As an early childhood educator, we are sometimes called upon to design or develop activities for children in preschool development.  Just recently, I had the opportunity to come up with some activities that worked with the theme of light for ages 12 weeks to one year old.  At the end of this post, you'll get a freebie of some of the activities that I developed for this project so keep reading.  :)  

Light is a fascinating and captivating concept that can capture the attention and curiosity of even the youngest minds.  We can stimulate a child's senses, encourage exploration, and promote early learning development through engaging and playful activities centered around light. 

Dancing Lights Sensory Play: 

Infants are naturally drawn to light and its captivating movements. Set up a safe and controlled environment with various sources of light, such as colorful LED lights or a small disco ball, and allow your little one to interact with the dancing lights. Encourage them to reach out, touch, and follow the lights with their eyes. This activity aids in developing hand-eye coordination and enhancing visual tracking skills. 

  1. Shadow Play: Create a playful and imaginative atmosphere by using a flashlight to cast shadows on the wall. Use your hands, toys, or cut-out shapes to create different shadow figures. Watch as your infant's eyes widen in amazement and curiosity as they try to understand the magical dance of light and shadows. This activity promotes visual stimulation and cognitive development.

  1. Glow-in-the-Dark Sensory Bottles: Fill clear, sealable bottles with water and add glow-in-the-dark paint or glitter. Secure the lid tightly and watch as the contents glow when exposed to light. These mesmerizing bottles can be shaken to create a captivating sensory experience, aiding in visual tracking and providing a soothing effect for infants.

  1. Colorful Lightbox Exploration: Create a simple lightbox using a clear plastic container with a light source inside. Place translucent colored objects or toys on top of the lightbox and watch as the light illuminates them, creating a stunning visual display. Encourage your infant to explore the colors and shapes, fostering sensory and visual development.

Engaging infants in activities centered around the theme of light can be a wonderful way to introduce them to the magic of the world around them. These activities entertain and stimulate their senses and encourage early learning and development. Remember to always prioritize safety and supervise your child during these activities for a joyful and enlightening experience.

Want a free copy of these activities?  Click on the picture below to get a set of them.  


Phonics, the relationship between sounds and letters, is a fundamental skill in learning to read and write. We already know that phonics in the classroom is a cornerstone of early literacy education, setting the stage for a lifetime of successful reading and language comprehension. But today let's delve into the significance of incorporating phonics into the curriculum and how it lays a strong foundation for a child's literacy journey.

1. Foundation for Reading

Phonics is the bridge that connects the spoken language to the written word. Understanding the sounds of letters and how they come together to form words is essential for reading proficiency. Teaching phonics equips children with the ability to decode unfamiliar words, enabling them to read with confidence and comprehension.

2. Improved Spelling and Writing

When children grasp phonics principles, they can apply this knowledge to spelling and writing. Understanding the sounds that correspond to different letters allows students to spell words phonetically, improving their overall writing skills. It gives them the tools to express themselves more accurately and effectively in written form.   As you can see they will be able to complete activities like this:

Adequate phonics instruction will encourage the child to write and spell words to make complete sentences.  

3. Enhanced Vocabulary:

Phonics instruction helps children break down words into their individual sounds and understand the meanings associated with those sounds. This understanding is a stepping stone to building a robust vocabulary. As children learn to decode words and comprehend their meanings, their vocabulary expands, enriching their reading experiences.

4. Boosted Reading Fluency:

By mastering phonics, children can read more fluently and with greater speed. Recognizing letter-sound relationships effortlessly allows for smoother reading, which is crucial for comprehension and enjoying the act of reading. Reading fluency is a key component in academic success and fostering a love for literature. Short passages like this,

 are great ways to build fluency for young learners.  

5. Confidence and Independence: 

Most importantly when children can decode words independently, it instills confidence in their reading abilities. Phonics empowers them to tackle new words and texts without constant assistance. This newfound confidence encourages a love for reading and nurtures a sense of independence in their learning journey.

