Kid Activities
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Introduction and Menu to Literacy Theme

January 8, 2012 20:28 by Barbara Shelby

 

Literacy is most commonly defined as the ability to read, spell and communicate through written language. However, in a more general sense, literacy is more than just the ability to read or write. It means being able to view, listen, read, comprehend, evaluate, speak, and write effectively and systematically.

Incorporating some of the  following language art activities into your School Age Classroom and After School Programs will help youth approach reading and writing as fun and exciting activities. Children use reading to learn about a wide range of subjects, and they use writing to share their own ideas. Activities such as these will help stretch imagination and stimulates interests. It is one of the most important skills a person can have! How skillfully and successfully children develop their reading skills and grow towards literacy may influence their beliefs about their personal worth and abilities for a lifetime!

Because literacy develops along a personal continuum, same-age children may display varying levels of skills.  Because of this, plan activities that are adaptable for all levels within mixed ages programs!

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LANGUAGE ARTS MENU

  For all linked 'Creative Literacy' pages (excluding Pre-K) Click Here     

 Pre-K to Grade 1 Ideas & Activities (Four pages linked together)

Literacy: Games and Creative Story Telling

•  Literacy with Games, Music, Jokes and Twisters!

 Literacy Based Gifts for Kids to Make

Something Different with Literacy: Cooking; Build a Theme around a Book; Word of the Day; Survivor and More!

Literacy Games for a Theme, Season or Holiday

Writing and Language Center Ideas

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Also on this site for 'Literacy Based' Activities is...

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Fun Ideas that Promote Literacy!

August 7, 2009 22:07 by Barbara Shelby

 

COOKING and FOOD PLAY...

Any cooking Read, gather, measure, dump, cook, eat, enjoy!

Group COOK BOOK or recipe file. Put together a cook book with the kids--- or prepare a recipe file with most wanted snacks-- as well as those often used. Include favorites from home and those of the parents!!!  Completed books would make a nice gift.

Make pancakes, and spell out words on them in chocolate chips or blueberries.

Look for certain letters in alphabet soup.

CRACKER MESSAGES
Ingredients:
Choice or Peanut butter, Jam, Honey, Cream cheese or Cheese spread
Crackers or Small rice cakes
Alphabet cereal
1. Sread a filling on the crackers.
2. Children can write their names or short words on the crackers using the Alphabet cereal.
3. Younger children can just have fun by randomly placing cereal letters. Eat and enjoy!

Youth can also write letters on their goodies using decorating gel/frosting in a tube or can.

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BUILD A THEME AROUND A BOOK...

Example: "WACKY WEDNESDAY
" by Theo Lesieg (aka Dr. Seuss)
This can be done over an extended period of time such as on a couple of Wednesdays (Because the book is called "Wacky Wednesday" ) -- or during the course of a week...

 1.  Read the Book "Wacky Wednesday.
Talk about all the wacky things in book and find the misspelled words.
 
2. Create a WACKY environment:
Put shirts on backwards, inside out, or with wacky color combinations and patterns; wear different colored socks or shoes on wrong feet; comb hair in an unusual style. Put signs, notices, and pictures upside down, etc.

3. Visualization Art

  • Close your eyes and imagine your WACKY day.
  • Facilitator vividly describes what children see when they wake up in the morning in their own rooms---children are whisked to their school classroom where it continues. Use imagination and be creative in visual descriptions!
  • Open eyes and then draw/color/paint a picture of what you saw.
  • Play dreamy music during visualization and slightly livelier during art.
  • When complete, verbally share each others wacky days!

4. Play WACKY music (Weird Al or experimental) Move to how it makes you feel.
Note:
Adults must participate so all are silly!
 
