Updated: Apr 2
School is out and my little one is stuck at home. All she wants to do is watch Play-Doh videos on youtube. Does your kid do that? Could your child sit for hours watching videos of other people playing with toys? Mine could! And let me tell you, sometimes it's tempting to let her. Sometimes it would be easier on me and my sanity to let her become a Blippie zombie.
BUT! I will not...
Wether you need some ideas to keep your kiddo occupied so that they don't turn into youtube addicts or you are looking for new ways to teach your kids the alphabet, here are some ideas to make learning at home more exciting!
1. Choosing letters to learn
The first thing I wanted to do before beginning our learning journey was test Ellie's knowledge. Now, my child thinks the answer, 'I don't know,' is absolutely adorable so I needed to make sure she was telling me what she knew and not just saying things to be cute. The solution, CANDY! I pulled out flash cards and I quizzed her. Every correct answer earned her 1 m&m. Let me tell you my child has never put forth more effort. This girl has missed her candy!
2. Make the letter with other objects
When we finished with quiz time, we moved to the kitchen table (which has currently turned into my husband's office) because that is where we get work done. I set her up with a flash card and a bowl of Cheerios and our first activity was repeating the word while covering the letter. Ellie loved this activity, and because she loves to eat (and I let her eat the Cheerios every time she covered the V) she sat there and attentively repeated the exercise until every Cheerio was gone!
We used Cheerios because Ellie wanted to eat more candy, but you could have your child use any object to make a letter. You could use toy cars for the letter C, blocks for the letter B, or small rocks for the letter R. The possibilities are endless!
3. Write the letter
After we made the letter with an object, we looked at it's shape and we prepared to trace it. I use a white board for tracing and writing letters. White boards work well for us because Ellie can be a little perfectionist at times and it saves paper. It also keeps her occupied for longer. She could write and erase on the whiteboard for hours. And I encourage her to do so! She is still young and honestly not the most coordinated, so having her hold the marker in correctly and twist her wrist to flip the marker over to erase is great for her mobility and hand eye coordination. I love that she is learning to write and exercising her fine motor skills, all while I can sneak into the kitchen and put away the dishes.
4. Art Time!
Let's be real are we really learning our alphabet if we aren't taking the letter and making into and art project?? The answer is obviously, no! We made a volcano with our letter V, and Ellie took an abstract approach, haha!
This project is so simple. I threw her in some clothes that I didn't mind getting messy, I pulled out the water color paints and I told her to paint a volcano. (If you want to see a professional letter 'v' volcano just check out the background in the picture, haha!)
I simply cut out the letter V from construction paper and taped it to a piece of printer paper with the tape I had laying around the house. And voila!
5. What does the letter say?
It's important that we teach kiddos what the letters say, not just their names. As a matter of fact some theories of teaching say you should teach phonics first and the names of the letters later. Regardless of what order you teach it, I think we can all agree that it is important to teach both. Throughout our activities, I was consistently saying the name of the letter and the sound it makes. For example, when we were making the letter with Cheerios there was a vulture on the flash card so we would say "V. |v| |v| vulture." When we painted we said "V. |v| |v| Volcano!"
Now, it is time to put my little genius to the test. What can she find that starts with |v| V? I asked Ellie to look around the house and find all the things she could find that started with the |v| sound! This was so much fun that I even helped her. This got her up moving and allowed her to get out some energy. She was so excited every time she found something that started with a V! Here is everything that we found.
Would you like to know the secret bonus step? Don't stop learning! Look at everyday activities as learning opportunities and review what you have learned. Do you have any activities that you love for teaching letters?