I am a big advocate for exposing kids to words, language, and reading at an early age. Children’s brains from the ages of 0-3 are growing at a fast rate. This means that their learning rate is extremely rapid during this time.
When my son was a baby I exposed him to a lot of language through books, singing, talking, and telling stories. My purpose was for him to learn to talk. I didn’t want him to be a late talker because sometimes children can become frustrated and resort to hitting when they want something but can’t express it. I wanted my son to communicate his wants and needs as early as he could.
My plan worked! He started talking in full sentences around 18 months and sounding out words at 21 months. The ability to read was a surprise to me. It was not my intention but I didn’t complain that it happened.
There were 10 steps that I used to get my son to talk and read…
Familiarity with Language
Learning the Alphabet
Reading a Variety of Books
Strategic Structure of my Day
All of these steps are discussed in detail in my bookTeach Your Toddler to Read Through Play. This book has over 130 activities/games, tips and resources. It is available on Amazon. Click the image below to access it.
Sight Word Games and Activities
Today we will discuss sights words. In the video below I explain what sight words are and how I used playful methods to expose my son to them. I DID NOT USE FLASH CARDS. Although effective at times, I think using flash cards are an isolated way of exposing a child to sight words and this is explained in the video. I also provide better teaching alternatives.
The video comes from my Online Course,Teach Your Toddler to Read Through Play. This course shows you how my son learned to read through playful activities. He didn’t know he was learning because we made it fun. It takes you through his learning-to-read journey with videos of him as a baby up to three years old.
Click the image below to learn more about our Teach Your Toddler to Read Through Play Online Course.
Back to Sight Word Games and Activities
I explain how my son learned sight words in three videos.
Many people become interested in this blog because my son learned to read, write, and do math (such as multiplication) at the age of three. However, we share a lot of science experiments with our audience.
For example, when my son and I did the Walking Water Science Experiment he learned and reviewed words such as capillary action and gravity. He also saw and experienced these words in action while doing the experiment.
Sink or Float Experiment
Today I want to share with you a simple and fun activity called the Sink or Float Experiment. It is a great way to introduce your kids to scientific words such as gravity, column, test, observe, and layer.
We like this experiment because you can use liquids you have in your kitchen. Your child will use these liquids to create three layers or columns in a glass. Then they will observe and test the density of various objects in your home.
Kids have the most fun testing the density of their toys and food in your kitchen.
My son, Corban, made a video that will show you how to do the Sink or Float Experiment. This video comes from his YouTube Channel,Corban’s Fun Learning Adventures. Please like and subscribe to support the channel and for fun activities for kids.
For the past six weeks, our country has been in quarantine due to Covid-19. During this time, my son and I have used our creativity to make up fun activities to do in our home.
We have spent a lot of time doing Science Experiments, playing games, learning, and enjoying the warm weather outside.
One day my son was looking on the Internet and saw the Pepper and Soap Experiment. After viewing the instructions for this experiment, he ran in the kitchen and told me that he wanted to do it. I was familiar with the experiment because I saw it about a month ago on Facebook and was planning to do it with him in the future.
However, he requested that we do the Pepper and Soap Experiment that day. My son was excited because he wanted to add his own twist to the experiment.
How Does It Work?
In this activity, germs are represented by pepper. In demonstrates how soap is used to repel those germs and wash them off your hands.
We knew pepper would work in this experiment. However, my son took it a step further and discovered three more spices/seasonings that worked and why all four were successful.
I was proud of my son because he tested all the spices/seasonings in our kitchen. He calls his new discovery, THE SURPRISE SPICES.
We like the experiment because it is fun and simple. You most likely have all the materials in your kitchen.
Additionally, it is a wonderful way to explain to children the importance of washing their hands with soap. This skill is especially important now that Covid-19 is among us.
If you want to see how the experiment is done and THE SURPRISE SPICES, please view the video below. It comes from my son’s YouTube Channel, Corban’s Fun Learning Adventures. Please like and subscribe to support the channel and for fun learning activities.
My son is generally excited to do most of the art projects I present to him. However, there are some art projects that don’t appeal to him. This is why I generally let him choose his own as a way to promote interest-led learning.
