Multisensory Activities with Simple Supplies: MacGyver Style

Posted by Brainspring on 18th Jun 2015

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Teachers in Phonics First trainings this past week have been commenting to me about how much they like the MacGyver Challenge.   No one has been brave enough to leave the first comment online though, so I’ll kick us off with my 10 ideas.

10 Ideas for the MacGyver Challenge

Remember the materials were a pencil, floss, a paperclip, a rubber band and change.  I also added in paper as a freebie for myself since teachers and tutors will almost always have that handy.

  1. MC spinnerUse the pencil and paperclip to make a spinner. Draw a circle on paper and divide it into sections.  Fill each section with a phonics skill, blends for example, and then have students use the spinner to fill in the blanks of word beginnings or endings.  They can read the words and decide if they are real words or pseudo words.MC sort
  2. Coins can be a fun manipulative for a Vowel Intensive. Either have students slide a coin underneath the vowel sound they heard or have them make piles if you have more coins.
    1. BONUS: Use the same idea for distinguishing between short and long vowel sounds!
  3. For students working on phonological awareness, coins can be used as a manipulative for segmenting the sounds in a word.
  4. MC circlesInstead of columns, use the floss to make circles for students to practice certain dictation skills in. For example, one circle for plural s, another circle for –ss and a third for regular s.
  5. Students having difficulty blending sounds together to read words on the blending board can practice stretching the individual sounds together while they stretch the rubber band.
  6. Tack Red Words to the wall and let students fling the rubber band at the words you call out. They will love this and it reviews those pesky non-phonetic words!
  7. MC fishing polePut word cards out on the table and make a lasso out of floss. Then ask the students to find and lasso words that follow a certain pattern.
    1. ALTERNATIVE: Do the same thing but with a fishing pole made from the pencil, floss and paperclip.
  8. MC fleThe rubber band (or floss tied in a circle) can be used to remind students that consonant-le and consonant-y endings are syllables on their own. If students are having trouble properly reading the first syllable as open or closed on the blending board, hold the rubber band around the ending syllable to make it clearer.
  9. Challenge students to a game of “Pay to Play.” First students earn coins by reading from a word list or spelling dictation words.  Then they use the coins as payment when they want to change a letter in a word ladder game.
  10. MC VIInstead of doing a word sort, ask students to read words from a list and slide a coin across the table to the column labels.  The goal is to slide the coin as close to the label as possible.  Students get 1 point for each time they are able to make the coin touch the label, -1 points for going off the table and 0 points for everything else.


Now it’s your turn to add ideas in the comments below!


From Dite

This week Dite demonstrates using “See to Spell Sight Words” on her blog.


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