5 Fun Easter Activities to Help Your Child’s Reading

easter reading activities

Easter is a great time to get crafty and creative with your kids, and you can do it while building important literacy skills too.

To help you celebrate, we’ve put together some fun and easy activities to inspire some reading and writing fun this Easter. Plus, don’t forget to download your FREE Easter activities to practice important sight words with your children.

1. The Easter Hunt

The classic Easter hunt is a fantastic opportunity to practice reading and comprehension skills. Hide your Easter eggs around the house or in the garden. Write some fun clues on a piece of paper, for example, “I’m bound to get wet in the place I’m hiding” (shower, sink, near the hose), “You might find me admiring my reflection” (by the mirror), or “Flowery and green is where I can be seen” (plants).

Hand out your written clues to your egg hunters and encourage them to help each other read and decipher each one. You can also print out our Reading Eggs Egg Hunt activity sheet.

2. Fun with Easter Puns

Experiment with words that begin with the ‘ex’ letter combination and sound like ‘eggs’ in words like ‘eggs-cited’, ‘eggs-plode’ and ‘eggs-perts’. Provide a large, egg-shaped sheet of paper. Have your child turn it into a character based on their preferred ‘ex’ word (e.g. “Mr Eggs-pensive” or “Ms Eggs-pert) by using crayons and other craft material to create a face, hairstyle and outfit that matches their ‘ex’ word.

For example, “Mrs Eggs-pert” might be wearing glasses, holding a book and sporting an academic dress. “Mr Eggs-pensive” might be wearing expensive jewellery and driving in a fancy car. Let your child create their egg puns and use their imagination to invent quirky new characters.

3. “When I think of Easter” Poem

Encourage your child to sit down and think about all of the things they associate with Easter, such as eggs, the Easter Bunny and hot cross buns. Write a poem titled “When I think of Easter”, made up of three stanzas that include six lines each. Write the beginning of each line for your child and have them fill in the end by inserting specific words.

Begin the first line for your child with ‘When I think of Easter, I think of’ and have them write two special features of Easter. Then begin the following lines with prompts such as ‘I see’, ‘I feel’, ‘I pretend’, ‘I wonder’, ‘I try’ and so on. Close the poem by repeating the first line.

For younger children, try writing an acrostic poem by putting the letters in ‘Easter’ down the side of the page. Then go back to each letter and have your child write a word, phrase or sentence that begins with that letter to describe Easter.

4. Hatch and match

Here’s one for preschoolers. Draw several medium, egg-shaped ovals on a large sheet of paper. In each oval, draw a zigzagged line in the middle to create a crack. On one side of each egg, write an upper case letter and on the other side, write the corresponding lower case letter. Cut each egg half out and scramble your eggs. Have your child pair each upper case and lower case letter. You can also download our Reading Eggs alphabet and sight words activity sheets.

For older children, you can mix and match compound words such as ‘armchair’, ‘barnyard’, ‘nothing’, ‘racehorse’, ‘milestone’, ‘toothbrush’ and ‘wheelchair’.

5. DIY Easter Wreath

Take some sheets of construction paper and create eggs by folding the paper then cutting out an egg shape. Make sure to keep one side folded so that the eggs can open like a greeting card. Then cut out a sizeable ‘wreath’ using a sheet of green construction paper.

Inside each egg, have your child write an Easter wish such as ‘Help a friend’, ‘Talk to grandma’ or ‘Make hot cross buns’. Decorate the front of each egg using crayons, magazine clippings or glitter. Attach the eggs to your wreath and hang it up on the wall.

Happy Easter from the Reading Eggs Team!

Reading Eggs is the multi-award winning online reading program for children aged 3 to 13. With a comprehensive range of self-paced lessons and activities, the program is a highly interactive and fun way to build your child’s reading skills. Start your free trial today.

10 Watercolour Techniques For Kids

Father And Daughter Painting

In our special guest blog post, art teacher Jen Roberts provides some fun tips on experimenting with watercolour techniques with kids. Prepare to get messy!

As a children’s art teacher, I find most kids love mixing paints and experimenting with different techniques.

A recent lesson which proved incredibly popular was on watercolour techniques. It was a great way to combine simple drawing, writing and other fun activities to see what happens with each step.

Tips: When using watercolours, dip the brush in water and then twirl it on the colour of choice. Dip again for a lighter and more watery colour. Always rinse the brush well in a water pot between different colour applications. If the water pot is too murky, rinse and get fresh water – this will keep the colours in your painting vibrant.

ArtBlog_1What you will need:

  • Children’s watercolour pallet (find these in art shops and discount stores)
  • Paint brush (medium-sized)
  • Water pot and water (you can use a cup or jar)
  • A3 drawing paper
  • Lead pencil
  • Marker
  • Permanent marker (such as a Sharpie pen)
  • Drinking straw
  • Salt
  • Oil pastel
  • Paper towels

Using lead pencil, draw a heading ‘Watercolour Techniques’,  then draw 10 rectangles labelled with each one of these headings: Plain, Mixed, Oil Pastel, Marker, Permanent Marker, Salt, Wet on Wet, Wet on Dry, Straw, and Paper Towel.

ArtBlog_2

1. Plain

Paint the rectangle in one primary colour (red, blue or yellow).

2. Mixed

Using two of the primary colours, create a secondary colour and fill the rectangle.

