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January 13, 2017 12 Insanely Fun Math and Reading Games, Part Three: Cars By Allie Magnuson
Grades PreK–K

    As we move into midyear, we build on the skills we have already acquired. Students should be able to recognize, pronounce, and decode words, as well as count by tens, count a sequence, and compare sets of numbers.

    Cars and other toy vehicles are fun to create activities with. They're small, easy to store, and come in many forms so you can get creative. Best of all, kids actually feel like they're playing and not just doing a "learning activity." My students get excited when I pull out the cars, because it doesn't happen very often! But why not? Why shouldn't we use the things kids really think are fun — toys — and turn them into playful learning opportunities? Generating enthusiasm and engagement is the most effective teaching technique at our disposal.

    I've done the work and come up with 12 more fun math and reading games to share with you. Check them out now!

    1. Emergency Sight Word Reading: Fire

    ·         Number of students: Whole group

    ·         Skill: Sight words

    ·         Supplies: Fire engine, apartment block with paper fire, timer, spray bottle, sight word cards

    ·         Directions: Have students sit in a line. Place the block and the timer at the end of the line. Hold up sight words one at a time, encouraging students to read the words as they pass the fire engine down the line. If they make it to the fire before the timer runs out, "extinguish" it with the spray bottle! (I just spray the air around it so that I don't wreck the paper, but if you're willing to make another one, go for it — spray the fire!)

     

     

    2. Emergency Sight Word Reading: Ambulance

    ·         Number of students: Whole group

    ·         Skill: Sight words

    ·         Supplies: Ambulance, hospital block, timer, “patient” (the game “Operation” works well), sight word cards

    ·         Directions:  Have students sit in a line. Place the block and the timer at the end of the line. Hold up sight words one at a time, encouraging students to read the words as they pass the ambulance down the line. If they make it to the hospital before the timer runs out, save the patient by performing surgery!

     

     

    3. Discarding Phonemes

    ·         Number of students: Small group

    ·         Skill: CVC words

    ·         Supplies: Garbage truck, paper magnetic letters

    ·         Directions: Set out several CVC words, each with one extra letter. Invite students to find the letter in each word that doesn't belong, and "throw it away" by driving it to the landfill (pile).

     

     

    4. Recycling Phonemes

    ·         Number of students: Small group

    ·         Skill: CVC words

    ·         Supplies: Recycling truck, magnetic letters

    ·         Directions: Set out several CVC words in two rows, with the ones on the right missing their vowels. Invite students to find the vowel in each word on the left, and "recycle" it by driving it to the recycling center and making a new word on the right.

     

     

    5. Delivering Word Clues

    ·         Number of students: Individual

    ·         Skill: Phonics

    ·         Supplies: Delivery truck, houses, road, word cards with matching picture cards

    ·         Directions: Students set up the houses along the road, each with a word card in front of it. They find the picture cards that match the words, and deliver them to the correct houses.

     

     

    6. Delivering Words

    ·         Number of students: Individual

    ·         Skill: Phonics

    ·         Supplies: Tugboat, raft (small container lid), tub of water, dock, word cards with matching picture cards

    ·         Directions: Students set the pictures on the dock. They find the word cards that match, and tug them away to the correct pictures.

     

     

    7. Emergency Skip Counting: Police

    ·         Number of students: Whole group

    ·         Skill: Skip counting

    ·         Supplies: Police car, police station block, timer, tagboard badges with safety pins

    ·         Directions: Have students sit in a line. Place the block and the timer at the end of the line. Encourage students to skip count as they pass the police car down the line. If they make it to the police station before the timer runs out, they each earn a police badge!

     

     

    8. Emergency Skip Counting: Helicopter

    ·         Number of students: Whole group

    ·         Skill: Skip counting

    ·         Supplies: Helicopter, TV station block, timer, tagboard wings with safety pins

    ·         Directions: Have students sit in a line. Place the block and the timer at the end of the line. Encourage students to skip count as they pass the helicopter down the line. If they make it to the TV station before the timer runs out, they each earn their pilot wings!

