Learning Blankets: Creating Fun Educational Moments
Learning is supposed to be fun, right? As teachers and parents, we are always seeking new ways to engage our children and students on their educational journey. Co-owner Joanna Serra, a former state level award educator, worked with her team to create Learning Blankets, a new brand under the umbrella of Birdy Boutique.
Research shows that hands-on activities greatly enhance retention and learning. Sometimes, learning activities can seem too rote. We wanted to create the perfect combination of education, fun, ease and comfort. When you can combine something that kids love and use (blankets!) and fun facts, then it takes learning to a more natural place where it doesn’t necessarily even feel like they are studying!
Being able to lay down on the floor or sit on the couch with your child in a relaxed environment will likely provide a less stressful learning scenario. This is especially true with the preschool and kindergarten aged children who have a shorter attention span and like to move more! This blanket will also serve as a reminder for you to take a few minutes every day to work with your child! Short repetitive lessons are retained the best; your kids will want more! Casually presenting information to kids while at home, at the park, in the car, or wherever you take your blanket will foster many fun learning moments in the near future! Plus, not only is it a soft blanket or couch throw, but can also serve as a playmat, rug, sitting area, learning zone, wall hanging tapestry, or whatever your imagination gathers.
Perfect for learning at home, homeschooling instruction, preschool, or a classroom, our learning blankets are the funnest learning activity addition to your playbook. The perfect educational gift that keeps giving all year long, it is sure to be a pleaser!
Our Learning Blankets:
- Reversible, double-sided = 2 designs
- Two layers for legible sharp printing
- Educational, making learning fun
- 50″ x 60″ for full coverage
- Easy to pack and take places
- Works as blanket, play mat, rug, tapestry, wall hanging
- Unique designs and prints
- Use at home, park, beach, school, etc.
- Veteran & women owned business
- Created and designed by an award winning educator
- Easy to incorporate into learning
- Gender neutral for boys and girls
- Make excellent educational gifts
What can you expect from our blankets? As with all of our products, they are unique and designed by us, so you won’t find these anywhere else. They are created with high quality fabric, are reversible and double-sided meaning that you get two designs and learning opportunities in each and every single blanket!
Current Styles Available:
SIGHT WORD BLANKET – Side 1 includes both the lower and upper case alphabet, digit numbers, and beginner words combined from the Fry and Dolch lists. It includes 4 rows of 15 large words written in lower case letters, totaling 60 words. Side 2 includes vowels and blends on the border and 5 rows of 19 more advanced sight words, totaling 95 more words. In total, our sight word blanket has over 150 words that your child will be expected to know and use between preschool and 1st grade!
Kids love exploring letters and learning words. The younger toddler around 2 and 3 years of age will practice letter recognition, sorting and matching, rhyming words, etc. As they get into the 4 and 5 year old range, they will start forming words with the alphabet set such as their name, sight words from school, their age, and fun words such as smart, silly, funny, etc. All of this is happening while they are building their fine motor skills.
Our sight word blanket is full of free imagination lessons that will assist with phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, word formation, vocabulary, word families, rhyming, recognition, word decoding, small fine motor skills, construct sounds and words, early emerging reader practice, phrases, phonemes, syllables, blends, digraphs, short and long vowels. Get ready to learn to read through interactive movement and play!
Here are some great ways to utilize your sight word blanket to its full potential! All of these can be done in the comfort of your home, on the floor, at an airport, in a school, in the car, anywhere! Younger toddlers and students in day care, preschool, kindergarten and beyond can practice their reading and accompanying writing skills with this fun engaging activity idea. This includes letter recognition, word formation, phonemic awareness, word decoding, vocabulary building, and so on. Remember, reading is a continuous adventure and you want it to be fun, not stressful. Be sure to find and recognize words everywhere from the cereal breakfast box to the street signs outside as you’re driving. We suggest you start with the beginner words on side 1, working row by row and then graduate to side 2.
