Sunday, July 15, 2012
Fun ABC Activity for Your Preschooler
My daughter, who will be four next week, has never been a huge fan of learning her letters. She would much rather carry her dolls around, ride her bike, or go outside and look for ants and caterpillars. I haven't worried about this too much because I know she's smart enough, and I know that when she's outside watching a bug crawl across the deck, she's learning, but in her own way.
In fact, the panel of experts over at Scholastic.com, say, "Try not to place so much emphasis on the alphabet that it takes the away from doing other things, such as simply talking to him so that he hears many different words and reading to him so that he hears and sees the beauty of written language."
I was a bit relieved to read this article because when I've been to parties, I've seen two year olds running around naming letters off people's shirts. Munchkin Girl has never done that. Or anything like it. The experts also say, "When you do focus on the alphabet, make sure that your son is learning letters in meaningful ways and not just engaged in isolated memory tasks."
We have really taken this advice to heart. We don't work on letters every day or even every week, but over the last 6 months I have been slowly but surely introducing activities that are fun and are centered around learning letters. We've used home-made puff paint to write letters. We've worked on letters with real paint, and even used Christmas sprinkles to learn letters. And I have seen my daughter's interest really increase.
So last week after Little Buddy went to bed, she asked me, "Mommy, can we do some letters?". I jumped at the opportunity.
The first time we did this, I cut up small pieces of colored construction paper, and I wrote names in glue, and then she used left-over sprinkles from Christmas to make the words come to life.
Only this time, I decided to mix it up a bit. This time, we did just one letter at a time instead of entire words.
I was pretty surprised to see that she really is starting to get a good grasp of the letters. When we started this entire process, she was about 3 and a half and she literally only knew the letter A. I think she's up to knowing about 10-15 letters now and is really beginning to be interested. Once we got a bunch of letters done, we started organizing them into words. I sounded them out for her and her job was to find the letter we needed.
For example, I put the "a" and the "t" next to each other and I told her that if we added an "h" to the front, that would spell hhhh-aaaa-tttt. She scrambled to find the "h" and giggled with delight when I showed her how it worked. Then we changed the "h" out for an "f" to spell "fat" and then we changed the "f" out for a "b" to spell "bat".
We moved around the table, spelling words and then moving the letters around to make new words. This kept us busy for at least an hour and we really had a good time.
But now we haven't done letters in about a week and I don't feel one bit badly about it! She got some pet snails in the meantime and for now that is far more interesting to her!
If you liked this post, you will LOVE my new book (which is currently ranked#2 in the category of Motherhood!). My co-author and former Kindergarten teacher, Susan Case, gives dozens of ideas on how to introduce letters in meaningful ways and we have an entire chapter on preparing your child for Kindergarten. We worked together to give a Mom's point of view and a teacher's point of view, so that we could give you activities that not only keep the kids busy, but also keep them motivated to learn and develop their natural curiosity.