Hi! So, recently, a few friends have asked me for some suggestions on how to “teach” early concepts to kids in a fun way…Learn through play! So I drummed up ten of my favorites for you (and because this list took all my brain power, all below images are from Google images, minus the ones of my little)!
- Muffin tins: use liners with letters or numbers written on them. Have child throw a ping pong ball into the muffin tin to see what letter it lands on and have the child…
- Name the letter/number
- Name the sound
- Name a word that it starts with
- Find a word in a book it starts with
(progressively get harder as child develops)
- Egg cartons: complete the same types of games as mentioned for the muffin tins
- Tic-Tac-Toe: Use this simple game board in many ways!
- Twister: Get an old (or new) Twister board and put letters/numbers in the circles (use 3×5 cards so they are interchangeable).
- For more advanced math, have them put one foot on one circle (with numbers in them) and another on another circle and add the two numbers.
- Teach colors and Left/Right for very young children
- Play a fun game of Twister if it is age appropriate for you child, or if he/she is too young, just have him/her jump/hop/walk in the circles.
- Have them toss a stone onto a circle and name the letter/number, sound, word that starts with, etc.
- Hopscotch- draw chalk hopscotch board with letters/numbers and have child state the letter/number they jump on, use games above as a guide. Kinesthetic games are always good for easing boredom and encouraging learning with fun for young ones.
- Wand ABC- Get your child a wand or superhero stick. Have them find the ABCs using the wand to point at the letters in consecutive order. You can use books, wall poster, newspaper, magazines or any other type of print. For more developed children, you can have them find the letters for their name, etc.
- Tactile Letters- When teaching children letters (recognition, writing, sounds, etc.) it is helpful to use different materials and have them “FEEL” the letter. Some good materials to use for this:
- Cut letters out of sand paper
- ABC Pasta
- Playdough letters
- Use sand in a little box and have child write in the sand
- Pipe cleaners (form letters with them)
- Cut letters from felt
- Try any other “cool” material
- “Gone Fishing!”- this is one of Zach’s FAVORITE games. And it is under 5 bucks! I decided we could alter it by making it a fun learning game! Options:
- Put tiny stickers on the underside of the fish so that when he “catches” the fish he will say the letter and sound (and later a word that it begins with, even later than that, he can spell words even).
- Put tiny stickers with numbers on the bottom
- Name the number
- “Catch” two fish and add the numbers together
- “Catch” two fish and say which is greater than or less than.
- Easter Eggs: Cut up letters that spell a word (perhaps begin with your child’s name) and put them inside the plastic Easter eggs. Write the word and have the child put the letters together to spell the word, like a puzzle.
- Magnetic Letters- Many use the fridge for these fun learning tools. I, myself, prefer using dollar store cookie sheets with the letters and so do my littles. We play “hide and seek” with the letters and the inexpensive cookie sheets make this portable and fun.
ENJOY! And as always, feel free to comment or email!