We all know how difficult it is to get your children interested in reading home readers over the holidays. We also know that many children fall back in their reading after a holiday break because they do not practice their literacy skills unless they are truly in love with reading. You can always have them read menus and signs but they soon get bored with that. So what is the answer? I think I have it. Here are 10 easy literacy activities you can use during the holidays to keep your children using works, and they won’t even know they are learning! Ok, the smart ones will but they will play along anyway.
- Guess the word – write your child’s sight words or spelling words or just any words on pieces of paper. Put the words in a jar or a bowl. Pull one out and describe the word to your child – i.e. word=cat you say “pet that purrs and likes to sleep all day.” Word=is ” what word is missing from this sentence – John ??? a pain when he hits.” See how many your child can guess in a row. As they get older you can do a quick draw version – you choose one to describe, they choose one to describe to see who gets the most. This activity reinforces the meaning and every day uses of words.
- Find the word – using post it notes write down simple words from around the house like table, chair, book etc. Have your child place the post it notes on the correct object. You can even give a reward i.e. 5 minutes of tv for every correct one. This activity builds basic vocabulary.
- Treasure hunt – Step 1 – Choose and hide an object. Step 2 – Then write a post it note giving a clue to find the object. Step 3 – Hide that note and write a clue to find the note. Step 4 repeat step 3 as many times as you think your children will stay interested. Give the last note to your children. Start with simple clues (i.e. Look under the sofa), and as your children get older then make the clues more complex. You can even have the older children write the clues for the younger ones. This also works really well if there is a reward at the end – i.e. You have won an afternoon at the park. This activity obviously gets the children reading and recognising the words for basic objects in the house.
- The rhyming game – this is a good one for the car. You say a word and see how many words the children can come up with that rhyme with that word. e.g. you say mat, they say hat, cat, sat, that etc. This reinforces basic word patterns
- Cooking – having children bake or cook something helps with reading words as well as an added math bonus with measures. You can even extend this activity and have the children make a 2 or 3 course meal and write a menu for diners.
- Word of the day – put a word up on a white board and see how many times your children can use that word correctly throughout the day. Mark each instance on the board and reward the winner with a prize i.e. they can choose what is for dinner.
- Theme Day – choose and read a favourite book, then pan the next day to be a theme day around the book. Talk with your children about what food you might eat, how you might dress, what music you might listen to, what activities you would do etc. This builds understanding of the story.
- Make your own story book – this activity can be adjusted according to the age of the child. It can range from an older child writing a story for a younger sibling, to a book with a few pictures and words to tell a story, to very young children drawing pictures and you helping them write the story. You can set a theme and see what they come up with.
- Silly sentences game (1) – once again this can be done at home or in the car. Write random words on bits of paper and put them in a bag or bowl (children can even contribute to this is they can write) then one child draws out a word and they have to make up a silly sentence using that word. e.g. the word drawn out is dog, silly sentence could be “the dog drove the car into the pond scaring the ducks.” Set the words at a level your children can read and let their imaginations come up with the rest.
- Silly sentences game (2) – write a 2-5 word phrases on a piece of paper and put into a hat or a bowl. Draw out 2 pieces of paper and try to make a sentence from the two different phrase. e.g. Phrase 1 = The dog sat down. Phrase 2 = the moon shone brightly. The sentence could be = The moon shone brightly as the dog sat down and refused to walk any further.
These are just my ideas of activities you can do. I am sure you all have more so feel free to add them to the comments below and help out a fellow mum just trying to get through the holidays.