Valentine’s Sight Word Game
One of my favorite Valentine’s Day activities as a child was creating Valentine’s cards for my classmates. The thrill of choosing cards for each of my friends brought so much joy and anticipation. I could hardly wait to place the tiny cards into the homemade mailboxes of each classmate.
Fast forward a few decades, and now my children are the ones itching to rip open their boxes of Valentine’s cards. Though they are homeschooled, they make cards for their friends at church and in their homeschool groups. Their love of these special cards gave me an idea for a fun way to practice sight words.
Practicing sight words can be a dull task for many kids. Though flashcards can be effective if done routinely, some kids will protest the endless drilling. A more exciting way to practice sight words is through games.
This Valentine’s Day sight word game is delightful and fun for little ones who love mail and tiny cards. With just a box of Valentine’s cards and a few basic supplies, you’ll have this Valentine’s Sight Word Game created in no time.
Sight Word Valentine Game: What You’ll Need
A trip to the dollar store is all you need for this sight word game. Many items can be modified so you can use what you already have lying around your house.
Here’s what we used to create this game:
- Sight word list
- A box of Valentines
- Mailbox (Homemade or store-bought)
- Cardstock or construction paper
- Small envelopes
- Optional: Stickers for decoration or for sealing the envelopes
Before your child can play the Valentine’s Sight Word Game, you’ll need to set up a few pieces of the game. If you’re buying a mailbox for your child to use, you can skip the first step. If you want to save the money and make your own, follow along.
Step 1: Create a mailbox. You can do this using a box and a razor knife. Create a skinny, rectangular opening that will allow an envelope to pass through.
Your child might like to help you paint, color, or wrap the box. Foam Valentine’s Day stickers make great decorations on the box as well.
If you’d rather not create your mailbox, the dollar store often carries small mailboxes for Valentine’s Day cards.
Step 2: Next, you’ll create sight word holders for each sight word. To do this, cut a strip of cardstock paper a little wider than the envelopes you’ll be using.
Step 3: Glue an envelope on each strip of cardstock paper. You’ll need an envelope for each sight word on the list. (I cut the envelopes in half to keep them small enough to fit in our mailbox.)
Step 4: Print your sight word list twice. You’ll be gluing these words on the Valentine’s Day cards and cardstock paper. So you’ll want to print it large enough to read easily.
Step 5: Cut out the sight words and glue one set on each piece of cardstock paper above the envelope. Glue the second set on the Valentine’s cards.
Time to Play
Now you’re ready to invite your child to play. Here are a few variations of the game you can try:
Flip all Valentine’s cards over on the floor, making a rectangular shape. Line up the cardstock paper with envelopes nearby. You can also turn over the cardstock papers for an extra challenge or leave them face up.
Have your child select and read one of the sight words on the cardstock paper. Next, your child will flip over one of the Valentine’s cards looking for the match to that word. If they don’t get a match, they’ll flip the card back over, and the turn passes to the next person.
Continue the game until all cards have been matched to the correct envelope. When your child is finished, they can put the cards into the mailbox to store them.
Valentine’s Day Mailman
A simple way to play the game is to allow your child to play mailman. Hand your child an envelope and tell them that Mr. or Mrs. ____ (insert sight word here) is looking for their Valentine’s Day card. Your child then hunts through the pile of Valentine’s cards to search for that sight word.
When the sight word is found, your child can place it in the matching envelope and slide it into the mailbox for delivery. Continue until you make it through all sight words.
Sight Word Writing
One of the best ways to make a sight word stick is by writing it while saying it out loud. To give your child extra practice, use blank Valentine’s cards instead. Try playing Valentine’s Day mailman, but have your child write the corresponding sight word on the Valentine’s card before delivering it.
What other ways can I practice Sight Words?
Over the years, I’ve found many ways to make sight word practice engaging and memorable. This has included my kids standing on their heads and reaching sticky notes with their toes or racing up the stairs to grab sight word cards at the top. We like to keep practice as exciting as possible.
Here are a few ways to practice sight words that are also perfect for this time of year:
Conversation Hearts Sight Words
On a large piece of construction paper, write a sight word in large letters. Have your child read the sight word and trace each letter by laying conversation hearts on top of the lines. When your child is finished, clear the paper, flip it over, and write the next word.
This is a great way to include tactile input in sight word practice.
Pink Salt Tray
Salt trays are a great tool for creating fine motor activities for preschoolers and for practicing writing. You can create a Valentine’s Day-themed salt tray by placing pink or red paper under the salt. When your child writes their sight words, the colors will show through.
One of my children’s favorite ways to practice anything school-related is by playing pretend. Candy shop has been a hit in our house. To do this, write sight words on pieces of paper and tape them to the back of pieces of candy.
Pretend to be the customer and “order” candy with specific words. Your child’s job is to look through the candy and find your order. When you are finished, hand each piece of candy back to them and have them read them out loud.
Pretend-play games also serve as excellent language activities for preschoolers. These games encourage sentence formation and creative wordplay as they describe what they’re imagining.
How can I make this activity more accessible for children with varying needs?
A game like this can be easily modified for students who need extra support. Consider increasing the font size of the words and using dark ink for children with visual impairments or write the words in braille for kids learning braille.
Children who need fine motor support might find opening and filling the envelopes difficult. If this is the case, use a simple pocket instead of an envelope with a flap.
Children with dyslexia may benefit from extra support as they play. Dyslexia word games such as drawing the letters in the air or singing out the letters of the word will help the sight words stick in their memory. You can also trace the words with puffy paint and allow them to feel the letters as they spell them.
Can I use this activity to practice other skills?
This activity can easily be switched to focus on other educational goals, such as:
Numbers and Number Words
Switch out the sight words for numbers to transform this into one of my favorite number activities for preschoolers. Place numerals on the Valentine’s cards and write the number words above the envelopes. Have your child match the number to the coordinating word.
Uppercase and Lowercase Letters
Switch the sight words for letters, and you now have a preschool literacy activity that your child will love. Write the lowercase version of each letter on the Valentine’s cards. Write the uppercase letters above each envelope.
What other ways can I enrich this activity?
Continue the Valentine’s Day Celebration by trying one of these activities:
- Hardcover Book
- Schertle, Alice (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 20 Pages – 12/08/2020 (Publication Date) – Clarion Books (Publisher)
Holiday Crafts and Ideas, Tactile Arts and Crafts
This adorable Valentine’s Day Q-tip Painting Activity is perfect for little hands. Conversations hearts and Q-tip flowers make this tree extra special!
Holiday Crafts and Ideas, Special Needs
Learn how to make holiday outings more comfortable and enjoyable for children with autism.
Holiday Crafts and Ideas, Tactile Arts and Crafts
Gingerbread houses aren’t just for Christmas! This adorable Valentine’s Gingerbread House craft is the perfect activity for a wintery day!