Outdoor Pre-Reading Activity for New Readers

We’re back to join the All Things Kids bloggers with this month’s series.  We’re talking about Fall and Outdoor fun with the kids.  We are a family that plays outside every.single. day.  Friends at church have said to us, “Wow you guys are tan, you must spend a lot of time outside”… Yep! We do.  (with sunscreen, don’t worry haha) 

So, when we realized that this month’s series post is all about outdoor play this fall, we were beyond excited!  Getting outside with littles is necessary for the kids and for mama.  Otherwise, we have a tornado of toys in the house and children bouncing off the walls and each other.  Well, those things happen regardless, but the fresh air and yard to run in help.  A lot.  

We made an outdoor scavenger hunt for early readers and pre-readers.  This literacy activity would be perfect for any time of year, but there’s something extra crispy and fun about playing outside in the Fall.  We took the letters outside for letter learning and word sounding.  This isn’t our first outdoor literacy activity, We loved our sight word scavenger hunt.  
Outdoor Pre-Reading Activity for new readers from Sugar Aunts

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.  
Use clothes pins for a pre-reading activity. This is great for indoors or outdoors.

Using Clothes Pins in Learning

We started with a bunch of wooden spring clothes pins.  We use these clothes pins in a ton of learning and play activities.  Art, learning, and play are more fun with a fine motor manipulative like this simple household item.

Learning and play with clothes pins in literacy activity. from Sugar Aunts.

Literacy Pre-Reading Activity

Big Sister used a permanent marker to write uppercase letters on the clothes pins.  We wanted to use upper case letters so that Little Guy (age 5) would be able to identify the letters.  He is just starting to identify lower case letters, but I wanted to ensure confidence and success in this part of the activity so he would try something a litter harder for him: sounding out letters in pre-reading skills.  
Literacy Activity for kids Outdoors from Sugar Aunts

We worked together to sort out the letters on the clothes pins.  We did a few different activities with the clothes pins once we had all of the letters.

First, we went on a scavenger hunt around the yard, pinning our clothes pins to objects in nature with the corresponding letter.  It was a fun pre-reading task to sound out things that we saw.  Pinching the pins onto items was a fun fine motor task for both kids.  We pinned R to “roots”.

S is for “sticks”.

We did a few quizzes for Little Guy.  Big Sister and I thought of an item and said I know something that starts with the letter “S”.  He had to think and look to find something that started with “s” as he sounded out sssss.  This is such a great pre-reading activity for pre-readers.

B is for bark.

C is for clover.

M is for moss.

A is for arborvitae.  Time for a science lesson!

How many ABC items can you think of in the great outdoors?  We put together a list of ABC nature items that you can find in our NEW newsletter.  It’s a completely free way to be sure you see all of our posts.  Each Wednesday, you’ll receive an email of our latest blog posts along with other fun stuff.  Sign up for the newsletter to get the full list of ABCs of Nature items.  But don’t worry, we’ll be sharing the list with you at some point in the future.  Watch this space!

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Rock Activities for Kids

This week, we’re sharing fun ways to learn and play, explore, and create with Rocks!  

They can be found on roads, in the lawn, and alongside creeks…rocks are everywhere and very fun to play with.  These features from the Share It Saturday linky party will make you want to head outside and gather up a bunch of rocks.  Get ready for some rocky fun!

Rock Activities for Kids

Activities for Playing and learning with rocks

DIY Sparkling Bath “Stones” from Planet Smarty Pants
Rock Sensory Bin from 3 Dinosaurs
Painting Stones with Water from Stimulating Learning with Rachel
Sand and Rock Sensory Box from Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Rock Activities for Learning and Play from Sugar Aunts:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Craft with Cupcake Liners

Little Guy is a HUGE fan of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. We play ninja turtles or ninjas or ninja skills practice daily.  So, when we made this TMNT craft, he was beyond excited.  We’ve done a ninja turtle craft before and this one was just as much of a hit.  It would even be a great addition to a teenage mutant ninja turtle party.  Little Guy hung the craft on our dining room wall and checks it out daily.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cupcake liner craft. From Sugar Aunts

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle craft

 This post contains affiliate links.

To make a TMNT cupcake liner craft, you wll need: 

green mini cupcake liners
cardstock in red, blue, orange, and purple
glue stick 
mini googly eyes 
black marker

We started by gluing the green mini cupcake liners flat onto paper.  Cut the cardstock into strips to fit the cupcake liner faces.

Little Guy was furiously applying glue to these ninjas.

