Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.
Looking for fun ways to keep your young child actively engaged in learning over February vacation? Here are two simple activities for you. One will help with reading skills, and the other is for math. While these activities can take as little as 10-20 minutes to do, the creative and fun aspects will keep your child productively busy while reinforcing skills.
"Stitch a Word"
Purpose: Helps to build a sight word vocabulary
Materials: Index cards, marker, a hole puncher, tape, yarn or ribbon.
Directions: Write some simple words on the index cards with the marker. Start with five or six cards. Be sure to use lower case letters. Make the letters approximately three to four inches in height, depending on the length of the word. With the hole puncher, punch holes around the letters of the word, about ¼ inch apart. Cut a piece of yarn or ribbon approximately 30 inches long for each card. Tie a knot on one end, and wrap tape around the other end to make a "needle." Have your child "stitch" the word with an in and out motion. Cut off excess yarn and tape the end to the back of the card. Practice until they can read the word to you. To increase the difficulty, have your child close their eyes and "read" the word by feeling it. Store in a zip-loc bag and periodically sew and add new word cards.
Purpose: Helps practice addition sums to ten.
Materials: Ten small objects such as checkers, crayons, pennies, M & M’s, etc., and a letter size piece of computer or construction paper.
Directions: Have your child count the ten objects. Then have your child close their eyes or turn away. Put a few objects under the paper, leaving the rest visible. Have your child look at the visible objects, and guess how many are hidden under the paper. For example, hide three objects so that your child will see only seven. Repeat with different combinations to the sum of ten. If your child is having difficulty, have them count the ones they can see and then uncover the hidden objects to continue the count to ten. Keep practicing until they can easily identify the number of hidden objects that add up to ten.