CVC Word Snowball Toss
When children begin reading, they often start with simple words. These words are usually consonant-vowel-consonant words, or CVC words, such as cat or fin. The sounds in a CVC word are easy to decipher, making them the ideal choice for beginning readers.
One of the best ways to encourage your child’s budding love for reading is through practice. Finding creative ways to squeeze in practice sessions will keep your child from getting bored. If reading is disguised as a game, they’ll stay engaged.
My six-year-old is in this category of “budding readers who just want to have fun.” For this reason, I’m always looking for ways to keep reading exciting. Just the other day, I threw together a snow-themed CVC game that is now one of our new favorites.
You’ll only need a few supplies to create this CVC Word Snowball Toss game. Grab some laundry baskets and fake snowballs and be ready for some educational fun. No snow is needed for this indoor winter activity!
CVC Word Snowball Toss: What You’ll Need
When I create educational activities, I always look for items I already have around the house before buying anything extra. This particular game was created using some leftover Christmas items and my handy laundry baskets.
Here’s what I used:
- Artificial snowballs
- Laundry baskets
- White cardstock paper
- CVC word list
To create this simple game, you’ll want to start by preparing the snowballs and laundry baskets. This won’t take much time, but is essential so your child doesn’t lose interest during setup.
Step 1: Using a marker, write alphabet letters on small squares of white cardstock paper. You can either create a CVC word list first and only use letters from the list, or just write the entire alphabet.
Hint: There are plenty of CVC word lists online that might save you time coming up with your own words.
Step 2: Using hot glue or tape, attach the letter squares to the snowballs. Remember that your child will be launching the snowballs into the laundry baskets. You’ll want to be sure the letters are securely attached.
Step 3: Create labels for the laundry baskets. Label three laundry baskets: beginning, middle, and end. This will tell your child which basket to toss the letter snowball into.
You can also label them 1, 2, and 3 so they think “first sound,” “second sound,” and “third sound.”
Time to Play
After you’ve made the snowballs and laundry baskets, it’s time to let your child play. Here are a few variations of the game you can try:
CVC Word Building
Using your CVC word list, call out one word for your child to make. Try isolating each sound in the word if your child needs extra assistance. For example, you might say “pig” and then “/p/ /i/ /g/.”
Your child will then look for the letters that make each sound in the pile of snowballs. When they find the correct letter, they’ll throw it into the correct basket. In our example word “pig,” your child would throw p into the beginning sound basket, i into the middle sound basket, and g into the ending sound basket.
Helpful Hint: If the pile of snowballs is too overwhelming for your child to search through, offer only a few snowballs instead. You might try giving them five snowballs to choose from. An easier option is to lay out only the three snowballs they’ll need to build the word but in a mixed-up order.
CVC Missing Sound
To offer a challenge, have your child find the missing sound in a CVC word. To do this, say a word like “dog”. Then toss the d into the beginning basket while making the /d/ sound, and a g in the ending basket while making a /g/ sound. Ask your child what the missing sound is for the middle basket.
Beginning sounds are often easier for a child to identify. You might try starting there if the middle or end sounds are too difficult for your child.
CVC Sound Swap
New words can be made just by swapping out one sound. After building a word and tossing the letters into the correct basket, ask your child to help you create a new word by swapping a letter.
Ask them to remove one letter from the basket and pick a new letter to go in its place. Have your child sound out the new word.
It’s perfectly fine if it ends up being a nonsense word! The practice of sounding out words is what’s most important.
What other ways can I use this Snowball Toss Game?
This snowball toss game can be used for more than reading skills. Once you have the baskets and snowballs, you can create number activities for preschoolers, color identification games, shape learning activities, and more. The possibilities are endless.
Here are a few other examples:
Preschool math activities should be fun and simple to keep little ones engaged. This activity is the perfect way to teach counting skills.
Label each laundry basket with a number 1-10. Have your child read the number and toss that number of snowballs into the basket. Picking up just one snowball at a time and counting as they toss helps reinforce one-to-one correspondence.
Much like our mushroom color sorting activity, you can use this activity to teach color identification.
Label each laundry basket with a color word. Attach circle stickers in different colors to each snowball. Have your child identify the color stickers and color words and toss the correct snowballs into the baskets.
Help your child learn about differences in sizes by labeling three baskets with small, smaller, smallest, or big, bigger, and biggest. Use snowballs in different sizes (Or other objects in various sizes) and help your child determine which basket the objects should go in.
Learning terms like big, bigger, and biggest is important for communication and categorization skills. Language activities for preschoolers like this one will help build a strong language foundation and confidence for socialization.
What other ways can I teach sounds and CVC words?
Wordplay is a great way to help your child grasp beginning, middle, and ending sounds. Next time you’re in the car, you can try playing a simple word game to practice reading skills.
We like to play a rhyming game in which one child picks a word to start the game with. Next, we go around the car, and each passenger finds a word that rhymes with the starting word. Sometimes the words aren’t actual words, but that’s part of the fun.
We also play a word game where you stretch out a word by saying the sounds slowly. The child’s job is to squish the sounds together and say the word fast. For example, I might say “/ppppp/ /oooooo/ /t/” and my child would say, “pot.”
Be creative and find ways to include wordplay throughout the week. Even reading books helps children engage with rhyming words and sounds. We’ve found rhyming words and Dr Seuss go hand in hand.
Are there other benefits to playing this activity?
While your child plays this snowball toss game, they’ll also be sharpening other skills.
Gross Motor Skills
Throwing objects is one of many gross motor milestones. The muscles responsible for this action also help a child run, jump, hop, and more. If your child has a gross motor delay, you can help them gain strength by providing plenty of practice opportunities.
Hand-eye coordination refers to the ability of your hands and eyes to work together to accomplish a goal. Hand-eye coordination games will help your child gain the coordination needed for self-care, sports, academics, and other important areas of life. Tossing a ball into a basket requires your child to sync the movement of their arm with their eyes.
What other ways can I enrich this activity?
To make this game even more fun, consider pairing it with these snowy activities:
- Wright, Maureen (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 34 Pages – 10/08/2013 (Publication Date) – Two Lions (Publisher)
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