Let's be honest: Learning to read is probably one of the most important skills your kids must master. These days the experts recommend getting a head start literally from the day they're born. But other than reading picture book after picture book, what can moms do to raise a reader?
Well, it turns out there are plenty of creative ways to teach your kids to read -- from board games to bottle caps to story cubes and more! Try these crafts and activities with your kids to get their word gears turning and have fun.
Have you ever thought of using LEGO pieces that way in #4?
Bottle Cap Game
Odds are you toss plenty of bottle caps ... so why not upgrade them into a fun bottle cap-based word game? Just write various letters or sounds (like at, og, or ut) on the caps, then challenge your kids to create words out of the mix. A good way to recycle -- or rather upcycle -- your trash, this game can also teach your kids about being a little bit greener.
Play Go Fish With Flash Cards
Flash cards are a great way to learn new words, but let's face it: they can become monotonous pretty fast. To avoid boring yourself your child to tears, play go fish with these homemade flash cards instead. The rules of the game are similar to those played with traditional cards, but instead of asking for "a three" or "a red" card, your kids have to work to sound out words.
Popsicle Stick Puzzles
If your kids love puzzles, they will love learning to read with these reading puzzles made from popsicle sticks. Plus it's smart upcycling, too.
Spell Words With LEGO
LEGO pieces can used to create all kinds of things -- even words! Just write a letter on the side of each brick, then have your kids lock them together to start spelling words with LEGO bricks.
Reading Board Game
"Sight words" -- common words that kids are taught to identify by sight rather than sounding out -- can be taught any number of ways, but this one makes a game out of it. Try building an erasable sight word board game, where kids learn these words by moving their pieces to the word they roll on the dice. Once your child has mastered all six words, you can erase and start with six new words.
Create Your Own Word Search
Kids finding words among jumbles of letters, and this homemade word search comes with detachable foam letters so you can arrange the letters various ways to continue challenging your child. The contact paper backboard means your kids can circle the words they find and wipe clean to start fresh.
Phonics Flip Chart
Introducing phonics -- the connection between letters and sounds -- is a cornerstone of reading, and this phonics flip chart makes it easy for kids to mix and match to create different words. Plus all you need is a spiral notebook, a marker, and some scissors to set it up!
The Silent 'E' Game
Many aspects of the English language can be particularly hard to grasp, like the silent "e" on the ends of words. That's why this silent "e" word game will drive this lesson home in a fun way by having kids complete words with the silent "e" ending.
Build a Word Ladder
One exercise that gets kids' literary gears turning is the word ladder game. The premise: Write one word at the bottom of the ladder like "bike," then challenge your child to create a new word for the next rung by changing just one letter, like "hike" followed by "hide" and so on. See how high they can go!
Once kids recognize certain words, it's time for them to learn how to put them together into sentences -- and one fun way to do that is to make your own story cubes. You can upcycle old wooden blogs by covering them with construction paper sealed with duct tape; then just copy the words from a book your child loves to read to challenge him in a whole new way.