Hands On Sight Word Activities

Sight Words

After years of teaching Preps, and one not so enthusiastic son going through Prep, I have found some fun activities to motivate kids to learn sight words! 

The key to motivating kids to learn anything is to make it hands on and FUN! 


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Mrs Ricca’s Kindergarten – Down By The Sea Sight Words!

Use Sand, Seeds, or rice to fill a small shallow container.  Use a finger to trace words in the sand.  This helps form letter and word order, memory and develop writing and fine motor skills.  Get those fingers moving! 


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Tactile Cards. From Lakeshore Learning

These cards are fantastic and great for tactile learners.  Each letter is grooved out of the card, ready for little fingers to trace over them.  There are three packs that vary in difficulty.


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Play Doh Sight Words – Make Take Teach

Playdough!!!!!  Easy, cheap and often at home already!  Exercise those hands, fingers and wrists to form letters then words.


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Cookie Sheet Sight Words – Make, Take , Teach

Magnetic letters are easy to find in toy shops, discount stores and large department stores.  Use on a cheap baking tray and you have a word building magnetic activity.


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Using a large piece of cardboard draw up a sight words parking lot.  Call out the word and let your child drive their car (a small matchbox car will do) to the correct parking spot


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Magic Sight Words – Simply Centers

A craft activity teachers have been calling upon for ever, MAGIC WRITING!  Also known as Wax resist, use a crayon or candle to write the word “invisibly”  Ten paint over with watered dwon paint and your word “magically” reappears!


Bubble Wrap Sight Words

Teach Beside Me – Learning With Bubble Wrap

Using a piece of bubble wrap (with the large bubbles works best) write a sight word on each bubble.  As you call out a sight word, your child pops the bubble with their fingers! 


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This activity can even be done in the bath tub or shower!  Spray out some shaving cream and use your fingers to wipe out the words.  When you are done use your hand to mix the shaving cream to start again!


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Magnetic Fishing Words – From Playdough to Plato

 Cut out some cardboard fish, attach a paperclip (this will act as your magnet end) use a piece of dowel (or even a pencil do) with a piece of string and a small magnet on the end as your fishing rod. You can buy magnetic tape to attach to your rod or even hot glue on some cut up old fridge magnets.


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 Always a class favourite, the fly swat game.  Simply put out your words (on a wall or on the floor) call out a word and SWAT IT!  This works great in pairs as a racing game!  Who can swat the word first!


Sight words are an integral pert of the early writing and reading process.  The more exposure your child has to learn these words the quicker they will grasp them.  By making the learning opportunities hands on and super fun they will begging you to practice!  



Busy Bags

School is back and that means “Tot School” is in session.  This year our “Tot School” is going to look VERY different as Little Miss A now attends Kindergarden 2-3 days a week!

We are also gradually progressing away from “Tot” activities and transitiong into preschool activities like reading and writing! 

One of the most important parts of our Tot school are “Busy Bags”

Busy Bags are;

  • A 5-10 minute activity, contained in a bag.
  • Designed to be independent and self directed. (Once introduced, the child should be able to do the activity with minimal parental assistance)
  • Contain a variety of skills including fine motor,  numeracy concepts, letters, colours, anything! 
  • Inexpensive – Using every day home items or cheap craft items.
  • Hands On – Hands must be kept busy! 
  • Rotated after a week-forntnight.

Each week we put out 5 Busy Bags.  Now that Little Miss A is only home 5 days a fortnight I am planning on keeping them out for a fortnight.  

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#1 – “Cupcake Counting”

  • – Write numbers on the end of oversized paddle pop sticks
  • – child places the right number of cupcake pegs on the stick! 

I love using pegs because they are great for fine motor!  They help to develop grip and control strengthening little finger muscles. 

