Upside Down Day

Printing letters and words the "right" way can be boring! Why not invite your kids to practice writing words on Upside Down Day? Here's how the activity works: Spread out the cards on a table so that the main three-letter word is showing on each one. Turn the cards so that your child will see the words upside down. Then, invite your child to trace the letters and words upside down with the dry-erase markers. Kids can write the letters and words anyway they want to—there's not a right or wrong way on Upside Down Day! When your child has finished drawing a few of the words, ask him or her to turn the cards and read the words they wrote aloud. Help your child to sound out each word and be sure to praise your child every step of the way!

Hint: When kids have fun working with an exercise in a new way, they may see and grasp concepts better.

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P is for Pepperoni!

Learning beginning phonics can be as easy as ordering a pizza. To help kids make the connections between letters and sounds, try this activity. Spread out the cards on a table so that the main pictures are showing. Then, select the cards that show pictures that begin with the same letter sound. For example, the cards for the letter "p" include Pan, Pie, Pig, and Pen. Practice sounding out the words with your child slowly and be sure to emphasize the beginning sound of each word (that “p” in "pepperoni" sound)! Then invite your child to think of more words that have the "p" sound. Write the words that he or she says onto the cards using the dry-erase markers. When you both have thought of as many "p" words as possible, read the list aloud together. See if you can come up with a funny "p" sounding story and say the words as fast you can, creating your own tongue twister: Peter Panda Plants Pies for the Pink Piggy. For a challenge, ask your child to choose the cards by sounding out the picture names and selecting cards that begin with the same sound. Then, start again! 

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Little Illustrators

Identifying and drawing basic shapes are important skills for preschoolers and kindergarteners to learn! To start kids on their artistic adventure, invite them to trace some of the basic shapes in each illustration with the dry-erase markers. For example, select the ant card and ask your child to trace the ant with his or her finger. Point out that the ant is made up of ovals and trace them with your finger. Then, invite your child to use the dry-erase markers to trace the ovals and triangles they see in the ant card and in other illustrations! Other great cards for this activity include the bee, the bug, and the fly (circles and ovals); the ape (circles); the dog (ovals); and the fox and the jet (triangles). For a challenge, ask your child to outline the squares, triangles, ovals and circles they see in the pig card!

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ALL CAPS!

School Zone’s Alphabet and Bedtime Alphabet are good resources for this exercise because they help kids to recognize and identify uppercase letters. Kids need to learn how to print uppercase and lowercase letters of the alphabet as they progress in school. Typically, kids have an easier time printing uppercase letters until they develop the fine-motor skills they need to print lowercase letters. Encourage kids to make the connection between uppercase and lowercase letters with the following activity! Choose a few cards that show the side with three words and select a few more that show the side with one word. Invite kids to print uppercase letters (all caps!) to fill in the missing letters and to write the words! Ask your child to add an exclamation point at the end of each word he or she writes in all caps and to shout out the word as he or she completes it. Then, arrange the words (by adding a few of your own) to form a funny sentence: HEY! THE BUNNY'S HAT HOPS OVER THE HAY!

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