Lego Word Families!

 Language Development

Word families are groups of words that have a common spelling pattern – they have some of the same combinations of letters in them and a similar sound. Words like cat, hat, and fat are a family of words with the “at” sound. Children progress as better readers when they can identify chunks in words like word families (e.g. Words ending with -at, -in) In teaching word families, children learn how to blend sounds (like c-at, b-in). It helps them to decode words faster, improving their word recognition skills as well as spelling skills. Reading books with lots of rhymes like Dr Seuss also helps develop their phonological awareness.

For emergent readers, after they have mastered the phonics sounds, they can proceed to learn word families or words that rhyme. Some word families you can start with are -at, -in, -ig, -an, -ing, -ot. Helping my active learner master the word families is a major milestone in her language acquisition process. To make the learning fun and enjoyable, this simple Lego game requires little preparation and money! It is also a good idea to recycle some of the Duplo Lego bricks that your 4/5 year-old has outgrown!

Simply write out some word family words on sticker labels and group them according to colour.

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Then lay them out on a tray, and invite your learner to listen to each word you read.

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Model the blending for your child. Example: “/C//A//T/”

Find words that rhyme. Stack them up accordingly.

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This simple activity requires listening skills, and builds phonemic awareness/ strengthen their grasp of the sound structures in words families.

Seeing the patterns in the spelling will further prepare them for spelling skills in future.

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Given my preschooler who is always brewing up imaginative ideas. she imagined the Lego characters to be having a competition, and she positioned each character who came in first, second and third in a race! Guess who is the winner? 🙂

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For more word families activities, check out the following ideas we had!

Using Scrabble Chips to teach word families!

https://playhood.wordpress.com/2013/11/10/teaching-word-families-using-scrabble-chips/

Word families Game using paper rolls and balls!

https://playhood.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/word-families-with-balls-and-toilet-rolls/

Wooden Blocks Word families- Onset and Rimes

https://playhood.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/word-families-blocks/

10 activities on teaching word families

https://playhood.wordpress.com/2013/11/10/10-fun-activities-on-word-families/

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Frozen Fun!

My 3 year old has been so captivated by the characters in Frozen movie, that she does all kinds of pretend play with her princess dolls.

The insane popularity of this Disney movie has gotten kids singing the theme songs in the malls, classrooms and kids’ playdates.

I enjoy watching and being amused by the play scripts my girl comes up with whenever she is engaged in pretend, dramatic play. The latest being the conversations and songs between the Frozen sister, Elsa and Anna.

I thought to make the play scene more elaborate and sensorial, why not create some frozen fun for her with some ice blocks and ice cubes?

To make the ice blocks, simply recycle your plastic containers, add some blue food colouring and freeze it overnight! And you are ready to enact the play scene!

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My girl was super thrilled to experience the Frozen fun! It is extremely sensorial and tactile as she holds the cold cubes in her hands! The huge ice blocks are also great for building ‘ice-palace’  for princesses and ‘resting places” for the animals. In watching the ice melt away gradually, she is also picking up the science concepts of ‘melting’, ‘freezing’  and ‘condensation’.

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Importance of Pretend Play

The musical Frozen also comes alive when she enacts the scenes from the movie with her princess dolls. Pretend play is great for language development, and enhances their social skills for friendship and conflict resolution. I love how the conversations between the Frozen sisters evolved into one that resolves around kindness and kinship! She also used new vocabulary that expresses emotions, appearance, apparel and values. Through pretend play, I also got to catch a glimpse into her own thoughts and perceptions of relationships, dreams and even fears. She was scared of the ice monster, and told she sees it in her room sometimes. That actually explained why she refuses to sleep alone in her room! She also said that a princess treats people with kindness, which is a message I have been reinforcing to her when we talk about being a princess.

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Why not try this out at home? It’s free and completely fun for your little one! 🙂

 

 

 

10 Great ideas to teach name recognition and spelling

This is a brand new year and school has just started for our little ones! Going to school and coping with all the demands of learning can be a little daunting for our preschoolers, especially those first-timers! Teaching them to recognize and spell their names might be the first step to adapting well to school life 🙂

Why recognising and spelling names is important

Learning to recognise and spell their names is one of the significant milestones in terms of language development. Recognising their names on their belongings and activity sheets helps them to take ownership over their possessions and also orientates them around the premise like knowing which shoe cubicle thy should leave their shoes in when they enter school, and which activity sheet to work on with their names written on it. It also helps them in their transition during different segments of the day like recognising and picking out the correct water bottle and snack box with their name labels during meal times.

We have come up with 10 simple ways you can teach your child how to recognise and write her name! Simply by using things and objects in your own home! 🙂

1. Ice-cream sticks

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2. Foam letters

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3. Toy trains or cars (Boys will love this!!)

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4. Muffins paper cups

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5. Bottle Caps!

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6.Pebbles

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7. Clothes Pegs!

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8. Scrabble Chips!

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9. Lego blocks!

