Name Hopscotch {Mommy Teacher Spotlight}

I love scrolling through Instagram and seeing what other moms have shared for the day.

A friend of mine posted this video of her little fella and it immediately caught my attention for so many reasons:

Kids learn best and practice the skills they are learning most effectively when they are connecting with their world by seeing AND doing.

So if you have a child with lots of energy (can you relate?), jumping while learning or practicing skills that they already know is incredibly helpful for their brain development and you might reap the benefits of a quality nap time or bedtime rest later. ūüôā

Here is what Hendrix’ mommy had to say about it when I asked for the details:

“The reality is he came up with this on his own! We were writing each other’s names (you can see his “mommy” on the bottom left of the screen) and he started hopscotching on his! He is into trains and roads now, and before this we were making roads with all the places that we usually go to…mall, coffee shop, grocery, honeys house…and driving to each place with his toy cars. We were learning to take rights and lefts and u-turns. This hopscotch just came out of nowhere. :)”

Thanks Alisha for sharing.
PS… I wish I had your chalking skills. haha

School Bus Printable Fun

“I’m going to school on a bus today mom” says my 3 year old as he walks toward the door with his backpack on. ¬†He doesn’t ride a bus to school so I reply, “Yes! ¬†Let’s pretend to do that Sean Patrick. ¬†Are you going to drive the bus or is the driver going to pick you up? ” ¬†and the conversation continued as we made our way to the stairs where we pretended to be riding on a bus singing “Wheels on the Bus” and looking out the pretend window ¬†pointing things out to each other.

I asked him what friends were riding with us in our imagination and he named his cousin and a few other friends.

This gave me the idea to make this:

Screen Shot of School Bus Freebie

He is obsessed with school buses.  He tells people when he is six he can ride the school bus.  I am hoping he gets to ride one on a field trip this year.

We have a school bus toy that we drive all over our neighborhood road rug that looks something like this:

Fun Time - Country Fun Kids Rugs - 39 x 58 in.

We read¬†“Gus The Bus”¬†pretty often and there are other great school bus books like¬† and¬† and obviously The Magic School Bus episodes and books are great.

So, he had a blast coloring his school bus picture…

SP bus printable

And he did a great job drawing the eyes on the faces… one was shaped like a square so he told me that Mckayla had a square eye haha.

bus printable with eyes


Anyway, click on the link below to download the FREE printable if you think your child would enjoy this too. ¬†You can help your child practice sounding out their friend’s names or just writing the first letter in their name. ¬†Have fun!

[purchase_link id=”3920″ style=”text link” color=”” text=”Download the School Bus Printable now… FREE”]

Backwards Writing


“Look, Mom! ¬†I spelled ‘James!'”

I have had many parents come to me worried that their preschool or kindergarten aged child may be dyslexic* after he or she continues to spell and write words/letters backwards, upside down, in mirror image, or mix up letters within a word.

Let me say now that this writing behavior is totally normal at this stage in your child’s pre-writing and pre-reading development and in most cases*¬†is not indicative of a learning disability.

Let’s think about this…

We, the smarter-than-the-average-preschooler mommy teachers, see a triangle.  3 sides + 3 points = triangle no matter how you look at it.


(Technically that last one is a pyramid says my 5year old, but you get my point.)

What, then, is the letter A?


It is but a mere visual representation of a sound in a word… a symbol… or simply, a shape, not unlike our friend, the triangle. ¬†We recognize this shape no matter the direction, font, size or color. ¬†Our brains are hardwired to group these similar shapes together so we can recognize them even though they may look slightly different than the ¬†Times New Roman ¬†capital letter A.

Our kids are naturally doing the same exact thing which is why they can still find the letter A in a pile of letters, even though some of the As are upside down.


To help teach correct directionality (the direction in which we read and write in English), use your index finger to guide reading: top-bottom, left-right. ¬†This is a learned skill and will become ingrained through repetition and practice. ¬†In Leyson’s case, if he knew that he should have spelled the letters out from left to right, the word would have actually spelled JAMES instead of SEMAJ – but with a sideways S and an E for an M… babysteps.

When Leyson spelled James’ name backwards, I then modeled how to spell his own name as he said the letters out loud to me. ¬†Leaving those letters in place, I then pulled a second set of letters for his name and asked him to put them in order directly under the one I had done.

“Which letter comes first? ¬†Which comes second?” ¬†Etc.


To fix his sideways S, I lined up a few of the same letter and laid them out right side, upside down and sideways and we chose the correct letter. ¬†This taught him that it DOES matter which way a letter is written… BAM! ¬†Epiphany.

Back to his spelling of James’ name:

Me: ¬†“Now, if we spelled the name LEYSON with the L over here on the left, what is different about how you spelled JAMES?”


Leyson: ¬†“I used an upside down E as an M!”

Epiphany x2.

*  Dyslexia is a Developmental Reading Disorder (DRD) which is one of the most common learning disabilities.  A small percentage of those with this type of DRD actually see and write letters backwards or upside down.  Most often dyslexia is diagnosed within the critical beginning reader years (kindergarten Р2nd grade) if  a child of normal intelligence still has difficulties with visual and/or auditory reading comprehension, spelling and phonological awareness.

If after age appropriate and developmentally appropriate reading and writing strategies have been correctly taught to your school-aged child and you find he or she is still struggling with reading, begin to log your perception of your child’s reading abilities and share it with your child’s teacher or doctor so they can determine if your child may need further evaluation.

Easter Egg Letter Hunt


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:


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 ‚Äúowning‚ÄĚ all the letters in their name and would write their names out of order. ¬†LUIS would spell his name UILS‚Ķ still thinking that it spelled the same thing. ¬†Even more common would be for kids to write their names backwards (SIUL)‚Ķ and several, get this, would write their names in mirror image! ¬†I can‚Äôt 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!

Displaying Your Little One’s Name

A friend of mine from Santa Cruz, Bolivia¬†sent me a name plate for Sean Patrick that I have hanging on the headrest in front of his car seat.¬†¬†Displaying¬†words that¬†are meaningful to children is¬†key because children “study” the print after you have talked through it with them.¬† These images become input in their working memory and will benefit your little one’s¬†ability to¬†recall important information.¬† Don’t just assume that they know what the print is or says (even if there is a picture).¬† Talk about every feature.¬†

For this name plate we talk about the color, shape, letters, the ball, and that those are the letters in his name.¬† We sing our little song, and I ask him about it as we are riding along.¬† I know this may seem so “behind the times” because most people have a tv in their head rest these days, but if that is the case hang¬†skill sets¬†on the back of the driver or passenger seat because either way it is a great visual for concentration.

I really recommend making one WITH your little one, but if you want to buy a decorative one my friend is in the business of making them and she calls them “Name Plaques” so contact her if you want to buy an affordable, customized display of your little one’s name.

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