5. Eat WACKY food:
Make something from "Gross Grub" by Cheryl Porter or Roald Dahl's "Revolting Recipes". Serve unusual combinations/colors with food; Eat with unique utensils such as Popsicle sticks or straws. Eat breakfast in the afternoon!  Try 'Wacky' recipes such as: Kitty Litter Cake, Pidgeon Poop and Puppy chow.  (Recipes are on KA site)
 
6. Do some WACKY Activities
Learn to write and say your name backwards; talk in pig Latin; learn to say the ABC's backwards; say 'Bye for Hi' and 'Hi for Bye'!

Note: Building a Theme around a book is also a good idea for a Reading or Drama Club! You could use such books as Little Red Riding Hood, or the Three Little Pigs. You could then act out the story line! (Which will then incorporate a lot more activities! ) Older children can practice and perform this for the younger children or a Family Event!

***See the Harry Potter Idea at bottom of page

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GUESS THE WORD-OF-THE-DAY (or Week)...
1.
Write the word on a dry-erase board/black board that is near the entrance to your classroom or after-school program. Have children guess the definition! You can get as creative as you'd like with this. Each day you can talk about the word... or if you're holding it over the week...turn it into a game! 

2. Have  a container where youth write their ideas down on paper.

3. At the end of a couple days, post the answers (without names) along with the "Correct definition" and then have children guess what they think the correct answer is.

4. The child who received the most answers for their definition gets recognition of some sort. Those who chose the correct definition get recognition. All names/children should be recognized in a way of 'your choice' for playing and being "good sports"...

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 ***You can also do a riddle, brain teaser, trick question or joke of the day!

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READERS' THEATER
.....Make, Write, Produce, Practice and Perform a Play or Skit from a favorite short book, poem or chapter book.
.....Provide simple props and encourage children to act out their favorite stories.
.....Simple folk tales like the Three Little Pigs and The Billy Goats Gruff are fun to act out.

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JIGSAW PUZZLE CRAFT and RACE
.....Give each child a piece of cardboard, scissors, and glue. Have them choose a picture from a magazine, calender or card; the children then glue their pictures onto their cardboard.
.....When the glue is dry, have them cut their cardboard into the shape of jigsaw puzzle pieces. (The younger the child- the larger the pieces)
.....When they have finished, have them trade puzzles and have a race to see who finishes first. Consider laminating the puzzles to make them last.

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SURVIVOR READER! (Good Idea for Reading Club or Book Club!)
Who are the ultimate readers in your program? And what are they willing to do to prove it? Will they eat fried worms (gummy candy) ala How to Eat Fried Worms (Thomas Rockwell)? Can they climb a beanstalk (rope ladder) like Jack? Will they drink Freckle Juice (Judy Blume)?

Search titles to create a challenge to tax even your boldest readers.
You can also create a booklist of "survivor" titles such as Hatchet (Gary Paulsen), A Girl Named Disaster (Nancy Farmer), My Side of the Mountain (Jean Craighead George) along with a competition to see who survives reading all the survivor books. Adapted from: nea.org

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GAMES...

   • Have a Family Game Night and invite friends and family to enjoy new games.
   • Have a Game Tournament.
   • Make a huge “life size game” in the gym or on play ground where participants actually move about as pieces.

 

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DIVERSITY WITH A GAMES NIGHT

  • This can be part of a multicultural theme that includes many activities. Invite members of the community from other countries to talk about and demonstrate the games they played as youth.
  • Acting as coaches, have  9-14 year olds organize and put on a multi-cultural game tournament for younger children.

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See GAMES & CREATIVE STORY TELLING HERE...

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 DON'T FORGET TABLE GAMES OF:
        • Mad-libs (done with enthusiasm)
        • Cross-word puzzles
        • Word Games
        • Word Search
        • Hangman
 
Board Games of:
       • Boggle
       • Scrabble
       • Scrabble Jr.
       • Nerdy Wordy
       • Banangrams
       • Balderdash
       • Staff made Jeopardy (tic-tac-toe style)
       • Taboo
       • Traditional Bingo
       • For younger children – Bingo using pictures

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HAVE YOU MET FLAT STANLEY? By participating in a Flat Stanley project, children can enhance their literacy skills, make new friends and learn more about the world.
This project, inspired by Jeff Brown's book Flat Stanley, involves children creating their own paper Flat Stanleys to be sent on a journey.

