# Showdown!!

Posted by

Several years ago, I spent several VERY hot summer days in Las Vegas, Nevada attending a conference for kindergarten teachers. I walked away with a thick binder filled with wonderful ideas for teaching young children reading, writing and math. When the school year started a little while later, I jumped in and tried my favorite ideas out on my new class of five-year-olds. Hands down, one of their favorite activities was a surprisingly simple activity called “Showdown!!” It’s a fun way to help kids learn letters OR sight words.

### If Your Child Is Learning Letters

To play, you’ll need a stack of blank index cards, markers and a pile of letters like those pictured below. Invite your child to join you and then ask him to choose five or six letters from the pile. Spread them out in front of him.

Next, write each of the letters he selected on a separate index card. In this example, you would have six cards – one for each of the letters {n, s, f, b, h, y}.

Mix up the cards and choose one. Look at it but be careful not to show it to your child. Name the letter on the card and ask your child to pick up the letter that matches. As he is making his choice, close your eyes to build suspense. Ask him to hold his selection close to his chest to keep it hidden until the big reveal.

When enough time has passed (usually it takes about 5 seconds) say, “1-2-3 SHOWDOWN!!” Have your child lay his letter down as you slap your card down next to it. If the cards match, great! Your child will pick up the letter and return it to the original pile. Pick a new card and play again.

If the letters don’t match, give your child the index card and encourage him to find the matching letter in his pile. When he succeeds, offer a congratulations and then pick a new card for the next round.

### If Your Child Is Learning Sight Words

To play, you’ll need a stack of blank index cards and markers. Pick 5 or 6 sight words and write each one on a separate index card like the picture below.  You can find a list of recommended words categorized by grade level by clicking here.

Then, using a different colored marker, write the same 5 or 6 words on separate index cards.  In this example, you could use blue to make five more cards – one for each of the words {to, and, my, the, can}.

Give your child one set of cards and ask him to spread them out in front of him. (It will look like the picture above.) Now mix up your cards and choose one. Look at it but be careful not to show it to your child. Read the word on the card and ask your child to pick up the word in his collection that matches. As he is making his choice, close your eyes to build suspense. Ask him to hold his selection close to his chest to keep it hidden until the big reveal.

When enough time has passed (usually it takes about 5 seconds) say, “1-2-3 SHOWDOWN!!” Have your child lay his word down as you slap your word next to it. If the cards match, great! Your child will pick up the word and return it to his original pile. Pick a new card and play again.

If the letters don’t match, give your child the index card and encourage him to find the matching word in his pile. When he succeeds, offer a congratulations and then pick a new card for the next round.

## Follow our blog by email!

* indicates required

1. Thank you so much for this post! I made some sight word cards for my daughter the other day and she loved it. She begged to play showdown each day since.

2. Yay!!! I love hearing that news, Debbie! Thanks for checking back in to let me know that your daughter loved playing Showdown.

3. I think you could use this for math as well. Number recognition, even math facts! Thanks for the great idea!

4. Absolutely, Mrs. S!! Showdown would be a great activity to use with math.

5. I can’t wait to try this with my 5 yr old son. He’s learning sight words now and is just not interested in sitting and learning to read, but I bet he’d love this! And I can laminate them for durability. Thanks for a wonderful and simple idea!!

6. Yay! I’m excited to hear that you’ll be playing Showdown with your son. I have a feeling that it will quickly become one of his favorite activities.

Thanks for saying “hello”, Jeanne!

7. I don’t pretend to understand why this game is such a hit in our household, but it is. I use it with my 5 yr old and my 4 year old for letter recognition, math, and sight words. They love it! Thanks so much

8. Yay! I’m thrilled to hear that Showdown is a hit at your house. Thanks so much for taking the time to share an update.

9. We do something similar, but the child hops onto the index card with the word. This developed because I had a child who was never interested to do anything that involved sitting and being still but was very interested in jumping and hopping. It worked really nicely. I’d forgotten about that until I saw this.
I really like this idea too and I’m going to give it a go.

10. I LOVE your hopping game suggestion, Sally! Thank you so much for taking the time to share it. I’m excited to try it out with one of the super active kids I tutor.

11. After I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on whenever a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with the exact same comment.
Perhaps there is an easy method you are able to remove me from that service?
Thanks!

12. Very good blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring writers?
I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything.

Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option?
There are so many options out there that I’m completely overwhelmed .. Any tips? Cheers!

13. I don’t know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everybody else encountering problems with your website.

It appears as though some of the written text on your content are
running off the screen. Can someone else please comment and
let me know if this is happening to them too? This
could be a problem with my browser because I’ve had this happen previously. Kudos