As all early childhood teachers know, children go through tons of paper. To cut my paper costs down I decided to make my own dry-erase file folder games for each of my students to use. It helped cut down on the overload of worksheets I had caught myself using and made learning more exciting for the kids.
How to Make it:
Make a few copies each of your favorite activity sheets that you would use to teach your lesson. You will want two activity sheets that are related for each file folder you make. I used a glue stick to glue the two sheets on the inside of the folder. To make it permanent and dry-erasable, cover the inside of the file folder with clear contact paper. (You can find clear contact paper at almost any major retailer such as Wal-Mart, K-mart, Target, or most craft stores. You can also find bulk bundles of multicolored dry-erase markers at these same stores.) Trim the edges of the contact paper to fit the edges of the file folder. For the cover, write or print out the title, directions, and even a decorative picture for each folder. Viola! You have just made yourself a reusable dry-erase file folder game.
File Folder Ideas:
Letters, Colors, Numbers, and Shapes
My preschool and kindergarten aged children use loads of worksheets to help them learn their ABC’s, colors, numbers and shapes. Make up several sets (enough for every child to use) with different worksheets, but all dealing with the same topic. For example, I put the letter “r” worksheet on one side and on the other a coloring worksheet for “red” “r” word pictures. The kids traced the “r” and colored the pictures on the next page. You can mix and match all different combinations of activity sheets when it comes to the basics. I use these file folder games during small group time and as a learning center.
Words to Reading
Many educational workbooks are available with age appropriate word and reading activities. I bought several of these workbooks and took them apart and made individual file folders with them. On one side was a short story. For younger children the stories are more like a page form a picture book. On the other side they practice writing the word of a pictured object that came from the story. For older children, they read the story and drew a picture to relate to that story. I usually use these as an assessment technique to see if they comprehend the story and if we need to work on any areas.
Oddly enough, I have found that most children prefer the math file folder games to regular worksheets. I think it has something to do with the fact that they get to use a marker to do the math with. I have age appropriate math equations on one side and have “workspace” on the other. I like to use math file folders when teaching early addition, subtraction, and the Talley concept. The Dry-erase concept makes it easier to show on paper how to take away and add using several different colors. My visual learners benefit the most from these activities.
Older Children Too
File folder activities are not just for early childhood. I have made homework helpers for my fourth and fifth grade children as well. Having a copy of the multiplication table, weekly spelling words practice, ect has helped them study at home. They also enjoy making their own file folders for games. My son made a tic-tac-toe board with his file folder.
Dry-erase file folders are super easy to make and help cut down on the overall cost of making multiple copies. They are excellent accompaniments to lesson plans and offer an alternative teaching strategy in early childhood classrooms.