Welcome to the first post in our new series called Alphabet For Starters focusing on simple alphabet activities for beginners. I don’t want to put an age range on these activities because kids become interested in letters at all different ages.
Follow their interest and jump on the bandwagon when they are ready. Most importantly have fun with letters and use them together. Letters are used in so many wonderful combinations and hopefully, this series will help popularize the notion that drilling letters are not the first step to learning them and ultimately reading. We have always believed in playing, creating and making connections with letters and I am excited to start this with my youngest. This is our first organized activity.
This activity is not a new or novel idea but I hope that my tips along the way may make it easier for you and your child to play and learn.
- Gather your materials. You will need some plastic Easter eggs, some letters that fit inside but are big enough not to pose a choking hazard, a cute box, some Easter grass and a metal cookie sheet. I use the cookie sheet because the letters are magnetic. It gives my daughter a spot to put them and it keeps us focused and contained. It’s not a must.
- Pop the letters in the eggs. You may notice I am only doing 9 letters. I purposely chose the 9 I did. In the 9 there are 3 letters she has mastered and points out everywhere. This sets her up for some immediate success, which is key for a great first experience. I also have the letters of her name. Using meaningful letters as a jumping off point is a great way to do it. Also, I have 2 I have no clue is she knows or not. I will find out if she does, and if not she will be introduced to them gently.
- Put them in the basket and add kiddo in PJ’s.
- As she opened them she put them on the tray and I asked her what was in the egg. She announced some gleefully but if she didn’t know I would say “Look you got L!” Never drill.
- After she opened a few I would sneak them off the tray one and a time, refill the eggs and pop them back in. This kept the momentum going without her having to wait for mama to set everything back up, that way only her desire to end the activity ended it. Also, it let us reinforce the letters a few times in a fun way.
- After a few times, I asked her to point out some letters when they were on the sheet – I didn’t expect her to know any other than A and E (her favorites) but she did.
- And she was so proud – you gotta love that cheer!
Remember to watch your child. Children just starting to explore letters are sponges. But if we put the pressure too soon we can make them think of it as work not play. So keep things playful and remember that these beginning experiences aren’t going to take up a lot of time. But the repetition is great so keep the supplies handy and play it again and again.
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