COUNTRY FUN

an early education learning space ~ where play equals learning

November 17, 2014
by countryfun
Comments Off on Playing with the ABC’s

Playing with the ABC’s

I love when a young learner finds their interest in the letters of the alphabet beyond just singing the song. That interest is shown in wanting to copy words found around the classroom, pointing out special letters in books reading, naming letters that star words we are talking about, adding additional words that start with the same letter, and playing the same ABC game over and over.

To support that interest and the emerging learner of even younger learners I have been trying to introduce new letter activities on a steady basis.

Two that have been enjoyed recently and repeatedly follow.

The first is a simple stamping with letter cookie cutters. The second is stenciling with cut-out letter stencils. Both activities started with a discussion of colors and color blending. Then letters from their names were used. Last was free choice of letters.

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The next activity could be said to have “popped” into my head. I was smiling as I rescued a nice circular piece of wood when cleaning out the garage. It was left-over from an engineering project of my college age son. It was too good to throw out and I knew I’d find a way to use it. Then came the “pop”. I had previously seen an activity come through on Pinterest from the Billings School Kindertips folder (now pinned to my ABC activity/games board) that showed ABC cards spread around a circular table top. The children sorted out ABC letters from the classroom to correspond with the letter cards. Now I’ve always done ABC paper plate wheels where you match up clothes pins, so this idea was really just taking it to the larger game play model, but without seeing that pin I might not have gone there.

The construction of the game was also a fun activity as I had help reminding me which letter needed to be written in the next space. The upper and lower case formation was also checked-on :). “R” could not wait to play, so out came a donated bag of mixed/matched magnetic letters. Lots of naming letters, coming up with words that start with each letter, labeling colors and up and down movement. The movement is what makes these larger games great to use with young children. It doesn’t get much better than learning while you’re moving.

 DSC05790  DSC05789DSC05791 We ended up with a wonderful rainbow sunburst of upper and lower case letters. To put away we counted the number of letters for each of the alphabet letters as we put them into the storage container. It was surprising how many had the same number of letters.

Both as a teacher and recycler, I couldn’t waste the reserve side of the wooden circle. That has our numbers through 15, plus twenty. Great for magnetic numbers, but even better for tower building.

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When older sibling arrives after school it becomes a team effort  and when completed “R” needs to “picture it”. IMG_1881

October 20, 2014
by countryfun
Comments Off on One Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Game

One Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Game

“R” has a strong knowledge of all her letters, so that just means I need to keep coming up with creative ways to review with her. Being the only preschooler I have at this time means we often have an audience as we do a project and that’s ok as it supports their learning.

Today I used a favorite book – Chicka Chicka Boom Boom – to pull together a game that will have many ways to use.

All you need is an oatmeal container, brown and green construction paper, scissors, marker, glue and letters. I have a large collection of magnetic letters that we pulled from for this project.

This project changed from my plan, but the original purpose remained – reviewing letters.

I figured “R” would pull a letter, name it and I’d write it on the tree base. Nope! “R” wanted to do it herself and since we are currently beginning working on letter formation had to come up with another option, so frustration would not take over. She asked for stickers. Good idea as I have learned to always have a supply of letter stickers on hand.

Then “R” decided had to be in order (alphabetical order) just like the book.

I had pictured random letters all over the container. “R” pictured them in order placed along the top edge. What matters is the lesson purpose and giving value to her voice in her learning. Doing her way brought other skills into the original lesson.

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The project turned out great and we’ve played multiple times, as it hasn’t made it’s way home yet.

April 24, 2013
by countryfun
Comments Off on Name That Letter

Name That Letter

For years I have used individual printed sheets of letters randomly placed and sized for children to practice letter recognition.

Sometimes they were upper and lower case. Sometimes just letters learning, ie A…….H. Sometimes letters and number mixed together.

I’ve used pages from the newspaper or magazines for Letter Hunts – find and circle the letter called out or pulled on a flashcard.

I recently saw an idea on Little Miss Glamour Goes To Kindergarten for a way to practice sight words.

Now we are not practicing sight words, but the idea was so similar to those sheets of random letters that a light bulb went on (so to speak).

Why couldn’t I do this using letters?

It was the use of a large sheet of paper and doing as a group that was new to me.

 

As you can see we had fun! We used our social skills, letter recognition skills and fine motor skills, even with the youngest ones joining in. What would a few scribbles hurt? And they felt part of the group.

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March 14, 2013
by countryfun
Comments Off on From Deli Tray to Game Tray

From Deli Tray to Game Tray

I have a problem with tossing items that I’m pretty sure I can find another productive use for. Even items that can be recycled as part of our town’s trash program, still get double checked for alternative usage.

Now of course that leads to a variety of storage issues:

  • where
  • how
  • how many are too many, too few or just enough 

I’ve tried the “only store” 2, 4, or 6 and collect more as you need them. The problem with that is many of our projects here do not develop through a preplanned lesson, but rather through a request or interest shown that I want to take advantage of.

Or they are just unique enough that I know it’s not something I’ll easily put my hands on again.

The game we used today is a perfect example of just that. I started with this: 

It’s a large cupcake deli tray. Now how often do you see one of these? This is my first and I knew I couldn’t let it just be recycled through the trash.

So……. 12 circles for holding cupcakes  (back side view) = a clock? No to limited, not adaptable enough for long term usage.

Think Game!

Needs to be colorful……… adaptable……. expandable…….. 

Have peel and stick felt in rainbow colors, wooden square blocks, foam letters. Add in a half hour and I have the makings of a game tray.

Using plastic letters, homemade dice and this new game tray we had a fun morning working on letter recognition.

 

 We placed the cover on, shook the letters up, cover off, rolled our dice, found one matching color circle , named the letters found there, keeping the ones we knew. Then the next person goes……next…..next…..

Shake the letters up for the next round and start again.

We are looking forward to using this in many other ways.

Game suggestions always welcome. 

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