Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Take Home Literacy Kits for School/Family Connections



Take Home Literacy Kits are a great way to enrich the curriculum. These activity bags give students an opportunity to practice and show off some of the important skills they are learning at school. These are great tools to provide parent/child communication, build reading and writing skills, and provide home opportunities for fun and learning. It also gives me one more input for assessment. These are generally sent home on Fridays and due back on Mondays.

Each kit generally consists of a book or two, a couple of activities, manipulatives (often, but not always) and a journal for assessment. Originally, we purchased 8 kits from a school supply company. The kits are generally sold from $65-$100 a piece. This year, our Pre-K regulations stated that we needed one for each child. With all the other expenses of starting the school year, this simply wasn't in the budget, but I had to come up with 12 kits somehow. I decided I could make them fairly inexpensively, using existing classroom materials, books I had on hand, and some toys and a few bags from the dollar store. I ended up spending about $5 per kit. I hope to change out the books as I go along, putting better titles by popular authors in as I acquired them. As this was sort of something I had to put together pretty quickly, the activities are not quite what I want, but they'll do for now!




A Day At The Beach Take Home Kit
Contents:
Books:
Six Fine Fish Shell Shopping A Starfish Wish
*Journal with directions
*Bag with sand, shells and beads
*Sea Animals
* Magnifying glass

Activity 1: Read Shell Shopping and A Starfish Wish. Ask your child to tell you something that is found at the beach.
Activity 2: Help your child to explore the shells and sea creatures in the activity kit.
Activity 3: Read Six Fine Fish.
Activity 4: Have your child draw a picture of something they have done/seen or would like to do/see at the beach. Have your child dictate a sentence to you about their drawing and record it in the journal next to his/her drawing.

Extra Activity for Added Fun!

Make an edible aquarium in a cup. This is a great party treat you can make with your child. You will need:

blue Jello
gummy fish (or fruit-flavored sharks)
clear plastic cups.

Make blue Jello according to the directions on the box. Pour into clear plastic cups. Let them cool in the refrigerator until partially set - about an hour. When they're partially set, place a few gummy fish in each cup. Put them in the refrigerator until they're completely set.

Eat and enjoy!



Backyard Explorer Take Home Kit
Contents:
books:
Creepy Crawler A-Z Bugs! Bugs!
*Journal with directions
*Exploration tools
*Plastic bugs

Activity 1: Read Creepy Crawlers A-Z and Bugs!Bugs!. Ask your child to tell you about the insects that can be found in his/her backyard.
Activity 2: Help your child to explore outdoors with the exploration tools in the activity kit.
Activity 3: Have your child use the plastic bugs to interact with, count, sort and pattern.
Activity 4: Have your child draw a picture of something a bug that they have seen. Have your child dictate a sentence to you about their drawing and record it in the journal next to his/her drawing.



On The Farm
Take Home Kit

Contents:
Books:
Giggle, Giggle Quack Farm Flu Little Rabbit’s First Farm Book
*Journal with directions
*Farm Animals

Activity 1: Read Giggle, Giggle Quack, Quack, Farm Flu and Little Rabbit’s First Farm Book. Ask your child to tell you something that is found on the farm.
Activity 2: Help your child to explore the farm animals in the activity kit.
Activity 3: Sing Old MacDonald. Have your child suggest animals and sounds for the verses.
Activity 4: Have your child draw a picture of something that is found on a farm. Have your child dictate a sentence to you about their drawing and record it in the journal next to his/her drawing.




Dinosaurs Take Home Kit
Contents:
Books:
Now I Know More About Dinosaurs
Curious George's Dinosaur Discovery
*Dinosaur flash cards
*Dinosaur figures

Activity 1: Read Now I Know More About Dinosaurs and Curious George's Dinosaur Discovery. Ask your child to tell you some interesting facts about dinosaurs.
Activity 2:
Help your child to explore the dinosaurs in the activity kit. Have your child use the plastic dinosaurs to interact with, count, sort and pattern
Activity 3: Help your child look through the dinosaur cards. Ask them what they’ve learned about dinosaurs.
Activity 4: Have your child draw a picture of their favorite dinosaur. Ask them why they chose that dinosaur. Have your child dictate a sentence to you about their drawing and record it in the journal next to his/her drawing.



Colors and Shapes Take Home Kit
Contents:
Books:
Round Is a Mooncake Colors With Crocodile
Shapes with Apes

• Journal with directions
• Color/Shape flashcards
• Pattern cards
• Pattern blocks

Activity 1: Read Round Is A Mooncake, Colors With Crocodile and Shapes With Apes. After reading, point to shapes in the book and have students identify them. Do the same with colors.
Activity 2: Use pages of the book to play “I Spy”. For example, “I Spy a green circle. Can you find it?”
Activity 3: Help your child use the pattern cards to complete the patterns with the provided shapes. Have them explore combining smaller shapes to make larger.
Activity 4: Ask your child what they enjoyed most about this activity. Have them trace some of the shapes to make a picture. Have your child dictate a sentence to you about their drawing and record it in the journal next to his/her drawing.






The Way I Feel Take Home Kit
Contents:
Book:
When Sophie Gets Angry
• Journal with directions

Activity 1: Read When Sophie Gets Angry. Talk to your child about when they feel happy, sad, angry and scared. What makes them feel that way? What helps them feel better?
Activity 2: Sing “If You’re Happy An You Know It”. Add other emotions for different verses and make faces to mimic the emotion.
Activity 3: Have them draw a picture of themselves at a time when they were very happy. Have your child dictate a sentence to you about their drawing and record it in the journal next to his/her drawing.
Activity 4: In our school family, we work hard to spread sunshine every day. A wave, a smile, holding a door open or even holding a hand, are all simple ways to make the world a brighter place. One of the best ways to make ourselves feel good inside is to do something nice for others. Ask your child to pick one nice thing they can do to brighten someone else’s day and do it.



Numbers and Counting Take Home Kit
Contents:
Books:
My First Counting Book Counting With Kitty
*Journal with directions
*Numbers and Counting Wipe off Activity Book
*Pegboard
*Pegs

Activity 1: Read My First Counting Book and Counting With Kitty . After reading, have your child count items in the book.
Activity 2: Have your child work some of the practice pages in the book. Your child may use the pegs and peg board to help work out some of the math problems in the last few pages.
Activity 3: Allow your child to explore with the pegs and peg board and to use to count, sort and pattern.
Activity 4: Ask your child what they enjoyed most about this activity. Have your child dictate a sentence to you about their drawing and record it in the journal next to his/her drawing.



Corduroy Take Home Kit
Contents:
Book:
Corduroy
• Journal with directions
• Ted the Bear
• Large buttons and shoelace

Activity 1: Read Corduroy. While reading, your child may snuggle with “Ted the Bear” included.
Activity 2: Have your child practice lacing with the buttons to “sew” Corduroy’s button.
Activity 3: Allow your child to use the big buttons to count, sort and pattern.
Activity 4: Ask your child what they enjoyed most about this activity. Have your child dictate a sentence to you about their drawing and record it in the journal next to his/her drawing.






In The Jungle Take Home Kit
Contents:
Books:
Who’s In The Jungle Saggy, Baggy Elephant
• Journal with directions
• Jungle Animals

Activity 1: Read Who's In the Jungle and The Saggy, Baggy Elephant. Ask your child to tell you about some of the animals that are found in the jungle.
Activity 2: Help your child to explore the jungle animals in the activity kit. Encourage them to sort and count them. Talk about how they move and the sounds they make.
Activity 3: Sing The Animals In The Jungle. Have your child suggest animals and sounds for the verses.
The Animals In The Jungle
(Sung To: "The Wheels on the Bus")
The parrots in the jungle say squawk, squawk, squawk,
Squawk, squawk, squawk, squawk, squawk, squawk,
The parrots in the jungle say squawk, squawk, squawk, all day long.

The monkeys in the jungle say ooh, ooh, ooh, all day long.
The monkeys in the jungle say ooh, ooh, ooh,
ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh,
The monkeys in the jungle say ooh, ooh, ooh, all day long.

The tigers in the jungle say grrr, grrr, grr,
grrr, grrr, grr, grrr, grrr, grr,
The tigers in the jungle say grrr, grrr, grr, all day long.

Activity 4:
Have your child draw a picture of something that is found in the jungle. Have your child dictate a sentence to you about their drawing and record it in the journal next to his/her drawing.



Counting Frogs Take Home Kit
Contents:
Book:
Five Green and Speckled Frogs
• Journal with directions
• Frog counters


Activity 1: Read Five Green and Speckled Frogs. Ask your child to tell you something about frogs, for example how they move, where they live, what sound they make, etc.
Activity 2: Help your child to explore the frogs in the activity kit.
Activity 3: Have your child draw a picture of a frog. Have your child dictate a sentence to you about their drawing and record it in the journal next to his/her drawing.




Mystery Backpack Take Home Kit
Contents:
Journal with directions
Empty backpack

This is a favorite! Kids get to pick one item from home and with parents' help design 4 clues that will help the class guess what the student has chosen. Clues are written in the journal, the item stays in the backpack. After taking turns guessing, the student may show the item to the rest of the class.


Mr. Scruffy Take Home Kit
Contents:
Mr. Scruffy stuffed dog
Journal

This is like a class mascot that travels home with the child. The student and his/her parents record Mr. Scruffy's activities and often pictures of his adventures!

(Sadly, no pictures at this time. Mr. Scruffy was having so much fun with one of our families, that he hasn't come back to school yet!)

Yay! He's finally back! I guess he's been having a lot of fun!



Sample letter on the front of the journal:

Dear Parents:
Our Take Home Kits are designed to give you and your child time together to enhance learning in new ways. Please take this opportunity to help your child with the following activities to enhance learning, independence and exploration.

Activity 1: Read Five Green and Speckled Frogs. Ask your child to tell you something about frogs, for example how they move, where they live, what sound they make, etc.
Activity 2: Help your child to explore the frogs in the activity kit.
Activity 3: Have your child draw a picture of a frog. Have your child dictate a sentence to you about their drawing and record it in the journal next to his/her drawing.

Please place all contents back into the backpack and return the Take Home Kit to school on Mondays so other children may share this experience. If there are any lost/ missing items please notify the teachers, so we can replace them.
Have fun and thank you for your involvement!


I hope to work on a few kits at a time to really improve them. I would like to get quality books, but right now, I had to use books I could spare in case they became missing from the kits. I am searching for sales on Scholastic so I can put titles I know the friends really enjoy!

Copyright (c)2009 littleilluminations.com

7 comments:

  1. Wow!!! Thank you! I knew you were going to do this post but I had no idea it would be so thorough! I've been wanting to make these for some time and you've given me so many great ideas to get started. In the past I've sent home Jesse Bear (our class mascot) and his backpack full of goodies along with a journal. The kids always love it. Thanks again - I'll let you know how they turn out :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ayn, this is an amazing post! You have really inspired me. I've tried having games/activities/books for families to borrow, but it never worked. I think sending something like this would really help out. Thank you for being so thorough with your directions. :)
    p.s. I get alot of books for school at thrift stores. I know which titles I'm looking for so it makes going thru all those books easier. :)

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  3. Amazing Ayn - You have put a lot of thought and work into these kits and this post! I would love to make little kits like this for children to take home - how awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  4. These are awesome. I have thought of doing something like this and because of your thorough post I am going to work on it. How fun and such great learning tools for the kids at home. Great post!!

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  5. Hi Ayn! I visited your blog through weteach! I LOVE all of your details for the take home kits! I wil definitely be borrowing some of these ideas.

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  6. Wow! Thank you for posting all of that on your blog - it looks like an incredible amount of work went into each kit. I hope the families all appreciate them!

    Do you send home a kit with every single child every Friday?!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Welcome new friends!
    Domestic CEO, I sure do! We do take holiday and breaks off, but I'll send a kit anytime with anyone that requests one. One family likes to have them especially on breaks, so I'll send several home with that friend during off times!

    ReplyDelete

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