I saw this idea on Pinterest way before Easter, and I had big plans to do it ahead of time so that you could read it and plan to save your plastic Easter eggs for just this activity. However, I never got my act together–in fact, I even forgot to save eggs myself! Luckily, I saw all the Easter stuff on clearance at Walmart and bought 30 of them for 30 cents a few weeks ago, and I have just been waiting for an opportunity to work this creative homeschool activity into our busy days. Well it rained all of last week, so I had nothing better to do than to turn lemons into lemonade and whip up a literacy lesson or two with Jax. Even Em tagged along at the end of this one!
So without further ado, please allow me to introduce Compound Word Eggs.
Compound words, as any good English-teacher-on-hiatus knows, are words made up of two words put together. Like doghouse. Dog is a word, house is a word, and if you put them together you get doghouse, a compound word. This is definitely not an idea that kids need to know in preschool, but since we are familiar with the concept from Word World–episode Sandbox Surprise; I highly recommend it–and know the catchy little song from there that explains how you stick two words together to form a new word, I thought playing with compound words would be a fun way to pass a rainy afternoon.
Luckily my son is as big of a literacy dork as I am. He was all in.
We sat together while I put the words on each egg using stickers. I wanted him to be sure he could read each word by himself. I think at this age it is very important to have the compound word parts be the same color, so he can eliminate incorrect word pair choices by color. But some words had multiple options for pair partners, so sometimes he mixed it up.
For example, he took the sand from sandbar and the man from snowman and turned it into sandman. I’m not sure if that’s even a real word, but it gave us a chance to talk about Mr. Sandman and sing that song from the 1950’s (not so much Enter Sandman by Metallica). Toolbox was easy, but I also created the option to create mailbox and shoebox, so there were some alternatives to the same word.
Anyway, Jax was a huge fan of this game because it was a kind of challenge, and he had to figure out which words sounded right. His favorite was when he discovered the word baseball. He used his typical manly face and said, “All right! BASEBALL!” And he was wearing his Sox shirt, too.
Now I’m not an expert on literacy; I just know what works for my kids and since they are little reading rockstars, I think perhaps I may be on to something. But one thing I do know for sure is that kids, especially boys, love to learn by doing–by manipulating things with their hands and fingers, thus imprinting this information deep in the foundation of their brain. In other words, if your kids don’t like to sit still and read books, try thinking of other hands-on ways to make reading fun!
After Jax had solved all his compound word puzzles and Em had woken up from her nap, I still had plenty of eggs left to recycle a great idea I have shared with you before, but it bears repeating since it’s so fun and easy.
All you have to do is write capital letters on one side of a plastic egg, and its corresponding lower case letter on the other side. Then break them apart and have the kids match them up. This was difficult for Em because her lower case recognition is pretty inconsistent if the lower case letter doesn’t just look like a mini version of its upper case partner.
But that was fun, too, because Jax got to play the role of teacher–one of his favorites. I separated all the capitals into one pile and all the lowers into another, and Em would grab an upper case letter and identify it. Then she would go look for its partner based on color. If she found one she didn’t know, she’d hand it to Jax and ask him what it was. This happened quite a bit and he loved being the big shot big brother. Then they were both proud of themselves when they found a matching pair.
Em was still grumpy from her nap and not at all ready for her close-up. But although she wasn’t photo-ready, she did have fun.
But when Jax started building two-letter words, she quit.
Whatever, show off. Enough learning for today, Mom. Let’s go have a tea party.
Dorky mom, out.