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Guess My Word: A Vocab Game

August 24, 2016

What You Need:

  • Two players
  • Your child’s vocabulary list.

*Feel free to think outside of the box, too. You don’t need to limit yourself to lists of words from the language arts folder; you could use new words from your child’s new math unit in measurement, such as volume, capacity, length, height, width, weight, and temperature. Oftentimes, teachers will provide vocabulary lists at the beginning or ending of units for the purpose of studying at home. Check with your child’s teacher for a list of words your child is learning.

What You Do

  1. Start by explaining to your child that you will be playing a guessing game together. Let her know that you will be giving her three clues to try to guess which vocabulary word from the list you are describing. It may be helpful to have the list of vocabulary words available for your child to look at when playing the game. As your child begins to feel more comfortable with the vocabulary words, she can try to guess words without the list.
  2. Give your child three clues to describe the vocabulary word you have in mind. For example, when thinking of the word “weight,” the first clue may be: “You use a scale to measure this word.” Your next clue may be: “A pound is one unit of this type of measurement.” The third clue may be: “Ounces is another unit of this type of measurement.” If your child is unable to guess the word at this point, give her additional clues as needed.

Celery and Food Coloring Experiment

August 23, 2016

What You Need:

  • Tall, clear glass or jar
  • Water
  • Red food coloring
  • Scissors
  • Celery stalk with leaves
  • Printable Observation Sheet

What You Do:

  1. Fill a tall, clear glass or jar half-full with water.
  2. Add a few drops of red food coloring and mix well.
  3. Trim the bottom of a large stalk of celery, leaving the leaves on the stalk.
  4. Place the celery stalk in the glass or jar. Leave overnight in order for the stalk to “drink” the water.
  5. Print out the observation sheet for this activity. Have your child draw a picture of the celery stalk “before” it drinks the red water and then have him write a sentence to describe what he sees.
  6. The next morning, observe what has happened. Let your child tell you where he thinks the water has gone and what has happened to the celery. If he’s stumped, explain that water has been absorbed into the celery stalk, tinting the stem and leaves red. Ask him if he thinks the whole plant gets water for food, and help guide him to see that yes, the whole plant did get the water for food since all parts of the plant have now turned red (from absorbing the red water that was in the cup the day before).
  7. Have your child complete the “after” portion of the observation sheet. He can draw a picture of what happened and write a sentence to sum up his findings.

Make Paper Plate Tambourines Activity

August 22, 2016

What You Need:

  • 2 paper plates
  • A handful of dried beans
  • A stapler
  • Magic markers, stickers, glitter glue, etc

What You Do:

  1. Set one paper plate on the table and have your child drop a good handful of beans on it.
  2. Top with the other plate, face side down, and staple the edges of the plates together. Make sure the staples are close enough together that no beans can escape!
  3. When the tambourine is fully constructed, hand your child the art supplies and let him go crazy with the decorations! Stickers, finger paint, even feathers and ribbons will give this quick craft a touch of flair to last through many musical numbers!

Explore Memory Pathways Activity

August 17, 2016

What You Need:
1.3 or more players
2.Sidewalk chalk
3.Writing materials such as a clipboard, pencil, and paper or dry erase board and pen
4.Flat area
What You Do:
1.Have your child draw circles on the ground with the sidewalk chalk in a grid formation, with the circles spaced one foot APART from each other. The circles should be uniform in size and shape.
2.Designate one child as the “clipboard holder.” Her job is to copy the circle grid onto the paper or dry erase board, then create a secret path that connects all the circles. She can draw directional arrows onto the grid or number each circle to INDICATE the path. Only the clipboard holder may view the secret path.
3.Before beginning the game, explain to the other players that the object of the game is to walk the secret path that the clipboard holder has drawn on her paper by stepping on each circle in the correct order.
4.To begin the game, have a player choose a circle to step on. Have the clipboard holder answer “yes” if this is the correct first circle and “no” if it is not. If yes, the player gets to take another step. If no, that player’s turn ends and the next player takes a turn choosing a circle.
5.Have the players continue taking turns stepping on circles to try to figure out the secret path. After each step, the clipboard holder should answer “yes” or “no” to tell a player if she is going in the right direction.
6.The round ends when one player successfully walks the secret path from start to finish.
7.Before beginning the second round, designate a new clipboard holder and have her draw a new secret path for the players to find.
8.Continue playing rounds until each player has taken a turn as the clipboard holder.

Higher or Lower Activity

August 16, 2016

What You Need:
Deck of playing cards
What You Do:

  • Pull out the Ace through 10 cards of one suit.
  • Shuffle up the cards so they are not in order “one” through ten.
  • Hold up a card so your child can see the front of the card.
  • Ask your child what the number is on the card. If she isn’t sure, let her count the number of suits on the card.
  • Hold up a second card, and ask her if the second card is higher or lower than the first card. If she’s not sure, let her count the number of suits on each card. When she gets the correct answer, congratulate her.
  • Set the first card down and hold up a third card next to the second card.
  • Ask her if the third card is higher or lower than the second card. When she gets the right answer, encourage her to celebrate and clap for a job well done.
  • Continue on through the cards until they have guessed higher or lower for all 10 cards.