Children can take their new paper friend to their home, to the homes of friends and relatives and to local points of interest. Children can then write about the travels and experiences of their Flat Stanley in a journal.

The program can be extended by swapping Flat Stanleys with another program or having children mail their Flat Stanley and journal to visit a friend or relative in another city/state for a few days. Flat Stanley should be accompanied by a letter introducing the project. You can learn more about the Flat Stanley project and find a Flat Stanley template on The Official Flat Stanley Project website

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HARRY POTTER SLEEP-OVER (Or Book/Movie character of the moment)

We had a sleepover for the release of the Harry Potter final book.
Activities based on the book were created for participants to enjoy. We had an intern named Harry, who did an admirable imitation and read the first chapter of the book. There were 10 copies of the book available for those who wanted to read the book during the evening. Although we had a film festival going of the videos, no one wanted to stop the activities to watch the films.

The best activity was the Quiddach game.
Youth were sorted into houses as they arrived and competed for points for their house
. Everyone made new friends, some parents stayed to help because it looked like so much fun. This was so successful (108 youth), We are going to do it for other
books. Karen Reside

***Can't have a sleepover? Consider something like this for a full daytime program theme--such as on a mini-camp day.

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***Have a BOOK CHARACTER DRESS UP DAY. Have children come to the center dressed as their favorite book character. They have a fun time trying to guess who each is dressed as—and also celebrating the other fun activities we come up with!

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INTRODUCE A FOREIGN LANGUAGE OR SIGN LANGUAGE...
It can be presented in a class or club format...
For younger children, present with music and games...counting, greetings. etc. Make it fun!

This can get you started...

LEARN TO SAY HELL-O
Arabic:  Marhabah (mar-ha-bah)
French:  Bonjour (bone-joor)
Hebrew:  Shalom (shah-lome)
Italian:  Buon giorno (bone-zhee-or-no)
Mandarin Chinese:  Nea how (nee-how)
Russian:  Priviet (pri-vee-et)
Spanish:  Hola (oh-la)
Swahili:  Jambo (zham-boh)

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LEARN "THANK YOU"
Afrikaans:  dankie (dahn-kee )
Arabic:  shukran (shoe-krahn )
Australian English:  (ta) (informal) Pronouned "tar"
Chinese, Cantonese:  do jeh (daw-dyeh )
Chinese, Mandarin:  xie xie (syeh-syeh )
Czech:  dêkuji (deh-ku-yih)
Danish:  tak (tahg)
Finnish:  kiitos (kee-toas)
French:  merci (mehr-see)
German:  danke (dahn-kah)
Greek:  efharisto (ef-har-rih-stowe)
Hebrew:  toda (toh-dah )
Hindi, Hindustani:  sukria (shoo-kree-a )
Indonesian/Malayan:  terima kasih (t'ree-ma kas-seh)
Italian: grazie  (gra-see)
Japanese:  arigato (ahree-gah-tow )
Korean:  kamsa hamnida (kahm-sah=ham-nee-da)
Norwegian:  takk (tahk )
Philippines:  Tagalog) salamat po (sah-lah-maht poh)
Polish:  dziekuje (dsyen-koo-yeh)
Portuguese:  obrigado (oh-bree-gah-doh)
Russian:  spasibo (spah-see-boh)
Spanish:  gracias (gra-see-us)
Sri Lanka/Sinhak:  istutiy (isst-too-tee)
Swahili:  asante (ah-sahn-teh)
Swedish:  tack (tahkk)
Thai:  kawp-kun krap/ka' (kowpkoom-krahp/khak )
Turkish:  tesekkür ederim (teh-sheh-kur=eh-deh-rim )

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TALK/TEACH 'PIG LATIN'

To all words beginning a vowel (a-e-i-o-u, add the syllable 'way' to the end of the word. 'Eat' becomes eatway and 'over' becomes 'overway'.

