Monday, January 18, 2016


One of my favorite professors (Wood Smethurst) used to say, “If you want to catch a rabbit, you have to have a rabbit trap.” If we want children to master skills, we need to provide them with materials, like blocks and play dough, that will engage them so they can learn and play at the same time.

Note! For some of these activities you will want to tape the paper to the blocks or use sticky notes. For other things that will be used in multiple ways (such as letters and numerals), you could write on the blocks with a permanent marker.

Sequence – Tape illustrations (from a workbook or worksheet) of different parts of a story. Children can sequence the pictures and retell the story using the blocks.

Rhymes – Tape pictures of objects that rhyme to blocks and have children match them up.

CVC Words – On 2 ½” squares write consonants with a blue marker and write vowels with a red marker. Tape to blocks. Let children build CVC words using the blocks.

Prefixes and Suffixes – Use a black marker to write root words on 2 ½” x 5” pieces of paper and tape to blocks of the same size. Write prefixes with a green marker and suffixes with a red marker on 2 ½”” squares and tape to square blocks. Children place the prefixes in front of the root words and read. Place the suffixes on the end of the blocks and read.
Onsets and Rimes – Write rimes (vowel and letters following) on 2 ½” x 5” pieces of paper and tape to blocks. Write onsets (consonants and blends) on 2 ½” squares and tape to blocks. Children put onsets on rimes and read the words.

Singular and Plural – Write nouns on 2 ½” x 5” pieces of paper. Tape to blocks. Write “s” on a 2 ½” square and tape to a block. Challenge children to read singular words and then make them mean “more than one.”
Inflicted Endings – Write verbs on 2 ½’” x 5” pieces of paper. Write “s,” “ing,” and “ed” on 2 ½” squares and tape to blocks. Can children make words and then use them in sentences?

Letter Blocks – Write uppercase letters on 26 blocks and lowercase letters on other blocks. Can children match upper and lowercase letters?
Alphabetical Order – Ask children to put the blocks in alphabetical order.

Sight Words and Spelling Words – Invite children to reproduce their names, high frequency words, spelling words, or vocabulary words with the letter blocks.

Beginning Sounds – Using old workbooks, cut out pictures and tape them to blocks. Ask children to match up letters with pictures that begin with the same sound. (You could do this for final sounds or vowels.)

Building Sentences – Challenge children to construct sentences using the high frequency words.
I like…
We can…
I see…

Environmental Print – Ask children to bring in labels from food products or items around the house. Tape to blocks. Can they build towers and read the words?

Creative Writing – After building with blocks invite children to write a story about their sculpture. Who lives there? What do they do?