Friday, November 11, 2016

Digging into Reading

Digging into Reading

Our kids LOVE their sandbox. We built it for them a few months ago and it is their favorite place to be. A few weeks ago, we played paleontologist. We hid some plastic dinosaurs and sea shells under the sand and then used a paint brush to carefully dig them up. We all had a blast with this game!

This week for reading Caleb was learning some new sight words and Lily was practicing some new short a-blends. We’ve played matching games and sorted words/blends, and used stickers to build the words/blend, but this week I took a little different approach.

I quickly selected 10 sight words I wanted Caleb to practice and I pulled out 10 a-blend cards for Lily. I quickly stuffed them into the sand about an inch down or less as they were playing without saying a word. This caught their attention and right away they were excited to play… and READ!

Playing Word Paleontologists:

Hand your children a paint brush and their off! We get into our paleontologist role by pretending that each flashcard found is rare and fragile. They must carefully use the paint brush to wipe away the sand until it is all swiped clear. (It helped that we did this when playing paleontologist with the dinosaurs and seashells as well!) We are all excited about a dig find and eagerly work to figure out what message is on the card.

As I mentioned, we practiced reading sight words and short a-blends, but this activity is great for practicing all kinds of skills such as letter names/sounds, blends, sight words, and vocabulary words. You could bury a card that had a picture or a word on it and have your child tell you a rhyming word. You could bury index cards with complete sentences on them to have them practice fluency skills. I also think it would be fun to bury a sentence in the sandbox each word on a different card and have your child try to figure out the secret message once all the words are uncovered!

We became Word Paleontologists, but your children might become Number Paleontologists! This would be a fun way to practice recognizing numbers, counting how many dots, addition, or subtraction problems and so much more! They could uncover a number and you could ask them to tell you a number that was more, less, or equal to that number. The list goes on and on!

Don’t have a sandbox? This activity could easily be done by anyone just by placing flashcards face down in a large plastic bin and covering them with some play sand.

On a side note, our sandbox is outside and although it is covered the sand just a few inches below the surface is damp from rain water that comes up from the ground. Caleb’s sight word cards were laminated and were unharmed in the process of this activity. Lily’s blends were written on index card stock and were not laminated. After finding them, although they were not damaged, you could tell they were near some moisture.

Do you like this idea? Try it! I’d love to hear all about your learning experience!

God Bless You on Your Learning Journey ~

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