Word building with Bricks, learning to read

Learning to read can be tricky, but making it fun can help children learn.

Phonics involves children learning the sounds of the letters and not just the name, how to segment and blend them together to make words, for example s – a – t blended together reads sat. Phonics consists of identifying sounds that are in spoken words and recognising the common spelling of each phoneme (the smallest unit of sound) Tricky isn’t it! And that is just the beginning of learning Phonics.

Learning the initial sounds and building cv, cvc words together is the beginning of learning to read.

I made up our own little word building game using different length duplo bricks.

You will need:

  • Duplo bricks, 2,4 and 6 pronged long
  • A marker pen
  • Sticky labels preferably white
  • Scissors

Use the smaller bricks for the individual sounds and the bigger bricks for the words that you want your child to learn to read and write. Following the Letters and Sounds phases, It’s always good to start with the sounds s,a,t,i,p,n and cv (consonant and vowel) words first. It will help the child to blend smaller words and once they have the hang of it add-on another letter.

Cut the sticky label to the size of the brick. Write on the individual sounds to the words that you want them to build and then on the longer bricks write down the words.

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As your child is building the word get them to sound out the letter, once they have recognised them and found the sounds that make up the word they then build the word. When the word is built they can then try to blend the sounds together and read out the word

DSC_2824_optGet your child to point to each sound when reading

DSC_2826_optOnce your child has mastered the cv words you can then go onto cvc words, like sat, pin, pat and sit. You can then add in the digraph (2 letters that make 1 sound), trigraph (3 letters that make 1 sound) and blends

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This is a fun activity that encourages children fine motor skills as well as letter recognition and blending words.

Thank you for reading 🙂

 

 

 

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Sensory Ziplock Bags

These sensory Ziplock bags are perfect for young children who are learning to write, they are easy to make and are fun to use. There are so many different types of sensory bags to make, you can add items to them such as letters and numbers for recognition, objects for counting or specific letters to make a sound bag.

We went for the plain option as Oliver is just learning his letter formations.

You will need:

  • Strong see through plastic ziplock bags (I used Tesco own brand)
  • Tub of hair gel (we used see through cheap hair gel, bought from the chemist)
  • Food dye
  • Glitter
  • Selotape to seal the bag

Empty half of the tub of gel into the bag, add in some food dye (i used the gel food colouring that comes in a tube) and the glitter. Close the bag up and squidge the mixture around with your fingers, the dye will eventually mix in and you will have an even glittery colour.
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If you feel that there is too much in the bag remove it now before you seal it with the selotape. Remove any air that is the the bag slowly trying not to lose any of the gel out of the bag. Once you are happy with the sensory bag, fold over the top and seal it with selotape.

Now they are ready to use
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You could also add objects into then before you seal the bags up eg: alphabet, numbers, fish, stars or objects that begin with a peticular sound for a sounds bag.

Not only has my youngest boy enjoyed doing his letters and shapes in the gel bag but my other two children who are aged 7 and 12 have equally enjoyed playing with it too.

Please be careful and use strong ziplock bags and also keep any child using it under supervision.

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Let Me Learn football maths games review

Times Tables Games

Help your child with their maths with Let Me Learn downloadable Football maths games.

Joseph is in year 3 at school and although it is at a national level for maths he struggles with learning his times tables. He gets there in the end but it does take him time, he still uses his fingers to count and he sometimes misses out one when recalling his times tables which results in him getting the rest wrong. In year 3 at school they are learning their 3,4 and 8 times tables, he is ok with times up to 5 but anything beyond that and he struggles. We have tried learning from memory and are always recalling them so that he can try to remember but Joseph is quite an active boy and he has low attention so his mind will then wonder and he loses interest pretty quickly.

Let Me Learn is an online learning resources website for teachers and parents. Sue Kerrigan the founder of Let Me Learn believes that for a child to ‘learn effectively is when they’re having fun. Education is essential for a fulfilled life and the process of gaining that education must be fun and enjoyable because that is the best and easiest way for anyone to learn.’ Repetition is so important for children with learning differences – they need to over learn essential skills for reading, writing and maths.  This is why are own products are all about ‘fun learning and repetition without boredom’.