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#2 “Love Maths” –

  • Place the love hearts in size order! Biggest to smallest, smallest to biggest
  • The random hearts are for matching, patterning, sequencing, sorting! Possibilities are endless! Can they sort them by colour/pattern? Sort by size?
  • Make a size pattern (big, small, small) Make a colour pattern? (Pink, purple) 

This one is especially for Valentines Day coming up! I often like to theme the activities depending on special days, seasons, holidays.

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#3 “Peg My Name”

  • Make a laminated card with your child’s name on it.
  • We “beautified” it by adding her name onto a pony picture
  • Write the letters of their name onto some pegs. One letter on each peg! Don’t forget to use a capital letter for the first letter and lowercase for the rest! –
  • Now they select the right letter peg and add it to the corresponding letter on the card!

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 7.50.23 AM#4 “Learning Letters” – I bought this great little book from Kmart for $2!

  • I tore out the pages and laminated them, making them reusable!
  • I only place 3-5 cards in the bag with a whiteboard marker.
  • I only put the cards in, once we have gone over the letter one on one*
  • Once she has written in the card she wipes it off with a baby wipe!

*As part of our tot school we are focusing on 3 letters a week.  Once we have completed a few introductory activities on this letter, I put the corresponding card into the busy bag.

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  • I have had these laminated colour cards from my classroom for years!
  • Little Miss A lives to line them up, match them and add the same colour button! Easy!

I create the bags each Sunday and place them on top of our toy rotation trolley in a little basket.  


I collected the little clear pencil cases from various cheap shops! Once the activity is finished for the fortnight I place it into a clear snap lock bag and into a large storage container ready for in a few months to place out again!

Little Miss A (and sometimes even Master O) are free to grab a bag and complete an activity ANYTIME they want to.  There are also times I “madate” they play with a busy bag.  During Master O’s homework time or when they need a little quiet and calm time or in a month or two when Mummy is feeding the baby! I don’t “prescribe” an amount of time they play with the activity as generally it is just until they finish the activity which is usually 5-10 minutes.  Somedays like Monday’s she wants to do all the bags at once and by the end of fortnight she is showing little interest in ANY of them.

We love busy bags, as they give us a quick, educational, answer to “What can I play Mum?” as well as ensuring that some of the time during the week is devoted to play based  activities that cover a variety of educational concepts. 

As we change our activities around I will be sure to share them with you! 

Easter Activity – Lacing/Threading

Ok Tot School peeps, here it is an “Eater – Bunny Lacing” card.  

Lacing (or threading) encourages pincer grip, finger control and hand eye coordination, all of which are essential pre-school and school skills.   There are many ways you can encourage these skills, at home, everyday.  Cutting, Pegging, Using Eating Utensils, Using tongs, chopsticks, Lacing, Threading bracelets or necklaces,Tracing, Colouring, PLaying with play dough the possibilities are endless…..

Or of course you could just…..

1. Download and Print using the link below

2. Laminate and Cut

3. Hole Punch the dots

4. Use a ribbon/shoelace/thread/elastic to weave in and out of the holes (lacing)

5.  We like to start and finish at the bottom giving this little bunny a cute bow tie! 

My Pigeon Pair – Easter – Bunny Lacing Card

 Enjoy learning together! 


Easter Activities – Size Sequencing

The next activity in our Easter “Tot School” is sequencing according to size.  Although size is generally a maths concept, sequencing itself is a cross curricular skill required in Maths, English, Science and History.  When you are teaching this activity be sure to use and encourage vocabulary such as;

  • Ordinal Numbers – First, Second, Third
  • Positioning – Next to, In front of, behind
  • Size – Larger, Bigger, Smaller, Medium.
This activity is very simple!!!!
1. Download and Print
2. Cut and Paste or Cut and Laminate for longevity.
3. Ask your child to sequence the chicks from smallest to largest, or largest to smallest.
You could also;
  • Count the chicks
  • How many chicks would there be if you took one away, or two away?
  • Velcro the back of each chick card and use on a felt board to create a story or song 
  • Instead of singing 5 Little Ducks how about singing 5 Little Chicks went out one day, these song introduces great subtraction skills!
  • Use hands on materials to count with the chicks.  For example “Can you give each Chick one button/peg/counter?”
  • Can you find something the same size or colour for each chick?
Just another easy and cute way to reinforce some pre-school skills at home!