     

     

    9. Towing a Sequence of Cars

    ·         Number of students: Small group

    ·         Skill: Sequence

    ·         Supplies: Tow truck, links, assorted toy cars, road, sequencing cards

    ·         Directions: Hot glue a link to the front and back of each car. Make a set of cards with traffic lights depicting numbers to sequence (green for the starting numbers, and red for the ending numbers). Students link cars together, starting with the tow truck, while they count (using an extra link in-between the ones already connected to the cars).

     

     

    10. Towing a Sequence of Boxcars

    ·         Number of students: Small group

    ·         Skill: Sequence

    ·         Supplies: Train, assorted boxcars, railroad, sequencing cards

    ·         Directions: Make a set of cards with railroad crossing lights depicting numbers to sequence (green for the starting numbers, and red for the ending numbers). Students link boxcars together while they count.

     

     

    11. Bus Stop Comparison

    ·         Number of students: Individual

    ·         Skill: Greater than/less than

    ·         Supplies: Bus, small toy people, map of town with bus station and bus stops, spinner that says “More than,” “Less than,” and “Equal”

    ·         Directions: Students set out two lines of people (any amount) at each stop. They drive to each stop, spin the spinner, and compare the number of people in each line. If the spinner says "More," they take the line that has more people and set it aside. If the spinner says "Less," they take the line that has less people, and if it says "Equal," they take an equal number of people.

     

     

    12. Taxi Stop Comparison

    ·         Number of students: Individual

    ·         Skill: Greater than/less than

    ·         Supplies: Taxi, small toy people, map of town with various stops, spinner that says “More than,” “Less than,” and “Equal”

    ·         Directions: Students set out two lines of people (any amount) at each stop. They drive to each stop, spin the spinner, and compare the number of people in each line. If the spinner says "More," they take the line that has more people and set it aside. If the spinner says "Less," they take the line that has less people, and if it says "Equal," they take an equal number of people.

     

    As we move into midyear, we build on the skills we have already acquired. Students should be able to recognize, pronounce, and decode words, as well as count by tens, count a sequence, and compare sets of numbers.

    Cars and other toy vehicles are fun to create activities with. They're small, easy to store, and come in many forms so you can get creative. Best of all, kids actually feel like they're playing and not just doing a "learning activity." My students get excited when I pull out the cars, because it doesn't happen very often! But why not? Why shouldn't we use the things kids really think are fun — toys — and turn them into playful learning opportunities? Generating enthusiasm and engagement is the most effective teaching technique at our disposal.

    I've done the work and come up with 12 more fun math and reading games to share with you. Check them out now!

    1. Emergency Sight Word Reading: Fire

    ·         Number of students: Whole group

    ·         Skill: Sight words

    ·         Supplies: Fire engine, apartment block with paper fire, timer, spray bottle, sight word cards

    ·         Directions: Have students sit in a line. Place the block and the timer at the end of the line. Hold up sight words one at a time, encouraging students to read the words as they pass the fire engine down the line. If they make it to the fire before the timer runs out, "extinguish" it with the spray bottle! (I just spray the air around it so that I don't wreck the paper, but if you're willing to make another one, go for it — spray the fire!)

     

     

    2. Emergency Sight Word Reading: Ambulance

    ·         Number of students: Whole group

    ·         Skill: Sight words

    ·         Supplies: Ambulance, hospital block, timer, “patient” (the game “Operation” works well), sight word cards

    ·         Directions:  Have students sit in a line. Place the block and the timer at the end of the line. Hold up sight words one at a time, encouraging students to read the words as they pass the ambulance down the line. If they make it to the hospital before the timer runs out, save the patient by performing surgery!

