Learn Sight Words with a Water Game!

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Updated on Jun 19, 2014

All throughout first grade, teachers work hard to help your child learn as many “sight” words as possible. Sight words are short words that appear again and again in our language that children should recognize instantly, and learning them thoroughly is a big boost for any young reader. Here’s an outdoor activity that uses chalk and a wet sponge to help reinforce recognition of common written words and bolster your child's spelling abilities. This is a great game for a hot, summer day and the perfect way to build spelling and reading skills!

What You Need:

  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Pail of water
  • 6” damp sponges
  • Stopwatch
  • Several energetic first graders

What You Do:

  1. Find an empty, clean spot of pavement, perhaps on a driveway or local playground.
  2. Have your child help you write out some common first grade spelling words like, "with" or "there" or "that." (There are many possibilities. Take ideas from her spelling homework!)
  3. Dunk the sponge in the pail of water, and take turns throwing the wet sponge at each word. See how long it takes to "melt" away the sight word.
  4. For an extra twist, you can challenge your child to some “selective” melting too—for example, only vowels, or only first letters. Mix it up any way you want as she starts getting better at reading.
  5. Once the word is completely gone, put your kid's memory to the test and see if she can remember how that meltaway word was spelled. If she's not sure, pull out that chalk and those sponges again. Be prepared for hours of fun!
Julie Williams, M.A. Education, taught middle and high school History and English for seventeen years. Since then, she has volunteered in elementary classrooms while raising her two sons and earning a master's in school administration. She has also been a leader in her local PTA.

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