Easter Activities – Patterning

An often over looked, but perhaps one of the most important “educational” skills children acquire is patterning. Learning how to recognise, create and extend patterns is not only an integral maths skill but helps your child acquire language, process words and recognise text structure when reading.

There are many ways you can practise patterning with real life objects around your home.  This easter we are patterning with coloured plastic eggs, fluffy chicks and of course this worksheet I created.

My Pigeon Pair – Easter Patterning

You can use this sheet in many ways!

  1. Download, print, complete! Ask your child to read laud the pattern created by the pictures for example “Rabbit, Flower, Rabbit, Flower, Rabbit….” Ask them what would come next?  Cut out the picture of the item needed to complete the pattern and glue it on.
  2. Download, Print, Laminate, Velcro Complete!  I use this method most often as it means I can use the same sheet over and over again!  I simply print the sheet, cut up the answer pictures on the bottom and laminate them all.  I than attach a small velcro dot to the laminated sheet and onto the back of each “answer” picture.
You could also;
When you are finished, cut up the whole sheet and have your child create their own patterns! 
Line up some objects in a pattern and take a photo of them.  Print off the photo and ask your child to match the pattern!
Find some patterns in the environment; these could be the lines on a the pedestrian crossing, ribbons on a dress, tiles on the ground. 
Patterns are everywhere! 

Easter Activities – Cute Chick Counting

Over the coming weeks our “Tot School” will have an Easter theme.  

The first activity I have created is a “Cute Chick Counting” 


My Pigeon Pair – Cute Chick Counting

  • Simply Download
  • Print
  • Cut each card
  • Laminate and cut again (for longevity)
  • Put in a “Busy Bag”
To teach: 
  • Lay all the number cards out in front of the child.
  • Say the numbers out loud together.
  • Now introduce one “Chick” card at a time.
  • “How many chicks are on the card? Use your finger to point to each chick and say the number out loud for me”
  • After the child has counted the chicks correctly ask them “Can you find a number card that matches?”
  • Pair the cards together as you go!

You could also;

  • Line the chicks up from the smallest to the largest number
  • Line the number cards up from the smallest to the largest number.
  • Ask your child to close their eyes and remove one card.  See if they can guess and then count to see which card is missing.
  • Write over the numbers with a white board marker
  • Get some of the fluffy little chicks available at Easter time and count them out placing one fluffy chick on one chick picture! 
  • Describe the easter eggs the chicks are in use colours and descriptions of lines or dots.
The possibilities are endless! Simply click on the link above and get counting!
Please feel free to share this activity,
just remember to tell you them where you found it! 


TOT SCHOOL: Lesson 2 – Letters and Numbers

So how did you go with Tot school lesson 1?  Today it is all about learning the difference between letters and numbers.  This lesson will require some assistance for children under 3 and a little prctice for older children but it is a skill that will only get stronger and stronger the more you practice.  REMEMBER: As you are teaching, talk, talk, talk.  The more you repeat each letter or number name the more it is reinforced! 

The Letter and Number Machines/Robots/Houses. 

This Tissue Box Robot would be perfect! from partselect.com

You can turn the boxes for this lesson into a Machine/Robot/House depending on your child’s interests.  Keep the top of the box open for the letters/numbers to go into.


A Variety of letters and numbers (we buy a whole bag of assorted letter and number foam stickers for $2 form a dicount store)

Two boxes or bowls.

For Littles and Tots: An alphabet refenrence chart.  Anything with the alphabet on it.  Even if you just type up the alphabet on a piece of paper and print it out.

The Lesson Plan

Explain that we uses symbols to write.  Their are three kinds of symbols (numbers, letters and punctuation) today we are only looking at letters and numbers.