- Practice the lower case letters on side 1 of the blanket
- Compare and match the lower case alphabet to the upper case partners of the alphabet on side 1
- Explain that there are words everywhere, and that letters make words. Letters make sounds together and that this special blanket will help them learn how to read any book in the world!
- Go over the numbers and have the child identify the digits, you can also start beginning math by playing little games such as getting out some marbles. You take out 2 marbles, add 3 more from another pile, and have the child point at the digit to represent how many marbles total there are now. This can also be used for simple subtraction.
- Point to the first word, ask the child how many letters there are, and have them point to the digit that represents how many letters there are in the words in the first row
- Start with the first row, first word. Explain that sight words are words that they will see often, again and again, in the world and in their reading. The first words, I and a, will help them feel successful. As soon as they grasp these two first words, use a book to help them find these words and identify them. Feeling successful will be a huge step for them to want to move forward and to feel the excitement!
- The word the is next, this is when you want to explain that even though you can sound most words out, many sight words are special words that don’t “follow the rules”. Therefore, these are words that they have to memorize and identify because they will see them most often.
- Print awareness understanding; all parts of a book such as the direction in which we read, the relationship between letters and words, different punctuation types during story time
- Go on a scavenger hunt to look for certain letters, words, or punctuation types; inside or outside
- Focus on one word until you feel they have it down. They should be able to read the word when you point to it, point to the word and choose it when you say it aloud, and use it in a sentence. Eventually the goal is for them to be able to write it, too. Move onto the next word when they are ready.
- Segmenting Phonemes, Breaking a word into individual sounds You can take any word and turn it into a segmenting game. Give your child a word and have them say all of the sounds in the word. For example – you say dog and your child says the sounds /d/ /o /g/
- Notice the top four words make a sentence, wow, now they are really reading!
- Have them “trace” each word as you work on it with their finger, saying the letter aloud
- Have them use the word aloud in a sentence
- Take out some books and have them identify the same words in a sentence
- Have them point to a word on the blanket that starts with a specific letter, it’s a fun game how quick can they point to it. Even more exciting, have two children race to see who can point to a specific word first.
- Have them close their eyes and jump, which word did they land on?
- Compare and contrast. How many words can we find that start with a “d”? How many words have an “o” inside of them?
- Lay down on the couch or spread the blanket out on the carpet, lay together and casually work on one word at a time. Have your child repeat it a few times and then you repeat it.
- How many words have two letters? Three letters, four letters?
- Which words can we find that rhyme?
- Let’s use four of the words to create our own fun sentence.
- Be sure to celebrate each success they achieve however small, it will encourage and motivate!!! Ideas include a dance party, reading a book together, buying a new book to have, baking together, taking a walk, visiting the library, writing their word in a special place, etc.!
- As they learn the words, every few days lay the blanket out and let them “cross out” words they can read. You can do this by using pieces of yarn over the word or placing a marble next to them to show how many they’ve mastered!
- When you feel they can read all of the words with ease on side 1, it’s time to move on to side 2!
- Notice the vowels on side 2, go over them and describe what vowels are. Have the child read the vowel letters and then identify a vowel in each word.
- Can you find the hidden question marks flying around the words in space? Look through a book and identify the comma, period, question mark and exclamation point. Discuss why they are used and share examples of when they should be used.
- Segmenting Syllables breaking up a word into syllables say clap, or jump each syllable in a word (backpack would be back pack)
- Note the consonant digraphs around the perimeter of side 2. Go through these, a few at a time, and practice the sounds, memorizing them. These include bl, br, cl, cr, dr, fl, fr, gl, gr, pl, pr, sc, sl, sm, sn, sp, st, sw, tw, spl, tr, spr, sh, ch, th, wh, ph. Start with one digraph and locate a word with that digraph, then brainstorm more words with that same sound blend. Choose another digraph and see where you can find it in their favorite book.
- Move! Some active sight word games to play while using the learning blanket are: which letter do they land on with a jump, throw a marble and read where it lands, toss a quarter and find a rhyming word to the word it lands on, close your eyes and spin, fall down and find a word that starts with the same letter as the one you landed on.
