Do you happen to have a paint stick lying around?  

I know, random, right?!  

Well, yes... but stick with me!  If you do and you also happen to have a beginning reader in the house, I'm going to show you a clever way to make your own word ladder that you can use to help your child learn to read!

{And if you don't, now is the time to add that painting project you've wanted done on hubby's 'to-do' list. Ha!}

Learning to read is an exciting and nerve-wracking milestone, isn't it?  I've already been there, done that with Big Brother-- but with all my lamenting over which curriculum to use and questioning if she's ready-- you would think I was a newbie at this!

Whether you are a newbie or not, this Paint Stick Word Ladder is a great hands-on way to practice and encourage reading skills with your child.


How to Prep the Paint Stick

Begin by covering it with chalkboard paint.  By using chalkboard paint, you'll be able to use this word ladder over and over again with various word lists and even beginning blends.

While it is drying, grab a clothespin, marker, and piece of chalk.

On the clothespin, write a word family such as /at/, /op/, /am/, etc.

How to Use the Word Ladder

With the paint stick and clothespin all prepped, take a piece of chalk and write several letters on the paint stick.

I wrote the letters: b, t, m, l, s, p,  and r.

Review the sounds the letters make and the word family on the clothespin.

Clip the clothespin next to the first letter on the paint stick word ladder.  Encourage your child to make the sound of the letter on the paint stick and blend it with the word family to make the word, /bat/.

Have your child take the clothespin and clip it next to the second letter on the word ladder-- moving down the word ladder.

Your child will read the following real and non-sense words: /tat/, /mat/, /lat/, /sat/, /pat/, and /rat/.

To build fluency, once your child gets to the bottom-- work your way up!

Have fun teaching your child to read with this hands-on word ladder! May this activity encourage your beginning reader to read... and perhaps get that painting project done, too!
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The countdown for another school year is on-- however, I feel like it just started!

Anyone else with me?!  

I've been having fun re-arranging our school room, wondering how to store our curriculum for next year, and trying not to stress out with all the activities I have in mind for us-- soccer, co-op, dance, another co-op, flag football, MOPS.

I think I may just go crazy.....

Early Years Printable Bundle Sale

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Actually, I am already there! LOL!

Part of my craziness (I think) is my constant worry about how I am going to manage school work with big brother with 3 littles underfoot.  I have ideas-- heck! I even posted 10 ways to keep the littles busy while homeschooling a while back.  However, now that Little Sis will be of Kindergarten age, I also feel a bit of pressure to make sure she is "learning", too.

That is where this Early Years Bundle comes in!

It is perfect for homeschoolers, teachers, parents and caregivers to use to help plan their activities and educational curriculum. Most of the ideas and printables in this collection also work great as an after school additional set.

Printables and activity ideas range from toddler, preschool, kindergarten and grades 1-3.

The Early Years Bundle includes Over 3800 pages of resources:
  • 13 ebooks - examples: 99 Fine Motor ideas, Learn with play: 150 activities for year-round fun and learning, 50 Alphabet Crafts for little kids, LEARN: Hands on Learning Plans for your preschooler & more!
  • 31 Educational Printable packs - examples: My first calendar, ABC workbook, Pom pom mats, Shapes games, Dinosaur unit syllabus, Ultimate preschool literacy bundle, Counting printable pack & more!
  • 10 additional resources - examples: Yoga for kids, Crunch! Put a stop to picky eating and help your kids love veggies, Homeschooling with ADHD, Family Systems, Potty train in a weekend & more!
It is an amazing bundle right at your fingertips!

It's the perfect time to build up your virtual library!

Includes our ebooks, 99 Fine Motor Ideas and Learn with Play!

The Early Years Bundle is offered from July 25 to September 10, 2016 for $29.95!

Yep, that is right--- over $400 worth of product for $29.95! {That is the cost of just one of our books in print!!}

Early Years Printable Bundle Sale

With so many amazing resources packed in this bundle, your printer might go a little crazy. But that is okay! It'll save your sanity spending too much time looking for activities and give you more time with your kiddos.

This Back to School Bundle is a great way to ensure that even your littles are "learning" throughout the day, too!

Back to School Bundle Sale-- Perfect for Early Years

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Show your little ones that monsters needn't be scary with our latest I SPY printable for kids!  These silly monsters are just the cutest; I personally love the yellow monster with the brown mustache.  Kind of reminds me of the quirky, annoying, yet lovable character, Spongebob Squarepants.

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I remember when my daughter was 2 and we took her to Disney World.  I was obsessed with getting pictures with all the characters.  Just so happened that we came upon Mike and Sulley from Monsters, Inc. and although Little Sis was sleeping in the stroller, we took the time for a photo op anyways!  The whole time we were waiting for our turn with the two lovable monsters, I was hoping and praying Little Sis wouldn't wake up. I think she would have freaked at the sight of a large blue and green monster staring down at her.

Although the monsters in this I SPY printable aren't famous, they are adorable and make for a fun way to practice visual discrimination, counting skills, and more!

  • I SPY: Monsters Printable
  • Manipulatives
  • Pen/ Pencil

The printable contains six different monsters your child will need to find and count.  It may help to provide your little one with different colored buttons or beads to help your child keep track of which monster they already counted-- but not necessary.

Encourage your child to count the correct number of each monster and write the numeral or make tally marks for each monster.