For words that begin with a consonant, move the first letter of the word and add it to the end--add 'ay' after the consonant.
Example:
Man = Anmay
Cat = Atcay
Ice Cream= Iceway reamcay

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NAME FUN! (Good for about grade 3 to Adult --maybe some younger)

WHAT WOULD YOUR NAME BE IF YOU USED...

( Examples Provided...)

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: First pet & current car (Pixie Taurus)

2. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: Favorite color & favorite animal (Yellow Chimpanze) 

3. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: Middle name, city where you were born
(Jean Detroit)


4. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: The first 3 letters of your last name and first 2 letters of your first name
(She Ba)


5. SUPERHERO NAME: 'The' + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink
(The Brown Hot Tea)


6. NASCAR NAME: the first names of your grandfathers
(Joseph Anthony)


7. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: Your 5th grade teacher's last name, a major city that starts with the same letter
(Celestine Chicago)

8. SPY NAME: your favorite season/holiday, flower
(Autumn Daisy)

9. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you're wearing right now + 'ie' or 'y'
(Banana Jacketie)


10. HIPPY NAME: What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree
(Muffin Red Maple)


11. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: 'The' and Your favorite hobby/craft and favorite weather element and the word 'Tour'
(The Designing Blue Sky Tour)

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HOW MANY PALIDROMES CAN YOU THINK OF?
A palindrome is a word or phrase, like "mom"...
It reads the same in either direction. Mom is an easy one.

The sentence, "He was, was he?" is a word palingram, because the words can be placed in reverse order and still read the same. The sentence, "I did, did I?" is not only a word palingram but a letter palingram (or palindrome) as well.

Start with words and then move onto phrases.
Examples: dad, level, reviver, pull-up, race car, a Toyota, never even,  rotator, civic, deified, deleveled, detartrated, devoved, dewed, evitative, Hannah, kayak, kinnikinnik, lemel, level, madam, Malayalam, minim, murdrum, peeweep, racecar, radar, redder, refer, repaper, revive, Otto

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 LITERACY CATEGORY MENU

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Literacy: Games and Creative Story Telling

August 6, 2009 21:26 by Barbara Shelby

TABLE & CIRCLE GAMES -

Some great ideas for child caregivers & teachers!!!

WHY...BECAUSE
1. Each person writes down a question beginning with “Why” Example- Why do cats meow?
2. Fold the top over to hide the question, and pass it the next person who without looking at the question, writes an answer starting with “Because”. Example- Because I hate broccoli! 
3. Read out all the questions and answers.
Why do cats meow? Because I hate broccoli!

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SILENT HANGMAN  Materials: Flip Chart or board and marker or pen.

  • Like original hangman, children guess the mystery word; however, they are not allowed to speak while trying to find out the letters.
    This game is a good way to settle children down.
  • When a child wants to guess a letter they must draw the letter in the air with an invisible pen.
  • Leader will then write it in the kletter if it is correct-or to the side if not.
  • The leader should also not be able to talk.

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WORD ASSOCIATION GAME

  • Have players sit in a circle.
  • Someone in the group whispers one word to the player sitting on his right. This person then passes the first word that comes to his mind to the person on his right. This continues around the circle.
  • The last person ends by saying their word out loud.
  • Thegroup compares it to the original word.
  • Have each person around the circle say his or her word to see how crazy the associations became!
  • The mext time, have a new leader begin with a new word.

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LIAR-LIAR
Select a small object and have players sit in a circle. As the object is passed from person to person, each player must come up with an incredible story or fantasy about the object being passed.
For example, "This watch saved a man's life when it stopped a bullet while he was fighting in a war." After everyone has finished, ask the group members which tale they enjoyed most. The person with the most entertaining lie has the dubious honor of being the least-trusted person in the group!