Glue the cardstock masks onto the cupcake liners.

Glue the eyes onto the masks.  Of course, acting silly with the googly eyes makes a better craft 😉

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cupcake liner craft. From Sugar Aunts

Finish with a ninja grin for each turtle. 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cupcake liner craft. From Sugar Aunts

Your teenage mutant ninja turtle craft is done. Have fun!

Does your child LOVE TMNT?  Tell us about it on our Facebook page.

Time Capsule Craft for Summer Memories

With the start of school and a new month, Summer is quickly winding down.  The summer days seem to fly by when filled with vacations, play dates, park fun, and fun!  How can you preserve those memories?  We created a summer time capsule craft with the kids to hold all of our best summer memories.  We’ll hold onto our time capsule until next summer and remember the fun that summer of 2014 held for us! 

We love creating crafts and activities using recycled materials.  This time capsule uses an item from the recycle bin.

You’ll also be interested in our new Summer Occupational Therapy Activities Packet. It’s a collection of 14 items that guide summer programming at home, at school, and in therapy sessions. The summer activities bundle covers handwriting, visual perceptual skills and visual motor skills, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, regulation, and more.

You’ll find ideas to use in virtual therapy sessions and to send home as home activities that build skills and power development with a fun, summer theme. Kids will love the Summer Spot It! game, the puzzles, handouts, and movement activities. Therapists will love the teletherapy slide deck and the easy, ready-to-go activities to slot into OT sessions. The packet is only $10.00 and can be used over and over again for every student/client!

Grab the Spring Occupational Therapy Activities Packet HERE.

summer occupational therapy activities for kids

Preserve summer memories with a time capsule craft for kids

(This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.)

To make a Time Capsule craft with kids, you will need:

recycled chips cardboard tube

Make a summer time capsule with a recycled chips tube.
We started by picking out some bright colors of cardstock for our time capsule, and an empty chips tube.
Measure the cardstock to fit the tube.

Tape it into place.  We went with an overlapping look to fit the cardboard tube.  Label your time capsule with a marker.

Next, is the fun part.  The kids and I went on a hunt around the house to look for evidence of our summer fun.  We found shells from our beach vacation, pictures, cards from vacation bible school, tickets from our birthday party movie night, and other things that meant summer fun.

Next, I wrote out a page of summer memories as the kids told me their favorite summer memories.
We rolled up the sheet and put it into the time capsule.

Little Guy (age 5) and Baby Girl (age 2) added all of the summer memories into our time capsule.  Little Guy was pretty thrilled to hear that we would open it up again next summer!

We found a home for our time capsule on a shelf… next to a frame that is waiting for pictures.  Hopefully by next summer, that frame will have photos!
What was a favorite memory from your summer?

Want to take summer play to the next level? Be sure to grab your copy of the Summer OT Activities Bundle!

Summer activities for kids

Decodable Reading with Nature Letter Formation Fun

We play outside every single day.  Getting outdoors is so great for kids.  And for mama who needs some fresh air and sun light to make it through another round of feeding the littles.  Seriously. They are ALWAYS hungry!!  This letter formation and decodable reading activity was fun and a good way to slow down in the great outdoors while working on reading skills.
Big Sister is a new reader and Little Guy is starting to show some interest in sounding out letters and little words.  We used something we have in great abundance to work on letter identification, letter sounds, and decodable reading…sticks! 

Work on letter formation and decodable reading using nature. From Sugar Aunts

Decodable reading activity for new readers

With a handful of twigs ready, I showed the kids how to make letters on a shallow basket.  We started by me making the words and sounding out the words with decodable reading techniques.  I made the first letter in the word and said “sound”, as they made the sound of the letter “T”.  Next, I made a letter “A” and said, “sound”.  They made the aaaa sound.  Then, I said the cue, “Blend it together”.  They blended “T” and “A” together and added the “R” sound.  Big Sister is familiar with this technique from Kindergarten.  Little Guy repeated Big Sister, but soon got the hang of it. 

We tried it with a few more words before Big Sister got in on the fun.  She made a few words of her own and Mom and Little Guy decoded the words.

Letter formation Activity

Little Guy worked on letter formation with the sticks.  He really got into this.  While he built the letters, we talked about the sound(s) of letters.  Letter “A” makes a short and long sound. 

Building the letters with sticks is a fun pre-handwriting activity for new writers.  Talk about the lines needed to make each letter.

Looking for more letter formation and decodable reading ideas?  Follow along on our handwriting or beginning reading Pinterest boards.