Anyone else suffering from TMEEIMH (Too Many Easter Eggs in my House) Syndrome? They are everywhere you look at my house – despite my best efforts to sneak a handful at a time into the trash. But, don’t throw them away just yet! These plastic eggs can actually serve as practical learning manipulatives for you! My old teacher self used to actually buy dozens of them each year to use in my classroom for letter matching and rhyming words (I tell you, Jess and I share a brain because she does the same thing, too).
Leyson’s favorite word to read is “Leyson.” Well, that and “pizza.” In a past post I wrote about Busy Bags, I talked a little bit about the significance and progression of a child learning to read and spell his/her name:
WHAT’S IN A NAME?:
Kids are so funny when it comes to learning how to spell their own names. Most often kids learn how to spell their names before they completely understand the concept that letters make words when put together. Take my son Leyson, for example; anytime he sees a word that starts with an L, he says it spells Leyson. He thinks he owns the letter L. The same goes for the letters E, Y, S, O and N… he owns them all. You see, for young toddlers, they will not understand that the ORDER of letters actually makes a difference when spelling words.
Even in my kindergarten classroom, students who knew how to spell their names would sometimes slip into the idea of “owning” all the letters in their name and would write their names out of order. LUIS would spell his name UILS… still thinking that it spelled the same thing. Even more common would be for kids to write their names backwards (SIUL)… and several, get this, would write their names in mirror image! I can’t even do that! All of these are totally normal progressions when your child is learning how to spell his/her name…
Well, here’s another activity that not only teaches the letters of your child’s name, but also teaches the ORDER of the letters – and, of course, we are using Easter eggs because, well, who doesn’t love a good egg hunt?
I first wrote Leyson’s name and underneath each letter I wrote the numbers 1-6. I did the same thing on another sheet of paper, but this time, cut out each letter and number.
We used 6 eggs… the same number of letters in Leyson’s name (no, that’s not a coincidence). I stuffed each egg with 1 letter and the corresponding number and then I hid the eggs around the room while Leyson was in the other room. Then, the hunt was on!
Once he found a letter and number inside of his egg, he had to tell me what he found:
Leyson: “It’s the letter L and the number 1!”
Mommy Teacher: “That’s right! Because the letter L is the FIRST letter in your name! L is the FIRST letter in Leyson!”
See that right there? Right there in the bold, italicized, CAPITALIZED print? See how I threw in some number recognition and some sequencing vocabulary? Sneaky, sneaky, Mommy Teacher!
Now, the reason I have his name and numbers written on
another piece of paper is, yes, so he can see the ORDER of his name, but to also see which way the shape of each letter is supposed to go. Kids will recognize the SHAPE of the letter no matter which direction the letter/number is facing, so it’s important to also show them that they have to turn their letters/numbers around.
Reminder: a letter, number, symbol is a SHAPE much like a square is a shape. That’s why it’s so easy to confuse d, b, q, and p – they all have the same shape but are just turned different ways. But, I digress…
Next, I took away Leyson’s cheat sheet and asked him to spell his name.
Juuuust as I anticipated. So I brought out our language from the first activity…
Mommy Teacher: “What is the FIRST letter in Leyson?”
And he grabbed that L and put it underneath his scrambled name.
And the whole time he was singing his very own name song saying each letter of his name to the tune of “Bingo.” It really is magic how quickly they learn things when you tie a tune to it!
What other activities can you do with your Easter eggs? Sorting? Counting? Compare/Contrast? The learning possibilities are endless!
I LOVE LOVE LOVE when a mommy teacher shares something with me that they are doing with their little one at home. If every follower shared one picture, writing sample, or video we would have the largest idea bank EVER for moms to browse…. or we could add them to the large idea bank that exists aka pinterest haha.
My co-worker was showing me this video of her child in passing and I asked her to send it to me for lots of reasons:
1) I love quick and easy mini-lessons that can be done at home.
2) I love teaching tools like this wand and others:
3) I love that she is only introducing a few letters at a time.
4) I love that this is so hands-on.
