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Montessori at home: 5 reading games to play with your child

Get young learners excited about reading with these early reading games. (Spoiler: They're so fun!)

Montessori reading games that make reading fun for early learners

If I had to choose one favorite part about teaching in a Montessori classroom, it would probably be seeing the spark in a child's eye when she first realizes she can read. Seeing a child's delight in decoding written language is like nothing else.

Early reading games can be a really fun way to build reading skills and share in the experience of learning to read with your child.

Here are five Montessori-inspired reading games to play at home:

Reading game 1: Sound scavenger hunt

Before your child can successfully read, he has to be able to isolate sounds. A scavenger hunt is a fun way to practice this skill, and you don't need any supplies—just you and your child!

Say to your child, “I wonder if you can find something in the house that starts with B." Say the phonetic sound of the letter, not the letter name. Repeat the sound a few times and then send him to search for something starting with that sound. Every child is different, but this is generally a good game for a 3 or 4 year old.

A fun and slightly easier variation is 'I Spy.' Gather 5-6 little objects on a rug or table. Each object should start with a different sound—for example, a toy pig, an apple and a ball. Then say “I spy something starting with 'P.'" Say the “P" sound, not the name of the letter, and let your child find the pig.

Reading game 2: Secret message game

This game is so simple, yet I have seen many Montessori children fall in love with it and play it daily!

Cut some blank slips of paper, get a pencil and tell your child you want to show her a game. Tell her you're going to write a secret message just for her. Write it on a slip of paper, give it to her, and ask her to read it silently. Then ask her to find the object with that name and place the label on it.

Start with easy words like box, cup, mug and doll before moving on to more challenging household objects like plant, drum and window. Here is a great list of phonetic words if you find yourself stuck.

Reading game 3: Commands

This is basically like charades. It's a fun rainy day game because it combines reading with movement. This can be played with you and your child, two children taking turns, or simply your child by himself.

Write different action words on small pieces of paper or cardstock. Make sure to start with phonetic actions like run, sit, hop, hug, jog, sob, jump, skip, stand, stomp and clap. Ask your child to choose a paper and perform the action while you guess what it is. Take turns!

As he masters the phonetic words, you can add more complicated words or even phrases like 'get a glass' or 'dance a jig.' If he likes, your child can also think of actions and add his own command cards to the box.

Reading game 4: Color labels

Apart from 'red,' most color names are not phonetic and can be tricky for children to learn, so playing a game is a great way for them to practice.

For this game, cut little slips of paper and write a color on each—use black ink for each label, as color coding them would make this too easy. Begin with just three labels and start with the easiest colors to sound-out—red, black and a third, perhaps your child's favorite color.

Practice sounding out each color name with your child. When she's familiar with the three labels, she's ready to begin to play.

Fold the labels in half and put them in a little basket or box. Ask your child to choose a label and find something in the room of that color. For example, if she chooses a label that reads 'red,' she places it on something red. When she's proficient with those colors, it's time to add another!

Reading game 5: Bingo

Bingo is one of the easiest board games for children to learn, so why not use it to practice reading?

You could make your own board, or use one of the many versions available online. You can say the word for your child to find, hold up a picture, or hold up the word for different variations.

If you try these games at home, the most important thing is to keep it fun!

If your child is getting frustrated, the game is likely too challenging for his current level. Start with easy sounds and words and do not correct your child if he gets it wrong. Just make a note to yourself that he might need more practice with a certain sound or word.

Reading games are a great way for children to get extra practice with their new skills, but their biggest purpose is to spark curiosity and wonder, and get young children excited about reading.

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A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

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This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.

$70

Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.

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Kombucha making kit

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What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.

$45

Laetitia lipstick

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This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!

$23

Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.

$30

Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.

$39

'I Am Enough' bracelet

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Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."

$35

Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.

$24

Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.

$22

Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!

$25

Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.

$32

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.

$105

Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.

$17

Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.

$68

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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