This to some may seem like he is just playing around, but he is actually building preliterate skills. He also plays with bath letters, or fridge magnets.
So many times, things I want to write about go unheard for long periods of time while I let him do his own exploration of the written and spoken word.
There are many toys and activities you can do to help build your child’s preliteracy/literacy skills, other than letting him at your keyboard, here are just a few:
Read daily – there is nothing more important than reading to your child when they are young, starting at birth. Even if you only have picture books, you can describe whats going on and convey they pictures have meaning. Later they will see printed words and realize, printed word has meanings that relate to the pictures.
Create a Print Rich Environment – this simply means, label everything, at their eye level. Door, Wall, Couch, Chair etc. Label it, take time when you are near the word to show it to your child, “this says wall, this is the wall (and touch the wall)” this will teach your child words have meaning in print in the real world
Alphabet – have available letter manipulative such as I described above, fridge magnets, or bath letters. When your children are older, you can get word magnets. They can mix and match letters and practice their sounds in independent play. Work with your child, make up games, sing songs about the sounds in your together time. Other manipulative can be ABC cookie cutters in play dough, texture letters from the teacher store etc
Flash Cards – sounds silly, but it works, you can get in expensive flash cards from most teacher or toy stores. Take 5- 10 minutes (what your child can sit through) and go over the letter and sounds. If they have the patents see if they will trace the letter with their finger.
Typewriters – Save your computer keyboard, go to a thrift shop and get an old type writer (you can still get ink ribbons at staples I recently learned). Your child will be getting so much kinetic (physical) sensory from this. Normally with old machines you have to push down pretty hard (builds fine motor). You build a physical connection in the brain with the hard tap, an auditory with the click and a visual with the seeing the actual letter appear. It is the ultimate experience in letter assembly .
Pencil and Paper – Let your child practice writing those letters she is practicing. They may ask for your help (which is normal, and expected) and do hand over hand. In the beginning it will just be hash marks, lines and squiggles, but in their eyes they are making words. If you want you can dictate a note behind, beside or on a sticky pad for your memory down the road
I hope these few tips and idea’s help with building your child’s imagination while building literacy skills! My son enjoys these toughly. If you have a fun activity you do with your child. Please share with us below in the comments section, I would love to hear them.