Monday morning used to be our Letter of the Week day but as you may have noticed it’s been missing lately. There is a great reason for that, my son is done , like DONE with these projects. He’s known all his letters for ages and as I preach I also practice following my child’s interests to support his learning. Now we are working on putting letters together, sounding out words as we read and rhyming. Playing with letters and words in addition to reading is a great way to make learning an experience. Lessons that are fun are more likely to be remembered , connections are stronger and learning is less frustrating. Sometimes the easiest way to make those fun connections is to use a character, game, book or in our case a WordWorld ebook as your inspiration. It’s also why most of our crafts are linked to books.
If you aren’t familiar with WordWorld it’s a TV show on PBS that really IS educational. It promotes literacy in a very real way, and for kids like my son who are just starting to make the leap from simple letter recognition to decoding (which is most easily explained as the process of “sounding out” the word using the letter sounds) it’s super fun to watch because so many of the animations on the show are shaped using their word, so be prepared to hear ” I just read sheep all by myself!”
Did I mention how important confidence is for reading? It’s big.
Ok so here is what we did. Inspired by this ebook we decided to make family word puppets which also uses my son’s absolute love of pretend play. Instead of using the process of decoding explained above we used encoding ( breaking down the sounds in a word verbally and putting them into print ) to make familiar words we use every day , perfect for his level of mastery.
- Gather your materials. You will need some family photos, construction paper or card stock, crayons, scissors, tape , sticky back foam letters and popsicle sticks ( tongue depressors would be even better).
- Start by deciding which family members you want to create, make sure the words won’t be too frustrating for your child. Cut those out.
- Now decorate the paper however you want with the crayons. We are using crayons and tape with this project so that we are free to play as soon as they are done, if waiting isn’t an issue paint and glue works great too.
- Add the letters and photo.I made sure we had all the letters we needed in the pile . Having the letters easy to find ( but not done for him) as soon as he connected the sound to a letter was important to keep his confidence up, fun going and frustration at bay. If your child is struggling, help by all means this isn’t a test.
- Tape on the sticks and pictures.
- Make your whole family!
- Time for a puppet show.
I had a blast watching my son’s puppet show, his impressions of our family interactions was eye opening but ultimately heartwarming.Disclosure: This post is sponsored by WordWorld, I also received a DVD free of charge. The craft concept, educational information, opinions and kids are my own. You can try WordWorld’s free eBooks and games, and find more information about their iPhone and iPad apps on their website.
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Kim Young says
Oh, I love this. Great idea.
JDaniel4's Mom says
This could be used for all kinds of puppets! Awesome idea!
Oh gosh…I’ve wanted to make family puppets for, like, ever! I’m SO lazy. Can’t I just email you my pictures and let you go to town for me? 😉
Send em over 😉
Love the idea. I am sure my daughter will have a blast with family puppets.
We love these type of puppets!! I have taken full photos of each of the children in my child care and used them both as puppets as well as on the magnetic board. I never thought to add their names to the puppets.
Thanks for sharing!!!
Thanks – great idea. I am a frequent reader of both your sites. Love the ideas. Thanks. I have a question – how do you manage to do these projects with your son – where is your daughter? I have a 3.5 year old and a 7 month old and I used to be able to do all sorts of projects with my 3 year old but now that my 7 month old sleeps less during the day, it’s getting harder and harder.
What’s your secret (other than being a supermum)?
Oh Heather I know what you mean , when she dropped her am nap I had a brief moment of panic! We have adjusted by doing a few on the weekends, putting her in her high chair with the mesh feeder, or sometimes I balance her and my camera and just letting her play near us. To make things worse she only naps on me or next to me… so nap time is out too! I try to prep things while they are happy playing and that way things are fast, crafts rarely last longer than 15 minutes – and less mama directed things need less supervision so I can be on the floor with her while he does it.
Ah, so my guess was right. You do it by being a uber-supermum! Thanks for the inspiration. I will try to get my littlest one entertained for a bit tomorrow morning while I do a project with my 3 year old. 🙂 Thanks again.
Kristen Dastrup says
I just had to let you know that I thought this idea was so clever I shared a link to your site on my blog. You can check it out here: http://pinningwithpurpose.blogspot.com/2014/03/lets-learn-about-families-preschool.html
Keep posting those wonderful ideas!