As we have our informal tot school, and by informal I mean we do a fair amount of free play, learning through play, pretend play, reading books, arts and crafts; sometimes I’ll try to sneak in a learning activity. But those learning activities are also play based, or at least have some element of play in them. I want to keep it simple enough for Squeaker and yet still with an element of challenge so she’s working on her skills. Things like fine motor, gross motor, letter identification, and that sort of thing. For Squeaker, this also means playing games and having learning activities that can be quick in nature or that she can come back to when her attention span allows for it. We’ll try for longer activities when she’s ready but for now, I can’t expect for her to sit at the table and do something unless it’s art. So, when I want to start a little letter recognition with her I bring out her bin of alphabet letters, alphabet blocks, and a few alphabet toys. I set those up on the floor for an easy letter matching activity.
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What we used:
- Wooden Alphabet Letters – use any that you like
- Leapfrog Letter spinner (to listen to how the letter is pronounced)
- Leapfrog Letters (we have the Letter Factory to match the letter)
After spreading out a blanket, I then put the wooden letters down. I put the smaller letters in a pile and let Squeaker go to work.
She used the letter factory lid to listen to the sound of the letter and before matching letters together, she would also trace the larger wooden letter with her fingertip.
We would also sing the alphabet song and when she looked up, I would also show her the sign for that particular letter. So we made this a multi-sensory learning experience.
I tried to keep this out for most of the day for her so she could return to it at will. After that though, I gathered up the letters and put them in a larger bin with her alphabet blocks. I’m going to add in a set of alphabet rubber duckies for an alphabet themed bin when we’re ready for more letter recognition activities.
Overall I want to keep these things fun and as interactive for her as possible. Her attention span is still on the short side, so I need to cater to that. Over time, we’ll increase the length of her activities but for now, we keep them short and sweet. Otherwise we just end up with a frustrated mom and toddler.