Friday, June 14, 2013

Letters Found: A household scavenger hunt

Hi there, friends!

Thanks for the feedback on my calendar activities post.  Kudos to those of you who tried it, and thanks especially to the uber-creative reader who sent me her pictures. And can I just say, you totally rock at making calendars that are special and personalized!  Puts my pre-fab ones to shame.  It seems that was a fun activity for many of you, so yes, I will try to do more along those lines.

Here's another activity.  Today, we're teaching letter recognition and initial consonant sounds. 

Step one: Cut out a few BIG letters.  You can freehand them as I did (rather quickly below), or print and cut for a more precise look.  Either way, think BIG.  Practice your middle school bubble letters.  They DO NOT have to be perfect, just recognizeable.
I did it backwards so that when I cut it out, there would not be any pencil lines.  'Cause I'm crazy like that.

Step two: Show the letter to your preschooler. Ask what sound the letter makes.  If they're stumped, make the sound for them.  C says /S/ and /K/, but start by focusing on only one sound at a time.  This is why we don't do vowels sounds first - all vowels make at least two sounds.

Step three: Ask your preschooler to find something in your house that starts with that letter (ideas: S - Stairs, W - Window, R - Refrigerator or F for Fridge, T - TV, telephone, C - couch, L, Light, etc.)

Step four: Give your preschooler the letter with a little blue tape on the back and let her run around until she finds something that matches.  It doesn't matter if she finds the thing you were originally thinking, or the stove instead of the stairs.  The goal here is to have her recognize the connection between letters and sounds.  You can give hints if she's stuck, like "I see two things in this room that start with the letter T!" or "I see something we eat on that starts with T!", but be sure to give her a real chance before jumping in.  She'll probably get there on her own. 

Leah found coffee, cup, and couch before finally deciding she wanted to hang it up on the fridge (because that's what we do with art in our house, and she liked the purple letter that much).  I convinced her to keep it on the couch for fun. 

What to do if she pairs the wrong letter with the wrong thing?  Tell her, Great thinking!  But let's listen again.  Stairs - /s/, /s/, /s/.  This letter says /k/.  Let's try to find something that starts with /k/! 

Hint: make sure you are having fun.  Be animated!  Be encouraging!  Laugh and chase her as she looks around the room.  Your preschooler wants to do this because it's fun and she's spending time with you, not because she's learning.  The learning is just a happy byproduct of the game. 

Fair warning: we did this with four letters, and it was nowhere near enough.  I improvised with letters on sticky notes, but it wasn't as fun. 

If you try any of these projects with your preschooler, let me know how it goes!  You can comment below or e-mail at

Happy learning!

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