Not all children are interested in school-type work. Learning the letters of the alphabet does not appeal to all kids. But there are ways to engage reluctant children in learning activities. Hands-on materials capture attention and motivate. Voices practiced letters of the alphabet, yesterday. Today, fingers get a turn. Play-dough or plasticine are just right. Did you know that one lump of play-dough can make all the letters of the alphabet? Amazing! Beautiful! Clever! D…you get the idea. Roll some long shapes and bend them to make the letters–the capital or upper case ones, first. Doing all 26 at a time requires a great deal of patience so break the task up into a few letters now and more later. Make some favorite letters. One time, do the letters round. Another day, do them again and make them flat. Sometimes skinny, sometimes fat, sometimes plain, or fancy.. like that. Learning the letters is easier when it’s fun.
When children arrive in kindergarten and throughout the year, they will be doing all kinds of alphabet activities with their teachers. Children who have some familiarity with letters and sounds even before starting school are much more capable to tackle these tasks. Some programs assess children’s alphabet knowledge as part of evaluating readiness for school. For the next few days, I’ll highlight some alphabet activities that you can do at home as part of whatever you are already doing. These will help you prepare your child for kindergarten.
Here is a super easy idea to get you started. Sing the ABC song. Now, add some fun and reinforce the learning–sing it using a Papa Bear voice, deep and growly. Squeak it in a baby bear voice. Try a robot voice and march all stiff like one when you sing it. Make scary faces and use a cackly witch voice. Take a deep breath and let it out like opera. Imagine an air guitar and jump around like a rock star–isn’t that right, Mr. Craig Duswalt? Dance around and let the letters fly in the air. At bathtime, bubble and sing. Adding a few yawns and a sleepy voice can even turn it into a bedtime lullaby. This doesn’t all need to be done on the same day!! The intent is to learn and have fun at the same time and maximize your child’s chance for kindergarten success.