Word Play ~ Learning to Read is FUN!

Word Play -  Learning to read is fun!

Learning to read doesn’t always involve a book or a piece of paper!  There are many, many fun ways to incorporate word work into your little one’s school time.  This post will be an ongoing collection of many word play ideas, many of which I used while using my You Can Read program!

In no particular order, here are many hands on ideas for word play fun!  Some are new ideas, some are ideas I used when I taught public school Kindergarten.  Some are my ideas, some are ideas that have been passed down by teachers through the years!  

Make words with small objects!  Favorites are jewels {we have gotten ours at Dollar Tree and various craft stores}, and Learning Links.  The possibilities are endless with this!

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Take the idea a step further and challenge your child to find toys to make words out of!  Here we used Twisters/Twister Curves… IMG_3489


Stamp words!  He was actually stamping Batman this day, but we also use them to stamp our sight words! {we just ordered these cool stamps, they aren’t here yet though!}IMG_8896


Which Word is Right?  Mom ~ write 3 spellings of the sight word, only 1 correct.  Have your child erase the wrong words, leave the correct spelling!  Throw in a little healthy fruit snack as a treat for getting the answer correct!IMG_9562


Dry Erase Writing…Simply have your child write the word you call out on a dry erase board.  Allow him/her to look at the word wall if needed to keep things positive!IMG_0591


Word Wall Search…Use a toy {Krash uses his favorite dolphin to jump} find the word you {or a helpful sibling} call out on the word wall!IMG_0785


Make the word with large foam letters from a floor puzzle {we got ours for $10 at Ross a few years back}.  Krash is also using his dolphin to flip the ball down the word as he calls out the letters to spell and say the word!IMG_1123


Use small letter tiles {or abc magnets} to make words and a fun pointer to have your child point to the words you call out.  Before starting this, you could also work with your child on putting the ABCs in order!IMG_1313


Roll & Read…Use an cube and an Education Cubes insert, having your child roll and read!IMG_2150

See how active this idea can really get!!!


Water paint the words outside on a warm day!  Add in a cube for even more active play.  Krash rolled the cube, ran to get it, ran back and painted the word!IMG_3011


Use the Leap Frog Word Whammer to spell phonetic 3 letter words.  I thought it was hilarious that the whammer asked K to spell pub!IMG_3236


Lay out the words your child knows {ours are cut and laminated from our color by # cards}.  IMG_3373


Have your child roll the cube {or you can just yell out a word}, and toss a fun object/ball onto the correct word!IMG_3383


Make words out of play dough {I recommend this recipe}… IMG_3196


Do you have an idea for word play fun?

  • Feel free to link up any idea that involves learning words in a fun, hands-on way!  This is not going to be a weekly linky, just a large gathering of ideas in one place.  You can come back and link up new ideas when you write posts about them!  I will link to this Word Play post in each of my Kindergarten with Krash posts. Please Note ~ Links that do not share a family friendly reading idea will be removed in order to help others searching specifically for word play ideas!

    Kindergarten with Krash ~ You Can Read…unit 3 & Birds!




    His first Calvert lessons have him reviewing basic skills he is solid in, so we aren’t spending much time there right now.  We are spending a majority of our time focusing on our You Can Read printables, which is challenging him at a perfect level.  We are doing many other additional activities also and having a blast!  Here’s a bit of the literacy fun we have had recently…


    We worked with unit 3 from You Can Read, for about 2 weeks, which seems to be what our plan for now will be.  I want him to have plenty of time to explore the words fully before adding more.  You Can Read 3...like is it my s

    Here colored his sight word color by # words…IMG_2375


    Word puzzles, which he really does not like so I will give him a break from these for awhile!IMG_2185

    Play Dough Words, he really likes these now that I made our own play dough!IMG_2356


    Funny fonts…IMG_2364


    Finding words he knows in the sentencesIMG_2479


    I created the first add-on to the You Can Read program {base printables are free once they are released on the blog, add-ons will only be in the ad-free section}.  He enjoyed these more than I thought he would  The first day they frustrated him, but once he really grasped what the boxes were for, he liked the challenge.  I laminated mine and cut them into strips and plan to put them on a ring for future practice.IMG_3074


    Word Play is a BIG component to our Kindergarten learning.  Here are a few of the active things we did recently with his new words…

    We use our cubes a LOT!  If you don’t have an Education Cubes membership, I highly recommend it!  Jenn created specific word cards for the You Can Read program and they are a perfect addition!  I add in his new words and keep his old ones so he is constantly reviewing.  We have 4 cubes so after we fill those up, I will begin removing the words he is most solid with.IMG_2444


    One day we took a cube outside and water painted the word he rolled!IMG_3004IMG_3007


    After he colors his sight words, I cut off the end and laminate the cards.  Now that we have 12 words we are able to make sentences!  We also pull in objects for our sentences.  Here he was reading “It is my cat.”IMG_3076


    For a review, I pulled off all of his word wall words and put them in his workbox.  He had to read each one and then put it under the proper letter on his word wall.IMG_3132


    He continues to LOVE our easy readers, we are using First Little Readers, and Sight Word Readers.

