My son and the little boy I look after are almost 3 and a half (where does the time go?!). The little girl I watch will be 3 in a few months. They all love books. They enjoy having me read to them, they like to flip through books themselves, and lately they’ve been “reading” to each other, which is beyond adorable.
My son is learning how to spell his name and likes to see it prominently featured on the fridge (ending with the number 3, since that’s “his number”) using our alphabet magnets. He has even written some rudimentary letters representing his name in my notebook.
Our little girl friend is really interested in the alphabet. Throughout the day she’ll go to our alphabet chart and touch and say the letters. She likes to line up several letter magnets and declare that she’s spelled her name or one of the boys’ names.
Needless to say, it’s the perfect time to build on the kids’ enthusiasm for letters and words by providing them with FUN, play-based literacy activities.
I set up this alphabet construction site in our big play table (made last year by my husband using scrap wood left over from other projects). The table sits at one end of the kitchen and I change its contents weekly or bi-weekly depending on how engaged the kids are with the activity.
Here’s a look at the whole set up. I loosely used the concept of an alphabet construction site (construction is always a popular theme around here!).
Besides having plenty of letters to push around and transport with the construction vehicles, this activity also includes a few extra elements to encourage letter recognition and also engage the hands and fingers in some fine motor work.
I put some of our wooden blocks on the table and stuck letter stickers on a few of them. An older child might make words with these. Since the focus for us was letter recognition, the stickers provided another way to play with letters and to identify them and talk about them while sticking them to the blocks and cans.
My son never tires of magnets so I included some cans that he painted and our magnetic fridge letters.
Peanut went immediately for the painted cans and magnetic letters, which are a mix of upper and lowercase.
Then he turned his attention to the little dumptruck and foam letters. This led to some great construction site pretend play.
Next he grabbed his mini kitchen tongs and spent a long while picking up the magnetic letters and dropping them into one of the cans and the little dumpster.
I loved seeing the pride on Peanut’s face when he found letters that he knew and then discovered that he could match them to the alphabet chart.
Our alphabet construction site has been set up for five days now and I am so pleased that the kids have been enjoying it as much as they have. They’ve been identifying letters, practicing letter sounds (with my help) and finding the first letter of their own names and each others’ names. Peanut repeatedly shows me his “favorite” letter, D for Daddy, every time he finds it.
More play-based early literacy activities:
How about more pretend play meets letter recognition in the form of Alphabet Soup?
Awhile back, I pinned a post from The Imagination Tree called Alphabet Rocks Construction Site. I’d encourage you to read it if you have construction fans in your house or classroom. It also includes some simple and fun letter games.
And for more fun and learning with magnetic letters, take a look at these fantastic posts from Connecting Family and Seoul (Morning Messages) and Fun-A-Day (Magnetic Letters – Sorting as a Way to Teach the Alphabet).
Be sure to follow my Early Literacy Pinterest board.
If this is your first visit to My Nearest and Dearest I’d love to have you follow along by subscribing by email (simply enter your email address in the box at the top right corner of our home page). You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ where we regularly share ideas for play based learning, connecting with your family, and good old-fashioned fun.
Thanks for reading!