Leaping Landscapes

Open up all of the cards and place them side-by-side in a row. Invite your child to tell you what it different or the same among all the landscapes, just like you can do with photographs. For example, ask your child to select all the cards from the row that show it is daylight outside. (Hint: Look for backgrounds that show the sun !) Or, invite your child to choose all the cards that show bodies of water ! Which cards look like it is cold or hot outside? Or, can you find the card that shows ice and snow ? The idea is to help kids start making connections between what they know about the world to what they see in pictures. Remember to adjust the difficulty of the vocabulary words to your child's comfort level. For example, ask your child which cards show trees or a forest, depending on which vocabulary word you would like to emphasize.

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Bird Watching

Variations of the We Read What We See! exercise can help to reinforce many concepts. After you have practiced with each set of cards, extend your questions to include the concepts covered in all three sets. For example, after you and your child review the color cards, use the number cards to reinforce the colors that your child has learned!

Try It! Take the number 2 card and flip it open. Ask kids questions about the colors in the scene. Do you see any birds that are yellow? Show your child the yellow card to help your child make the association between the color yellow and the word “yellow.” If your child needs help finding the yellow birds, point to the four yellow birds (goldfinches!) in the illustration. Then, point to the birds that aren’t yellow, such as the cardinals. Are these birds yellow? Are these birds red? Pick up the red card to help kids remember what the color red looks like! To help kids learn the color blue, point to the Blue Jays and ask, What color are these two birds? We call them Blue Jays because they are blue! Simply adjust your questions to reinforce shape recognition.

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Building Shapes

Kids learn a lot by building things up and taking things apart with their own hands (often called tactile learning)! Try this exercise to help your child understand that shapes have dimensions. Simply use the cards like you would use building blocks. All you need is a flat surface and an open mind! Start with an easy shape like a triangle. In fact, select the triangle card and show your child how to form a triangle with one card set on the table with the table as its base. Make a whole row of triangles with your child. Once youngsters get the knack for using the cards to make triangles, invite them to try making a square out of two cards. You’ll see that the possibilities are endless once you start this activity—try making diamonds, rectangles, and stars!

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Letter Making Machine

t’s easy to vary the Building Shapes activity and use this exercise to practice another readiness skill—letter recognition! See what letters of the alphabet that you and your child can make out of the cards. Start by placing all the cards onto their sides on a table. Simply open one of the cards slightly to form the letter V. Ask you child, what letter of the alphabet is this? Then, build on this idea. Other letters that are fun to make with these cards include M, Z, W, N, X, and T. Invite kids to help you make the letters by engaging their curiosity. How can we make the letter M out of these two cards? Do you think it’s possible? Remember to give your child time to figure it out herself or himself before you jump in to help! Then ask, How do you think we can make the letter W? It’s important for kindergarteners to recognize and name uppercase letters of the alphabet, according to the Common Core State Standards!

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Garden Green

We are learning when we are up and about and taking in the world through our senses! One name for this process is “kinesthetic learning.” We also start to associate the meanings of words that we recognize in pictures with objects in the real world when we are very young. Try this kinesthetic game to help your child understand the relationship between words and their meanings.

After you and your child practice the activities for each of the color cards, close and flip these cards over so that the colorful borders, the color words, and the example illustrations are showing. Hold up each card and walk around with it while helping your child match its color to the color of something in the living space or out-of-doors. Hold up the green card with the illustration of the peas and ask, What can we find that is green? Then, look around and keep on looking! Do you see toys that are green? Are there green plants? Are there other green vegetables in the refrigerator or pantry? What does your child see? Walk outside together and ask more questions. Invite your child to hold up the green card and ask her or him, Do you see anything else that is green? Are there a lot of green things outside? Is the grass green? How many green things do you see? For a fun variation of this game, try matching the shape cards to the shapes in the world around you! 

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