Learn On The Go Letter Hunt

letter hunt

Since my son was tiny I have pointed out letters, signs, colors… now that he is too big and I am too pregnant to have him in the Ergo we still play this game. It’s a simple letter hunt. Today we went for coffee ( apple cider) and found lots of letters along the way. The small pad we used fits easily in my purse and  also serves as a doodle pad if he’s getting antsy while we are out.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a pencil , a marker, and a pad of paper. Alphabet Hunt
  2. Write the alphabet on your pad with your marker. You can do uppercase, lowercase or a mix! Alphabet Hunt
  3. Go run your errands. When you have a chance find some letters. This sign was a gold mine! Alphabet Hunt
  4. Don’t forget to check them off your list.  Alphabet Hunt
  5. A fun variation would be to take pictures of the letters, print them off and make a poster or book. Once my little guy is a little better with the camera we will be tackling this one.

Look and Find Books

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animalia by Greame Base

Align Center

Animalia by Graeme Base is iconic in teaching circles, you can loose yourself for hours in the detailed illustrations. The book is an alphabet book on steroids! Each page had a wonderful paragraph in each letter such as for the letter L ” Lazy Lions lounging in the local library.” The pages are filled to the gills with pictures of things that start with that letter as well. Parents and kids a like will fall in love!

In The Town All Year 'Round

In the Town All Year ‘Round by Rotraut Susanne Berner is amazing. This book’s premise is the comings and goings of a town in all four seasons. There is limited text, which serves only to steer readers to look for specific people in the highly detailed illustrations. Each season has multiple pages and the people remain constant throughout the seasons. So you see inside an apartment building , the town square, the park, railroad station etc… in every season.  You see the changes in town, the progression and of course the distinct weather in each section. The pictures also progress within the seasons, so a fire truck with a flashing light can be seen on every page in one season with the last page showing it getting to the fire . I can’t possibly explain the amazing detail and sheer number of things to find, make up stories about and spark your child’s imagination in this book.  My son adores it. After renewing it multiple times from our library I bought it as his Valentine’s gift.  It goes everywhere with us, perfect for long drives , waits in the Ob’s waiting room and plain old playtime  he picks it up every day and finds something new. What I really love is that because there is no text but still multiple story lines it’s helped my son to understand that literacy isn’t just about words, it about explaining what’s going on, and reading the pictures too. The absence of text has allowed me to really show him that . Now he has started grabbing books with text and telling me he’d read me the pictures, which boosts both his confidence and his enjoyment of independent reading. So please grab this book .

 

Clay quest Mini Search for shapes

Clay Quest Minis: Search for Shapes!by Helen Bogosian is a big hit with my son and me! I was lucky enough to have this book sent to me by the publisher because it’s already come in handy on a ferry, and waiting to be seated at a restaurant keeping my son happy and busy searching for shapes.  This book is an activity book that has a simple rhyme and request for the reader to find 2 shapes on every page.  The shapes are hidden in the adorable clay “illustrations” , really they are photographs of clay sculptures that range in theme from a spider web to dinosaurs to princess crowns and more. My son loves playing ” Detective” and what I like is that the challenge is just right for his age group 2-3 year olds. Younger toddlers will still enjoy it and it’s vibrant colors but to do it independently this is the perfect age.  I try to find negatives with books that are sent to me from publishers for review,  but I am having a hard time this really is a good shape book!

Gross Motor Game

He Shoots, He Scores!

I like doing less structured activities in my Friday posts, not just because Friday is usually a free play all day kind of day for us but because as I have said before and will keep saying the vast majority of the day should be free play. Listen to them play, ask questions , look for learning opportunities but let them lead! This came out of our family obsession with the Canada Vs. USA Olympic Hockey game.  We took our son to the Olympics and we watched China VS Slovakia in women’s hockey and he is in love! He made this game up, I just polished it ( I added the tape for nets ;) ).

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paper towel rolls, a ball, and some painter’s tape. You will also need an area that can be used as the ice. So anywhere with breakable things is not a good choice! We played outside on our porch, and in our foyer ( with breakables moved to the dining room first.)
  2. Make your nets on the floor with the tape. If your child has more than a very very basic understanding of the game you can make creases, blue lines and a red center line too!
  3. We kept our game incredibly simple. Get the puck into the goal. That was it. We played for what seemed like forever and I had to bribe him to go inside.
  4. I like to use games like this to promote sportsmanship and was delighted to see my son get as excited when I got a goal as when he did!

Have fun and now that weather is getting nicer – get outside even if you are still in your PJs !

