Toss and Blend: A Carnival Game

3.6 based on 79 ratings
Updated on Feb 29, 2016

Have you ever played the carnival game where you try to toss chips into a cup to win a fabulous prize? This version may not snag your kid a life size stuffed giraffe, but it will give him a boost with writing and spelling. Sure it's fun, but beneath the carnival atmosphere is a game that helps reinforce beginning sound-letter combinations. So bring out the paper cups and let's build some words!

What You Need:

  • Paper, for recording words
  • Markers
  • 5 paper cups
  • Tape
  • Handful of coins, buttons, or game chips

What You Do:

  1. Using a thick marker, write one of the following beginning blends on the inside lip of each paper cup: BL-TW-QU-CH-SH
  2. Next, tape the cups to the floor so they are touching, and visible when viewed from a standing position by you and your child.
  3. On chart paper or a pad, create a beginning letter blends chart. Write the blends as you did on the cups across the top of the paper. These blends form the headings for the columns of your chart. Underneath them, you'll list the words your child brainstorms, in the appropriate individual column. 
  4. Time to toss! To start the game, take turns with your child tossing a chip into the cup of your choice. When the chip lands in a cup, the player must come up with a word that starts with its beginning blend. For example, if your child's chip lands in the BL- cup, she needs to dream up a word with that beginning, such as “blue” or “black”. Each time someone comes up with a word, let your child (with your assistance) record it on the letter blend chart.

How many words did you come up with for each blend? Ask your child to tally the results! Can she come up with other beginning blends to use for a future round? Does she think she's ready to tackle the game with ending blends instead? Get her feedback. And if she's game, get out those chips and keep tossing!

Alicia Danyali taught primary-level students for four years at the International School of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The last four years of her teaching career, she taught at the Washington International School in Washington, D.C. She recently completed writing a series of children's picture books and is a mother of one young son.

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