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SILLY SENTENCES

  • Have players sit in a circle. The object of the game is to pass a sentence around from person to person, changing one word each time.
  • The first person begins with a simple sentence.
    Example: "The dog went to sleep."
  • The next person responds in an outraged tone, "No! The hippo went to sleep," changing only one word.
  • The next person might say, "No! The hippo went to Pittsburgh," and so on.
  • Allow just a few seconds for thought.
  • If someone gets stuck, go to the next person. Encourage the most unusual word combinations, and don't worry if they don't make sense!

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THE MINISTER'S CAT

This is an alphabetical word game.

Have everyone get in a circle and clap hands to the beat. (clapping hands is optional)
Start with the letter "A".
Example:
"The minister’s cat is an Angry Cat",
"The minister’s cat is a Black cat". Etc.

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JUMBLED MESSAGES …

  • Each player or Team calls out a random letter of the alphabet until there are a dozen in all.
  • The players then have 15 minutes to compose a message --each word beginning with the chosen letters and in that order.
  • Example: If the letters shouted out were S.S.E.H.I.P.C.E.A.P.A.Z… The message could be SEVEN SWEATY ELEPHANTS HAVE INVADED PITCH. CROWD EXTREMELY AGITATED. PLEASE ADVISE ZEBEDEE.
  • The winner (individual or team) is the one judged to have come up with the cleverest offering.
  • An alternative method of play is to select a word from a newspaper or magazine and to build a message; each word sjould begin with the letters of the chosen word and in that order. Example: RESTORED could end up as RANDY EARL STARTS TO OGLE RETIRED ENTOMOLOGIST'S DAUGHTER.

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CATEGORIES
Players: 2 or more

  • The players write down a list of a dozen categories such as: fish, flower, fruit, vegetable, animal, bird, country, town, river, boy's name, girl's name, and famous person.
  • A letter of the alphabet is then chosen at random and the players have five minutes in which to write a word for each category beginning with the chosen letter.
  • For example with a chosen letter of "B", the list could be Barbell, Buddleia, Blackberry, Beetroot, Bison, Bittern, Bulgaria, Basingstoke, Bur, Brian, Beth and Beethoven.
  • The players read out their lists in turn.
  • Each word which is not on any other player's list scores a point. The winner is the player with most points.

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WORD BUILDER

  • 10 or more players are given the same word, preferably something long like 'INTELLIGENT' or 'HYPOTHETICAL' and have 10 minutes in which to write as many words as they can using the letters at the start of the word.
  • Words must be at least four letters long and foreign words, plurals, abbreviations and proper nouns are not allowed. The winner is the player with most acceptable words, in case of disputes; it is advisable to keep a dictionary handy.

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BACKWARDS NAMES...
Each person writes their name backwards on a file card. The cards are put in a pile in the center of the group. In turn, each person picks up a file card from the pile, and reads out what it says. The group must guess whose name it is that is backwards. Example: A rab rab = Barbara

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A Variation of Crossword (On chalkboards or poster paper...)
Print a long word horizontally. If you are having a "Theme Day or Week"--choose a word related to the theme.

  • Kids  build words from the original "started word". The first couple words built from the "original' word should go vertically, so additional words can be thought of. Following words can then go vertical or horizontal.
  • Encourage kids to write words neatly and with as many letters as possible. This can be played with two kids or  with a few in teams.
  • An example on how to start:

    VACATION
    I
    C
    TREAT
    O
    R
    Y

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RUMORS

  • Select Teams. The first person on each team goes out of the area and all team captains together make up a message.
  • This same message will be used by all teams.
  • On the sign to start, the first captain of each team whispers the Rumor to the next person on their team. They will whisper the Rumor to the next - and so on.
  • The last person to receive the Rumor will run to the black board, white board, or flip chart and WRITES THE MESSAGE.
  • The closest correct message to the Rumor wins

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BUILDING WORDS

  • The first person writes down a letter.
  • The next person adds a letter, and must have a word in mind.
  • The next player adds another letter, again working towards spelling out a word.
  • Next player adds another letter, and so on, until nobody can add another letter.
  • If you think the other player doesn't have a word in mind, you can challenge him, and if he can't tell you the word, he's out.