I SPY games are a fantastic and simple way to keep kiddos busy while out and about, quick boredom buster, or a playful way to sneak in some counting skills!

Enjoy this Oh-so-NOT-scary Monster printable!

Print Your I SPY Monsters Printable Now!
Monster clipart licensed to Empty Jar Illustrations. HelloHaywire Font licensed to Jen Jones.
  • for personal use only.
  • do not alter, sell, or distribute.

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I just adore our alphabet puzzle from Melissa and Doug-- it has been well-loved, but as with any other puzzle, it is easy to do it once and then forget about it as it becomes hidden at the very bottom of our toy closet by all the other toys and gadgets.

A few months ago I gave it "new life" by adding the pieces to a simple sensory bin.  This time, I wrapped the alphabet pieces in a product you probably have in your kitchen cupboard!

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Head on into the kitchen for your package of tin foil!

This hands-on activity is a wonderful and creative way to work on literacy and fine motor skills with your preschooler!

Creative Fine Motor Skills Idea

Work on letter recognition, beginning sounds, letter sequencing by using an alphabet puzzle and strengthen fine motor skills by adding the unique twist of tin foil to this creative activity.

Not gonna lie, the prep work is a bit tedious but it is VERY simple.  Rip off a small square of tin foil for each letter and wrap the letter in it.  Do it again, and again, and again... until all the pieces are wrapped in foil.

Once the activity is prepped, encourage your child to un-wrap all your hard work!  

Manipulating the tin foil is great for finger strength and dexterity.

After your child has unwrapped the letter, work with your child to identify the letter and the sound(s) it makes.  Place the letter in the correct spot.

Continue until all the puzzle pieces have been unwrapped and correctly placed in the puzzle.

Your package of tin foil isn't just for the kitchen!  I hope your child enjoys this creative literacy and fine motor skills idea!  The best part about this creative idea is that you can use it with any type of puzzle!

.... hopefully your puzzle has less pieces than mine!

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Do you know ROY G BIV?  It's a helpful acronym to remember the order and colors of the rainbow.  ROY G BIV = red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.  

Help your little one learn and play with the colors of the rainbow with these fun and simple colorful activities!

 Recently, I've noticed how I look up to the sky after a raging thunderstorm hoping to see a colorful promise in the sky.  After something so dark, we seek light.  Do you do that as well?  It amazes me that something so simple can bring so much joy and excitement.

Colorful Rainbow Ideas for Kids

Incorporate the colors of the rainbow into some fun learning and play activities with your kiddos!  Here's 9 of our favorites!

Pony Bead Rainbow | A creative fine motor task for your child in preschool and older.

Rainbow Sudoku | After our Post It Notes Sudoku Activity, I've been waiting for a time to challenge Big Brother with another logic game.  This time using all the colors of the rainbow.  Includes a free printable!

Rainbow Abacus Counting Tool | Create a colorful abacus counting tool using colorful beads and an embroidery hoop!

R is for Rainbow Preschool Alphabet Craft |  Fun alphabet craft for children of all ages!  Create R is for Rainbow using marbles and paint!

Yarn Wrapped Rainbow |  Beautiful craft that works on fine motor skills! Ours are still hanging up in our schoolroom!

Paint Chip Rainbow Alphabet Busy Bag |  Grab some paint chips and work on letter recognition!

Rainbow Name Recognition Craft | Fun and simple name recognition craft using scissors!

Pipe Cleaner Rainbow Tree |  A fun table-top fine motor activity for your preschooler!

Edible Rainbow and Crafts | After doing a rainbow themed activity or two, plan on making an edible rainbow for lunch!  My son loved it!

Enjoy some fun with ROY G BIV in your homeschool!

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I managed to teach my oldest-- now it is time for my second go around with Little Sis, who turned five in March.  It's been a few years, but as a homeschooling mama, the struggle is real.  

Can I do it?  

Can I do it again?  

Can I teach my child to read?

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Four-ish years ago when I was teaching my oldest to read, I agonized over which reading curriculum to use; in the end, we did a lot of hands-on games and also worked through Explode the Code books. Then we moved onto All About Spelling.

For little sis, we chose a different curriculum, but will still add hands-on reading games like this Diving for Treasure Blending Game.

Prior to blending sounds to make words in this Diving For Treasure Reading Game, set up the "game board" by decorating a piece of blue construction paper with ocean themed foam stickers.  Write several letters on post-it notes and grab the scuba diver and treasure chest from the Coral Reef Toob Set {might also be fun to use some chocolate as the "treasure"}.

To play: 
Decide on a "target" word you want your child to sound out.  I made three rows of post it notes, each with three letters.

Place the scuba diver near the first row of words and say a letter sound.  Have your child choose which letter makes that sound and place it at the bottom of the game board.

Move to the next row and say the next sound in the target word.  Have your child choose the letter that makes that sound and add it to the bottom of the game board.

Finally, move your scuba diver to the last row and say the last sound in the target word.  Have your child add it to the bottom of the game board.

With your scuba diver at the treasure, have your child blend the sounds together and read the target word.

Play again with a new word!

Such a simple and fun hands-on reading game!

So, whether you choose a curriculum designed for reading or not, try not to be so task driven that you forget to enjoy this process with your child!   Make reading fun with hands-on games!  You can teach your child to read!

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