I’ve wished I had a paved driveway for side
walk chalk games, but thanks to blogs like No Time for Flashcards, I now have my solution: Painter’s Tape! I can put it on my walls and floors without fears of ripping my house apart when I remove the tape.
Here’s Miss Giggles hopping from number to number while eating a yogurt tube. The numbers 1-10 are currently on our living room floor, out of order, and she plays games with them a few times a day. The Singer isn’t quite as interested. I’m hoping to use these numbers to teach them their parents’ phone numbers.
There was a lot of trouble with sharing at our house today, and this game provided just the change in mood we needed.
Inspired by ABC Slam!, I wrote the lowercase letters we’ve been learning on cups, spread the cups around the table, and got out the girls’ Dollar Tree golf clubs. I told the girls to say the sound the letter makes, then knock the cup off the table without knocking off any other cups. They squealed with delight and proceeded to play through all the letters two or three times before adapting the game to their own play purposes. This game got VERY loud, which is allowed at my house during play time, if no one is trying to eat, work, sleep, etc.
This has been our favorite alphabet learning game for a while. I think they’re getting tired of it, but that’s okay, because they’ve almost got their letters down! I made a copy of flashcards for each girl, by simply typing capital letters in about 500 font size, printing them out, cutting them apart, and gluing each letter to a piece of construction paper.
To play the game, I say, “When I say, ‘Go!’ everybody find me a G. Ready, set, go! G!” It isn’t a competition to see who can find the letter first, but I sometimes say, “Okay, this time, let’s see who can be the fastest!” Then I don’t say who was the winner; I just say, “Wow! You were really fast that time!” My girls have a naturally competitive nature, compounded by sibling rivalry, so I don’t encourage winning and losing, but just a tiny competitive element can give them a little extra motivation.
We tried spelling clothespin CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words for the first time today. The idea is from a blog called Creating a Learning Environment. I wrote out words that end in -at or -an on craft sticks, then wrote the letters a, b, c, D, f, h, m, n, p, r, s, t and v on clothespins. Then I sat on the couch with the materials and asked Miss Giggles (3 years old) if she wanted to play. She did, and we started sounding out and spelling words.
The Singer came over and wanted to try, too. For this first time, they only spelled two or three words each. They were both very proud of themselves, and The Singer saved her “flag” to show Grandmama.
Today’s was the first reading lesson with my four-year-old (henceforth known as The Singer) that I’ve been happy with. The first few times we tried using Hooked on Phonics, we went too fast. Today’s lesson went as follows:
- I read Dr. Seuss’s ABC to her, pointing to each word as I read. She recited along to about 60% of the book.
- We ran around the house 3 times.
- We went through her alphabet flashcards, with her holding the cards to take ownership of her learning.
- We ran around the house 3 or 4 times.
- We practiced with our word family eggs (found here).
- We ran around the house 4 times.
- We read two pages from the Hooked on Phonics level 1 Workbook (-at words only).
- We read only the pages about Pat from Hop on Pop. She was able to do this easily, with her reading the -at words and me reading the rest.
- We ran around the house 5 or 6 times.
- She read the first “story” in the Hooked on Phonics workbook.
- We high-fived, and I gave her stickers.
I think this is the pace that is going to work for us.
How to Teach Pre-Reading and Early Math to an Auditory Learner
My four-year-old is an auditory learner, and I am not. I frequently struggle with planning out a fun activity, only to have her show no interest whatsoever. One thing that works really well, though, is playing verbal games during family meals or car rides. These games are so simple; the key is just to try one out and drop it if she isn’t in the mood.
You may already play this game with your little one. I usually start by saying a few rhyming words, and she will chime in with more, and we both keep saying more words, like we’re trying to one-up each other.
- What Starts With…?
This is her favorite game. I say, “Cup starts with C…car…cloud…” and she starts adding her own words, and we keep going until neither of us can think of any more words.
- I’m thinking of something that starts with…
There are many ways to play. I usually say something like, “I’m thinking of something that starts with D. It wags its tail when it’s happy.” Then after she guesses, it’s her turn to think of something to have me guess.
She asked me how to spell a word while we were in the car, so I asked her to visualize each letter as I said it. She would wait until she could “see” it in her head, then say, “I see it!”
- Replacing Letters
We’ve been working on -at, -an, and -ap words, so I’ve started asking her, “I have the word rat. What if I change the r in rat to a b?” She will think for a bit and then answer, “Bat!”
- What Letter (Or Number) Comes Next?
I simply ask, “What’s the letter after B?” or “What number comes before 10?” We’ve also started counting backwards from 10, and once she has that down, we’ll start counting by twos.
- Foreign Language Vocabulary
My main method for teaching her Russian is asking, “Do you remember how to say ____________ in Russian?” or “What does ___________ mean?” It isn’t adequate to teach a foreign language, but it does help with beginning vocabulary.
- Mental Addition
I ask relevant questions using numbers, such as, “If we buy two books at Barnes and Noble and two books at the used bookstore, how many books do we buy?”
- Mental Subtraction
I found to my surprise that she could subtract numbers from five when I asked, “If you have five pretzels and you eat one, how many pretzels do you have left?”