My son is in a sensitive period for language right now, and his reading skills are just exploding. He is sounding out words left and right, and his sight word vocabulary is growing quickly as well. This sight word ball toss game was a fun way for him to practice his reading skills in a very active way. Anytime I can combine gross motor play with literacy learning, it’s a win-win in my book!
My daughter also got to join in the fun to focus on learning her letters. This game can easily be adapted to practice a whole variety of skills from letter learning to sight words to math facts and more!
Note: You can find more ideas for supporting children’s reading skills on my literacy activities for kids page.
To play this fun, outdoor sight word game, I gathered the following materials:
The key to this activity is the use of vis-a-vis markers, also known as wet erase markers. With these markers, you can write on many different surfaces and the marker will come right off with just a bit of water.
I brought the kids outside for this game. I showed them the balls, and then invited QBoy to write some words on the balls using the vis-a-vis markers.
I also wrote some words for him. My goal was for him to write some of the words to ensure he would know them well, and for me to write other words so he would be forced to work on sounding them out.
Each time we wrote a word on a ball, we tossed it onto our back lawn.
It wasn’t long before the grass was covered in balls with different words written on them. (For my daughter, the balls only had letters.)
Once all the balls were on the grass, I placed the bin of water on the lawn.
I invited my son to pick up a ball and read the word.
Once he read the word, he tossed it into the bin.
My daughter, who is not yet reading, simply had to identify the letter on each ball before throwing it into the bin.
The marker began to wash off the balls as soon as the balls got wet.
The kids had so much fun, it wasn’t long before the bin was overflowing with balls. The marker came off very easily, so we can play this game again on another day with new sight words. But more importantly, my kids had a lot of fun while practicing some important literacy skills.
More reading resources
More sight word posts from Gift of Curiosity: