of my children really enjoy writing letters and words in their salt trays. To make our version we used containers containing coloured salt. The details for how we coloured the salt can be found in our Fairy Land In A Jar blog post here.
I need to get organised with some letter crafts for my son as he is showing a real interest in learning more about letters. A few years ago my daughter looked forward to doing her letter craft activities. Some favourites were:
T for tea party
a for astronaut
I made my daughter a personalised flip book a couple of years ago and this was a resource that she used quite a bit (note to self, make one of these for my son too)
To make this flip book I created a card for each letter of the alphabet – uppercase and lowercase. The cards were laminated for durability and shuffled in a random order (not secured together in alphabetical order). They were hole punched and secured with wool (so that once my daughter was familiar with the order I could easily change it again). A set of picture cards was also created illustrating a picture that starts with each letter of the alphabet. To use the cards, the child needs to flip through the cards and find an uppercase letter, for example “N” and then the lowercase “n” and match it with a picture starting with “N/n”, in this case that is the picture of my daughter’s favourite koala toy named Nellie (this same photo could also be used with the “K/k” cards for koala.