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SPELL OFF... (Game)
Required: Interesting words, paper and markers
Players: Small to medium groups

  • Gather a list of words that are interesting, long or hard to spell and make sure you know the correct spelling and definitions. The words can also be names of places or destinations around the world.
  • Each team of 3-5 people will have paper and marker to record their answers or they can use small white boards.
  • After you say each word, teams will be given 10-15 seconds to write out the correct spelling and to either give the definition or location.
  • Only one answer per team will be accepted.
  • The teams will receive 1 point for correct spelling and 2 points for the definition or location.
  • The team that ends up with the most points wins the game. Created by R. Scheel, Fun-Attic Inc.

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RYHME THAT WORD!

  • Think of words.
  • Children take turns seeing how many “real” rhyming words they can think of.
  • When one word is worn out, choose another word. Remind the kids to use “nice” words only!
  • Example: Rhyme words with “time”...
    Chime, climb, crime, dime, grime, I’m, lime, mime, prime rhyme, thyme, slime, bedtime, centime, daytime, enzyme, lifetime, mealtime, meantime, nighttime, pastime, ragtime, sometime, springtime, sublime, maritime, overtime, pantomime, paradigm

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ALPHABET ANIMAL GAME

1. Think of an animal that begins with the letter 'A'--Example: Ant
2. The next person thinks of an animal which begins with the last letter of "that animal".
Example: Ant=An(t) = (T)urtle.
The following could say Turtl(e)= E-Elephant
3. Continue the pattern until someone fails to think of an animal.
Activity Extension: Try using fruits, vegetables, cars, places, etc.

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BODY WORD-FORMING GAME
This game should be played with 20 or more kids. Divide into two even teams. The leader should have large letters drawn on a piece of paper so that each teammate can pin it on them self.

  • All letters should be different, but both teams may have the same vowels. When the leader gives the signal, players try to spell a word by linking arms with teammates.
  • As a word is formed, the players go to the leader with their arms linked to get a point counted for their team.
  • The players then break up and try to find new letters to form a word.
  • If a team can spell a five letter word, that team gets 2 points.
    Give  15 minutes to play the game. At the end of the game add up the points, and that will determine your winner. You will see competition at its finest.

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GROUP BODY SPELLING
1.
Players start in groups of five (number can vary depending on the size of group).
2.  Each group stands in a straight line beside one another.
3. The leader asks players to use their bodies (with each group member involved) to spell words.
4. The words are formed one at a time, starting with a word with five letters, to a word withone letter.
CANDY, FOUR, YOU, ME and I.
5. Stress the use of creativity –
Example: “I”-everyone could point to their eye.

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THREE NOUNS

 1. Think up three nouns.

2. Everyone takes turns creating a sentence with those three nouns.

3. Alternate the noun giver and sentence makers.
         An example for the nouns: Orange, woman, store
         "The WOMAN was happy because
          a huge ORANGE was in the STORE."

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MORE GAMES TO PROMOTE LITERACY...

TREASURE HUNT

  • Depending on how many kids are in your group this day, divide them into one to four teams. 
  • Make up clues and scatter them all over the program area (or outside if weather permits).
  • Each clue leads to the next and at the end of the trail is a treasure for the team, for example, food, party favors, or prizes.

Tip: Color Code clues so teams only look for and find their own clues. Time the hunt and see which team gets done first. 

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OUTSIDE ALPHABET SCAVENGER HUNT

  • Form groups or teams and go for a walk trying to find one item that begins with every letter of the alphabet.
  • Make a list from "A to Z" and see which group can come up with then most items in the allotted time.
  • For each letter on the sheet, groups write down the item they see.

