In the last couple of years, I’ve learned how to teach children how to read, which makes me feel like a genius. Even though I majored in Secondary English in college, I graduated without knowing how to teach kids how to read, and I always felt a little embarrassed by that. But when I started teaching first grade English to Thai students, I had to learn, and fast! And that’s when I discovered all of these WONDERFUL, FANTASTIC, LIFE-SAVING teacher-created resources, and I’m not talking about worksheets. I’m talking about HANDS-ON activities that can be used over and over again, year after year.

But do you know what’s even better than that? Making them yourself! This means no paper, no ink, no laminating sheets — just you, a ruler, some markers, a pair of scissors and some cereal boxes.

I’ve recently started making my own cereal-box resources at school. The only problem I have is that I’m not a great artist (why didn’t I learn how to draw at school when I was a kid?), so I’ve asked my students to draw the pictures for me. I can’t draw, they love to draw — it’s a win-win.

I’ve been thinking about all of the different kinds of activities out there and wanted to put together a big list, both as a resource for myself and as a resource for other teachers/parents who are interested in making activities on their own. I’ve provided examples of the different kinds of activities, most of which I have bought and used with my students. Now, unless I magically learn how to draw, I will not make cereal-box versions of the activities that include pictures. I will continue to use the activities I’ve purchased, but I want to make an effort to make more of them on my own in an attempt to reuse cereal boxes, cardboard, etc.

Most of these activities can be done individually, while a few can be done with a partner or in a small group. I haven’t included a literacy and a math example for each type of activity as my purpose is just to show how you can use one activity to work on lots of different concepts.

I’ll start with the literacy activities, then the math activity and then the activities that can be done with literacy and math. Most of the links will take you to Teachers Pay Teachers, where I like to buy my resources, so that they’re all in one place.


1 Word Frame Cards

CVC Word Frame Cards: You Clever Monkey ($2) 

Vowel Teams and Diphthongs Printables: Haley O’Connor ($12)

2 Read and Reveal

Read and Reveal CVC Words: Miss Kindergarten Love ($5)

3 Roll and Read  

Roll and Read CVCe: Sweet for Kindergarten (FREE)

Roll and Read Digraph and Consonant Blends: Sweet for Kindergarten ($3.50)


4 Task Cards

Addition Task Cards: Miss Kindergarten Love ($5)

2nd Grade Math and Literacy Sample Pack: The Measured Mom (FREE)


5 Matching

Here’s my homemade CVCe matching game.

6 Sorts

Word Family Houses Short Vowels: Kerry Antilla ($3)

When I taught word families, I wanted my students to be able to sort the words as well as the pictures, so I made my own sort.

Number Sorting Mats 1-10: You Clever Monkey ($4)

7 Clip Cards

Digraph Clip Cards – CH, SH, TH: You Clever Monkey ($3)

Back to School Counting Clip Cards: Simply Kinder (FREE)

8 Mazes

These products are worksheets, but I would laminate them or make my own versions so that they can be used again and again.

Alphabet Maze Worksheets: My Teaching Pal ($2.50)

A-Maze-ing Sentences Bundle: Miss Giraffe ($15)

A-maze-ing Fluency Addition to 20 Worksheets: Miss Giraffe ($4)

9 Cover Up

CVC Reading Word Mats: My Teaching Pal ($2.50)

Place Value Cover Up: Playdough to Plato ($5)

10 Puzzles

Rhyming Word 3-Part Puzzle Cards: You Clever Monkey ($3)

Fraction Puzzles: The Stem Laboratory (FREE)

11 Four-in-a-row

Phonics 4 in a Row: Playdough to Plato (FREE)

12 Dominoes

I made 5 sets of sight word dominoes in PowerPoint and then copied the first set onto cereal-boxes for some no-print dominoes.

Fry’s Sight Word Dominoes *Sight Words 1-20 ($2)

13 I Have, Who Has?

I Have, Who Has Long Vowels: Sweet for Kindergarten ($2)

14 Bingo

Fraction Games and Activities: Lightbulb Moments Learning ($3)

That’s quite a list, but I’m sure there are some activities I’m missing, so let me know in the comments. Or let me know which activity is your favorite.

Thanks for reading!

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