All parents want their children to excel at school! Your child can also excel even more at home. It’s as simple as helping instill in your child that learning is fun and you enjoy learning and working with them. It is a lightbulb moment! It is one that you and your child will look forward to repeating. So, put down the phone and flash cards and pick up some toys and letters to begin playing and learning!
Children need reinforcement at home that pairs with what they are learning in school. However, it should still be fun. Making play part of learning creates a lifelong love of learning. When children learn letters, typically the first letters they learn are the first letters of their name and their friend’s name. One way to reinforce learning letters while having sensory fun is by incorporating a sensory bin and the letters that you want to use to find and match on a mat and a sensory object. For instance, for the name Sophie you would need the letters S O P H I E possibly in magnetic letters, and a shape of some sort that you can write the letters or trace the letters inside the shape.
This reinforces the letter as you talk about it when your child hunts for it, while also building strength in their fingers as they pinch the tongs/tweezers to pick up the letters and visual discrimination. We used one bin with wheat berries and one bin with rice as we talked about the Little Red Hen and grinding wheat berries to make flour. It was cold weather at the time, so we used a mitten shape. We could have also used a big hen. As you can tell, the bins are just recycled containers. You can use any type container as a sensory bin and include any contents you prefer. Identifying letters would be a skill in Emergent Reading standard F3c Recognizes almost all letters.
Exploring and creating patterns can be a fun activity to play with your child. Start by choosing some of your child’s favorite things. Arrange them in an AB pattern and see if your child can continue the pattern. Possible AB patterns could be: Car Truck Car Truck, or Doll Puppy Doll Puppy. While you have a snack, an AB pattern could be Apple Banana Apple Banana. As you lay out the pattern, say each item out loud as you go and then pause and look at your child to see if he/she can guess which one is next. Before you know it, your child will master AB patterns and be ready for a more complex pattern. Patterns are a part of mathematical thinking in the Florida VPK Standards C1 and C2; C3 standard is for a more complex pattern such as ABC patterning. Which standards does this meet for your state?