What can you do with a basket of sight words?

Written by Kara Fleck

It all began with a list of sight words and an art class basket. A few months ago I was perusing our second grade curriculum and came across a list of sight words for second graders.

Most of them I knew that my daughter recognized, but there were some that were not a consistent part of her lexicon yet. So I thought it would be a good idea to use the list for some sight word practice.

But how to make it interesting and fun?

After watching her playing with leaves, I got an idea: why not print her sight words on leaves and give her a basket full of them to play with?

A quick Pinterest search led me to a printable leaf template, which I printed on red, orange, and yellow cardstock. Then we were off!

I wrote out the words by hand myself. When we do it again in a few months with a different seasonal template, I will have Lucy write them out for even more practice.

I put the words in a basket that one of my children had made during Art Club. A couple of times a week that basket of sight word leaves is on our table during homeschool.


Fun with Sight Words: Simple Ideas for Learning and Play

As I mentioned, it all began with a sight word list and a printable leaf template, but you could certainly use any other shape and cardstock colors to make your own. The main idea is to present the words in a fun way.

So, how have we used these sight words?

We’ve used them in many ways, some led by me but most my daughter has come up with on her own.

Simple Flashcards

We don’t typically use flashcards in our homeschool, and when we have it is mainly for math. However, the fun shapes and colors mean these sight words aren’t your average flashcard, and my second grader thinks they are fun to practice with. 

Dump and Scatter

My original vision for this was to fill a basket with the leaves and then dump and scatter them on our kitchen table and let Lucy gather them up a few handfuls at a time to practice with. Get it? “Falling leaves.”


Silly Sentences

The dumping and scattering of the sight words soon turned into silly sentence building.

This is so fun that it wasn’t long before my fourth grader asked if he could play and I ended up making him his own set of words – using a fourth grade list and this time a pumpkin template that I printed on orange cardstock.

Silly Stories

The silly sentence building led to creating silly stories. Max and Lucy make a game of it by combining their word shapes and then they work together, creating stories as one silly sentence scenario leads to another.

Sometimes they work on the sentences together, sometimes they try to out-do each other with their own individual sentences, each one getting funnier and funnier.

Around the House

One day, Lucy decided to take some of her sight words and go around the house placing them next to the object they represented.

Art Inspirations

Another day Lucy played with her sight words by dumping them on the table and randomly grabbing on. She then drew a picture incorporating the words, allowing for a re-draw if a word didn’t lend itself well to drawing (although some words, such as between, above, below just need a little bit of creativity to draw).


I give writing assignments with the sight words, too.

  • Grab a random handful and write a short story that includes the words
  • Write a letter that uses ten of the words
  • Choose a handful of words and then write them in alphabetical order

Those are just some of the ways we’ve been having fun with sight words this fall. I’m getting ready to print another round of words, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Perhaps a stack of green evergreen tree words will bring some holiday stories to life!

What fun ways have you found to incorporate sight word learning into your homeschool?

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About Kara

Kara is mother of four, a caregiver, and a striped sock knitter. Uncomplicated and unconventional, you can find her sharing simple living tips at K. Elizabeth Fleck.


  1. I love the silly sentences idea! I’ve got to try this with my kids. Anything silly will keep their attention. 🙂
    Shelly’s latest post: An Inside Look at Our Relaxed Homeschool- The Teens

  2. I did a variation of this with words that my daughter wanted to know how to read (words that were important to her) but I put them up on the wall. We decorated the cards since she does better if she can get hands-on with it and add lots of colour. Other children would find that distracting. I am now doing the same thing with spelling words…words that are important to her and she wants to know how to spell. This is a great idea though, now I am going to make shaped ones with her favourite animal and use them for reading and spelling as well. Thanks for the great idea!

  3. We used to play musical sight words; we set them up in a circle and I played music. They’d have to call out the sight word they were on when the music stopped. We also used to play hop on the sight word. I’d line them up around the house and my youngest would jump from word to word calling them out as he landed on them.
    Mother of 3’s latest post: My Gratitude List

  4. awesome ideas

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