I'm all for outside play and relaxation in the summertime! But it's hard to ignore all that's said about how if you don’t use it, you lose it! As a former teacher, I have seen firsthand the blank looks on those rested-up faces as kids came back to school in the fall and I expected them to pick up where we left off in the spring. But resting up is important, and I'd be the first to encourage kids to play hard all summer long. So rather than missing out on the vigorous exercise kids desperately need, let’s shut off the TV and other electronics and go outside to keep building those vital brain connections. This summer, let’s keep the learning going, and how about making it fun at the same time?
A great way to make sure all this happens is to plan ahead and to combine "school" activities with active ones. Making the process of learning FUN will help your child to love reading. The activities outlined in this blog post are based on SnapWords® cards (stylized sight words: most of the words young children encounter in reading) and Beyond Sight Words Activities. If you don’t already have the pocket chart size SnapWords® cards, you just have to get them!
There are 59 SnapWords® cards for Level A and many activities!
SnapWords® List A, something for your child to stand on outside (sturdy crate, steps, low deck, etc.), a pair of fun sunglasses, a play telephone, a favorite toy or stuffed animal, and something to hold a few SnapWords® cards.
Display the first sentence with the stylized side of the cards showing. Tell your child any word he doesn't recognize on sight because you want to be sure he doesn't guess and then get the wrong words associated with the SnapWords® images. Your child will read a phrase or sentence, then choose the props he needs to act out what he read. Because the focus is on playing, he will have more motivation to read the words, and because he is acting out the phrase, his retention will be amazing!
Following are a few hints for acting out “Come down here” (in case you need to prompt him!) He could ask you to stand on a step or the deck and then ask you to come down here. Or he could stand on the crate, step or deck and ask you to say “come down here.” Alternately he could place his toy animal on the box and talk to it. Any sentence that talks about looking or seeing might prompt your child to put on the sun glasses. Challenge your child to create his own ways of acting out what he reads.
For those rainy days or quiet activity times, use the same phrases listed above and have your child make a book with a phrase and an illustration on each page. This would be a great activity to do together. Encourage your child to come up with her own phrases that use up all the List A SnapWords® as this will strengthen her problem solving ability and will truly grow her brain in the process of learning to read, strengthening comprehension, etc.
Taken from Beyond Sight Words Activities, here are some great games to play in the car:
Many of the activities in Beyond Sight Words Activities engage your child’s brain in problem-solving activities, keeping his brain working on good stuff over the summer. Beyond Sight Words Activities includes sentences to unscramble, word wall activities to solve, making words, crossword puzzles, fill in the blanks, and more.
Make a game out of reviewing SnapWords® individually or in the phrases and sentences provided for you. Position yourself somewhere in the yard and display the first phrase or sentence. Ask your child to read the stylized version of the sentence, and then give him an activity to do.
For example, she might read “come down here” and you would say “great job, now skip to the tree and back.” Other physical activities could include:
Following are the sentences that include all of the words from the rest of the SnapWords® lists. Use them to do similar activities to those suggested for Level A above, and use your imagination to create more games and activities!