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10. Paper rolls!

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10 Fun Activities on Word Families!

Language Development

Word families are groups of words that have a common spelling pattern – they have some of the same combinations of letters in them and a similar sound. Words like cat, hat, and fat are a family of words with the “at” sound. Children progress as better readers when they can identify chunks in words like word families (e.g. Words ending with -at, -in) In teaching word families, children learn how to blend sounds (like c-at, b-in). It helps them to decode words faster, improving their word recognition skills as well as spelling skills. Reading books with lots of rhymes like Dr Seuss also helps develop their phonological awareness.

For emergent readers, after they have mastered the phonics sounds, they can proceed to learn word families or words that rhyme. Some word families you can start with are -at, -in, -ig, -an, -ing, -ot.

I have come up with a series of fun and hand-on activities for your beginner reader to pick up new words quickly and enjoyably! Here goes:

1. Sliding Cards!

You can also create word family cards with a movable list of beginning sounds ( an idea that all phonics teachers are familiar with!). Just slide the card up and down & blend the different beginning sounds and the rime (-at, -in) to help them read. First introduce and read the rime ( e.g. -at, -ot). Model the blending slowly for the child by emphasizing the beginning sound, then blend it with the rime. With practice and repetition, the child will be able to see the word patterns in the word families, and effectively decode the words for pronunciation. This activity is visually stimulating and hands-on for little readers!  You can create pictures of objects or animals on the cards that interest your child! Have fun!

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2. Word Family (Onset and Rime) Blocks

For this activity, I created a word family game using some wooden blocks from your child’s collection. Just glue different beginning letter sounds on the blocks. Rotate the block to create different words in the same word family like -at. Or play a game where the child tosses the block like a dice and blends the sounds together to read the word

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 3. Paper rolls and balls!

Just gather some toilet rolls and plastic balls! You can also use pong pong balls or golf balls! Print out the words and pictures and stick them on. You can blend onset (beginning sound) and the rime (-at) for your child. Then in your second round of reading the words, you can ask your child to pick out the right picture that matches the correct word. With practice and repetition, your child will be able to see the word patterns in the word families, and effectively decode the words for pronunciation. This activity is visually stimulating and hands-on for little readers!

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4. Scrabble Letter Chips

To prepare the tray, simply select the scrabble letters for the word family (example:-at) , and various beginning sounds (example: c,b,r,m) for the child to explore different rhyming words. You can use a mini blackboard for my little girl to arrange the chips. I love how this simple activity is so hands-on and concrete! It makes blending of sounds and picking of new words so engaging and interesting!

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5. Plastic Eggs!

You can find these lovely egg containers at toy stores or during Easter season! Just stick the different beginning sounds and twist and turn it to blend into various words in the same word family!  I have these lovely eggs in a basket, and they certainly will capture your child’s attention! This is one hands-on idea that will definitely be a big hit with kids learning to read!

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6. Wooden Letters

Gather all the wooden or foam letters in your house and create word families for your child to play with! Simply print out pictures to match with the words, and your child will learn about the meaning of the words effortlessly!

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7. Clothespins!

This is one cheap and easy-to-make material! Just stick letter labels or write the letter on the clothes pegs with a marker. Clip the clothes pegs on an ice-cream stick to form each word in the word family. As you blend the beginning sound, simply slide the clothespin with the beginning sound (s) towards the ending rime (-it). Join the letters together to form the full word!

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Using clothespins to teach word families

8. Pebbles!

Simply write the letters on pebbles to create rhyming words! Let your child explore this tactile activity of holding and grasping the concrete material!

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9. Word Family Calendar!

Simply recycle your used calendar, and cut it into two parts. Paste beginning sounds and ending sounds on both sides, and get your child to flip the pages to create rhyming words for the same family!

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10. Read Books with Rhymes!

Reading is a sure way to get your child to develop phonemic awareness of rhyming words! Dr Seuss and many other phonics readers are great in familiarizing your child with rhymes!

Teaching Word Families- Using Scrabble Chips

This is an activity following our series of using creative resources to teach word families.To introduce the word family, I would have read to her some of the words in the family like cat, rat, mat, and sat. Reading Dr Seuss’ ‘Cat in the Hat or other phonics books is a good way of introducing children to gain awareness of how rhyming words sound like.

To prepare the tray, simply select the scrabble letters for the word family (example:-at) , and various beginning sounds (example: c,b,r,m) for the child to explore different rhyming words. I used a mini blackboard for my little girl to arrange the chips.

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Playing with rhyming words/ word families

I first laid out the ending sounds -at on the blackboard. And I placed different beginning sounds and modeled how to sound out the word by blending the beginning sound and the ending letters (example: b-at, bat).

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Watching me blend different letter sounds to create different words made my girl really curious about exploring the activity for herself. She swapped the letters one by one, and attempted to sound out the word with a little help from me. Over several repetition, she was beaming with pride that she could read out some words from the word family. She had so much rearranging the scrabble chips that she started creating nonsense words like zat, lat, kat! We had fun trying to pronounce these words and she even started imagining what they meant! She insisted, ” Zat is a type of zebra!” I really chuckled with laughter as she played with meaning of these words!

