Thursday, August 5, 2010

Creative teaching for your A, B, C ...


Teaching a child the alphabet is the first step to teaching a child how to read. The child must be able to identify letters and their sounds in order to string those sounds together to make words. Teaching the alphabet can be a lot of fun if you get creative. By incorporating sight, sound, touch, smell and taste to each lesson, you engage the child's senses and make learning the alphabet much more fun. Not every child learns as quickly and easily as others. However, every kid loves some form of a game, song or activity. This helps the child to interact with you while he has fun and learns his alphabet, too. Below I have listed as many activities as I can remember using over the years!
  • Edible alphabets - Make alphabets soup from alphabet pasta and before the kids consume it, use this to teach them the abc. Alternatively, you can use alphabet biscuits .Your kid will enjoy learning abc and eating them as well !
  • Alphabets decor - Use alphabets as decor around the house especially at your child's play area or bedroom. Not only are they decorative but they also becomes a great tool in teaching abc for kid. Hand-painted or stencilled lettering can be applied to all kinds of things. You can start by putting your child's name on the door followed by labelling drawers with their contents etc.
  • Put Alphabet magnetic letters on your fridge for your child to play with.
  • Have foam Alphabet letters in the bath to play with.
  • Alphabet Stamps - use alphabet stamps and an ink pad to look at letters
  • Make an Alphabet Book - Make your own alphabet book with your kids. You can purchase a blank paper book or you can make one with construction paper and a three-hole punch. Help your child make a page with each letter. You can have him write the letter or find the letter in an old magazine and cut it out. Cut out pictures from an old coloring book or magazine that has words that start with the letter on the page.
  • Play the ABC game whenever you drive somewhere - This is an easy and fun way to teach your child the alphabet. Whenever you drive anywhere play the ABC game. Have your child find the letter A on billboards, or license plates, or signs. Start with the letter A and then look for letter b, c, etc. Once you finish the alphabet you can play again.
  • Sing the Alphabet Song - Children love to sing and what better song to sing than the Alphabet Song. Start your day off with a song or two and be sure to include the ABC song.
  • Play the Alphabet Memory Game - You can purchase flashcards of the alphabet or make your own with card stock paper or construction paper. Have your child match the capital letter A to the lowercase letter a. Or you can start with letters that are all lowercase or all capital. Each time your child matches the letters have him tell you what letter it is.
  • Make an Alphabet Photo collage - Take a trip outside, to the park, zoo, or wherever. Spend your time looking for pictures of words that start with the letter A or B, or whichever letter you choose. When you get the photos developed let your child cut them out and glue them onto a collage. Have your child write or trace the letter for your photo collage onto construction paper and glue the photos around. Children love taking pictures and this is a lot of fun.
  • Another Alphabet Game - We have probably all played this game before. Its fun for kids and can be fun for adults too. If your child is young you can just play a simple game. Start with the letter A. “A is for apple”, “B is for banana”, “C is for cat”, and continue on with all the letters. If your child is older you can play the game with a theme. For example, play lets do the alphabet game with fruit or animals. This way they are learning to sort animals or fruits and also practicing their alphabet.
  • Play Alphabet Bingo- Make your own Bingo cards with construction paper. Write the letters of the alphabet on it. You can make this simple by making your Bingo cards more like a Tic-Tac-Toe game or you can make them like a traditional Bingo card. Call out the letters and have your child mark them or put a Bingo chip on the letter. When your child wins they can yell out Bingo! Purchase little prizes from the dollar store to make this even more fun.
  • Make an Alphabet finger painting- Use poster board or construction paper and make a finger painting with different letters. Have your child paint the capital letter and lowercase letter. Let him decorate it with whatever colors he likes.
  • Play the Alphabet Hide Away Game- Fill a bag with different objects that start with different letter sounds. For example, you could fill it with a car, a book, a pencil, etc. Show your child all the items in the bag. Then put all the items back in the bag. Have them find the items by touching them only. Say can you find something that starts with the letter B? Say what sound does the b make? Then see if they can find the book in your bag just by touching. This game is not only good for learning letters and sounds but also helps them with using their senses and tactile skills.
  • Write Letters in Whipped Cream- Just grab some wax paper (or even a dark coloured plate will do), and some whipped cream in a can (Reddi-Whip is great), and start writing away! If the child is a little older, encourage him to try to make letters as well with the whipped cream. Perhaps add some strawberries to help eat the cream up. This would be fun as a dessert!
  • Cut Letters Out with Play-Doh- Another idea for cookie cutters is to use them to mold play-doh into alphabet shapes. Yes, you can use the same cookie cutters, that's what dish soap is for! Store bought play-doh works great.
  • Read Books Often that Promote the Alphabet- Reading is the basic key to learning. It will promote cognitive growth and can help children master the alphabet. Just visit your local library and check out some books. Some books to consider are Dr. Suess's ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book, Chicka Chicka ABC, The A to Z Book, and Ocean Alphabet Book.
  • Write a Letter on Child's hand - Choose a letter that the child needs to learn and write it on their hand with a magic marker in the morning. Throughout the day ask the child what the letter is and talk about it. Children may enjoy showing off their temporary body art to their friends!
  • Create artwork with Alphabet Stickers, Stamps and Sponges- Most youngsters love playing with stickers and stamping stamps. You can purchase alphabet stickers/stamps at spotlight, lincrfta or a craft store. So, just grab some construction paper and let their creativity run loose! Be sure to ask the child what the letter is, encourage him/her to repeat, etc
  • Make an Alphabet Beads Necklace or Bracelet- This is more for older children as well. Younger children can help, but might not have the dexterity to do it completely. Go to a craft store and purchase alphabet beads and string, along with some other beads for decoration. Help the child string the letters onto the bracelet or necklace, and - voila! - you've got an excellent teaching tool that can also be a piece of jewelry. For younger children, you might just let them watch you make it, and then they can enjoy wearing it.
  • Play Educational Computer Games- There is a variety of computer software available that will teach your child the ABC's.
  • Encourage Him/Her to Play With Alphabet Blocks- Baby's as young as a few months old will enjoy this activity.
  • Point out the Letters On Signs Often- Whether you're driving, on a walk, or even in the store, point out the letters on signs often. For example, if you see a stop sign, ask what is the first letter of the word. If you're walking, point out letters on real estate signs. The increased exposure to letters will help your child know the ABC's sooner.
  • Do a Letter Hunt - Pick a letter as the theme letter for your letter hunt. Then go around the house, or the shopping mall, or wherever you are, and find the letter you are looking for in at least 10 places: signs, books, products, toys, etc. If you are at home doing this you can actually pick up the items and collect the 10 things in a pile. Kids will enjoy collecting the items and then going around helping you put the items away.
  • Tracing the Letters of the Alphabet - After your child can read and print their own name, then he/she can start tracing the rest of the alphabet. This will reinforce the oral learning of the alphabet with early printing skills. Either create tracing pages of letters, or print out some pre-made letter tracing pages. Repetitive tracing of each letter will solidify their learning of the letter shapes.
  • Make lacing cards for your child to thread around the letter shapes.
  • Provide letter shapes for the sand pit.
  • Play musical alphabet - when the music stops your child stands on a letter, has to say the letter name and sound before the music starts again. Keep going until all letters are gone.
  • Use Wikki Stix to trace the letter shapes.
OK, this should keep you going for a while. Remember to keep it fun and make it part of your day!

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