Letter recognition is important but more important is knowing what sounds letters make. This is a fun and easy to throw together letter sound activity that uses novelty to make learning fun. My daughter has known her letters for a while but at three there is zero rush for her to start reading. I am not following any program or book, I am following her lead. She has been testing out sounds, pretending to read books to me and her brother, and asking to spell words. When I see signs like these I try some playful ways to challenge her but if there is resistance , frustration or confusion I back off. As parents we want to challenge and support not push or drill. After the first time we played this letter sounds activity I was pretty sure we had a winner, after the 4th time I was certain.
Gather your materials. You will need some stickers of easily identifiable things, masking tape, locks with keys, and a marker.
Start by adding the sticker to the locks.
Next add masking tape to the keys and write the letter on.
Lock the locks and pop the keys in a container.
Time to play. She explored all the locks at first and then dove in.
The letter sounds weren’t too big a challenge but the fine motor control required was. Matching up keys with locks and opening them uses other skills too like hand eye coordination and hand strength too. It took her a few tries to get the first key in but after a while she was a pro.
She loved that she could do the activity with no help from me. My daughter is about as independent as they come. I let her go for it and then after she was done have her show me her work. She walked me through each pair telling me the letter and the sound on each lock and key.
Then she closed them all up and played again and again.
Allison, this is genius! What a PERFECT activity for preschoolers who are all about independence because they’re motivated to play (who doesn’t want to open a lock, especially one that has a STICKER on it!) and are working letters and sound skills all at the same time. OK, I have to repeat it…GENIUS! Thanks!
Kali @ For the Love of Spanish says
What a great idea!! My boys will love this! They shy away from any learning activity that actually feels like learning, so this will be perfect! Wanting to unlock the lock will be a great motivator to learn beginning sounds. 🙂
My daughter is only two but she is showing some of the same traits you mentioned. I’m not sure we are quite here yet, but I’m saving this fun idea for later. Thank you so much!
Allison McDonald says
My son was a super early reader and showed signs very very early like your daughter. Follow her lead and you will be great!
Mary Taylor says
Awesome! This looks like so much fun! Where did you find all the locks/keys? Were they terribly expensive?
I can’t wait to try this with my son! Thanks for all the great ideas for this Mama!!
Allison McDonald says
Some were – I think one cost $8 way back when and I slowly collected the first 4 or 5 but every time I go to the dollar store I check and finally they had them. So I bought a bunch.
i love this idea! will be setting it up for girls tonight!
For those in Canada, Dollarama has 2pks for $1 for locks that are 1 1/4″ wide.
I’m going to do a matching set for my 2yo, and a phonetic set for my 4yr old.
Thanks for the great idea!
My kids love to open locks so this is perfect for them! What a great idea!
What an awesome idea!! My daughter will love, love, love this one!!! We’ve been goin through a lot if your ideas for fun, she’s only 2.5, but I think this will be the winner to get her to associate the letter and sound!!
I love this idea so much that I literally just went to amazon and ordered a set of 12 locks for $16.97! So excited! This is genius! 🙂 Thank you for sharing. 🙂
Allison McDonald says
This rocks – I hope you have fun with it!
Kristi @ Creative Connections for Kids says
So clever! I will be sharing this my parents. Pinned. Thanks! Kristi
This is a great idea!! I may have to give it a try when my daughter learns some more letters (she’s only got 2 down right now!)
The Monko says
I love this activity, fine motor AND letters. How cool, my son will love this – I’m off to buy some padlocks.
Christi Hall says
Preschool age children 3-5
Tracy Cook says
What a brilliant idea. Will try that with my grandsons
Terrific idea! Combines so many great skills, and best of all, fun! Thanks for all your awesome ideas! Love the pictures too!