Are old magazines, newspapers, flyers, and brochures causing clutter in your home? Turn them into new learning tools that develop academic and important motor skills for your young student!
For phonics practice:
Use pictures to reinforce beginning sounds. Help your child print a capital and lowercase Bb, for example, on the bottom of a plain piece of paper. Then have her become a “Bb” detective. Leafing through the magazine, page by page, she can cut out as many pictures of things she can find that start with the letter B or b, then paste them on the paper. The cuts can be simple circles or squares around the picture, not precise cuts. Hang up her letter/picture creations. Once she’s mastered all her beginning consonant sounds, you can do a similar activity for ending sounds.
Use the materials to help your child categorize. For example, have him cut out and paste things that move on wheels. Or, have him find and paste as many different animals as he can discover.
For math practice:
Have your child use small pictures to make addition sentences. For example, she can paste pictures of three dogs in a row. Leave a small space, and then paste pictures of four cats in the same row. Underneath the pictures she can write, or you can help her write 3 + 4 = 7.
Together look at a small article in the newspaper, brochure, or magazine. Have him estimate how many times he sees the letters “Tt,” for example, and print his estimated number on a small piece of paper. Then have him or help him go back with a highlight marker to find and highlight the Tt’s in the article. Count the highlighted Tt’s together and print that number next to the estimate to see how close his guess came to the actual number.
Simple activities like these help a young student practice visual, auditory, and motor skills simultaneously, while making good use of items that might have just ended up in the bin!
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.