When I showed my son the 3D Salt Art Painting craft, he was not thrilled to do it. I requested that we try one, just to see if liked it. He agreed.
Once we tried one Salt Art Painting, he wanted to do more. In fact, he did a total of four pictures in one session. This really surprised me! After doing the first picture, he asked if we could make a video showing others how to do it. I said “yes.”
My son has a YouTube channel called, Corban’s Fun Learning Adventures.On his channel he shows kids and parents how to do his favorite science experiments, art projects, pretend play scenarios, and to play with fun games and toys. He is learning new concepts, such as math and vocabulary, while doing all these activities.
Letter Recognition and words are one of the first concepts children learn when starting school. Letter recognition can be perfected by singing the Alphabet song, reading books, watching educational shows, and by simply playing with letters. Children often become familiar with words by reading, spelling, playing word games, etc.
My son and I have used all the methods mentioned above to get him familiar with letters and words. This time we decided to do something different. We created a fun activity called the Blindfold Alphabet and Word Game.
This game starts out easy with letter recognition but then gets harder with spelling words. The unique part of this game is that you have to identify letters and words with a blindfold.
We had so much fun playing this game. There was a lot of laughter during this activity. This game is a great way to reinforce letter recognition, how letters are formed (which is beneficial for handwriting skills) phonics, and spelling.
My son and I made a video of us playing the Blindfold Alphabet and Word Game. We had a friendly competition. You will see us having fun while learning. Watch the video below to see who won the game. Have your children participate while watching by identifying the letters and words with us.
My son, Corban, loves to do science experiments. Science experiments are a fun way for kids to get their hands messy and to understand how the world works. I have learned a lot through doing these activities as well. For example, I got a better understanding of Newton’s Law of Motion from doing the Colorful Egg Drop Science Experiment for Kids.
Because of our many scientific encounters, I decided it was time to get my son tools such as beakers, test tubes, funnel, and safety goggles. I did not want to purchase these things separately so I got the Educational Insights Geo Safari Rockin’ Reactions Chemistry Set. It includes the following: beaker, 4 test tubes, test tube rack, graduated cylinder, lab glasses, dropper, funnel, stirring rod, and 22-page activity journal.
Fun and Easy
As soon as we got the kit, Corban looked through the activity book at the various experiments. He decided to do Ice Cube Melting Experiment aka Disappearing Ice. I like this experiment because you don’t need fancy science tools. You can use materials you have in your home. In fact, we shared a video of my son doing this experiment with a friend. About 30 minutes later, I get a video text with my friend with her daughter doing this experiment with drinking glasses and ice.
I encourage you to try this easy activity. It will show kids that when two or more chemicals are mixed together, amazing things can happen.
Corban has created a video showing you how to do the experiment below.
Let’s Get Started
1 funnel (optional)
1 test tube (an alternative is a drinking glass)
2 (more) drinking glasses or plastic cups
2 ice cubes that are about the same size
regular table salt
Watch Corban demonstrate the Disappearing Ice/Ice Cube Melting Experiment. It is a great activity to teach kids why, in snowy regions, workers put salt on the road to make them safer for drivers. The video comes from my son’s YouTube channel called Corban’s Fun Learning Adventures. Please like and subscribe for fun learning activities!
Have fun discovering how chemistry helps keep drivers safe.
“My child hates reading!” I hear this a lot from parents. When I was a child, I did not like reading either. After finishing graduate school, I grew a love for reading. When I was single, I would spend Friday and Saturday evenings in my local Barnes and Noble reading books. It was the most comfortable and relaxing environment.
When did my sudden desire to read come?
My desire to read came from having the freedom to finally indulge in material that interest me. In school, we are given reading assignments from text books and paperback books suggested by teachers and professors. Most of those reading assignments were boring to me. It gave me the mindset that all reading was boring.
Furthermore, while growing up, my mother encouraged us to read. However, the only books I remember having in the house were adult Bible stories, Encyclopedias, and novels. Again I found those boring. We did have one local library in our hometown that was located about 25 minutes from our home. We didn’t get there often because 25 minutes was considered a long way in my small hometown.
