Back To School Picnic Party

I’m not a teacher, but I do enjoy tutoring children that struggle with reading or literary comprehension. I love to read and I cannot imagine a world where reading is not enjoyable because there may be an educational impediment. What is challenging is coming up with ways to make learning how to read fun and then of course, keeping the entertainment level raised. Because it’s “back to school season,” it’s a good idea to start (if you haven’t been doing so during the summer) playing reading games and activities. I challenge you to host a back to school picnic for your kids. Make sure to play the games, contests, and have small prizes at the end, of course!

This year, the favorite game was “Word Island.” All you really need is a good size list of sight words, colorful chalk, an open cement space, and some eager pre-kindergarteners or first graders. Set out large pieces of colorful chalk on paper dessert plates in random areas and instruct the kids to draw the island. Maybe you can get them started by drawing the mainland and then have them decorate it with palm trees and such. The water will be the surrounding area. The area around the island will need crocodiles and your choice of 10-15 sight words will need to be printed in boxes. These words will be stepping stones to the mainland. Your job is to call out different sequences of words (slowly, of course) and the child or children need to hop onto that word box. The object of the game is for the children to be able to read or recognize the sight words they need to memorize. If they hop onto the wrong word, read the work out loud together, point to it and go back to the start. The first eager reader to get to the island safely without being bitten by crocodiles wins!


Depending on how entertained the kids are, this game can be quite time consuming. You can plan other games, such as hop scotch with numbers or bowling with sight words (use 1 liter soda bottles labeled with sight words they must read in order to get the points). The possibilities are endless.

For lunch, keep it simple. Make sandwiches and serve with apple slices and gummy worms.

The age of your children will obviously determine the type or level of games that are played, but the point is to make learning fun. All children are bright, and given the right tools, they can go quite far! Enjoy your last few days of summer!

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