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INSIDE ALPHABET SCAVENGER HUNT
(The same as above --but inside)
Form groups or teams and go for a walkabout of selected area trying to find one item that begins with every letter of the alphabet. Make a list from "A to Z" and see which group can come up with then most items in the allotted time.

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 ***JUMP ROPE using Rhymes. Click here for Rhymes

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LOTS OF WAYS TO TELL A STORY!

CONTINUE TO READ ALOUD TO CHILDREN
A child's interest level is often much higher than his or her reading level. If children are to grow up loving books and reading they need to be exposed to the most interesting books available. Sometimes you will want to read chapter-books to school age children, but don't discontinue reading picture books. Picture books expose children to a variety of art styles and beautiful works of art.

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GROUP CIRCLE STORY: Form a circle and have one person start a story. Use an object such as a small ball; when the first person is done with his/her two or three lines, the object is passed along, until the story is complete. Telling the story works best when the sentences are stopped at mid-point. The last person completes the entire sentence. You could also write it down and then read it aloud, or record it with a tape player or digital recorder and listen to it when you're finished. It's sure to get a few laughs! (And Yes! The story will be silly!)

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STORY TELLING ON LONG ROLL OF PAPER
The procedure is the same as above; however, it is written on paper. Have each child use a different color marker and stop in mid-sentence, until the last sentence completes the story. This can be on-going; as children pass by, they fill in a sentence or two.

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MAKE A STORY COLLAGE

1. Start by having each child think of the type of story they want to create. Then go through the magazines and help them cut out different pictures that go along with their story line.

2. Use the glue to attach the pictures to the paper and then write the part of the story that goes with the picture underneath with pen or marker.

3. You can make these “books” as long or short as you want and after the pages have dried completely,you can use a three-hole puncher and some brass brads to make them into books that can be shared among other kids.
This is a great activity to also help promote reading and how much fun it can be. Adapted from: essortment.com

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***Idea: Group children and write a part two to a children's book from the point of view of another character. What I do is read the children the Three Little Pigs then The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. Then I allow them to work in groups of their choice to write their own "true story". I then have the book bound (one for each group member, one for the program, and one for the school Kindergarten class). From Tasha Palmer in Vista, California

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CREATE A BOOK...To create a own book you’ll need paper, a variety of magazines, some glue, pens or markers and scissors.

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CONTINUEING STORY
Get children in line and begin telling a silly story. Then go down the line and point to people randomly. They continue from where the last person left off-making it up as they go along. If children are younger you can give them a little time to think about it. Move to the next child if they hesitate too long or repeat what the last person says. (With elimination-always be sure to do so in light and fun manner!)

  • Give each child (or a team of 2 or 3 children) newspapers, scissors, glue, and notebook paper.
  • Have each child cut words and sentences from newspaper and magazine pages ---and combine them to create a unique story.
  • Have children arrange their sentences on the notebook paper and glue them in place. (They could also be illustrated)
  • A theme for the stories can be decided beforehand. Encourage the children to share their stories with each other. Stories could also be kept for other children to read in the future...

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ONE WORD AT A TIME...

  • Players start sitting in a circle. The leader gives the players a topic such as Food.
  • One player starts with a word.

The player of the right adds a word and so forth until all the players have had a chance to contribute a word to make up a story about food. Variation: Depending on the number of players the leader may go 
two or three times around the circle. This activity can be more difficult than it sounds!

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LISTEN UP!
Tell or read a short story. Choose a word for which children  can listen. When they hear the chosen word, they raise their hands!
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MAKE A CARTOON STRIP

  • Make your very own cartoon adventure with crayons and a pad of paper. At the bottom of a pad, on each sheet, draw a figure such as a boy.
  • The first frame will be on the first page, second frame on the second page, and so on.
  • Change the movement with each page.
  • When you are finished, fan the pages with your thumb to see the show!

