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/

Fairy Dust Playdough Set

We are all familiar with how play dough has captivated children of all ages! They are fabulous for fun and learning! Here are 5 ways how it helps your child to develop!

1. Fine motor skills

Play dough is ideal for building the tiny motor skills through your child manipulating the malleable material by rolling, pressing, pinching, chopping, shredding and much more!

Poking in objects into the play dough requires focus and coordination.

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2. Develops creativity and imagination

Play dough provides endless possibilities for imaginative play and can represent anything in the mind of a child!

3. Great for building Cognitive skills!

Using play dough with letter shapes us great for letter recognition, and inserting small objects like buttons into play dough can be used for counting! Children can use the play dough to compare sizes, length and thickness. They can roll little balls and learn one to one correspondence, and even addition. They can also sort the balls by colour! iThe choices for learning are limitless!

4. Making Play dough- Great for Science concepts!

When you make play dough with your child, your child gets to be amazed by the process of mixing different ingredients into something gooey, and sticky! They learn to use their senses to learn about texture, and see the process of transformation of different materials!

5. Great for Language Development

Pretend play with play dough contributes greatly to your child’s language play. Interacting with play dough, your child taps on her imagination and comes up with play scripts, where she conceives ideas for a social scenario, and uses her vocabulary and functional language to verbalise and ‘act out’ her ideas. She engages herself in social dialogues and learn to think of solutions to problem-solve.

Our Fairy Dust Play Dough Setup

My little darling has been preoccupied with the theme of fairies in the woods, their magical journeys and fantasies of adventure and wonder.

To encourage creativity, I like to use open-ended materials for her to tap on her imagination and encourage originality.

This thematic fairy-dust playdoh set is easy to set up! And is perfect for a whole afternoon of make-believe and pretend play!

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Presenting the materials on a tray is like an invitation to play! which no child can resist!

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My little one immediately was captivated by the myriad of materials, and started coming up with her ideas as to how to use the materials. As she picks out the different materials, she used adjectives to describe the twigs and the paper flowers. She also started coming up with incredulous ideas about how a fairy has wings, and was  playing in the Pixie Garden. To make the fairy, she had to first used her palm to roll the play dough, and then estimate how to make a big and smaller ball. To join the parts together, I suggested to her using a sharp long object, and she immediately picked out the twig. To create the wings, she selected the angel wing embellishment and pressed it hard to make it stay. Using the eyes and twigs as hands, she completed the look of her little make-believe fairy!

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Next, to create the setting for the main character, she decided to make a garden! She stayed on task for a prolonged period of time trying to actualise her ideas for the garden! She flattened the dough to create grass and ground for the fairy to stand on. Then she inserted flowers and twigs to make it natural looking. She also added in little garden creatures like butterflies and worms. This was a great opportunity for me to use thematic vocabulary like different garden animals! To complete the garden look, she started referring to Tinklebelle story about pixie dust. She then sprinkled some glitter into the play dough and the wonder happened!

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Look at her little Fairy Garden with her Fairy! I love how this process of  creating art and actualising her ideas!

The process of creation far supersedes the finished product!

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10 Frozen Fun Activities!

 10 Frozen Fun Activities!

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

Tapping on my little girl’s interest in the movie hit Frozen, I have decided to capitalise on that to come up with 10 different sensorial and learning activities!

1. Pretend Play

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.

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

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2. Making a Snowflake!

https://playhood.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/snowflake-ornament/

Tying in with the Frozen Movie craze, my gal has been fascinated with the idea of snow despite our hot humid weather all year round.

I thought why not let her experience deeper with the concept of snow by making a snowflake ornament, with the colour theme blue, so as to add to her Frozen props for role-play!

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 3. Frozen Ice!

https://playhood.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/frozen-fun/

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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4. Frozen Snow Globe!

https://playhood.wordpress.com/2014/06/07/frozen-snow-globe/

One of my favourite activities is to come up with a snow globe, based on the theme of snow and winter throughout.

The shimmering magic of snowfall is always transfixing, whether s it winter or not for your season.

These globes allow your child to create a wintry scene straight out of their own imagination.

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5. Storytelling with the books!

Nothing like retelling this heartwarming plot through the use of books! Allow your child to experience the depth of the characters and seeing the story come alive through the use of beautiful illustrations!

6. Olaf Marshmallow!

Kids will love this food making activity! Just get marshmallows, chocolate chips, raisins and some orange icing and they are ready to make the adorable snowman that is also edible!

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7. Olaf Sushi!

Thanks to my sister-in-law who ingeniously created this incredible Olaf Sushi! This is too cute to be eaten, but my girl gobbled it all up in no time!

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8. Stickers

Why not add some magnetic tape on the Frozen character stickers and create props for the children to enact scenes from the story on magnetic whiteboards?

9. Making an Olaf Snowman!

You can create a Olaf tray where the child has to assemble the different Olaf snowman body parts together!

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10. Colouring & Drawing

For some quiet seat work, colouring is great for them to focus and fill the pages of their favourite characters with colour! Drawing the characters out also stretches their imagination and builds their attention to details. We were at a play date when the kids started drawing the characters on white sheets and even on paper plates!

For colouring pages, just google Frozen Colouring Pages

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Have an icy blast with the kids with these activities! 🙂

 

 

 

 

Printing Circles to Make Lollipop!

To make the circle prints, I decided to recycle some of the plastic cups and toy cups lying around in the house. I intentionally chose cups of different sizes to create learning opportunity of comparing size for my preschooler. After the art materials were set up, my curious 3-year old girl was raring to do some creative printing!

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Exploring Shapes and Sizes

While doing the printing of the circles, she used adjectives like, ” big”, “small”, “colourful” to describe the circles. She also realised that the smaller circle will always fit inside the bigger circle, which is part of her picking up concepts of spatial awareness. As for the bottle cap, she instinctively placed it inside the smaller circle. and she almost immediately exclaimed, “Look Mummy! The circles are big, bigger. biggest!” I was gleaming with pride!

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Upon seeing the complete circles artwork, she was reminded of lollipops! She excitedly requested for a paintbrush because she wanted to create a lollipop! With a stroke of a brush, she transformed the circle prints into something of her own imagination. I was awed once again at the spontaneity and creativity from a little child!

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Why not try exploring this simple art activity with your own little artist at home and see what they can come up with!

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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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Painting on Aluminium Foil & Cardboard Box

This week, given its a rainy season and we are kept indoors, we started exploring painting with different mediums and with different materials. First material that got my little preschooler girl curious was playing with aluminium foil. Her initia observation of the foil was that it is shiny and silver in colour. It is also easily manipulated and malleable with the fingers. When I told her that we were going to paint on it, her eyes opened wide with curiosity as she had never tried it before!

Upon using the paint brush to dab some paint on the foil, she quickly took to the painting and started mixing colours on her own and creating a collage of colours across the foil material. She also started using her imagination and drafted different pictures such as rainbow, castle and princess. It became her little canvas for her to create different images of her own imagination!

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Another little art activity we embarked on was painting on the cardboard box with a little sponge roller. It was a great activity to engage my little one while she touched up the dull boxes with strokes of vibrant colours! She insisted she wanted to recycle her new masterpiece into her jewellery box for all her accessories. I was elated that the idea of recycling came from her and it was a great opportunity for her to learn about recycling!

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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!