Simple Flashlight Games to help Emerging Readers {Fun Ideas from a Local Expert!}

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October is a Time to Refresh the Page!

September has passed.  Kids are back in school and nestled into their routines. Just like a computer, you may need to “refresh” the page of your day-in and day-out schedules.  Refresh with some new and fun activities,,.

After school time can be challenging.  Your child has just spent a focused day learning through reading and math.  They may even have homework! Allowing time to unwind is so very important along with a nourishing snack to feed mind and body.

Try these brain development activities that go hand in hand with their reading success.  Step outside their box of toys and use materials from the home:

flashlight games

These simple flashlight games are designed to build short term memory, patterning, and sequencing, three very important functions for reading skills.  

Gross Motor Development: These games develop the ‘bilateralism’ capabilities of the brain, a necessary brain function for reading.  Scientists have shown that reading involves both hemispheres of the brain.  There is not just one hemisphere or lobe of the brain for reading, alone.  Science supports that many who struggle to read can benefit from the use of movement when learning.  Here is a great opportunity to incorporate both for your child.  

Materials needed:

  • two flashlights
  • open space to walk in
  • Letter Banner: write the letters of the alphabet on sheets of paper, one letter per sheet, and attach them to a long string to make a banner that can be hung across a wall, door, outside patio [please be safe wherever this banner is hung!].

Follow the Light!  

Ages 4 and up.   {Adapt to your child’s age ability level.}

Directions:

Keep it simple in the beginning, especially for younger children.  Use one flashlight held in whichever hand they prefer.  Ask your child to walk forward and when they do, they are to shine the flashlight beam on the toes of the foot that is in front! Do not switch the hand holding the flashlight during this exercise.  It stays in the same hand.   As they continue to walk, they switch the beam only, to shine on the toes of the foot which is leading.   Each step means they switch the light beam to the leading foot.  Go slowly at first and then as they become more adept you can speed up their walking pace.

Take both flashlights, one in each hand.  When they walk, ask them to shine the beam on the leading foot with the flashlight that is in that foot’s matching hand.  In other words, left hand shines beam on left foot when it is leading and right hand shines beam on right foot when it is leading.

Now ramp up the challenge with bilateral development.  The ultimate challenge is to now use opposite hand to opposite foot while walking.  When the left foot is leading, the right hand shines the flashlight beam on the left toes and when the right foot leads, the left hand shines the flashlight beam on the right toes.  Pick up the walking speed as the dexterity increases so eventually your child can walk at their normal pace and stride while focusing the light beam on the opposite leading foot!

 

Alphabet & Word Lights On!

Ages 4 and up.  Adapt to your child’s age ability level.

Directions:

  • While your child walks and flashes the light beam on their toes, have them recite the alphabet.  One letter to each step. Do this with either the one flashlight light beam or two flashlights.
  • Have your child recite the letters that spell a ‘sight word’ or ‘spelling list word’, again saying one letter to each step and light beam focus.

Use the letter banner for Reading Skills Development

  • Have your child focus the light beam on each letter as they say it out loud
  • Have your child focus the light beam on each letter and say the letter sound
  • You can randomly shine the light beam on a letter and have them say the letter or letter sound

Now, bump up the challenge:

  • Say a word and have your child shine the light beam on each letter of the word in sequence from beginning to the end of the word
  • Show your child a separate piece of paper with a sequence or pattern of letters written on it.  Allow one second for each letter in the sequence and then hide the paper so your child can’t see it.  Ask them to focus their light beam on the letters in the order of the sequence or pattern shown them on the paper.

Shine on and watch those reading skills light up!

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