3. Oil pastel

Using an oil pastel (white or yellow works great for this), draw patterns in the rectangle, then choose any colour to paint over. See what happens!

4. Marker

Draw any pattern in the rectangle with the marker and paint over the top. Watch the marker disappear and blend with the paint.

5. Permanent marker

Draw a different pattern with the marker and then paint over the top in a different colour. Observe the difference from the standard marker.

6. Salt

Mix another colour in the rectangle and then sprinkle salt onto it – be generous. Kids love to watch the salt absorb the colour. Once the paint is dry, shake the salt off and enjoy the effect.

7. Wet on wet

Paint the rectangle in a different colour and while the paint is still wet, paint some dots onto the wet paint (black works well for this). Watch the new colour blur into the other colour.

8. Wet on dry

Choose a different colour and paint the rectangle and leave to dry. Once dry, paint some dots or lines onto the dry paint – see the difference from the above.

9. Straw

Load the paint brush up with lots of water and paint the rectangle – it should be very wet. Using the straw, have your child blow and watch the paint dance off into different part of the page and give a dripping effect. They will love this!

10. Paper towel

After painting the last rectangle in any colour, use a scrunched up paper towel to dab the paint – it should produce a blotchy effect.

Chat to your kids about using any of these techniques in an artwork of their choice. The salt technique works well for creating an ‘underwater’ effect, and the paper towel effect is great for painting animals with fur. You can also try out the straw-blowing technique for a crazy monster artwork!

Have fun!

Jen runs Kids Art Classes, School Holiday Workshops and Art Themed Birthday Parties in Sydney. Visit www.kidsartclasses.com.au.

Printable Christmas Gift Tags

XMAS_GIFT_TAGS_COLOUR-EDIT

‘Tis the season for bright lights, hanging ornaments and gorgeously wrapped goodies tucked away under the Christmas tree!

Download your special Reading Eggs Christmas Gift Tags here and celebrate Christmas with Reggie and his friends! These adorable gift tags are the perfect way to brighten up your special Christmas gifts this year – simply print out as many sheets as you will need, cut out each gift tag, and let your child colour and decorate them while practicing how to write and spell the names of your loved ones.

Remember, there’s so many ways you can celebrate Christmas with your child while learning and building essential literacy skills at the same time. Read 5 Fun Christmas Activities That Build Important Literacy Skills for some fantastic and creative activity ideas.

Happy Holidays from the Reading Eggs Team!

The Benefits of Creating Home-Made Books

Some of Hannah's home-made books
Some of Hannah’s home-made books

In this special blog post, Reading Eggs content writer and author Sara Leman shares the wonderful benefits of creating home-made books with children to build essential literacy skills and create some incredible lifelong memories.

There’s been a frenzy of paper folding and stapling going on in my house recently. Home-made books are appearing fast and furiously as my 8-year-old daughter embarks upon creating yet more ‘novels’.

Hannah has been making her own books since she was about 5. It coincided with starting school, and the realisation that those random marks she used to make on paper could actually be turned into words. She quickly worked out that if you string enough of these words together across several pages, you end up with your very own book. Her first creation was Ruby the Magic Bear. It was greeted with such rapturous acclaim from the grown-ups that as a result, Hannah has been writing books with great fervour ever since.

Encouraging your child to make their own books has many benefits, both educationally and emotionally. Some of these benefits include:

A page from Ruby the Magic Bear
A page from Ruby the Magic Bear

Better self-esteem. Children absolutely love it when you sit together and read their stories. As well as building a bond between parent and child, sharing stories validates the child as an author and makes them feel proud over their achievements.

Building resilience. Writing stories allows children to find a voice to express thoughts, feelings, fears and experiences. It builds confidence and provides an emotional outlet for many children.

Increased concentration span. When a child is engaged in a task they enjoy, it leads to higher levels of motivation and an increased concentration span. As a parent, you can feel good about the fact your child is also developing their thinking and creative skills whilst they create their masterpiece.

The development of writing skills. Writing a book requires a lot of skill, including holding the pencil correctly, forming the letters, spacing the words, and writing in lines from left to right.

The development of reading skills. In writing their own books, children draw upon the usual book conventions such as having a front cover, text and illustration placement, numbering pages, writing chapter headings and even having a ‘blurb’ on the back of the book. When older children read their stories aloud it encourages them to proofread their work and edit where necessary.

Here are some tips on how can you help your child create their very own book:

  • Use other books as models. Show your child how they are organised and point out key features.
  • If your child doesn’t know what to write about, get them thinking about their own experiences or interests. Looking at family photos can often generate ideas, and rewriting a well-known story is also an excellent start. The Reading Eggs Story Factory encourages children to use picture cues in order to create their own story. Their finished book can be printed out, submitted to the weekly competition and potentially read by thousands of other children.
  • Very young children may struggle to write, so get them to tell you their story whilst you write it for them.
  • Provide a variety of paper and pens for children to make their books from. Let them experiment with colour, text and illustration styles.
  • You may be required to fold and staple pages together for young children. There are lots of other great ideas for more creative book making on the Internet.
  • Don’t be tempted to correct anything your child has written. This is an opportunity to let them be freely creative and build positive attitudes towards reading and writing.

Sara Leman is a mum, ex-teacher and author of the Reading Eggs ‘My First’ series. Sara also writes the lesson content for the Reading Eggs and Mathseeds programs.