Cookie Sheet Challenge Volume 1: Review and Giveaway!

I’m so excited for the another week of the Cookie Sheet Challenge! If you missed my first two reviews you can see Volume 2 here and Volume 3 here! These lovely manipulatives are made by Julie at Make, Take, Teach. They are incredibly easy (and cheap!) to put together and will provide endless amounts of educational fun. 
Volume 1 is great for students learning their alphabet, rhyming, and word building. Grace recognizes her letters and can recite them so now we are working on learning more about their order. Beth is working on basic spelling. She is an excellent reader so spelling is the natural next step. Visually seeing the words correct is one of the ways we’re beginning spelling. This Cookie Sheet Challenge is perfect for them both!

One thing I love about the Cookie Sheet Challenge sets is just how simple they are to put together. Print (I like photo paper to get a sturdy, laminated feel), get out your magnetic letters, put it on a cookie sheet and you are ready! This particular set needs a small sized magnetic letter set, so you’ll want to double check that you have those! I happened to have a second set from my sis-in-law since her boys have outgrown the magnetic letter stage. I’m so glad these were small! It took about 10 minutes to print the sheets and everything was ready for my girls!

Grace wanted Beth to help her so on the first sheet, which has all the letters of the alphabet, they worked to see how fast they could match up the letters. The second page for the alphabet has letters missing. This was fabulous for Grace. I haven’t ever tried an activity like this so I wasn’t sure how she would do. First we put all the letters which were listed on the page. Before I even had a chance to explain what to do next she was starting to fill in the missing letters! She didn’t get them all correct, but we’ll keep working at it!
The word building pages are a perfect fit for my Beth. She is doing very well with our spelling curriculum, but I’ve been looking for something to help her think about word building with a more hands-on feel. I particularly liked that Beth practiced matching lower case letters with upper case. You can find lower case magnetic letters, but this is one area she is a little weak in, so this was my preference. 
Also included in the packet are rhyming activities. This is a little beyond where Beth is at and I’m not quite there with Grace, but when I get there these will be great! There are several different rhyming pages along with small pictures to place in the right category. 
Julie, the creator of Make, Take, Teach, has a wonderful store at Teachers Pay Teachers. I’m certain you’ll find something there to catch your eye!
Are you ready to enter the giveaway? Don’t forget to spread the word to your homeschooling and classroom teacher friends! These activities are excellent for either type of learning.
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I received Cookie Sheet Challenge 1 in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. No other compensation was received

Let’s Go Bananas!!!! (Review and giveaway)

We are a game family. Both my husband and I grew up playing games in our families so we have continued the tradition with the girls. We also have a monthly game night at church and have so much fun just spending time with our church family. This is where I discovered Bananagrams. I had seen the oh-so-cute banana-shaped game in stores, but hadn’t had a chance to play it until one lovely game night when a friend brought it.

I have always enjoyed the typical tile-letter board game. While my husband was willing to play with me, he honestly didn’t have much fun. He considers himself a poor speller and since my major was in English I think he sort of felt like he never had a chance to begin with! I tried to convince him otherwise, but to no avail.

…and then came Bananagrams

Wow! It’s fast paced, and isn’t about spelling long words, just spelling quickly. I loved the game and I was so happy when he had fun too! Basically you make your own crossword-style grid out of letter tiles. Everyone plays at the same time and you are working to be the last one to finish first. Fun! I thought after playing just one round how much fun my girls would have playing this game…when they were older.

…and then came new games!

The makers of Bananagrams created two new games with a younger audience in mind….Pairs in Pears and Appleletters!



I have been giddy ever since I found out I was going to get the opportunity to review these two wonderful games! I had no idea how to play either game, but I knew they would be fun. They come in adorable packaging that instantly drew my girls’ attention. Each came with instructions for multiple game variations and I couldn’t wait to try them all!

In this game each player is given a set number of tiles. There are four complete sets of the alphabet with four different designs. The first to make a set number of pairs of words crossed in the middle wins. The number of tiles and number of pairs changes depending on the number of players. For instance, in a two-player game each player is given 52 tiles and must make 4 pairs of words to win.

In addition to the directions for the original game there is a small booklet with a variety of variations and activities. The activity ideas are separated by levels including pre-readers, early-readers, and solid readers.

I loved Pairs-in-Pears for my youngest daughter who is three. She is learning her alphabet and really enjoyed sorting the tiles into letter sets. Another activity she enjoyed was sorting the four patterns. She sat in the floor for 45 minutes playing with these tiles! For a three-year-old, 45 minutes of focused, structured learning-play is almost unheard of. She frequently asks to play her fruit game which is a great way for her to stay focused and still be learning while I’m teaching her older sisters.


This game is a fun way reinforce spelling for students of all ages. In Appleletters each player starts with nine tiles. Players then take turns building words in the center of the table. The catch is that each word must begin or end with either the first or last letter of what is already on the table. In the end you have a word worm of sorts.

My older daughters really enjoyed this game. They played well together. I had to help Beth the most who is five. She is learning to spell through All About Spelling, but was struggling to see words with the letter tiles she had in front of her. She eventually caught on and was quickly making words on her own. Her sister, Rose, was a little quirky about this game. She would think of a word before she really looked at her letters. It took her a little while to figure out that she should look at her letters before she decided what word to use.

The girls really did have fun and worked together to get the entire pile done! We’ve played this several times now and each time they have more fun. I love that their spelling skills are being reinforced in such a fun way. There are a variety of other ways to play this game as well, but they are intended to make the game harder, so for now we’re sticking to the original version.

Remember the church game night I mentioned? I took Appleletters to game night and we had a great time playing with just the adults! I wasn’t sure how it would go over since it was created for a younger audience, but the four of us who played really had fun with our word building.

Here is our final word worm from the night!
Are you ready for a giveaway now? I know you are!!!! Check out what the wonderful people at Bananagrams is giving to one lucky winner!!!!!
Did you notice the third game? Zip-It is a face-paced two-player game. The 24 letter cubes are divided between two players. Using any letters on the cubes each player creates a cross-word style grid. The first to do so wins. Wow! Each round typically lasts lest than a minute. My husband and I even played one round in 20 seconds! The first player to win 10 rounds wins the game. I am very good at this game. My husband is determined to beat me, no matter what!
So now I’m sure you’re asking how to enter? There are several ways to enter through Rafflecopter below. I wish you all could win, but for everyone else don’t forget to pick this game up while you’re doing your Christmas shopping. The entire line of Bananagrams games are great stocking stuffer ideas! 
When you have time, take a look at the story of Bananagrams. It’s a family run company and their story is really inspirational! 
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*I received Appleletters, Pairs in Pears, and Zip-It in exchange for an unbiased review. No other compensation was received.