Play Builders and Bulldozers Activity

August 13, 2016

What You Need:

  • 10-20 traffic cones
  • Large flat area
  • 2 or more participants

If you don’t have traffic cones, you can make your own using the following materials:

  • 10-20 plastic water bottles, 2-liter soda bottles, or tennis ball canisters (all with lids)
  • Play sand
  • Duct tape

What You Do:

  1. If you are using real traffic cones, skip to step 2. If not, you can easily make your own traffic cones out of plastic water bottles, 2-liter soda bottles, or tennis ball canisters. Fill each bottle or canister with about a cup of play sand to weight the bottom. Screw the cap back on the bottle, and secure with a strip of duct tape to prevent the children from unscrewing it.
  2. Place the traffic cones around the flat area, spacing them about 4-5 feet apart. Place half of the cones on their sides and half standing upright.
  3. Organize the participants into two even teams. Designate one team the builders and the other team the bulldozers.
  4. Give the teams their tasks: the builders must stand up the traffic cones that are on their sides and the bulldozers must tip over the cones that are standing up. Make sure the bulldozers understand that they are not allowed to hit or punch the cones to knock them over; they must gently tip them over on their sides.
  5. Have the teams begin playing. Organize play in to rounds, with each round lasting only two or three minutes. Have each player keep track of her own score; players get one point for each cone either tipped over or placed standing up.
  6. At the end of the round, have the players on each team combine their individual scores to determine their group score.
  7. Before round two begins, have the players switch teams so they have a chance to try both roles.
  8. Continue playing until the participants are tired out from all that exercise!

Phonics Scavenger Hunt! Activity

August 12, 2016

What You Need:

  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Old magazines
  • Crayons or markers (optional)

What You Do:

  1. Choose a letter that your child knows the sound of. For example, you might choose the letter “B.”
  2. Call out the name of the letter and encourage your child to find as many objects around the room that start with that letter as she can. For example, she might run around pointing out a bed, a broom, a blanket, a brush, and a bottle. As she finds each object, you should respond, “Yes! ‘B’ is for ‘bed’!”
  3. Make a list of all of the “B” objects that your child has found. When your child finishes finding all of the objects, read the list back to her and congratulate her on finding so many objects that begin with the same letter.
  4. Look through some old magazines and let your child add pictures from the magazine to the list. For example, your child might find a picture of a bowl or a bucket.
  5. She can illustrate the list with any writing or drawing materials you have handy.
  6. Repeat this process with other letters that your child knows.

Pop the Balloons! Activity

August 11, 2016

What You Need:

  • Balloons of several different colors
  • Scissors
  • String

What You Do:

  1. Assign each player a different balloon color. Or, if you’re playing with a large group of kids, create color teams.
  2. Have your child and his friends blow up and tie off at least 5 balloon of each color. The number of balloons you inflate should vary depending on how many kids are playing.
  3. Encourage your child and the other players to scatter the balloons around the room or in the general area of play.
  4. Have the players gather in the center of play.
  5. When you shout, “Go!” the players try to pop as many of balloons of their color as they can by stomping on them.

Sidewalk Chalk Subtraction Activity

August 10, 2016

What You Need:

  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Yardstick or measuring tape
  • Bean bags

What You Do:

  1. Draw a chalk grid on a driveway or patio. The grid should have at least 25 squares –five down and five across– with each square being about a foot across. You can use a yardstick or measuring tape in order to make the squares more exact.
  2. Write one number in each square of the grid. The numbers can be as high as you would like, based on the level of subtraction that children playing the game have mastered. For example, a child who is just starting to learn subtraction should have only one-digit numbers in the grid. A child who has become proficient in subtracting three-digit numbers from each other can have very large numbers in the grid. Make sure that there are no clusters of all large or all small numbers anywhere in the grid.
  3. Make a chalk line about six feet away from the grid. (You can make the line closer or farther, depending on how well the children can throw.)
  4. Give each child two bean bags.
  5. Instruct children to throw their bean bags on the grid and take note of the numbers they fall on. Children should then subtract the smaller number from the larger number to get their final score for the round.
  6. Play four more rounds, adding to their previous score at the end of each round. The child with the highest score at the end of five rounds wins the game!

Play Twist ‘N Turn! Activity

August 9, 2016

What You Need:

  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Flat, paved area such as a driveway
  • Pen or pencil
  • Slips of paper
  • Small paper lunch bag

What You Do:

  1. Choose 5 shapes you want your preschooler to become more familiar with, such as triangles, circles, rectangles, squares, diamonds, ovals, stars, pentagons, or cubes.
  2. Write 10 simple instructions, each one on a small slip of paper. Try to incorporate color, shape, and direction. Here are a few ideas:
    • Put your left foot on the pink triangle
    • Hop to the yellow pentagon
    • Walk backward to the blue square
    • Put your right hand on the purple circle
    • Hop on your left foot to the green diamond
  3. Place the slips in the small paper lunch bag.
  4. On the pavement outside, ask your child to draw the 5 shapes with sidewalk chalk in the corresponding colors you used to create the instructions. Remember, the shapes need to be large, so you’ll want to guide your child’s chalk work.
  5. Ask your child to pull a slip of paper from the bag, and get twisting and turning, or hopping and running! Encourage your preschooler to help “read” the instructions.
  6. Take this activity to another level by letting your child make up movements for you to carry out. No written directions needed, just let your child be “boss” and get creative!

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