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!