We was sent a CD of Football maths games to review, The CD has 58 games in total, covering basic maths skills and facts:

Number Bonds, Odds & Evens, Doubling, Halving, Addition, Subtraction, Teen & Ty, Place Value, Bridge 10, Rounding, Times Tables, Division Tables, Fractions and Comparing Fractions, Decimals & Percentages.

You will need 10 counters, 1 playing piece per player and 1 dice (these are not included with the disc) Print on paper for instant play or print on card and laminate for durability if desired.

Who are these games for?

Avid football fans 7-14 years who are struggling with basic maths skills and facts and need lots of fun repetition to secure this knowledge.  Learn with the extra support provided with most of the games or practice without the support.

  • Motivational football gamesRepeated fun practice
  • Practice basic maths skills
  • Easy to learn – games follow similar rules
  • Follows curriculum learning objectives
  • Learn a memory technique
  • Supporting resources for learning
  • Ink saving low colour printing options

We first read through the memory technique, which is a way of remembering what you are learning. I asked Joseph a series of questions about what we had done the day before, whilst thinking he looked up to the sky to try to remember our day. When we practised the 3 and 4 times table, I told him to the look to the sky where his memory cloud is. This seemed to help to visualise the times table as he only got stuck once. It takes Joseph a while to remember things but given time he does answer and is normally correct.

We printed out a couple of board games to play in colour but you are given the option to print out in low colour so that your child can colour it in by themselves, this is so that if the game is personalised it will motivate the children to take ownership of the game. Each game comes along with a set of rules and visual prompts.

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Nearly a winner
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Board game with rules
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Board game with visual x table prompt

 

As Joseph is learning his 3 and 4 times table, I thought that this would be an ideal game to start with. The disc is easy to find your way around with everything clearly labeled to find. We practised his times table first and then started to play. he chose to be on the blue team which was the 3 x table side, which left me to be on the red team, the 4 x table side. Joseph was quick to point out that he would be Chelsea and I would be Manchester United, noting the colours of the teams. He rolled the dice and landed on 0x3 “easy” he said and placed a counter on the correct football. After an interesting 10 minute game, we had a very happy winner….Joseph. We did have moments where Joseph got stuck with persistence, encouragement and time he managed to remember the correct answer. I am sure with time and practise he will be able resite his times tables as quickly as I or his big brother can.

 

Before we played the game he was moaning about playing and saying that he didn’t enjoy maths, by the end of the game he was smiling and asking to play again. The games are simple but fun, Children don’t realise that whilst they are playing they are also learning aswell.

The football maths disc cost £14.99 and can be ordered online here Other games available are Hockey, Basketball, Rugby and Sports.

We was sent the disc for the purpose of this review

 

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Lauren Laverne narrates New Tee and Mo Games for Cbeebies

Lauren Laverne narrates new Tee and Mo games from BAFTA-winning production company

 

Negotiating with toddlers is not easy. Now a new series of animated games has launched on the CBeebies website, which help teach toddlers the benefits of team-work through interactive parent/child play.

Created by BAFTA-winning interactive production company, Plug-in Media, Tee and Mo, comprises 10 narrative-led desktop and mobile free games narrated by radio DJ and television presenter Lauren Laverne.

Each game is designed as a two-player interactive experience, encouraging pre-schooler and parent to enjoy together. They revolve around the daily adventures of an adorable and unstoppable baby monkey, Tee, and his mum, Mo. The aim is to explore everyday situations through the point of view of both child and parent, showing that whilst they may want to do different things, they can learn together by negotiating the challenges of daily life jointly.

Tee and Mo’s light-hearted approach to problem-solving and teamwork leads to care-giver and child bonding both on and off screen whilst inspiring them to pursue imaginative play opportunities off-line. After some thinking, they both have the same brilliant idea and take it in turns or work together.

