Thanks to Counting Coconuts for inspiration I have created ‘I Spy jars’. We are using the jars as one of our reading and writing activities, and the kids love shaking the jar and hunting for letters or words.
I have made an alphabet jar and a sight-word jar. Each jar is filled with coloured rice. (Rice in a zip-lock bag with a few drops of food colouring, left to dry overnight.) You could use small plastic beads or sand if you don’t like the idea of using food.
For the alphabet jar I used my scrap-booking letters, using every letter of the alphabet. Before I put them in the jar, I took a photo to attach to the jar with ribbon.
The sight words are some of the words that we expect children to know by sight. Being able to read and write these sight words makes reading and writing much easier and faster. I made sure to laminate the words and used a smaller version to attach to the jar as a checklist, so the children know what words they are hunting for.
Before I presented the jars we talked about how to use them with respect (a very important word in our class). As the jars are glass, they are breakable, but in Room 1 we are learning to be careful and gentle when we are using equipment. I often spend time with the children talking and modelling exactly how to use equipment. Then I invite children to model to me how they would use (or in some cases not use) our special things. This is very valuable as they all know what is expected of them and often remind others who may forget.
I used clean glass jam jars, but you could use whatever takes your fancy. I have another jar in progress filled with small toys.
Hint – To remove sticky labels from jars fill them with boiling water and peel off the softened label. Then use nail polish remover to remove any residue.