Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Homemade Learning Games

I work with kids on reading skills about 3 times a week. So, I'm constantly on the lookout for ways to make learning fun. I would just die if I thought the kids I worked with dreaded the time they spent with me. 

Some of the games I play with those elementary aged children, I will adapt to play with Annette. She begs for me to play games with her daily, so I try to figure out some that aren't frustrating or boring to a 3 year old. I wish I was good enough to play a learning game with her everyday, but that's just not how it goes. There are parts of me that want her to be that early reader, but a bigger part of me that want her to 'want' to read. Meaning, I don't want to push the issue. I just want to make reading look fun and desirable. It seems we are doing good in that department : ) 

Trying to capitalize on her current interest in learning some words, I decided to play some of the word games I've been playing with the kids I tutor.

I am a huge promoter of making your own games (instead of just buying them) for a few reasons. I know that if we make it together, she is going to be more interested in it and will learn lots of skills just in the creation stage. I can also tailor the game to her exact learning level because I have a pretty good grasp of what words she does and does not recognize yet. And it's cheap.

Charlie has his own side activity going on here. Water play.  You can see that I forgot to put the towel down under his cups at first. 

How we made and played:

I got two pieces of scrap book paper. It works perfectly for this activity because one side is white while the other has a pattern. I'll use a different pattern for future games, so I'll be able to sort the cards back into place if they get mixed up. Or if I find one under the table a few days from now and need to remember which pile it goes into.

I folded them up to create lines for cutting.

Unfolded them. 

Annette cut one sheet into cards, and I cut the other one. She has gotten pretty good at cutting on lines.

Then, we talked about words we know. I said "You know the word MOM" and she agreed, so we wrote that word on two different cards. (So they would be a 'match' for when we play memory)
Then, we wrote other words she knows. Mostly our family names. (mom, dad, charlie, granny, etc.)
Then, I added the word 'see' and 'go', because I wanted to throw in a couple of words that she has seen a lot in books, but doesn't really recognize out of context yet. 
We are working in her ZPD for all you teachers ;)

The first game we played with the word cards was Memory.

We lined them up.

She knows how to play this game already. From Nonnie's iPad and from other store bought memory games.

It's all going well, until I make the first match with the word DAD. She says she wants the Dad match to be hers. This is her pouting. I could have let her have it, but I felt like teaching her that she must play 'fair' or people won't want to play with her. I knew she really wanted to keep playing, so I told her that we couldn't continue playing the game until she stopped pouting. In a couple of minutes, and after seeing me move on to washing the dishes, she decided she could handle letting me have the DAD match.... if she could have it next time. oh my.

Now, we are happily playing again. Matching words and having fun.

We also played  a version of 'slap jack' with the cards. I put all the cards into one pile. I told her to slap the word 'go' when she sees it. I flipped the cards over one at a time and she slapped the word 'go' when it came up. She loved this, of course. I mean, who doesn't love slap jack??
We also played Old Maid with these cards by adding the letter I to a fresh new matching card. Since the I doesn't have a match, we call it the 'stinky ole I'.  If you end up with the stinky ole I at the end of Old Maid, you lose.

You could also put shapes or numbers, or even environmental print on the cards. Hey, I just thought of that. I might have to work on making some EP ones this week. Oh, how fun it is to teach and play with kids!

Ta-ta for now :)


Lauren said...

Love all of these suggestions! E loves books right now and I want that to continue...I seriously worry about it. Dumb. I know.

Kathy said...

I love having teacher friends! :)

the osbornes said...

Morgan you are the smartest!