I have been getting a lot of questions about when and how I started working on reading and writing with Evie, so I decided I would make a blog post about just that! I don't think that it is ever too early to start teaching letters and sounds to our littles. I mean, they know the ABC song by the time they are two, so whats the hold up? My kids LOVE letters, so it is always a fun and exciting for them when we work on our letters and sounds. For Christmas, I set up a “Literacy Station” for Evie (5) and I am going to share with you guys what I have included in that! We buy most of our learning tools and games from Lakeshore Learning Store. I seriously have to limit how often I go in there because I just want to buy everything in that store!! I love that they offer fun and exciting activities, games and toys that really serve a strong learning purpose. There are literally no “junk toys” in that entire store! If you have been following me for a while, you probably know that I cannot stand toys that don't serve a purpose or are just junk! All of the battery powered, plastic stuff just drives me crazy! We have a playroom FULL of toys and activities, but we only have once battery operated toy that I actually just bought for Rhett last week because I felt kind of bad that he literally had no toys! (oops… but his siblings are entertainment enough!) If you are wondering what the battery operated toy is… it’s right here! The Number Lovin’ Oven! I am not specifically crazy about this, but Rhett has really loved the music and opening the door, taking the food in and out, etc. We will hang on to it for a few months and then I am sure I will get tired of the songs and have to give it away! haha! But for now, enjoy it Baby Rhett! OK back to our Literacy Station!
1) Our favorite activity out of this bunch has been the Alphabet Mystery Box! I shared this on my story a few weeks ago and couldn't believe that amount of interested people showed for this activity! I had more questions on this that anything and have loved being tagged in your stories of your kids playing with their new Alphabet Boxes that you guys have since ordered! Basically, this activity comes with a game board that has the Alphabet on it and a box with various items A-Z. Your kids can take turns pulling out an item, labeling it, sounding out the beginning sound and then locating the letter that matches the sound. This is an incredible tool for early phonemic awareness! This activity also invites lots of language opportunities and can work as a wonderful speech tool. I specifically use this with Evie as we are working on “blowing our air” when making the “F” sound, and pursing our lips to form the “SHH” sound.
2) Another amazing early reading tool that we have is Lakeshore’s Build A Word Houses. These are the cutest building blocks that comes with various “roofs” that have a word on one side and the correlating picture on the other side. For younger children, you can use the word side and match the letter blocks to form the base of the house. For older kids, you can turn it to the picture side, and encourage your kids to sound out the word and find the letter blocks that then build the word. We are really enjoying this set, and I love how it grows with your kids. Rhett (12m) just plays with the blocks, Kerr (2.5) identifies the letters, and Evie (5) is working on building the words! Fun for all three babes!
3) To work on writing our letters correctly, we have been using the Trace and Write Alphabet Center. Evie LOVES to write! She will sit down and write everyone’s names on pieces of paper, fold them up and put them in envelopes and pass them out as the “mailman” all day long! However, some of her letters her done in her own, adorable, unique way that is hard for me to want to correct, but I figured it’s time. Her R’s literally give me life. They are the cutest and I was dreading correcting them, but ever since using this activity, she now has perfect R’s… which I love and hate at the same time, haha! With this activity, it comes with A-Z flash cards that show you how to write the letter, you can trace over the dotted lines in the direction of the arrows, then try it yourself on the flip paper to the right. To erase, you simple lift the flap and lower it back down! Evie and Kerr both enjoy this!
4) Lastly, we love the ABC learning locks! (SALE alert, only $25!) This has been a super fun way for my kids to learn their lowercase and uppercase letters, which can be tricky! This set comes with locks that have the uppercase letters A-Z on them, as well as a picture that matches the letter sound. You use the keys that are labeled with lower case letters a-z to unlock each one! (B lock with b key) For younger kids, I will take out A-E and the coordinating a-e keys to make it a little easier and ensure that they are successful! As the get older you can add more and more until they are abel to do the entire set at once! Such a great tool that we have had for quite a long time and my kids love it over and over again!
Lastly, I wanted to share with you a few other literacy items that we have on our “wish list” from Lakeshore. Hoping to add these to our collection over time!
3 Letter Building Puzzles - Evie's speech therapist uses these a lot with her, and I love the different learning functions they offer. (sounds, reading, puzzle building)
I Can Build Simple Words- I really want to get this one sooner than later! I think this would be a huge hit with Evie and it's also super cute!! Seems like a great tool for early word building!
Beginning Sounds Phonemic Awareness Box- I REALLY love this!! It is another activity for recognizing beginning sounds and matching the objects to the sounds. I have had this in my amazon cart for over a month now! I need to bite the bullet!!
Beginning Sounds Phonics Train- This is another beginning sounds activity, not as cute as the others because it doesn't have the tiny little items, it instead uses cards with a picture of the item on it. It may not be as cute, but it is just as effective and way less expensive than the others- so this could be a great one if you are looking to spend a little less, but still wants a great activity to practice those starting sounds!!
Make sure to sign up for Lakeshore's email listserve- they send out coupons every week-- so be sure to use one of those when you check out! Let me know if you have any questions about any of these learning tools! Happy reading and writing, everyone!!