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SILLY SENTENCES

  • Have players sit in a circle. The object of the game is to pass a sentence around from person to person, changing one word each time.
  • The first person begins with a simple sentence.
    Example - "The dog went to sleep."
  • The next person responds in an outraged tone, "No! The hippo went to sleep," changing only one word.
  • The next person might say, "No! The hippo went to Pittsburgh," and so on.
  • Allow just a few seconds for thought. If someone gets stuck, go to the next person. Encourage the most unusual word combinations, and don't worry if they don't make sense!

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TALE TOSS

  • Have everyone stand in a circle.
  • Select an object that can be tossed easily from one player to another; toss the object to a player in the circle.
  • The person catching the object must begin to tell a story--something made up on the spot.
  • The player holding the object tosses it to another player who must catch it and continue the story.
  • The story can take any form, as long as it is connected to the last player's contribution.
  • Players must continue the flow of the story no matter how fast the object is passed.

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THE ABC's of MY LIFE!

Invite youth to create their own alphabetical autobiographies. Here's an example:
"A"
is for Arkansas; that's where I was born.
"B" is for Bonnie; that's my sister's name.
"C" is for Cub Scouts; That's my favorite activity."
These can also be illustrated... I think if I did this, I would present it as an on-going project. I would challenge the children to see if the could reach "Z" by year end or by ________!

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POETRY PEBBLES Grade: 4-8
Materials:
Small rocks or pebbles
Small paint bushes
Water and water containers
Magic markers
Paint (make tempera paint thicker by adding glue or flour)
A covered work area
A shoebox, yogurt or empty "Jiffy Pop" popcorn container
Hairspray or a spray varnish

      •  Make sure your pebbles are clean.
      •  Paint words onto your pebbles. You could also use markers instead of paint.
      •  Choose a number of words-people, places, things, action words etc. Example: 
    1. he
    2. she
    3. to
    4. love
    5. dog
    6. went
    7. walk
    8. you
    9. happy
    10. in
    11. to
    12. a
    13. my
    14. your
    15. orange
    16. red
    17. blue
    18. purple
    19. green
    20. swim
    21. bike

  • Use your imagination and make sure you draw some punctuation marks on some pebbles as well (comma, exclamation point, period, question mark etc.)
  • Once the pebbles are painted, let them dry and seal them with hairspray or spray varnish.
  • Put all the pebbles into a show box or Jiffy Pop container. You can decorate your container with paint or markers as well.
  • Play a game of poetry pebbles. Each player chooses a number of pebbles from the box and tries to come up with a poem or story.
    Makes for a great way to begin a short story for those times when you have writers block! 
    Source: Kinderart.com

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YOUR OWN MAD LIBS!
There are Mad Libs you can purchase but you can easily make your own!

  • Cross out nouns, adjectives and verbs in the story you're reading.
  • Ask each child for a new word to replace the crossed-out ones. (You do this just as you would with a purchased Mad Lib--just ask for a noun-adjective, etc.)
  • Read the new and improved group story.
  • Garner as much enthusiasm and energy as you have when doing things like this! The kids pick up your energy and have a great time!

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PURCHASE MAD LIBS:  They’re great to do with the kids as a group! Just shout out to them, “Give me a noun---or adjective, etc.” When complete, read the Mad Lib story aloud with much enthusiasm. The children love it! Tip: You can post a chart that has definitions and examples of the various parts of speech

Idea***Show a photo/picture to  group; have kids make up as story about what is shown. You can start it off with questions such as "Tell me what they're feeling?" or "What's going to happen next?"

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PAPER BAG STORIES (Good for younger kids) To encourage children’s imagination try this activity.

  • Place several small toys or objects in a paper bag. Start telling a simple story.
  • Take turns with children in choosing an object from the bag, holding it up and incorporating it into your story.
  • Continue until all the objects have been used.
  • If YOU are telling the entire story---by taking turns---have a child incorporate the item into the story...

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*** Similar Idea: PASS AROUND A BAG OF PICTURES.  Each person pulls out a picture and works the picture into the story and moves it along.

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