Monday, December 17, 2018

Fun Activities that Promote Reading Skills

The holidays are coming soon and with it, that long winter break from school!  Are you looking for some educational activities that you can do with your children that will help them get ahead in their reading and writing skills?  Here are a few great ideas, some of which would make a great last-minute Christmas gift.

  1. Alphabet puzzles - puzzles help children strengthen their fine motor skills and adding in the alphabet helps them become more familiar with the shapes associated with each letter and the order in which they appear in the alphabet. 
  2. Word puzzles - These type of puzzles are great for linking letters with the sounds they make and finally, linking them together into simple words.  Work alongside your child and help them to sound out the words as they piece them together.  
  3. Magnetic letters - help your child create simple words on the refrigerator or a magnetic whiteboard.  Children will become enthusiastic about creating their own simple phrases for you to read each day and you will be amazed at how quickly they will learn!
  4. Alphabet stamps - Look for sets with both upper case and lower case letters.  For fun, ask your child to draw a picture of something simple such as a dog or cat, then stamp the correct letter spelling next to the drawing.  Another way to get started is to help your child spell his/her name, then expand to family members. 
  5. Story cards - Building stories allows children to boost their creativity, sequencing, communication, and literacy skills.  There are many fun options to choose from, with bold pictures that children love.  
  6. Writing gel - this is an easy creation that you can whip up at home with inexpensive materials.  You will need ziplock bags, hair gel, and food coloring.  Fill the bag with hair gel, mix in some food coloring.  Twist the top of the bag to push the mixture down, then cut a small slit on the pointed end.  Your child can then write out letters on a large piece of paper!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Homemade Christmas Ornaments

Kids love to make ornaments for the tree that will be treasured for years to come.  During playgroups, we are making air dry clay Christmas ornaments!  These make great gifts also.

We used:
crayola air dry clay
dry Tempera cakes (watercolors)
cookie cutters
beads and buttons

We rolled the clay out and then cut with cookie cutters.  After drying (takes up to 48 hours, we had 2 weeks between playgroup sites), they were ready to be painted.  I love how these turned out!