6. Early Intervention for Struggling Readers:

Phonics instruction is especially vital for children who may face challenges in learning to read. Early identification of reading difficulties and targeted phonics interventions can help these struggling readers catch up with their peers and prevent further learning gaps.  Continuous and daily practice is key for those learners who need extra support.  Daily practice of sounding out words and hearing the sounds will help them tremendously.  Adding in fun games and word sorts is just one of the ways to incorporate phonics into your daily instruction.  Some examples like these:  

If you'd like to have some interactive phonics activities to add to your reading groups you can check this unit out.  It's a great resource to use during small groups.  You can get it here:  (click on
picture to be taken to it)

 The early years of a child's education are crucial for developing foundational skills, and reading comprehension is undoubtedly one of the most important among them.  As children progress from kindergarten to first grade, they embark on an exciting journey of exploration and learning.  Cultivating effective reading comprehension skills during this phase sets the stage for a lifetime of successful learning.  In this blog post, we'll delve into strategies that parents and educators can use to help kindergarten and first-grade students build strong reading comprehension skills.  

1.  Creating a Reading-Rich Environment

Encouraging a love for reading begins at home and in the classroom:

a.  Surround with Books:  Fill your child's environment with age-appropriate books on various topics.  Let them see reading as an enjoyable activity. Some age appropriate books at this age are "The Three Little Pigs" and "Goldilocks and the Three Bears"

b.  Read aloud:  Regularly read aloud to your child, using expressive voices and engaging storytelling.  this models fluent reading and exposes them to new words.

c.  Story Discussions:  After reading a story, ask open-ended questions like "What was your favorite part?" or "What do you think will happen next?" This fosters critical thinking.  

2.  Building Vocabulary

A strong vocabulary is a foundation for comprehension:

a. Word Games:  Play word games like "I Spy" or rhyming games.  This boosts vocabulary while making learning fun.  

b.  Word Meaning:  When encountering new words, discuss their meanings using simple explanations and examples.

3.  Phonics and Phonemic Awareness

Understanding the sounds of language aids in reading:

a.  Rhyming Activities:  Engage in rhyming games and songs.  This hones phonemic awareness, helping children recognize sounds in words.

b. Letter Recognition:  Introduce letters and their sounds gradually.  Use magnetic letters or alphabet puzzles. 

4.  Predicting and Inferring

Developing prediction and inference skills enhances comprehension:

a.  Picture Walk:  Before reading, explore the book's pictures.  Ask your child to predict what the story might be about.  

b.  Discuss emotions:  While reading, inquire about the characters' feelings.  Encourage your child to infer emotions from the characters' actions.  

5.  Retelling and Summarizing

Summarizing helps consolidate understanding:

a.  Retell Stories:  After reading a story, have your child retell it in their own words.  This demonstrates their grasp of the plot.  

b.  Story Elements:  Ask about the story's beginning, middle, and end.  Discuss characters, setting, and the main problem.  

6.  Active Engagement

Engaging with the text strengthens comprehension:

a.  Pointing and Tracking:  Encourage your child to follow the words with their finger as you read aloud.  This teaches them that reading happens left to right.  Examples of pointing and tracking are passages like this which allow students to track as they are reading.  

b.  Ask "Why" and "How" Questions:  Encourage thinking beyond the literal text by asking questions like " Why do you think the character did that?" or "How would you feel in that situation?"

Kindergarten and first grade mark the early stages of a child's reading journey.  By creating a reading-rich environment, focusing on vocabulary, developing phonics awareness, practicing predicting and inferring, mastering retelling, and engaging actively, parents and educators can nurture strong reading comprehension skills.  Remember, the goal is not just to read words but to understand and connect with content.  As children grow into confident readers, these skills will serve as the building blocks for their future academic success and lifelong love of learning.  

 I don't know about you but we've all seen those little QR codes that some T.V. commercials have floating across the screen.  This inspired me to add this to my classroom.  I wanted my students to scan a QR code to discover different clues around our classroom.   I wanted to share with you a fun and interactive way to review some math and geography skills and encourage your students to write a detailed and imaginative story once the hunt is complete.  Let's get started:

Print out these sheets (this is just a sample of some of the cards you need to print out) on cardstock and laminated them to use year after year.  Timesaver right??? There are also optional task cards if you prefer to set this up in a center for partners to do after completing the scavenger hunt. One more way to use the activity.  

You'll decide whether you want to set up one scavenger hunt or two, three, or four. Set up at the desk or table with a copy of the globe pieces, the black and white copy of the snow globe, and the color copy of the snow globe (optional for reference). See pic above.  

