Step, Hop & Read!

After rereading my 15 awesome literacy ideas I shared last month, I knew that there were definitely one or two that could help Em with some sight words that are causing her a bit of trouble.  The, there, then, they all seem to blend together, as do where, when, and what.  I know she just sees the first two letters and takes a guess.  I thought maybe doing a little fun sight word practice–with a splash of moving around–might motivate her to remember a word or two.  So we took an old favorite literacy activity and improved it, and created Step, Hop, Read!

Step, Hop, Read @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Instead of just drilling Em on sight words, I find it’s much more effective to get her body involved.  So I took those tricky words and wrote them on construction paper hearts (since we were still excited about Valentine’s Day).  Then I also wrote the alphabet so Little H could get in on the fun.

Step, Hop, Read! @ Rub Some Dirt On It

We scattered them across the floor, and I’d call out a letter for Little H and a word for Em, then tell them how to get there.  Hop to the letter M!  Skip to the word “where”!  The gross motor element really made them laugh and encouraged them to play together and for longer than I would have thought.

IMG_5983 Step, Hop, Read! @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Then they’d wait on their word or letter for the next instructions.  Learning patience is a great skill for this age, too!

Em was happy to help her sister when she needed a helping hand.

Step, Hop, Read! @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Step, Hop, Read! @ Rub Some Dirt On It

But then Little H made the predicable move of stealing all of the purple hearts, regardless of what was written on them, because purple is her favorite.  When she started hoarding the hearts, I knew the game was over.  Attention span spent.  Back to H’s favorite pastime–sorting.

Step, Hop, Read! @ Rub Some Dirt On It

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I was finally able to extricate the words from Little H and left her to happily organize her heart alphabet.  Em and I gave her sight words one last go.

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This time, playing hopscotch!  She would yell the word and then hop over them.

Step, Hop, Read! @ Rub Some Dirt On It Step, Hop, Read! @ Rub Some Dirt On It

We love to read, and jump, and skip, and play, and it shows!

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Now it’s your turn to get reading.  Hop to it!

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Bubble Wrap Stomp Painting!

For those of you who are like me and have done a good deal of online shopping this holiday season, here’s a great activity for the kiddos who desperately want to hear the bubble wrap “pop” but aren’t quite coordinated enough to do it well.

bubble wrap stomp painting @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Bust out a piece of paper (for this we used our trusty butcher paper), wrap the kids’ feet in bubble wrap, and coat the bottoms in paint.

bubble wrap painting @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Then be sure to remind them that they have to be careful (stomping is much safer than skating), and ready, set, pop!

bubble wrap painting @ Rub Some Dirt On It

They thought this activity was hilarious and asked me to paint their feet again and again.  They wanted to paint every square inch of the butcher paper, and I finally just squirted dollops of paint directly on the paper in order to keep up with their demands.

bubble wrap painting @ Rub Some Dirt On It IMG_2271-2

In the end, I had big plans to cut out some kind of holiday shape out of the mural, like a Christmas tree, but it never came to be.  It was a beautiful work of art all on its own!

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A fun way to get the kids moving while stuck inside this winter!

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Puzzle Treasure Hunt

So, my dynamic duo does more than fight crime and keep the peace in rural Vermont.  While solving mysteries they also take time to solve something else–puzzles!  And thus a simply busy game is born: a puzzle treasure hunt!

I found this idea on Pinterest from Little Family Fun and knew it would be perfect for one of those days when the baby needed my attention more than the kids would like.  Since all things hide and seek are very high on Jax and Em’s list of Super Fun Ways of Playing Nicely Together, they loved the idea and we ended up playing this for about an hour.  Basically, you take a puzzle (in this case, I chose one with twenty large, colorful pieces that would be easy to spot) and hide the pieces all around your house.  Then the kids get to go on a treasure hunt for the puzzle pieces, bringing them back to a central spot to be assembled.

They know the treasure hunt is over when they have all the pieces to the puzzle!

Supersmart superkids!  Job well done!

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