    This week we introduced “My Bear” and “ Animals” {Sight Word Readers}, and  “I Like School” and “What Is For Supper?” {First Little Readers}.  He really enjoyed these little books a LOT.  He gets so excited when we complete a new book and he adds it to his reading basket!  Each day that we add a new book, he also chooses an old book to read again to me.  We are using Guided Reading strategies during this time, which you can read about here.IMG_2285


    We also do phonics work and still use Bob Books for this.  Calvert has an intense phonics portion to their Kindergarten, he is just not there yet in the lessons so we are supplementing.  Here he was reading one of his Bob Books…IMG_3135

    We wrote the words one sound at a time on his Batman board and practiced before reading the book.  He still struggles a bit, so we are in no rush.IMG_3139

    After reading we played a word game.  I drew a 3 part box for him and said a 3 letter word {mat, bus, web, mat} and had him isolate the 3 sounds and write them in the boxes.  He did really well with this.IMG_3145




    His math lessons have continued to be fairly “easy” for him.  We continue to just follow the Calvert workbook and he enjoys the simple worksheets for the most part.  He reviewed sorting, and shapes during this time period.  Honestly we fly right through math at this point, which is fine.  We do calendar almost everyday and will begin doing more math focused work once the skills introduced become a bit more difficult.




    Hands on, learning toys, games, computer, themes, and more.  This is where I plan to share everything else he has been up to that I happen to capture! These are the “extra” things we do in addition to his direct instruction which you will see above.

    We had fun with a few of the Bird Printables, here he was matching his 3-part cards.  A few of you have asked about this and what these are, they are a Montessori method of teaching, often referred to as Nomenclature Cards-I think that word is way to big, so I don’t use it, but that’s what they are!  Here is a post I found that explains the concept well. He really enjoys doing his card work in our small pocket chart.IMG_2297


    Working on warm and cool colors as he colored his birdhouses…IMG_2471


    Helping the bird get to the bird house…IMG_2414


    He LOVED, and I mean LOVED the Flap, Flap, & Fly Game from Mama Jenn!

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    We enjoyed some deck Play Dough time, which the boys loved!IMG_2430

    We got some new Leapfrog movies thanks to Netflix!!!  His favorites are Numbers Ahoy and Math to the Moon!IMG_2485


    A few items we used…

    Visit Preschool Corner {& 5K too} for more fun learning ideas!

    Visit Teach Me To Read Thursdays to see more great ideas!

    Word Wall

    Portable Word Wall

    {disclaimer ~ affiliate links are used in this post}

    What is a Word Wall?

    Here is an official definition from Wikipedia.  Here is another article about word walls. Basically it is a place to display words a child has learned or is learning.  We use ours for high frequency words in Kindergarten, only putting up words as they are learned.

    We use a tri-fold foam board {ours was $10 from Target} for our Word Wall, it looks like this…IMG_0785

    For the letters I found these Elmer’s sticky ABCsimage

    They were wonderful because I could move them around until I had the exact placement and then I glued them down with a glue stick.

    For the words, I am using the cards from the You Can Read printables, printed on cardstock and laminated.



    They are hooked to the board using tiny Velcro dots, which I bought in bulk from here.  I used velcro so we can take the words off at any times to play games and review.IMG_1141


    After Krash has a good knowledge of the word, we add it to the word wall, and review often.  Review is especially important as the list of words grows.

    I do not put word family words on this board {cat, mat, rat, sat, etc.}, just his basic sight words that I want him to be able to identify without sounding out, just by sight.

    In the past I have had our word wall up on our actual wall, similar to how I did it in the classroom.  You can see my post about when I transitioned to portable word walls.  I like the idea of it being up on the main wall, but I like the idea of being able to better interact with the words using the portable word wall.

    Do you have a word wall in your homeschool classroom?  If you have a  post showing it, please leave a comment with the link so we can check it out!

    You Can Read!