Number Match Game

Preschool Number Match Game

Numbers are a big deal around here right now. What we liked about math game was that even though we made it a little complicated, you could easily simplify it for even younger kids ( simply write numbers out and have them find the ones you call out)or more challenging for older more advanced mathematicians. (Have them find 2 at a time and add together).  Our goal for numbers right now is to work on counting things to discover the amount and match that amount with the numbers he already recognizes. If your child’s goal is different adjust as needed!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some different colored paper, a marker , scissors ( we actually ripped the paper) and some floor space.Preschool Number Lesson
  2. Start by folding your paper in 4, so that 2 numbers will both be that color. This just makes it easier, I am using the colors as a clue to help my son but not give away the answer either.
  3. Write numbers in one square and make the corresponding amount of drawings in the other. Number Match Game
  4. Cut or rip apart. Number Match Game
  5. Place either the papers with the numbers or the ones with the numbers around in a circle face up.Number Match Game
  6. Fan out the others in your hand and invite your child to choose one by asking for the color.  Number Match Game
  7. Hand it to them, if it’s a number ask them to identify it and find it’s match. For the lower numbers my son grabbed the right one immediately, for larger ones he would grab the matching colors then we would count them together to discover which was the correct match. I had to help him touch each star on the larger numbers so that he wouldn’t count them twice, this just takes time and good modeling so don’t get frustrated or worried if your child does hit, just lead by example.Number Match Game Number Match Game
  8. We played the game 2 times once with the numbers in the circle , once with the stars in the circle – learning is hard work, so we had to pretend to be a clock after! Number Match Game

Books

museum 123

Museum 123 by The Metropolitan Museum Of Art is another simple but beautiful counting book.  What I love about this book is that the number is not on the same page as the onbjects/images the child is being asked to count. Instead a simple question of how many is followed by a painting with the objects, and the next page has a large number. My son loved counting then flipping the page exclaiming ” I knew it , I said that number I was right!” My only complaint is that it only went to 10!

Construction Countdown by K.C Olson is a counting book that uses backhoes, dump trucks and cement mixers among other things to count. Before I even closed the book my son was signing for more. I read it 4 times since getting it out of the library today. A huge hit here!

Edited for 2010 : I wrote that review nearly 2 years ago. The other day at the library my son grabbed the book and begged to read it again. At 3 he still loved the book and I still give it a huge thumbs up!

1 2 3

One, Two, Three by Tom Slaughter is super simple, bold, bright and a great counting book!  These aren’t complex books, pictures matter because they should encourage the reader to want to count and connect the number they have counted with the number printed on the page.  I would happily recommend this book to families with babies through preschoolers , my 3 year old loved it and partly because he read all the pictures and numbers himself!

Alphabet Beads – 2 Activities!

Support Your Team!

Olympic Bracelets

When I bought these beads I was trying to decide what to make with them , and inspiration struck today. We are going up to cheer for Canada and the USA at the Olympics and decided to make some jewelry for the occasion. Beading was not easy and my son only did a bit, I wasn’t expecting him to do any this is an activity for 5 and up although as you can see younger kids can help! For a great activity for younger ones scroll down!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some pipe cleaners ( in the country’s colors you are supporting), and some alphabet beads.Olympic Bracelet
  2. Start by searching for the letters. I didn’t ask my son to come help since my plan was for this to be an older child activity, but he came and helped!Olympic Bracelet
  3. Spell out your message.Olympic Bracelet
  4. Thread on!  I threaded all the of the beads on and separated the pipe cleaners to make it fancy ;) For the USA one I threaded the USA on a single pipe cleaner and the hearts on both.Olympic Bracelet
  5. Wrap the ends to make your bracelet.Olympic Bracelet

Uppercase Lowercase Match!

Alphabet Match Game

Games don’t have to be complicated to be fun. This alphabet game is super simple but easy make and fun to play.  The beads are uppercase letters so to make it more challenging for my son who knows his letters, I used lowercase letters in the tin. You could use uppercase letters for beginners or even spell simple sight words for more advanced learners.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need alphabet letter beads, a muffin tin, some paper, a marker , tape and scissors or a circular paper punch.Alphabet Match Game
  2. Write out the letters on the paper.Alphabet Game Match
  3. Punch them out.
  4. Tape into the tin.Alphabet Match Game
  5. Call your sorting superstar to the table! And have fun, it is a game after all!

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Musical Hearts Game

musical hearts gross motor game for kidsWe aren’t stuck in a snowstorm but we are stuck waiting for our furnace to be fixed and moving keeps us warm and having fun.  You can write anything on your hearts from numbers they need to identify, to physical tasks like we did to something trickier for older kids. Customize it to your child and have fun.

  1. Gather your materials. I am using foam hearts because they stand up well to being stepped and walked on, but paper would do in a pinch, just dont’ expect it to be used more than once.  You will also need a marker and some music you can pause easily.Preschool Movement Activity
  2. Write out different tasks for your child to do when they come to this heart – mine were mostly physical things: Jump on one foot, crab walk, 5 push ups, break dance etc.. I also included sing the ABCs and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  Preschool Movement Activity
  3. Lay the hearts out face down in a circle. Preschool Movement Game
  4. Start the music and play. It’s just like musical chairs only when the music stops you do the task on the heart that you were standing on when you stopped. We had a blast! He preferred Bon Jovi to kids music so we were rockin’ out!

I would let them walk ( to the music) longer than we did for the video, we were trying to get a good snapshot for the post. After I put the camera down we all played for another full round.  Fun family time !