 Each hunt has a different themed snow globe and students work in groups and go to different parts of the room at different times.  You'll only need one tablet per group and allow students to take turns scanning the code.  There are 10 different cards per hunt.  Each child will get a turn.  Students have an answer sheet to record their answers. Each clue card tells them which part of the snow globe they will build back the designated desks or tables where the black and white copy of the globe is located.  
Once the hunt is over and students have answered and found all the clues then they will return to their seats and write a story about the snow globe they built together. One group will write about the gingerbread snow globe, or the snowman snow globe, etc.  

If there is time for you to add to the activity students can color a black-and-white copy of the snow globe to go along with their story.  

Pack up all the pieces and clue cards and set it aside to use year after year.  Only thing you would have to print out is the writing sheets and the answer sheets.  

If you like what you see you can grab it here: 


Just hopping on to share a little freebie with you.  These little practice sheets are great for students who are needing more help with multiplication tables...especially when they get to 6,7,8, and 9.  These are great for morning work or anytime you want something for them to do during Valentine's Day week.  Head on over to grab them free here.  Happy Valentine's Day.  


Hello!  It's that busy time of year we all love as teachers.  Everyone is ready to run out the door including yourself to get all the holiday errands and shopping done.  I know...I know.  It's hard to keep the little ones motivated in these last few days of school.  Especially my little kindergartners who could not wait to see what presents they would get or what trip they would take.  This time of year it's hard to teach any new concepts and it's a great time to review some concepts that some of them may be struggling with.  
   I have some ideas to share to help you get through the holidays.  Here's one that I have always used to keep my students motivated during center time.  These alphabet puzzles were always a hit with my preschoolers when I worked with that age group and my kindergartners.   I keep them on hand when I need to keep my students motivated through the holidays.  You can grab them here for free.

One other activity that I have also used to reinforce the alphabet is this one.  
We can never get enough practice identifying the lowercase letters b and d.  And I'll let you in on a little secret.  This free pack has silly glasses the kids can make to help them remember the difference.  Color them red and green to make them go along with the holiday or add some fun holiday stickers.  They are learning and having fun. Instructions are included.  Grab this freebie here.  

If your spend a little time grabbing this freebie....don't forget to check out this game that goes along with it.  And guess what?  It's free too.  :)  

Before I go...I wanted to share with you two other activities that I've just recently added that would make great morning work, center activity, items for the substitute folder, or just something to add for students to do right before or after a holiday activity.  Just a warning...these are not free but very affordable.  :) You can grab it here and here.   

Have a wonderful holiday.  

 I'll let you in on a little secret.  I LOVE gum!  I'm not a coffee's all about gum.  As we speak, you'll find a bag of it on my desk.  See that? 

 I wasn't kidding.  :)  

Well, I figured my students could be surrounded by gum too and just maybe I'll inspire them to chew more of it...just kidding.  Anyway, my thought is that we can use gum to motivate us to learn our math facts.  And it also checks one of my boxes....colorful, fun, and engaging in the classroom.  Math facts are just one of those things you have to learn....and the best way I have found is just by learning them by addressing each child's individual need.  Practice makes perfect.   So, we just added a little incentive with our math facts.  My students each get a gumball machine of their own.  

They're cute right?  And then I just grabbed some velcro...I love put in the middle of my gumball machines.  There's also another reason for this...I don't have to print out too many gumballs...time and ink saver.  

Then we'll add these cute gumball numbers to our machines as we learn them.  

Now here comes the engaging part.  I have these little gumball math fact cards set up in my learning centers labeled so they can practice their facts every chance they get with a partner.  They love them...and we also included a Pop game where two or more students can play. Just grab an old container and have these laminated for your students to play with even during their inside recess days.  :) 

There's plenty more in the packet which includes letters for a bulletin board and skills practice tests.  I hope you'll check it out.   Click on any of the pictures to be taken to my store to see it.  

Now, here's another fun thing I wanted to share with you that my students are using in the classroom to go along with this packet.  BOOM cards.....and let me tell you these are soooo much fun.  I had a great time making them.  Take a look at this sample:

There are two types of cards in the packet.  In this first one, they answer the math problem by choosing the correct gumball.  

In the second one, students choose all of the math facts that add up to that number.  I love these colorful cards.  And so do my students.  Click on the pictures above if you are interested in those.  

I love creating things for my classroom and my hope is that these are helpful to you too.  I truly appreciate any purchase you make.  

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