Here's an idea for a literacy center I shared a few years ago that is easy and inexpensive to put together, and fun for kids, too! I decided to call it the "Mini Bubble Bottle Beginning Sounds Center," but you could really adapt this idea to be used for middle or ending sounds as well! All the children have to do is stretch the rubber band with the correct beginning sound picture on it around the neck of the (empty) mini bubble bottle with the matching letter sticker. I did it this past year with my TK class and they LOVED it!
First of all, let me explain that this is an adaptation of an idea that I posted on in August, 2013, but at the time, I was using little glass bottles that I found in an exhibit hall at a conference. Since that time, I have presented this idea several times to teachers at many conferences, and there were always concerns about the glass bottles. Others had issues with giving kids the toothpicks, too. (Even though I personally have never had any issues with either of these supplies, I do understand the problems that could occur.)
Since then, I've been on the lookout for a cheap alternative, because having the kids stretch those tiny rubber bands around the necks of the bottles was an EXCELLENT fine motor activity, and a totally novel one at that! And then... one day it happened: I spotted some mini bubble bottles at Target, and the rest is history! One set of these pretty little bottles was just $5, and that included 24 bottles!
I bought two sets of bubbles so that I could have 26 bottles to cover the entire alphabet, and I'm planning on using the extras for digraphs and possibly some math activities. (You can probably find some cheaper bubble bottles at the dollar store, but the ones I found there were not colorful and were almost the same price because there were only 12 in a set.)
Here is how to make your own Mini Bubble Bottle Beginning Sounds Center:
1. Get some mini bubble bottles. Dump out the bubble solution and dry the bottles with a paper towel.
2. You'll need to purchase some alphabet stickers, or be ready to tape some letters onto the bottles. I found my alphabet stickers at the Target Dollar Spot! Put those letters on the bubble bottles!
3. Get some tiny rubber bands. I used some that I found at the dollar store in the hair styling supplies section! One problem is that they were a little bit cheap, and so they break easily. If you can afford better ones and you think you'll use this center a lot, get them!
4. Print out some beginning sound flash cards. You'll need to print them out VERY SMALL (like about one inch square.) Any small flash cards will do, but I used the ones that go with my Alphabet Workbook Volume Two: Worksheets and Flash Cards for Learning the Letter Sounds and Writing the ABC's.
This workbook includes four workbook pages for every letter, plus six beginning sound flash cards for each letter in two sizes. I call the smaller size "Student Flash Cards" because I originally intended to send the small ones home for homework, using as little paper as possible! (See below.)
5. Laminate the cards and cut them out. Then punch a hole in the corner of each card, and loop a rubber band through them, and pull. And that's it! You're done!
To use, all you need to do is show the children how to match the letters on the bottles with the beginning sounds on the flash cards. Easy, right? I think you could put numbers on the bottles and have the kids match equations on little flash cards, too! The possibilities are only limited by your imagination... and the size of the bottles and flash cards, of course! :)
Hope this was helpful! If you have another great idea or way to adapt this, be sure to share! Enjoy your summer!
- Heidi :)
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