This summer (as I have the past 4 summers) I'm nannying. This year I have two kids, one who is going into 2nd grade and the other who is going into kindergarden. The 2nd grader has summer school every morning and the soon-to-be kindergardener cannot wait to start school. So we've been getting a head start and I've started teaching her some sight words (the teacher in me just can't help it).
Here are some of our favorite simple ways to practice (note: it helps if you already have all the words written on index cards). We say-spell-say all of the words everyday.
1. Mail Call
Stuff one sight word card into an empty envelope. Then announce a "mail call" and allow the lucky recipient to open each envelope and read the word inside.
2. Shaving Cream
When I do this at school, I have the kids do it directly on their desks or on a large piece of construction paper. We've been doing it on a cookie sheet at home. You could also use a plastic tray.
Just squirt a little shaving cream on the desk/tray and have the kiddo smear it around and then start writing. For a little extra touch you can add food coloring (2-3 drops for a cereal size bowl full, trust me, or you'll end up with dyed hands) or a little glitter.
3. Scrambled Eggs
If you can find some plastic eggs somewhere is your holiday decorations stash pull them out and fill them with letters that spell sight words (if you don't have enough/small enough letters, just type the words and then cut them apart). I put mine in empty egg cartons and have the kids crack them over an old frying pan.
This is a really great activity to keep on hand for those times when you have an extra few minutes or to use as an early finishers activity. The letters I use in my eggs I use specifically for the eggs so I pre-make my cartons and have them ready and waiting.
4. Pick-up Sticks
Write your sight words on small popsicle sticks and place them, word side down, in a large plastic cup. Then give each player a smaller cup. Players take turns drawing a stick and reading the word. If the player gets the word correct, she adds it to her cup. If she doesn't get it correct, it goes back in the cup. (Once the players are very familiar with the words in the cup, I play that the player has to return all sticks if a word is missed). Person with the most sticks at the end wins.
5. Ladder Climb
Grab some paint chips and tap them together (leave a little room so you can fold it up). Get your sight words and a marker (penny, toy car, action figure, whatever) and try to climb your ladder. Choose a few more sight words than spaces (so for a ladder with 12 spaces, I choose about 15-18 words). You move up a space for every word you get correct and back one for every word missed. (Once the player is very familiar with the words in the stack, a missed word moves you back to the bottom or I choose the same number of words as spaces so a missed word means the player won't make it to the top. It's surprisingly motivating). The goal is to make it to the top of the ladder before you run out of words.
I make lots of ladders with different amounts of spaces and in different colors so that students can self select which ladder they want to climb. You can also use the wider cards (like the Behr ones from Home Depot) and race to the top with multiple players.
6. I Spy a Sight Word
Write a sight words on sticky-notes and stick them around the room/house. Then give your little detective a note pad and pencil and tell them to spy for sight words and write down what they find. Detective type accessories like a magnifying glass are highly suggested. You could also write down clues on the pad and then have the detective fill in the correct word (such as: this word starts with the letter /t/ and ends in /y/; this words is a color; this word rhymes with _____).
Whats a simple way you like to practice sight words?