We had a school library that I could have easily borrowed books from. However, my mindset was all reading was boring so I only stepped foot in the school library when I had to.
While in graduate school, I started a business where I would go out to local elementary schools and teach financial literacy. My work was funded through a grant and I got paid $100 every time I taught a class. The MBA students were helping me teach those classes as well. This experience got me really interested in business.
I started reading financial literacy, self help, and business books by Robert Kiyosaki, Jack Canfield, and T. Harv Eker. Reading a book a week was nothing for me. The secret to my love for reading was finding books that could teach me what I wanted to learn.
While pregnant with my son, I started reading books of prominent male leaders such as Malcolm X, Bill Gates, Congressman John Lewis, Frederick Douglas etc. My purpose was to find out their mother’s roles in their lives. I wanted to know if their mothers were strict, lenient, nurturing, supportive, entrepreneurs, submissive etc. I found the mothers to have all sorts of personalities, roles, and traits. However, the one theme that stood out in each book were the men were avid readers.
So when my son was born, I wanted to ensure that he liked reading. To this day, he loves reading. We visit the library once or twice a week (pre Coronavirus). He is five-years-old and reads on a 4th grade level. He started blending sounds at 21 months.
Here is a video of my son reading to my brother when he was 25 months.
Click the image below to learn more about our ONLINE COURSE, Teach Your Toddler to Read Through Play. It has a $97 discount.
Click the image below to learn more about our BOOK, Teach Your Toddler to Read Through Play. It is available on Amazon and has over 130 Games/Activities, Tips, and Resources.
There were three things I did to grow my child’s interest in reading. These tips are in the questions that parents should ask themselves when their child does not like to read.
Let’s Get Started
The first question: Are you giving your child books they are interested in?
As previously mentioned, I usually visit the library once or twice a week (pre Coronavirus). During my visits, I am always perusing the shelves for books on various topics. Whatever topic your child has an interest in, there is a book about it. There are books on video games, wrestling, superheroes, cartoon characters, animals, sports figures, princesses, dinosaur poop, farting, arts and crafts, etc.
If your child expresses interest in a topic, get some books on that subject matter. It will make the process of reading easier and more interesting.
Remember those boring adult Bible stories we had growing up? Well I have plenty of children’s bible story books with colorful characters and writing that my son loves to read.
I know many children, have reading assignments from school. Try to use weekends or evenings to dive into books that fit their interest (thats if they are not in the school books).
Below is a video of my son at five-years-old reading a fun book about germs. This video comes from my son’s Youtube Channel, Corban’s Fun Learning Adventures. Please like and subscribe for fun learning activities.
The second question: Is your home literacy rich?
When my son was three-years-old, he spent the night at a family member’s house. He had a wonderful time playing and getting attention from loved ones. One of his first statements, after picking him up, was our family member didn’t have any books. I could tell he was shocked by this. I was surprised that my three-year-old had this observation in someone else’s home.
I then realized that he was used to seeing books and words all over our home. We have a book shelf on each level of our home. On the third floor, my son has a book shelf in his room that is filled with at least 50 library books plus others we own. Our second level contains a shelf with over 200 books that my husband and I have accumulated over the years. Our basement also has a book shelf. Books are everywhere!
Not only it is great to have books in the home, but take it a step further by reading those books to your child at least 15 to 20 minutes a day.
Books are not the only way to make your home literacy rich. I have made a list of 30 Ways to Create a Literacy Rich Home.
The third question is: Do your children see you read?
I often hear the phrase that children do what we do more than what you say. When I became a mom, this saying became evident to me.
We constantly tell our children to read. Many times they are thinking to themselves, “I never see you read, so why should I?” Often our children see us, in our free time, watching television, on our phones, or on the computer. There is nothing wrong with this but we should let them see us pick up a book, especially if we are encouraging them to read.
My son has been read to since he was in the womb. I would go to the library and check out children’s books to read to him while I was pregnant.
When he was born, I continued to go to the library and get at least 25 books at a time. Now that number has increased to 50 books. It would probably be more if the library allowed me to check out more books.
