Flashlight Word Game

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Travis can make his way through a few early phonics books, and although I’m not quite ready to call him a “reader”, I know he’s on the cusp. This cute bedtime game can hopefully tip him towards that edge!

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I wrote out a list of sight words on brightly colored construction paper, and taped them in a pattern along our playroom wall. (Note: you can also make this an “upstairs” game for right before bed, but since I knew we’d want to play after baby sister was asleep, I kept the game downstairs).

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There are several ways we played the game, all of which boost Travis’s sight reading! In the first version, I shined the flashlight on a word and he had to read it.

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Then it was his turn to challenge mommy! He shined the light, and laughed if I pretended to have a hard time with a word.

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For extra literacy fun, have your child first read the word, then put it in a full sentence. This is great for sight words like ‘for’ and ‘four’, or ‘two’ and ‘to’.

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Finally, you can play a sort of reverse version, calling out a word and then having your child find it with the flashlight.

Little sibs might want to play, too, and can look for letters instead of reading full words!


Bubble Fun

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My new favorite thing in the world is Veronika’s first full sentence: “Bubbles, please please.” As a result, I’m constantly trying to meet this adorable demand, with bubbles in the bath or during playtime. We quickly ran through a bottle of store-bought bubbles so I tried these two recipes at home. Both are so easy, and toddler-friendly to boot.

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Bubbles 1:

  • 1/3 cup baby shampoo
  • 1 and 1/4 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 drops blue food coloring

This nice mild formula blows great bubbles that you can also catch on the wand without popping them. The added bonus is that it will be tear-free if any solution gets in the eyes.

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Bubbles 2:

  • 1/4 cup dish soap
  • 1/4 cup glycerin
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

This version makes stronger bubbles, which float high up in the air, and they will leave behind little strands of popped sugar when popped just right (you may have noticed that the sugar-based bubbles at a Gymboree class act the same).

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Veronika was not content to watch me blow the bubbles; she wanted to take charge, dipping the wand in and out.

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Older toddlers will no doubt want to practice their blowing skills, too.

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Needless to say, you can’t go wrong with bubbles.

Learning Things That Go

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There are so many ways to teach toddlers about the various vehicles in the world, whether that means cars and trucks, or boats, or planes, or everything in between. Most obviously you can point these things out in the real world or read about them in books. But toddlers are so tactile, so consider hands-on learning with stamps or stickers that depict things that go!

First up: stickers. Veronika is currently obsessed with stickers, so we had lots of fun with a reusable sticker book from Melissa & Doug. She was a little frustrated that the big planes and trucks wouldn’t stick to her belly…

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…but loved that she could lift them off the page over and over.

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Next up: stamps! I purchased a stamp set with big chunky ones just right for toddler-sized hands.

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We talked about the image on each stamp before I pulled out the ink pads. Of course the ink itself was more fascinating for a while!

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But soon I showed her how to press a stamp down into the ink, which then appears like magic when pressed on paper. She was a little young for this activity, impishly trying to eat the stamps, so we tucked the ink pad away. But I loved that this was both a vocab lesson and an “art” activity.

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One final option: felt pieces featuring things that go. Veronika loves her set with cut-outs of planes, trains, and more.

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Little felt shapes like this of things that go are great for, well, when you’re on the go!

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Whichever medium you choose, there’s lots of hands-on learning and fun to be had!