Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sight Word Puzzles {Busy Bag Idea for Kids to Practice Sight Words}

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I bought colored popsicle sticks the other day, with no specific project in mind.  I wanted to use them for some kind of educational activity, but was still searching for inspiration.  

J loves puzzles and has been able to read since before he turned two (I later learned it's because he has hyperlexia).  And they will fit nicely into a small plastic bag, which means another busy bag for our collection - bonus!

These DIY sight word puzzles are the perfect way to practice sight words with your kids!

Great busy bag idea for kids to practice sight words: make sight word puzzles from And Next Comes L

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How to Make Sight Word Puzzles for Kids

Here's what you'll need to make these sight word puzzles:

Before I made the puzzles, I googled common sight words and found this Dolch sight word list.  After reading the list closely, I realized that J can read well over half of these words already.  He's only 3 1/2 years old, but can already read words listed at a Grade Three level?!  Wow.

Anyway, I only had 72 sticks, so I stuck with the Pre-Primer Level words.  I intend on purchasing more popsicle sticks so that I can expand on this sight word activity.

Once you decide on the words you will be using, put two matching colored popsicle sticks together and write one word on the two sticks using black permanent marker.

Great busy bag idea for kids to practice sight words: make sight word puzzles from And Next Comes L

I mixed up all of the puzzle sticks and left them on the floor in the living room for the boys. I also matched one sight word puzzle for J, illustrating what the object of the activity was.

Practicing sight words with a simple busy bag idea from And Next Comes L

K was curious about the sticks and thoroughly examined what they were.

Toddler playing with craft sticks from And Next Comes L

J worked his way through the puzzles fairly easily, reading each one as he went.  There were a couple of words he didn't recognize like "said" and "away" (he kept saying awake, so he was close!), so I helped him read those ones.  

Making sight word puzzles from And Next Comes L

What I found interesting was how J went about solving the puzzles.  When he picked up a random stick, he would try to guess the word based on the half of the word he could see (he guessed correctly almost every single time).  Then he would search for the other half, using the color of the stick as a guide.  He also used a lot of "same/matching" and "different" vocabulary as he searched for the other half of the puzzle.  Anyway, I found it fascinating how he could guess the word, even though the part of the word he could see was so small.

After he completed a majority of the puzzles, J used the sticks to create letters and numbers.  You probably figured that would happen though...oh, hyperlexia!

Child with hyperlexia making letters and numbers from And Next Comes L

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Sight word puzzles for kids - a great busy bag idea for practicing sight words from And Next Comes L
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  1. Yay, something to do with all my popsicle sticks!! I'm definitely doing this but I may do shapes and numbers too as that is what G knows right now and it will build his confidence before we get into words! Thanks for the post Mama D!!

    1. Yes, the possibilities are endless. The puzzles could form letters, numbers, shapes...whatever!

  2. What an awesome idea! Thanks for sharing! (Came over from Tuesday Tots)

  3. WOW, I'm so glad to have found you �� this is a great idea... My S knows the numbers and the letters but not yet to read... We are Romanians but I would like to teach her to read first in English because is harder... Since I'm not a native... Could you please guide me? How did you do it? Many thanks ��

    1. My son has hyperlexia so his reading was self-taught, but I would suggest reading lots of English books, watching videos in English (especially with closed captions on!), and practice talking in English with her.