I remember talking to my mom on the phone and telling her I just borrowed a lot of books to read to my son. My mother replied “How many books did you check out for yourself?” My answer was “none.” I was so focused on getting my son books, that I didn’t choose any for myself. The next time I went to the library, I checked out books for myself.
This action made a difference. When my son is playing independently, I will often read a book. On long road trips or during times to myself, I am turning the pages to a book. Sometimes, my son will stop playing to sit beside me and ask what I am reading. Once he asked why I WASN’T saying any words while reading. I told him I was reading silently. Soon after this encounter, I saw him sitting in his room reading silently to himself.
So, these are the questions you should ask yourself if you have a child that does not like to read. Ponder over them.
About a week ago, many families were coloring eggs to prepare for Easter Egg Hunts. This can be a fun and interactive process for children. I knew my son would love coloring eggs this year and we did just that. However, we decided to do something different. We incorporated a magical science trick while coloring our eggs.
It is called the Colorful Egg Drop Science Experiment for Kids. My son saw this experiment in a book and could not wait to try it. He immediately searched our home for the materials to execute this amazing scientific trick.
I was a little skeptical at first because I didn’t think it would work. However, to my surprise, it was successful on the first try! My son wanted to do the experiment repeatedly after it worked the first time.
I love this experiment because it required materials I had at home, it was quick and easy to set up, it taught my son about Newton’s Law of Motion and gravity, and it colored our eggs for Easter in a fun way!
Below my son will teach you how to do this fun experiment.
Let’s Get Started!
Two toilet paper rolls
Three cups of water
Food Coloring (we used three different colors)
One saucer size paper plate
One regular size paper plate
Three white eggs
Watch the video below to see my son doing the Colorful Egg Drop Experiment. This video comes from his YouTube channel, Corban’s Fun Learning Adventures. Please like and subscribe!
Spring is such a wonderful time of the year. The weather is warm and kids are outside playing. My family and I love to go on nature walks to see the tadpoles evidently turn into frogs. My son loves to throw rocks in the water and fly his kite.
To prepare my son for spring, we start reading books about the season near the end of winter. There are countless books that will teach your child about the lifecycle of various animals, plants, and what happens to the earth during spring time.
It is wonderful to absorb the rich information in these books. However, I encourage you to couple your reading with actually experiencing spring.
Below is a video of the Walking Water Experiment. It is a great activity to teach kids how plants get water through capillary action starting in Spring. The video comes from my son’s YouTube channel called Corban’s Fun Learning Adventures. Please like and subscribe!
Below I will give you 30 spring books for preschoolers.
Let’s get started!
Little Mole is sad. Therefore, his mother teaches him about hope by leading the way out of their dark burrow into a bright world filled with the promise of spring.
Count the 10 little rubber ducks as they swim downstream on a spring day. This book has hatching chicks, a hopping bunny, blossoming flowers, and more spring-time scenes.
On a sunny springtime day, siblings Feather, Flap, and Spike set out to explore the many flowers, leaves, and seeds outside. Their day is met with difficultly by Spike’s dino-sized sneezes.
Easter is almost here and Turkey knows just how to celebrate. He’s going to win the eggstra-special Easter egg hunt! The only problem is that animals aren’t allowed to enter. What will he do?
After the cold of Winter, comes the warmth of Spring. I Am Spring takes young children on a journey through the many important events that occur uniquely in the beautiful growing season of Spring.
Celebrate the season of spring with raindrops, robins, bluebells, and butterflies! This book has colorful illustrations and are matched with rhyming, easy-to-read text that explores rain falling, flowers blooming, and other springtime wonders.
When spring comes, leaves unfurl and flowers blossom, the grass turns green, and the mounds of snow shrink. Spring brings baby birds, sprouting seeds, rain and mud, and puddles. You can read all about it in the book!
Join in the rainy-day fun, as kids splash through the puddles, affecting another weather enthusiast, a nearby worm. An imaginative and playful story, readers will love seeing the worm delight in the weather just as much as the kids.
Mole can smell that spring is in the air, but Bear is still asleep after his long winter nap!Excitedly he taps on the window and knocks on the door. He even tries playing a trumpet to wake his friend so they can celebrate together. However, bear keeps snoozing.
