I love helping my child with their homework… said no parent EVER! Homework battles are real. Especially when the homework that kids are expected to do are dull worksheets and long spelling lists. After an exhausting day at school, it’s no wonder most children dig their heels in and complain about completing their homework. So, after some snacks, outside play and a whined down period, we have been doing homework differently. Well, I guess it technically isn’t homework, its a spelling words tactile tray that just reinforcing what is being learnt at school in a play-based fun and effortless way, that doesn’t drive parents bonkers.
Dimples is a visual-spatial learner. An active hands-on boy who loves sensory, visually appealing tactile activities and doesn’t absorb anything from a write and repeat worksheet. He can focus well when it suits his learning style and his interests. I assume a lot of primary school kids are the same. I have been helping Dimples learn his spelling words in a tactile visual and playful way.
No Homework spelling words tactile tray
Welcome to play-based-parenting’s NO – homework series, where spelling words and homework lists become a kinaesthetic sensory activity that children won’t complain about. It makes compulsory homework, an easy after school activity. Plus, parents will be pleased to know that these will only take five minutes to set up (rather than fifteen of nagging).
The first of the No homework series is this magic themed spelling words tactile tray. Dimples is obsessed with tricks and jokes, he is hilarious! This literacy activity was calming, flexible and not pressured on him at all. After doing his spelling words this way, he announced “I want to do my words this way every time now”, and consequently lead to the development of doing homework our way. Just to clarify, I’m against strict homework policies and believe children need their afternoons for free play, life experiences, sports, family time, and the outdoors. On the other hand, some schools still have compulsory homework and it is beneficial for children to learn their spelling words, hence I advocate novel learning activities at home that are flexible, playful and that reinforce the home to school link (no worksheets).
Magic spelling words tactile tray
· Simply place a sheet of black paper into a tray (a plastic container or baking tray).
· Pour a fine layer of salt.
· Sprinkle some stars or glitter.
· Prepare the spelling words on post-it notes, or small cards.
· Let your child write them with a magic wand.
· Reward effort & ask them to ‘picture’ the word (this helps visual learners).
· Lightly tap/shake the salt tray to start again.
Once you’ve gone through some words in the spelling words tactile tray, take the spelling list away, say the word to them and see if they can write them correctly. If they are struggling, remind them how they seen it in their head “remember how you wrote it… what did it look like?”. Depending on your child’s age and developmental level, you should only do a few words at a time, we do three or four. That way it is more relaxed and not so structured or pressured. Once complete, let them “play” and write or draw in the salt tray on their own.
No Homework your way
Each family is different, we do our own version of homework before dinner. Straight after school Dimples is zonked and needs a snack, free time, personal space and the outdoors. For us, there would be no chance of doing a task that requires focus and stillness, straight after school. So, I usually set it up before dinner preparations, after he is mentally re-charged, then he can be doing his ‘word work’ at the table (no TV/no distractions), while I’m close by starting dinner. That works for us and it means no television time until after his word work and dinner.
Sometime little Miss T, who has just turned 4, will ask to join in with this spelling words tactile tray. I do the same activity for her, tailored to her skill level. She will have her name and a few letters or numbers to copy into the salt tray. They both enjoy it and it isn’t a battle at all… Generally, it takes about 15-20 minutes and as long as I am close by semi-supervising, encouraging and offering praise, it’s an easy alternative to homework spelling lists.
These spelling trays are great for all stages of learning and especially beneficial for children who don’t learn traditionally, such as visual learners and kinaesthetic learners. This activity is perfect for providing a hands-on playful approach to learning spelling words, sight words, the alphabet, numbers or name writing. So, it can be adapted for pre-schoolers right through to primary school children.
Thanks for reading about this No Homework Magic spelling words tactile tray. Follow Play-based-parenting and the No Homework Series, where I will continue to share novel ideas that parents can use effectively in their home, providing a play-based no battle homework activity for their children.
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