We discovered a new, favorite reading activity this week, and it is these Build a Sentence cup puzzles. My little kindergartner giggled repeatedly during the activity and kept asking for more.
This Build a Sentence Activity has two great learning applications: first, sentence structure and second, reading. Both are important for children to master, and this combines them in to one fun puzzle game.
We decided on this activity, because my kindergarten age son was looking for a fun way to practice his reading over the summer. Beginning readers are not always the most exciting, and he tends to get a little bored. This was a great way to switch it up and read while actually building his own sentences.
Build a Sentence Activity
Here are some things we loved about this activity:
One of the tricks the kids quickly figure out is that the word that begins with a capital letter goes first and the word that ends with a period goes last. This is basic punctuation practice for early readers and writers. They also get to try different word orders to see what sounds right, even though they don’t know all the parts of speech and how they relate to each other yet.
The children have to re-read the sentence each time they re-organize the cups. That means they could read the sentence at 4-5 times before they get it in the correct order. If I included one new sight word, my kindergartner had learned it by the time he finished that puzzle.
Hands on Problem Solving
This is a very hands on reading activity. You are literally building what you read, and the kids love it. They also love the puzzle aspect of it. Problem solving is great fun. My little guy was so proud of himself each time he finally got the cups in the right order.
My kindergartner was giggling nearly every time he got a sentence wrong, because it sounded funny. I was thrilled that he could recognize that the words didn’t sound right together, but he just thought it was hilarious. It made it fun even through the repetition as he tried different combinations.
Build a Sentence Activity Instructions
Creating this activity is super simple. Start with a handful of paper cups. We used multi-colored, because we love bright happy colors. Plain white would work too or even plastic cups.
Write the words to a sentence on cups, one word per cup. Mix the cups out of order and stack them.
Have the children take a stack and line up the cups in order to build a sentence. They will probably have to try multiple times, but that’s where all of the great reading practice comes in.
Once they’ve solved that sentence, they can mix and re-stack the cups. Then move on to the next stack.
This Build a Sentence activity is great for working one-on-one or in small groups. For a literacy center, have different sentence stacks placed around a table. Once the children solve theirs, they can rotate on to the next stack.
It only takes a couple of minutes to put together, so give it a try. We hope you love it as much as we do.
If you love this idea, share it by pinning. You can also check out these other fun reading activities that we think you will enjoy.