As days stretch longer, animals creep out from their warm dens, and green begins to grow again, everyone knows―spring is on its way! Join a boy and his dog as they explore nature and take a stroll through the countryside, greeting all the signs of the coming season.
Young children will enjoy learning about colors and flowers while reading this book.
This story is about the life cycle of a flower and is told through the adventures of a tiny seed. It includes a detachable seed embedded paper housed on the inside front cover.
Flitzy the butterfly welcomes back the plants and animals of spring! This book has rhymes and colorful illustrations that will delight young readers!
The adorable baby animals in this book are fun to view and they represent life that is spring. Every young creature finally ventures outside to play as the days of winter fade away and color surround us all.
In spring, seeds are planted and sprouts pop up through the soil. Colorful flowers bloom. Your child will see how plants come to life in spring.
Children will explore spring in the forest with this interactive Lift-a-Flap Surprise board book! Little ones will love learning all about springtime fun in the forest while following a mama deer and her sweet little fawn.
Your children will hear the forest is calling. They will also take a quiet walk through the woods, where shadows fall in the darkness, eyes peek out, and some animals sleep while others run and leap.
Up in the garden, the world is full of green. Down in the dirt there is a busy world of earthworms digging, snakes hunting, skunks burrowing, and all the other animals that make a garden their home. Children will discover all the wonders of spring.
This story helps children understand the change of seasons, the excitement of hiking, and the importance of what it means to “leave no trace.”
Ladybugs, butterflies, daddy longlegs, and roly polies are just some of the familiar creatures featured in this book. This book also has an actual size bug chart, which provides real-world comparisons so that readers know exactly how big each bug is, and the Bug-O-Meter, which lists fun facts about each bug, such as number of legs, where it lives, whether it flies, and if it stings.
Bob and Otto are best friends. They love to eat leaves, dig, and play together. When the two meet again, Otto is still the same dirt-loving earthworm, but Bob has done the unthinkable: grown wings.
Gossie and Gertie are friends waiting for Ollie to hatch. They try poking, listening, even sitting on top of his egg but, Ollie just won’t come out.
A girl observes and describes birds—their sizes, their colors, their shapes, the way they move and appear and disappear, and how they are most like her. She imagines what it would be like if clouds looked like birds, or if she could ask the birds questions.
This book includes lots of easy, smart ideas on how we can all work together to make the Earth feel good. It discusses planting a tree, using both sides of the paper, saving energy, and reusing old things in new ways.
This picture book shows the incredible metamorphosis that occurs as a tadpole loses its fishy tail and gills and becomes a frog.
Mayumie and her grandmother take a trip into Tokyo to see cherry blossoms flowering in the heart of the city.
This book teaches kids to speak up and stand up for those who can’t. With a recycling-friendly “Go Green” message, The Lorax allows young readers to experience the beauty of the Truffula Trees and the danger of taking our earth for granted.
Come explore the amazing world of bugs with this book. The bugs in this book include hungry caterpillars, busy ants, and graceful dragonflies.
Little chick may be the smallest chick on the farm, but she doesn’t know it. What she does know is that she can chirp the loudest, eat the most, and stand the tallest.
Springtime is here, and Zinnia can’t wait to plant her seeds and watch them grow. She takes care of her garden by watering her plants, weeding, and waiting patiently for something to sprout. Soon, the first seedlings appear!
My son, Cory, loves science experiments because they provide the ultimate hands-on experience. Hands-on learning is the best way for children to be exposed to something new. It uses three of the child’s senses which are touch, sight, and hearing.
When doing science experiments, children are touching and seeing the materials they are handling and manipulating. Often times, they are working with others and hearing their friends’ conversations while adhering to the experiment’s directions.
Cory would agree that the best experiments have fun chemical reactions and explosions. A few that we like are Elephant Toothpaste, Egg Volcano, and Magic Balloon. We are always looking to add more to our collection. My son found the Soda Explosion in a book. This is a reaction between the carbonated beverage Coke and Mentos mints that causes the beverage to spray out of the bottle/container.
We made a tube with this experiment so the explosion would be more intense and higher.
This activity is simple and fun. It is a popular experiment right now. Let me show you how to do it.