Alien words and slime!

Isabel has been wanting to make slime for a while, but I haven’t been organised enough to buy the borax needed for normal slime. I found a recipe that used shampoo instead and so we gave it a go! The recipe we used was:

  1. Put 1/2 cup shampoo and 1/4 cup of cornstarch in a bowl.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Add few drops of food colouring (optional)
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of water and stir. Gradually add 5 more tablespoons of water and stir after each one.
  5. knead the slime for around 5 minutes.

To be honest ours never got to the consistency where it could be kneaded but it made a great sticky, gooey, slimy texture to explore. It also smelt great as we used raspberry shampoo. Isabel had great fun watching how the ingredients changed when they were mixed together, she also loved exploring it with her hands and added her shopkins toys and some princesses as well. Once she had explored it thoroughly I asked her if she would like to play a game with the slime. I said we could pretend it was alien slime and I had some words for the aliens shopping list to hide in there. I had written down some words that were ‘alien’ and some that were ‘real’. I used a sharpie pen on some see through plastic I had in the recycling box (just be careful of sharp edges if you cut plastic down.) I hid the words then Isabel went through the slime to find them, if it was an alien word for the shopping list it went in one tub, and if it was a real word it went in another tub. The alien words were made up words which she would have to use her phonics skills to decipher such as ‘slizz’, ‘wob’, ‘frix’, ‘meep’. A quick google search for ‘phase 2 alien words’ or ‘phase 3 alien words’ will give you examples you can use. Isabel loved this game and we played it a few times. When she finally went to wash her hands she was amazed at the number of bubbles she made because of the shampoo and noticed that the mix had changed again when water was added.

This activity was great as she was able to explore some basic science about materials and how they can change through mixing or adding water. She also knew that we couldn’t put the ingredients back into their containers because they had changed and so experienced irreversible changes.

Why alien words though? The ‘alien’ words or ‘silly’ words give children the ability to practise their phonics skills. They are unknown words so cannot make an educated guess or read it on sight which means they have to decode it. This is great for all children especially Isabel as she is a sight reader and doesn’t often use phonics to decode a word until she comes to a completely new word. Giving her the ‘alien’ words to read means she gets to practise those decoding skills so she can apply them when she needs to.

Some more games using ‘alien’ words:

Foam letters in the bath: These are great, I got mine from Amazon. When buying foam letters make sure they are lower case though rather than upper case as it can lead to confusion especially when they are little. All of the children love playing with them in the bath. Megan lines the letters up along the top of the bath, and is now able to recognise the ‘m’ in her name as we write her name with them a lot.  Charlie uses them as teethers and gives them a good chew and Isabel likes to make up words with them. She often starts the game off by sticking the words on the bath and asking me if I know what it says. It is usually a simple three letter word like ‘dog’. So then I make a word and ask her if she knows what it says. I tend to start off with real words, and ones that practise the letter sounds she is learning like ‘boat’. We then take it in turns to make a word and then say can you read it and is it ‘real’ or ‘alien’/’silly’.

Treasure chest: This is an adaptation from the ‘Letters and Sounds’ teachers book. We have a princess box which we call the treasure chest, and another pot which is plain and boring and we call the bin. I write down a few words onto card or paper whatever is to hand, some are real words and some are silly words. Isabel is the princess who has to sort out all the real words from the silly words to make her magic spell from the real words. She has her crown and wand at the ready while playing this game! If your child isn’t into princesses then you can change it to a pirate treasure chest and sorting the words correctly will give you a map to find more treasure! The words are placed on the table, then just pick them up in turn and read them. If they are real they go in the treasure box and if they are silly then into the plain box. Again a google search for phase 2 alien words or phase 3 alien words will give you some good examples to use. Isabel loves this game and when her friend came round to play she asked to play it. They then adapted the game further to hide all the words around the house, then sort them into the correct boxes when they found them all.

As always I hope you find these games useful and have fun learning together!

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