5) I love that it is active-child friendly 😉
Share your quick and easy ideas too please here, via email, or facebook!!!!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I have been soooo busy soaking up time with my little ones as a working mom that I haven’t made time for posts. But I assure you, I have TONS in the “Posts Drafts” Section of my website that I my new year’s resolution is to share 😉
Here is a quick share for you…
My sister showed me this Montessori Crosswords App that her TWO YEAR OLD was playing and I immediately wanted it on my phone for my little one. It amazes me how many tools there are in the tech world these days and I love learning about them.
This App is a letter-sound matching tool that sounds out the first, middle, and ending sound of each word one letter-sound at a time. A child matches the letter to its sound by dragging and dropping the letter in the correct space. If a child isn’t sure what letter matches the sound, he/she can click on the question mark at the top to show the way the word should look. Then, the skill changes to a letter recognition skill.
I was amazed that my niece was using deductive reasoning to figure out the right letter that makes the matching sound. She was either trying different letters until she found the correct one or she was using the self-correct options to check the right letter.
See what I mean here:
This App is great for ages 2-7 in my opinion. It is a great pre-requisite for phonetic spelling.
My two year old has known all of his upper case for almost a year, but this is a great tool to help him with lower case letter recognition by changing the letter case option to lower.
I don’t like to buy apps but this is one that I caved in and forked out the $2.99 because I know what a reading benefit this kind of tool can be. Check it out and let me know what you think.
The Montessori Numbers App from the same group is pretty great too! It covers Numbers, Quantities, Numerals, Numerals from quantities, and tracing. Awesome skills to build on!
Leave a comment with other Apps you like….I love to check them out and see what’s out there 🙂
I stay up late sometimes….it is 10:30. But it feels much later so maybe I am being a little dramatic. Being dramatic reminds me of my jr. high days of writing bubbly at all times.
And tonight, I got the itch to download a free bubble letter font….it happens. I went to fontspace.com, searched for a bubble letter font, and I downloaded one called “Janda Manatee” because I liked it the best.
I opened the file, clicked “Install”
And then I opened a Word document, changed the page orientation to Landscape, and typed Sean Patrick’s name using the new cute font.
I then clicked “Insert Shape” and filled his name with circles (I copied the circle size I liked and pasted it a lot of times first to make this go by fast!)…
I had to blow it up a little in the “Paint” Program to make it the size I wanted, but tomorrow I plan to do one of three things (if not all three) with this simple activity:
1) Encourage SP to cover each circle with little “poms poms.”
2) Encourage Sean Patrick to stamp the circles with his dot paint markers.
3) Encourage SP to stamp his finger print (ink pad style) on each circle.
This is a great pre-writing skill that develops his fine motor skills while emphasizing letter formation of the letters that are most meaningful to him, with a concentration on lower-case letters at this time. Do you have any other ideas??!? Cover each circle with a sticker maybe? Please share your thoughts!
Update: HOw the lesson went down>
I used two print outs; one to show him ideas and the second to let him explore on his own. I talked to him about the letters. “Look Sean Patrick…mommy made your name with circles in the letters. Can you still read the letters? What letter is this? ” etc.
We explored covering the letters with pom poms but that didn’t last long. Sean Patrick had more fun stamping the letters with his fingers and decorating his name with star stickers.
Alright, I am back online and ready to share some more GREAT activity ideas with you all 🙂 Oh, mckayla just gave me an early Christmas present; I’ll be back in 5. Oh, the joys of writing posts with a newborn again!
Have you ever met a little one that doesn’t like hide and seek? I haven’t. My little one likes for me to cheat and point out where someone is hiding, but another spin on hide and seek that I love to play with little ones is ABC hide and seek.
First, I like to set the tone by reading a book that sets up the activity. This is a great one:
Next, I hide the letters of the alphabet all around ONE room. Then I have little ones go on a letter hunt to find 26 letters. We count them out and put them in order to make sure that we have them all. This is a simple but great activity you can do in your house using any set of letters that you have, but I have to share some cute amazon finds:
To Accommodate: If your kids know their upper and lower case letters like the back of their hand – hide sight words
If your kids don’t know any letters yet, hide only the letters in their name and have him/her walk around with a paper with their name spelled out in large letters so that when they find it they can look on the paper and mark it off the sheet when they find a letter in their name.