Wednesday, August 26, 2009

365 Phonics and Science Activities

I found two books at thrift stores that are loaded with phonics and science activities. I wish I had found these when I first started teaching, but I'm glad I have them now. If I go back to teaching or teach our future children, I've got some great ideas at my fingertips!

365 Phonics Activities by Publications International, Ltd. (several authors) and 365 Simple Science Experiments with everyday materials by E. Richard Churchill, Louis V. Loeschnig, and Muriel Mandell can both be found at for awesome prices.

Here are a few activities for you to use now--have fun learning together.

From the phonics book:

Alphabet Train 

What you'll need: Boxes of various sizes and shapes, yarn, objects beginning with the different letters of the alphabet

If possible, collect 26 small boxes and one larger box. Leave the open side of each box facing up. Line up the boxes end to end, like the boxcars of a train, then punch a hole in the center of the front and back of each "car." Use yarn to thread through the holes to connect the boxes. Make a knot on each end of the piece of yarn so that the yarn will not slip out. 

When all 26 "cars" and one "engine" (the bigger box) are hooked together, write the alphabet on each of the small boxes--one letter per box in alphabetical order. When the train is assembled, as the child to find some object that begins with each letter and place it in the appropriate "car." 

Phonics Go Fish

What you'll need: 10 index cards, 10 pictures of objects cut from magazines, blunt scissors, glue or clear tape

The card game "Go Fish" is ideal for identifying words with the same beginning sounds.

Cut 10 pictures from magazines and attach each one to an index card. Each picture name should have the same beginning sound as another picture name; for example, bed/boy, cookie/car, lamp/lake, house/horse, roof/refrigerator.

Shuffle the cards, then deal five cards to the child and five to yourself. First, lay down any pairs with matching sounds that either of you have. Then take turns asking each other for a card that will make a pair when combined with a card you already have. For example, "Do you have a picture whose name begins like boy?"

The Missing D's

What you'll need: magnifying glass, household items that begin with the letter D

Role-playing is an important way for a child to learn, and pretending to be a detective can be challenging and exciting. Give the child a magnifying glass. The "detective" searches the home for things that begin with the letter D. Have the child collect the D things in a dishpan. (Hints: doll, stuffed dog, dime, dish, dice, domino, drum, diaper.) If the child has a yellow rain slicker, it could be used as an additional prop to make him or her look like detective Dick Tracy.

**I thought that you could also do this for any letter of the alphabet. Lots of fun going on treasure hunts!

From the science activity book:

Bubble in a Bubble in a Bubble

You will need: plastic cup bubble stand, bubble mix, bubble ring, plastic straw

Use a bubble stand to put a bubble in your bubble's bubble.

What to do: Turn the plastic cup upside down and wet the bottom of it, which is now on top. Using the wire ring make a large bubble and attach it to the bubble stand. Wet the plastic straw in the bubble mix and gently push it through the large bubble. Blow a smaller bubble inside the large one. Then carefully push the straw through the smaller bubble, and blow an even smaller one.

What happens: You get a bubble in a bubble in a bubble.

Why: Anything wet can penetrate the bubble without breaking it. The wet surface coming into contact with the soapy film becomes part of it. Do not touch the wet wall with your smaller bubble. If you do you will not get a separate bubble.

Balloon Amplifier

You will need: 1 ordinary round balloon

You're used to seeing big sound amplifiers that make sounds louder. These amplifiers are often called "speakers." But did you know a balloon can increase the volume of sound?

What to do: Blow up the balloon. hold the blown-up balloon right against your ear. Tap lightly on the side of the balloon away from your face. Do not do anything that will make the balloon pop while it's next to your ear. The loud noise of an exploding balloon won't do your ear any good at all.

What happens: The sound you hear is lots louder than the light tapping of your finger.

Why: The air inside the balloon is tightly compressed. When you blew up the balloon you actually let your lungs work as an air compressor, forcing the air to expand the rubber balloon. The air molecules are much closer to each other inside the balloon than they are in the air in the rest of the room. When you crowded the molecules closer together inside the balloon, that air became a better conductor of sound waves than ordinary air.

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