     

     

    3. Discarding Phonemes

    ·         Number of students: Small group

    ·         Skill: CVC words

    ·         Supplies: Garbage truck, paper magnetic letters

    ·         Directions: Set out several CVC words, each with one extra letter. Invite students to find the letter in each word that doesn't belong, and "throw it away" by driving it to the landfill (pile).

     

     

    4. Recycling Phonemes

    ·         Number of students: Small group

    ·         Skill: CVC words

    ·         Supplies: Recycling truck, magnetic letters

    ·         Directions: Set out several CVC words in two rows, with the ones on the right missing their vowels. Invite students to find the vowel in each word on the left, and "recycle" it by driving it to the recycling center and making a new word on the right.

     

     

    5. Delivering Word Clues

    ·         Number of students: Individual

    ·         Skill: Phonics

    ·         Supplies: Delivery truck, houses, road, word cards with matching picture cards

    ·         Directions: Students set up the houses along the road, each with a word card in front of it. They find the picture cards that match the words, and deliver them to the correct houses.

     

     

    6. Delivering Words

    ·         Number of students: Individual

    ·         Skill: Phonics

    ·         Supplies: Tugboat, raft (small container lid), tub of water, dock, word cards with matching picture cards

    ·         Directions: Students set the pictures on the dock. They find the word cards that match, and tug them away to the correct pictures.

     

     

    7. Emergency Skip Counting: Police

    ·         Number of students: Whole group

    ·         Skill: Skip counting

    ·         Supplies: Police car, police station block, timer, tagboard badges with safety pins

    ·         Directions: Have students sit in a line. Place the block and the timer at the end of the line. Encourage students to skip count as they pass the police car down the line. If they make it to the police station before the timer runs out, they each earn a police badge!

     

     

    8. Emergency Skip Counting: Helicopter

    ·         Number of students: Whole group

    ·         Skill: Skip counting

    ·         Supplies: Helicopter, TV station block, timer, tagboard wings with safety pins

    ·         Directions: Have students sit in a line. Place the block and the timer at the end of the line. Encourage students to skip count as they pass the helicopter down the line. If they make it to the TV station before the timer runs out, they each earn their pilot wings!

     

     

    9. Towing a Sequence of Cars

    ·         Number of students: Small group

    ·         Skill: Sequence

    ·         Supplies: Tow truck, links, assorted toy cars, road, sequencing cards

    ·         Directions: Hot glue a link to the front and back of each car. Make a set of cards with traffic lights depicting numbers to sequence (green for the starting numbers, and red for the ending numbers). Students link cars together, starting with the tow truck, while they count (using an extra link in-between the ones already connected to the cars).

     

     

    10. Towing a Sequence of Boxcars

    ·         Number of students: Small group

    ·         Skill: Sequence

    ·         Supplies: Train, assorted boxcars, railroad, sequencing cards

    ·         Directions: Make a set of cards with railroad crossing lights depicting numbers to sequence (green for the starting numbers, and red for the ending numbers). Students link boxcars together while they count.

     

     

    11. Bus Stop Comparison

    ·         Number of students: Individual

    ·         Skill: Greater than/less than

    ·         Supplies: Bus, small toy people, map of town with bus station and bus stops, spinner that says “More than,” “Less than,” and “Equal”

    ·         Directions: Students set out two lines of people (any amount) at each stop. They drive to each stop, spin the spinner, and compare the number of people in each line. If the spinner says "More," they take the line that has more people and set it aside. If the spinner says "Less," they take the line that has less people, and if it says "Equal," they take an equal number of people.

     

     

    12. Taxi Stop Comparison

    ·         Number of students: Individual

    ·         Skill: Greater than/less than

    ·         Supplies: Taxi, small toy people, map of town with various stops, spinner that says “More than,” “Less than,” and “Equal”

    ·         Directions: Students set out two lines of people (any amount) at each stop. They drive to each stop, spin the spinner, and compare the number of people in each line. If the spinner says "More," they take the line that has more people and set it aside. If the spinner says "Less," they take the line that has less people, and if it says "Equal," they take an equal number of people.

     

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