In my old district, the school year will be half over at the end of January! I always thought the second half of the year went much faster than the beginning of the year. This is the time of year when you can really see the children who are moving along, and those who might be struggling with basic concepts. I think full day kindergarten has made a big difference with this, most of my class recognized letters, matched letters and sounds, and named numerals by mid-year. But we did not have paraprofessionals to give extra support, so when I had concerns about a child, and spoke to his/her parents, I wanted to be able to give them specific ideas of ways to help their child at home.
I developed a take home packet that had materials and directions for different activities that parents, or older siblings, or babysitters, could do with the children. Often I made copies of these materials for each child and gave them out to every family at conferences in October. If a child needed extra help later in the year I would remind the parents about these activities – and sometimes I had to send home another set. Of course I encouraged parents to use the materials any way they were comfortable, but I provided lots of ideas that helped the child learn by playing instead of just holding up a flashcard or drilling the child about a skill.
Here are the directions for different activities that I included in the packet.
Here are some of the materials I copied for each packet. I put everything together in a 10 X 13 manilla envelope, here is the cover I glued on the front:
I included upper and lower case letters
I used to make these cards larger, but I reduced them to use less paper, and they still worked fine. I usually copied them on construction paper, but I made a few copies on card stock and I kept those in the classroom and sometimes asked parent volunteers to play games with certain kids. I included extra lower case letters so the children could use them to spell out sight words, their name, etc.
Here are the masters for the letter cards.
I copied them on different colored paper so the children could play Memory games. I also included pictures of objects that began with each sound – I did not include all of these in the packet – I usually gave one thing for each sound, but I didn’t keep my original masters so I am just giving you an assortment!
I copied these on a new color too – so the children could play games matching letters and sounds.
I included activities for rhyming and word families and gave them these picture cards.
The children cut apart these strips and pushed them through a slit in the frog’s mouth – as they pulled the paper through they would stretch out the sounds.
I also included sight words activities, when I sent this packet home with every family I wanted games that reinforced a range of skills.
And this sight word board game…
I finished the spinner by hooking a paper clip onto a brad fastener and pushing that through the center of the circle.
To reinforce comprehension I gave them simple pictures to help sequence and retell fairy tales.
I tried to be sure and play some of these math games with the children before I sent them home. They loved numeral dice toss – they just rolled a die and wrote the number in the right column, great numeral writing practice, practice with probability, recognizing standard configuration, 1:1 counting of the dots on the dice – great skills!
This is an old Math Their Way game – My Turn, Your Turn. The partners use one marker – like a plastic teddy bear or disk and start out with the marker on the star. The children take turns rolling a die and moving the marker toward themselves – the other child moves the same marker in the opposite direction – great practice with 1:1 counting!
I know children learn math best through manipulative materials, so I bought a bag of large lima beans – very cheap! Then I spread them out on a newspaper and spray painted one side of each bean. I counted out 3o beans for each child and put them in a ziploc baggie. In the directions I included different games that parents and children could play with the beans.
Here are more of the masters for these activities!
I always thought that parents were much more receptive when I was asking them to help their child at home when I gave them these games and materials. I hope you can find some activities here that you can use!