    You Can Read Sight Word Program

    You Can Read! is a high frequency word program developed to help your younger reader master basic sight words.  I pulled together many ideas from various places, mostly my former Kindergarten teaching days, and put together a “program” to help myself stay on track with teaching high frequency words to Krash.  I do believe in mastering sight words {also known as high frequency words} while also learning phonics alongside of this.  You can see my full beliefs about teaching children to read here.  Many sight word printables are designed for children who learn to read a bit older and since Krash is 4 and I know some of you have kids who are ready {see reading readiness signs here} even earlier.  These printables were designed with younger children in mind, although older children will enjoy them too.

    You Can Read Button 200x200

    I have been developing this for quite awhile now, but wanted to “test” it with Krash before I shared with you all.  I also had a good friend try the first set out with her 5 year old {he is about a year older than Krash}.  Both boys have thoroughly enjoyed the printables and I am thrilled to say that Krash has mastered the 1st 4 words and did NOT know them all before starting the week!

    You can see all of the printables and more info about the program here on the You Can Read webpage. You will notice I am offering the printables for free.

    You can also purchase a bundled option which includes many extras. See more info about purchasing access to this section here.

    Each set will include the following information sheets, containing helpful information and even links.  Each printable is explained in a table of contents in case you forget what each one is for.



    Here is a journey through the many different printables he worked on throughout the week.


    Slide16Connecting the matching words using a dry erase marker {sheet is in a heavy duty sheet protector}IMG_8873



    Slide15Practicing writing skills while also connecting the matching words.  I had him read each word as he connected it.IMG_8932



    Slide11He really liked these!  Each puzzle is cut into one part for each letter and I also provide a base page.  You can print and laminate the base page once and reuse it for all of the lessons.  He LOVED doing these!IMG_8967

    IMG_8972On another day he did the puzzles in his mini pocket chartIMG_9533



    Slide17This activity was anther BIG hit with Krash.  I gave him the 4 basic dry erase colors and explained the concept to him.  He had to use a particular color {indicated at the top of the sheet} to circle each specific word.  A few of the fonts confused him a bit-but that’s the point! He did about 99% of the entire thing independently.IMG_9437



    Slide9I wasn’t sure if he would enjoy Play Doh words, but he did! Play Doh Words

    Play Doh Words



    Slide19Pac Man helped him with his sentence search one day.  The idea is to see the words within a sentence and be able to isolate them by circling them.  A helper reads the entire sentence and the child locates the words.IMG_9491



    Slide18He struggled with this at first, but Pac helped him and he grasped the concept quickly!IMG_9496



    Slide7 Slide20

    Here he is tracing his words.  These are laminated.  I cut the strip on the far left into individual word cards and we will be using these as flashcards to review each week and for his new word wall {details in next week’s post!}.IMG_9367



    Slide13He LOVED word Bingo!!!!  This is a very simple BINGO version, so the child can “win” quickly!IMG_9382



    Slide21Coloring the books based on the word inside if the book…IMG_9342

    Yes, Krash did all of the printables, but I created many options so that you can choose!  Figure out which ones your child enjoys and only do those!  If your child hates coloring, don’t do the Color By Word page.  If your child loves Word BINGO-do it every day!!  The idea is to expose high frequency words in a fun way!

    The units are presented in a suggested order, but it is NOT necessary to go in order as they do not build upon each other.  I did this so classroom teachers and homeschool teachers can choose the units that would most benefit their kids at a certain time!

    I also provide a sheet giving more suggested ideas to help make learning these words fun.Slide22Here is a variation of one of the ideas I suggest in action…

    I wrote this on the board and asked Krash to erase the wrong answers, leaving only the correct spelling of the word see.

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    I also offered a little fun incentive, 1 fruit snack for each correct answer!  He LOVED this!!!IMG_9565


    In addition to the printables included in this program, we are also using my sight word color by number cards too.  I will be creating new color by number cards to correspond with the units also, so more will be added to that section as we get to those units!

    Color By Number Sight Words it is Color By Number Sight Words me my Color By Number Sight Words the and

    One final note-this is NOT a complete teach your child to read program, just to make that clear.  It is just a fun way to integrate sight words into your child’s reading program.  I still suggest all of the things in my How to Teach a Child to Read post.  I still use the base Calvert Reading program with Krash and just supplement with this!  You can easily use these printables alongside of any other reading program you might be using.

    Easy Links…

    The main You Can Read! webpage {download  free files}

    You Can Read! Bundle {bundled format PLUS many extras}

    Helpful Products…