Shooting Range

Joe has been carrying around his little nerf gun shooting wooden animals, stuffed animals, cars and pretty much all of his toys. When he’s not using it, he “holsters” it in the band of his pants.

He is very serious about it.

It’s pretty cute.

Since we are working on sight words, I decided to set up a sight word shooting range. Note: Jake is very tempted to knock the whole thing over.


So far, it’s been working out. I had to modify the activity a little bit to make it so Joe could shoot one at a time without the whole pyramid falling over. Joe added the zebra in place of the word “said”.


Not only is he learning his sight words, he’s also learning to aim with accuracy and improving his hand-eye coordination. Plus, he’s not sitting in a desk or at a computer learning…he’s being physically and mentally active.

I’m using something he is interested in to teach.

Could this be done in school? Maybe, but doubtful.

We live in a country where chewing a poptart into the shape of a gun, bringing toy guns to school…even playing army on the playground results in suspension.

A world where anything a student does that is in any way related to guns results in some degree of punishment.

Does that matter? Aren’t there a zillion other ways he could learn sight words that don’t involve “violence” against red solo cups?

Yes. There absolutely are other ways.

But, how cool is it that I can use this interest to teach sight words and develop his hand-eye coordination? How cool is it that he’s being physically active and not sitting at a desk or a behind computer clicking buttons?

What if, instead of suspending the 5-year-old who brought a toy gun to school, the teacher used this interest to help him learn his eight basic colors?

What if, instead of suspending the 5-year-old for using his hand as a gun while playing army on the playground, the teacher used this “incident” to further develop the boy’s social skills and physical education?

And what if, instead of suspending the 7-year-old boy for chewing the poptart into the shape of gun, the teacher used his interest to continue developing his vocabulary words?

In the article, the school said the boy had a history of disruptive behavior and was suspended for the behavior rather than creating a poptart gun, but what if, rather than removing this boy from school as “punishment”, they channeled this energy into learning?

So no, I don’t think Joe would be able to learn sight words in this way in school. In fact, it’s not outside the realm of possibility for him to be suspended for even talking about shooting red solo cups at home.

It’s fortunate that he can learn this way at home.




4 responses to “Shooting Range

  1. I do love the way I can be creative with learning at home with my kiddo too. She likes sparkle rocks (leftovers from my sister’s wedding) so we use them to do math. Also, with as many chemicals and GMOs etc. the POP-tart itself is probably more deadly than guns. 😉

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