This is a sponsored post written for Lakeshore Learning. The opinions expressed are my own.
It’s incredible how quickly our children grow! This summer, we are preparing Lydia for Kindergarten. What does this mean for my family? It means we’re going to have all the fun we can and hopefully learn a lot in the process. I’m going to be working on a three-part series titled “Preparing for Kindergarten” that addresses reading, math, and language learning. The best way for young children to learn is often by not even realizing they are being taught. Each month, we select a monthly theme. Within this theme, we read books, make crafts, and play games. Yesterday, we worked on two areas of reading (phonics and sight word identification) and tied this into this month’s theme, the ocean.
Whenever possible, I like to include a sensory component in all of our learning activities, so I began by getting out our ocean sensory bin. This bin is filled with shells, coral, small plastic sea animals, sea sponges, a magnifying glass, and small rake. The kids love to sift through the ocean objects, find their favorite shells, and listen to the sound of the ocean.
This time, I did something extra fun. I placed all of the pieces of the Lakeshore Learning Sight Word Seashell Game into our ocean sensory bin. I gave each child a small bucket to fill with the words and time to explore all of the objects within the bin.
After Lydia and Bryce filled their buckets with sight words and objects, I set the sensory bin aside and set up the Catch a Letter Magnetic Learning Game. Children can play this game a variety of ways. I will describe three different ways below.
For your early learners, children can randomly ‘fish’ for a specific letter, hold it up, and parents can produce the sound. The child can imitate the parent to produce the same sound. Children can fish for two sounds and ask a parent to combine those sounds. Some will make sense; some will sound very silly.
For children who are able to identify most sound-letter combinations independently, parents can produce a specific sound, and children can ‘go fishing’ for it. Not only does this require the knowledge of letters and the sounds they produce, it also requires more fine motor coordination to target the specific letter the parent selected.
For children who know all the basic letter-sounds, combine the Catch a Letter Learning Game with the Sight Word Seashell Game. To do this, children will take the sight words they previously placed in their small buckets one-at-a-time and fish for the letters to make the words.
This method of play was perfect for Lydia as she is able to either identify or decode (e.g. sound out) simple words. My kids had so much fun playing together, they did not think of this as learning in a traditional school-sense of the word. This was an extension of the ocean unit we are targeting this month, and involved sensory exploration, fine motor skills, and early reading. With the help of Lakeshore Learning, children of all ages can have fun while learning!
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