Activity idea: Sight word rocks

Sight-wordsWhile browsing the internet one day Laura Kotasek, a toddler teacher at the Auburn Hills, Mich., KinderCare, found a great idea: sight word rocks. It’s a simple idea that has a lasting impact.

“I love social media,” Laura said. She’s inspired by many of the project ideas she find on Pinterest. (Check out KinderCare’s Pinterest page.) “Even if an idea is advanced you can tone it down a bit for different age groups.”

When Laura saw a pin with words printed on rocks she thought of her coworker, and prekindergarten teacher, Alex Miles. Both Laura and Alex happened to have yards full of pebbles and classrooms full of children eager for a new learning element.

“I thought it was a great idea,” said Alex. “The children get bored with paper strips [of sight words]. This gives them variety. They get to play with and touch the rocks, which also adds a sensory element.

Alex collected stones from her garden and wrote the week’s sight words on them – one word per side. Then she piled the rocks on a table and asked children to pick five a piece to read aloud. With each new curriculum unit, she added more sight words to the pile and continued incorporating the rocks into her lessons. Now the sight word rocks are a regular part of her classroom, A few parents even asked how they could recreate the unique learning tool at home.

Materials

  • Lots of smooth, child’s palm-sized stones (one for each sight word)
  • Permanent markers in a variety of colors

Directions

  • Clean stones to remove any dirt (if necessary).
  • Write each sight word on a stone (this part is for teachers only). For extra fun, write a different sight word on each side of the stone.
  • When dry, share stones with children and incorporate into daily activities.

Activity ideas

  • Word scavenger hunt: Scatter rocks around the playground or classroom. Gather children together, hold up a sight word card and ask children to find the rock with that word on it.
  • “Tell me a story” (good for younger children who can’t yet read): Draw pictures on rocks. Put rocks in a pile and invite children to use the rocks to tell a story. Write down their story and share it with their parents.
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Use several stones to illustrate both the caterpillar and the things he ate. One side of the stone illustrates something he ate while the other side illustrates part of his body. Use these stones to both tell the story and to help children learn new food vocabulary. You can even incorporate math into this lesson too by counting the food items and the sections of the caterpillar’s body.
  • Tic-tac-toe: Draw an X or an O on each rock to create a portable version of the popular game.

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