- Remember reading comprehension, the ability to understand what the story was about. As you finish reading a story, discuss it with your child. Talk about the characters, the setting, the problem and solution and the events. Comprehension is very important as that is the purpose of teaching how to read.
- Just as with side 1, you can build onto reading the words by choosing a sight word and finding one that rhymes, finding one that starts with the same letter, has a similar or same starting or ending sound, has the same number of letters, choose four words to make a sentence, etc.
There are SO many sight word activities that would pair perfectly with the use of our educational blanket, where the activity would be done alongside the word you are currently working on.
In our family, we tried a variety of books and found that the Bob Books partnered very well with identifying the starter words along with starting to read “real” books. https://bobbooks.com/funactivity/
Sight Word Activities https://www.themeasuredmom.com/25-low-prep-sight-word-activities/
Fun Easy Sight Word Fun https://www.pinterest.com/prekpages/sight-word-activities/
Beginning Reader Sight Word Play https://childhood101.com/sight-words-activity-ideas/
Games and Activities for Sight Word Practice https://www.curiousworld.com/blog/sight-word-games
Free Sight Word Games for Home https://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2016/04/8-ways-to-make-sight-words-fun.html
New Creative Sight Word Methods https://proudtobeprimary.com/teaching-sight-words/
Phonics Activities for Early Readers https://handsonaswegrow.com/phonics-activities/
Teach to Read at Home https://kidsactivitiesblog.com/56606/200-learning-read-activities/
DINOSAUR WORLD MAP BLANKET – Side 1 includes a variety of dinosaurs for your little paleontologist. Illustrations and scientific names included such as Tyrannosaurus, Raptor, Allosaurus, and more, totaling in 24 dino names and identifying pictures. Side 2 includes a colorful vibrant world map with the names of all five oceans and seven continents. You will also notice the many animal species open for discussion as your child learns their basic map skills.
BIRD BUTTERFLY BLANKET – Side 1 features the most common backyard bird species in the United States such as the American Robin, Northern Cardinal, Great-Horned Owl and many others, totaling in 17 birds you’ll likely see outside if you start to observe your surroundings. Children will love learning about the basic birds that live around them. Side 2 boldly displays 20 common butterflies including their pictures and scientific names, making it easy to study them. This blanket is sure to be treasured by any nature lover and birder.
WEIGHTED BLANKETS (coming mid December 2019) – Our release of weighted blankets includes two initial designs. Both designs weigh 5 lbs, promote better sleep, learning and calmness, and are double layered and triple stitched with a design on one side and soft minky dot fabric on the reverse. The first design is of the solar system with words with planet names identifying the planets and other significant educational space words. The second design is a watercolor fox art in soft gentle colors. There are a variety of benefits to weighted blankets for children of all ages, informational blog piece coming soon.
Teachers, students, homeschoolers, and everyone between can find amazing uses from our teachable blankets. Kids will give technology a break while we get back to basics. These new fun cozy learning blankets are the gift that keeps giving year after year for any boy or girl! Imagine giving your kids or teachers and students something that keeps them engaged time and time again. A present that is so meaningful, it inspires and motivates not only them, but others too.
Our blankets are a unique way to approach various educational topics, and because they are comfy and cozy, kids love to use them and don’t even realize they are educational (think hiding broccoli in muffin analogy!). Create your own additional [phonics games and activities all while teaching necessary concepts through comfortable play. These priceless quick educational moments will be sure to make a long-term home for your learning blanket.
We spent many hours developing this product for our own kids and for yours. We tested them in our own homes and around our own neighborhoods to make sure they are sturdy, fun, and educational! Well they passed the test with flying colors! Kids and parents love them alike. Take a look at our enclosed pictures to get some fun ideas of what can be done with these.
We sincerely hope you enjoy these just like we do. Please share your imaginative play and educational ideas with us because we are sure we didn’t think of them all. Or, better yet, share pictures of your kiddos using them wherever they are! Our wish is that these items allow, enable and motivate kids to learn to read as that is one of the best gifts we can give a child. So, enjoy! And watch the creativity blossom!
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