Introduce the story/concept.  If you are using Robots – One Robot is the number robot and he only eats numbers, the other robot is the letter robot he only eats letters.  You need to feed the robot the right food!

Houses – These houses are sad as their families are missing.  One house is the Letter Family’s house one house is the Number family’s house.  Can you help put the family’s in the right house?

As the student picks up each symbol you ask them Letter or Number?

If it is a letter it goes in one bowl/box and if it is a number it goes in the other bowl.

As they do each one you can also ask them if they know the name of the symbol?  If they don’t you can tell them “This is a LETTER, it’s name is B”

For Littles ask them to find each symbol on a reference card.  Can they find it?  Is it with the letters or the numbers? 

When you are finished (don’t feel like you have to do the whole alphabet in the first lesson!) empty out the boxes and show your child how many letters and numbers they matched! 

To be able to decode text and learn to read your child needs to know that letters make words and numbers help us count.  To them they all like the same squiggly lines on paper!  After a while this activity becomes great independent learning activity!  For older children you can do this activity with words.  Identifying initial sounds (all the words starting with “s” in one box and starting with “k” in another box.  Or vowels and consents or even 2 syllable or 3 syllable words.  The opportunities are endless!!!


Don’t forget share your pics on Instagram simply by adding the hashtag #MPPTotSchool


Welcome to Tot School.  Each week I hope to provide you with some lesson inspiration!

The popularity of Tot School has kind of hit me by surprise and yesterday we spent the morning at the beach and afternoon at Zumba so time has gotten away from me!  I hope to create each lesson as a printable for you!  But for now here are the details.

“Peg Me A Number.”


  • Paper Plates
  • Pegs
  • Pen or Stickers.

The Lesson Plan.

1. We introduced the lesson by sining the song 1,2,3,4,5 Once I caught a fish alive.  Any number song will do!

2. Write a number representation onto a paper plate.  There are three ways you can do this and it will depend on the age and ability of your child. you can;

Pictorial Representation (For Littles and Tots): Stickers (on one plate put one sticker, next plate two stickers, next plate 3 stickers) Ask your child to help you do this.  If you dont have stickers you could draw dots instead.

Numeral Repesentation (For Tots and Kinders): For children ready to learn numbers. Draw the numbers 1-5 on 5 plates.

Written Representation (For Schoolies): You can even do this activity with school aged children.  Write the number “name” on each plate.

3. Ask your child to count the stickers, or say the number or word.  

4. Now your child has to count out the same number of pegs as the number on the plate.   The lesson is in the detail here. The child must pick up each peg, move it to a new place on the desk and say aloud one number.  We are trying to help them assign a number to EACH object.  This is called one to one correspondence and is VERY IMPORTANT.

5. Once the right number of pegs are counted out,  peg each peg to the outside of the plate. Once again count each peg as it is pegged on to the plate.

6. Now that the pegs are on the plate, count them AGAIN!

For Littles this is where the activity ends.  Your ATTENTION SPAN TIME LIMIT has expired! They have used their  number skills to count at least 3 times!  They are also demonstrating in a hands on manner that they can represnt numbers in different ways. Their fine motor skills have gotten a work out strengthening their pincer grip and developing finger control! Pegs are great for this! Most importantly your child is learning one to one correspondence which will help them count, add, subtract, multiply and divide in the years to come! One to one correspondence is also a valuable literacy skill!

For Tots.  Can you now lay the plates out on the floor in the right order?  Sing the fishie song whilst pointing to each plate!

For Schoolies: What number would come next?  Can you write that number? Can I add to plates together to create a new number? Use the pegs to create an addition or subtraction sum!

If words don’t cut it for you and you need a visual..

Check out when Master O did this activity a few years ago! 

OR Even Better

Today in the “My Pigeon Pair’ Tot School this activity is on the agenda!  View our step by step pictures on Instagram #MPPTotSchool or on our Facebook page! Please share your pictures with us too!