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I love how this simple activity is so hands-on and concrete! It makes blending of sounds and picking of new words so engaging and interesting!

Look out for our next post of 5 and more activities to teach word families!

Word families- With Balls and Toilet Rolls!

Teaching Word Families

Word families are groups of words that have a common spelling pattern – they have some of the same combinations of letters in them and a similar sound. Words like cat, hat, and fat are a family of words with the “at” sound and letter combination in common.

Children progress as better readers when they can identify chunks in words like word families (e.g. Words ending with -at, -in) In teaching word families, children learn how to blend sounds (like c-at, b-in). It helps them to decode words faster, improving their word recognition skills as well as spelling skills. Reading books with lots of rhymes like Dr Seuss also helps develop their phonological awareness.

Materials you need:

Just some toilet rolls and plastic balls! You can also use pong pong balls or golf balls! Print out the words and pictures and stick them on.

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Other concepts you can teach using this activity:

Numbers (matching 1 to one)

Ordinal numbers (matching 1st to first)

Phonics sounds (Matching a letter-sound to the correct picture)

Vocabulary (Matching words with pictures)

Math addition (Matching addition sums/subtraction sums to the answers)

Shapes (Matching spelling to the correct picture)

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My little girl’s interaction with the materials

Before I could introduce to my curious little preschooler what the activity is about, she grabbed one of the colourful balls and placed it above the toilet roll and said, “Mummy, look this is an ice-cream cone!” I was amused and tickled at her little ingenious idea! So I played along with her and said yes, we are going to make some ice-cream cones for our little treats today!

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I said I will show her how to make the ice-cream treats, and read out the words one by one on the paper rolls. Prior to that, I had read to her “Cat in the Hat” by Dr Seuss, and she could recall some of the -at words from the book. I started blending the onset (beginning sound) and the rime (-at) for her. Then in our second round of reading the words, I asked her to pick out the right ball that matches the correct word. She also repeated the word after we finished making the ‘ice-cream cone’.

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With practice and repetition, your child will be able to see the word patterns in the word families, and effectively decode the words for pronunciation. This activity is visually stimulating and hands-on for little readers!

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Sensory Bin with Picture book characters & Props

Goldilocks and The Three Bears- Book-based Activities

This is our second week into book-based activities on Goldilocks And The Three Bears. By this time, my girl is so familiar with the story plot that she can narrate the sequence of events with her own words, and I thought it will be an appropriate time to introduce a sensory bin with some props and handmade characters for her to immerse herself in role-play and imaginative play!

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Benefits of Pretend Play!

There are so many benefits to your child doing pretend play! It facilitates:

  1. Imaginative thinking and discovery
  2. Abstract thinking and problem-solving
  3. Application of Life Skills
  4. Social Skills development
  5. Learning “Theory of mind” where they do perspective-taking
  6. Confidence in communicating their ideas and thought ( through story-sequencing & narrative script and use of new words acquired

There are many types of pretend play like dress up, imitation of adults and adult life, acting out stories, role-play or using materials to create play.

Her Pretend Play!

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She was smiling with a look of surprise on her face when she approached the sensory bin. She was elated to meet the characters which I made from paper-cut outs and toilet paper rolls. She immediately started naming the characters- Papa Bear, Mama Bear, Baby Bear and Goldilocks. as she explored the sensory bin, she also noticed I poured some rice and beans for her to interact with. Since the bears loved porridge in the story, she took on the role of Mama Bear and started cooking porridge for the bears. She particularly was engrossed with pouring and transferring rice into each bowl using the scoop. This is one good example of using fine motor skills in the process of pretend play.

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After cooking, she decided that she must set the table for the bears. She arranged the bowls and assigned each bowl to each bear according to sizes. She also allocated one spoon to one bowl which allows her to apply the Math skill of one-to-one correspondence. She also used adjectives like “biggest” and “smallest bowl to describe the size of the object. She re-enacted the whole scene in the book where the bears tried the porridge and exclaimed ,” It is too hot!” “It is too cold!”. This kind of re-telling using her script narration hones her language skills of story sequencing and sentence construction. 

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With the episode of Goldilocks trying out the chairs, she cleverly places the character Goldilocks over the prop, and was amazed that it fitted perfectly! She then positioned Baby Bear over the chair with the soft cushion. Upon realising that the cushion there probably signify that the chair is soft, she then changed the character to Mother Bear. She was doing recalling of the story, which is the script she wanted to enact. In her second telling of the story on another day, she actually swapped the characters to sit on the chair as she re-invented the storyline to create a twist. She said the baby bear likes to sit on soft chairs and so Mummy bear let him.

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Try creating a sensory bin based on your child’s favourite picture book! The experience for imaginative play is very enriching!