Reading is one of the most important milestones in your child’s life. Believe it or not, the road to reading begins years before Kindergarten. You can actually start reading and rhyming to your child while they’re still in your womb. Introducing language at a young age is the key to helping your little one have a productive and easy time learning to read. But before you can start putting words together, you must conquer those little letters and the sounds that go with them. Here are great ideas for introducing letters to your children in a fun and interesting way.
A Letter Day
Since you’re going to have plenty of years to start crafting your child’s language skills, make one day each week a time for letter learning. Having a weekly “letter day” will ensure that you cover every letter of the alphabet. For instance, if you choose the letter “S” as your weekly letter, you can take turns playing an I-Spy game that searches for the letter “S.” Head to the playroom and make a pile of toys that start with an “S.” Make an “S” out of Legos or search for an “S” on road signs as you pass by.
Practice with Playdough
Research shows that textile sculpting can boost big benefits for your brain. By using playdough to form alphabet letters, you essentially teach your brain to remember what you’ve created in a more tactile way. Form the regular alphabet or make an entire playdough world focused on your letter of the week.
As you go through the grocery store with your little, have them point out the objects that start with a certain letter. If you’re looking for the letter “K,” focus on finding fruits and vegetables that start with the letter. For K, choose kiwi or kumquat or KIX cereal. And just for added fun, make sure to bring home some “K” items to eat that week.
Patty Cake, Patty Cake
There’s nothing more fun than forming pancakes into the shape of your favorite letters. But don’t stop there, you can use yogurt to fingerpaint your letters on a tray or blueberries to form your letters before you eat them. Buy alphabet Spaghettios and try to pick out all of one letter. Just searching through the many letters to find the right one will help your children learn the process of elimination. When it comes to having fun with your food, making letters that you can then eat is just plain awesome.
What’s In A Name
When it comes to moving from letters to words, your child’s name is a good place to start. Try to make toy bins with your child’s name on there. Try to sing songs or do rhymes with your child’s name and spell it out (Anna Banana Ro Rama!) Incorporating your child’s name into your everyday life will make it a seamless transition.
Suds and Stuff
One of the most missed opportunities when children are starting to learn is the importance of learning during bath time. It’s one of the few times that you and your child aren’t distracted by other people, other devices or other obligations. Buy foam letters to float on the bathtub and take turns learning what each letter is called. You can also buy bathtub paint and let your child paint their name and favorite letters around the tub. They’ll be having so much fun that they won’t know how much they’re actually learning.
Fun On The Fridge
Magnetic letters are an amazing option for letter learning in a common space. While you’re cooking dinner, your tiny one can practice learning their letters. Have them trace a letter on paper and draw several pictures that begin with the letter, then use that letter to connect the paper to the fridge. Rotate different letters each month, or try to see how many letters you can get on the fridge.
Technology is ever important for the growing tot. Their entire world will revolve around learning in the tech world. Have apps and activities on your phone or tablet that will help your little one have fun while learning their alphabet is essential for their growing brains. They will be able to learn how to use an online device for learning and they’ll also find a fun way to memorize and use their letters.
Exercise can stimulate the brain just as much as learning so when you put the two together, the opportunity to learn skyrockets. Do yoga by shaping your body into each letter. Do a dance to an alphabet song on the T.V. or run in place while you sing the ABC’s. Making a mind and body connection will help your little one learn to connect the two things, improving memory and movement at the same time.
For children, learning letters is fun and exciting. They’ll gain a sense of confidence when they begin to remember what a letter is called. And they’ll begin to start seeing letters all over the world. Once they have that strong baseline of knowing what letters are and how they are used, they can go on to start learning letter sounds and eventually begin to read. Remember it’s best to start early and repeat often and always read a book before bed each night. Happy Learning!