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  • Writer's pictureAshley

4 Fun Ways to Use Dry-Erase Markers

Updated: Dec 17, 2021

"But I don't want to practice writing my sight/spelling words!"

Has this sentence ever been uttered in your house? I can almost guarantee you that the answer is a resounding yes! Asking kids to practice important skills during the summer months (and during the school year) can be challenging and frustrating. The request is often met with whining, arguing, bargaining, or disappearing acts. Yet, we still know the importance of keeping those skills fresh in a child's mind so that they aren't forgotten.

This is why I advocate making at-home learning fun and interesting. Make a game out of your skills, use everyday objects in new and creative ways, use nature as your classroom. Each of these suggestions holds hundreds and hundreds of possible ideas, but today let's cover just 5.

Do you have some dry-erase markers sitting around your house? Or could you make a quick trip to the dollar store to pick up a pack? Once you have your markers, let's dive into 4 ways to use those markers in a fun way!

1. Write on plastic cups

This is a great way to make a game out of the skills to be practiced. Have your child(ren) write what you want to practice on the cups. You could practice sight words, spelling words, math facts, vocabulary definitions, states and capitals, fractions to decimals, letter names and sounds, etc. Another idea would be to write answers on the cups and kids have to come up with the problem. Example: Write the sum of 10 and your child has to tell you a math equation that equals 10.

Once you have your cups ready you can play with them a few different ways. One option is to play what I call Cups. Hide a small object under a cup, mix them all up, and your child will guess which cup by reading or answering the skill. An alternative would be to match. This would be great for word family practice, states and capitals, fractions to decimals, syllables into words, and so many more! A third option would be to play a bowling or throwing game. Children will roll or throw a small item and if they knock over a cup they must read or answer the skill.

2. Write on windows and mirrors

This is a fun option because it feels like you are doing something you shouldn't be. #makeitfun Have your child grab a marker and eraser and do their math practice on the window. Then write sight words on the door. Or even create a silly story that gets left there for visitors to read. If you are practicing reading letters, their sounds, or words, you can leave the word there as a secret password and your child must read it before entering or exiting each time. Pro tip: Use black dry erase markers. Sometimes colors are harder to wipe off.

3. Write on tin foil

This one is fun because it adds texture and sound. Tear off a sheet of tin foil and use it as a whiteboard. Better yet, cut it into smaller pieces, write your skills and then ball them up and put them in a basket or sensory bin. Then your child will need to practice fine motor skills to carefully open each tin foil ball, read or rewrite the skills, and then erase them. These sheets can be used over and over. Next time, you could turn it into a relay race with multiple children. Have them race to move the pieces of foil to their own basket. After the relay race, they have to read the word or skill in order to keep that point. Whoever has the most, wins!

4. Use personal-sized whiteboards

This is by far the most normal way to use dry erase markers, but some kids really just enjoy having their own whiteboard to write on. You can pick one up at a local dollar store. You could also get some cardstock in fun colors and either laminate them or put them in sturdy plastic sleeves. I have seen some of the sleeves are the dollar store, as well. The colors and the ability to claim it as their own, sometimes help children enjoy doing the word more because they are using their own, chosen, tools.

Extra tip:

Whiteboard erasers don't last very long and often don't work that well. I buy a sheet of felt, cut it up into small sizes and just throw them in the wash when they need it. I've also seen teachers and parents buy a pack of black children's socks and use those. They store the markers inside the socks. Once again you wash them when they need it. This is a great tip to keep from wasting a bunch of money on erasers that fall apart soon after purchase.

As you can see, there are a ton of different ways to use dry erase markers in new and exciting ways. These ways may just keep your kids a little more interested in practicing skills. Remember to keep practice short and fun. End it before your child is tired or frustrated. This will make them more likely to want to do it again on a different day.

How else do you use dry erase markers? I'd love some new ideas!

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