The Tee and Mo desktop and mobile games can be played free online at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/tee-and-mo

There are 4 games on the Cbeebies website of which Oliver and I both played, his favourite one was the Jungle Trolley Dash, he laughed and giggled so much when we crashed into the obstacles that were in our way whilst out picking up food for dinner. To play the games you use the arrow buttons and space bar or the mouse. When playing the Jungle Trolley dash i told Oliver when to press the Space bar and i used the up and down arrow buttons to manouvre the trolley, it was fun and we laughed lots as he just kept pressing the space bar and made us crash lots, i think he liked to see Tee and Mos faces when it happened lol. Oliver was shouting up and down and Oh No when we crashed and Now when he saw some fruit to collect.

Oliver liked to point to the computer screen when he wanted me to do something

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Jungle Trolley Dash: Mo wants to do her shopping but Tee wants to play on his scooter so together they use the trolley and whizz through the jungle avoiding the boulders and shrubs that are in the way and picking up the food as they go.

Musical Garden: Its perfect weather for planting some flowers but Tee is more interested in his music box than helping Mo with the gardening. Turns out flowers love music as it helps them grow! So Tee & Mo see how many seeds they can plant in the time it takes Mo’s music box to play a tune!

Sandwich Stacker: It’s teatime in the jungle and Mo wants to make a sandwich, but Tee wants to carry on stacking his building blocks! They decide to create super-stacker sandwiches by piling their favourite fillings up as high as they can! Tee likes savoury food and Mo likes Sweet.

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Squirrel Flyer: Tee and his friend want to play but Mo wants to go out into the Jungle to fill up the fruit basket, so working together they Tee and Fly steer there way through the jungle and knock the fruit down for Mo to catch in her basket.

I really enjoyed playing these games with Oliver and he now has a new love of Monkeys, thanks to Tee and Mo. Each game has clear instructions spoken and worded, and gives you a result in the end.

Not only is there 4 games to play but you can also print out colour in sheets and watch short clips of Tee and Mo.

Dominic Minns, Creative Director, Plug-in Media said: “Unlike any other pre-school property Tee and Mo focuses as much on Mo the mum, as it does on Tee her boy – putting this most special of relationships at the heart of every adventure, to be enjoyed by a dual audience of parents and their children.  The games will create a positive space in the digital world that encourages caregiver/child relationships through purposeful and imaginative play.”

No money has been received for this post, i was provided with some information about the new games.

 

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Weekly Spellings

Joseph is 5 years old and in year 1 at school so every week he as part of his homework he is given a list of spellings to learn. There is normally about 10 words which will include 4 tricky words that can not be sounded out. He is given these on Monday and has to write them down every day until Friday when he takes a test in school on them.

Joseph struggles with his writing and spellings but with a bit of time and patience he is getting there with it, he spends about 15 minute a day on his writing and spellings. I have bought him a little notebook which he likes to write down a sentence every day on what he has done, a bit like a diary but he also draws a picture with his sentence too.

Along with writing down his spellings I also set up little games for him to play including the words that he has to learn just to try to make it a bit of fun for him. Joseph loses his concentration pretty quickly so keeping the games short and exiting is important.

The first game we do is WOW which is short for ‘Words On Wall’, This entails me writing down the words on a separate piece of paper, cutting them out and sticking them around the living room walls. I shout out the word and he has to run and find it, once he has found the correct word he then spells it out, we do it really quickly and he ends up getting really dizzy but he loves it!

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The second game is where we write the words down separate pieces of strips of paper and turn them over on the table so all the words are hidden, next we take it in turns to turn them over one at a time and then we have to act out the word that is written down. When the other person guesses correctly they have to spell out the word.

20130202-230238.jpgAfter each game if he has done really well then I reward him with a sticker, he loves these and tries really hard to get one.

These games seem to be working as he has starting to come home with his Super speller certificate, not every week but often than not he comes out of school with a big smile on his face at 3:10 on a Friday afternoon with s big smile on his face. Maybe its the time that I put into teaching Joseph his spellings or maybe it’s that he is concentrating more during classes in school, I just really hope the he continues to enjoy learning his spellings.

 

How do you get by with doing spellings with your little ones? Do they struggle like Joseph?

 

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