Forcing the Bloom

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Toddler Letter Activities

I am always working on letters with my toddler (almost 3 years old).  The general learning pattern so far has been 1.) identify letters and the phonetic sounds 2.) learn beginning sounds of words 3.) learn to sound out words and 4.) learn ending sounds of words.  Sounding out the ends of words is still very challenging.  Even though he is learning to sound out words, we still go back and focus on specific letters to encourage mastery.  It is very motivating for him to work on things that stretch his learning as well as things that he has mastered.  And of course, the number one learning activity for letters is READING out loud together!  We read everyday and visit the library every week.  Here are some shelf work ideas involving LETTERS.

How are you teaching letters and early reading to your little ones?

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Letters and Numbers For Toddlers and Pre-K

Here are some letter and number activities that we enjoyed this week.

MATH: COUNTING BEARS

Counting bears (purchased used on Amazon) are a great activity and can be used in many different ways.  When I first introduced them to B, I only put out a few bears and only two colors.  Now, at 2 1/2 years old, he gets all of them.  And, yes, they go all over the place.  I think he enjoys the sounds of them falling and the feel of them as he mixed them around.  At this age, he enjoys when I have the bear “talk” to him.  He smiles and helps the bears find their “home” in the right color cup.  We count and sort the bears.  I ask him to hand me a certain number of bears or we see how many can ride the train or fit in the airplane.  We do basic addition – one yellow bear + two blue bears = ?  Although I also give him plenty of time to do whatever he wants with the bears, we usually do these activities together.

LETTERS / PHONICS: NAME & BEGINNING LETTERS SOUNDS

B also enjoyed pouring the alphabet into an empty orange juice container and opening and closing the lid.  A BIG hit was spelling out his name was magnet or wooden pieces.  And he does very well with sounding out the beginning of words and matching the letters.  I hold two objects, such as animals, in my hand ask which starts with a certain letter.  You can do this anywhere – like playing eye spy.  It’s a great game for the car or, in our case recently, the subway.

Happy Labor Day!

 


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Activities for Toddlers

Here are some activities on our Montessori-inspired shelf this week.  B (25 months) is working on mastering numbers 1-10 and new vocabulary words.  We are working on number values (not just memorizing the numbers).  Sorting and number graphs help explain numbers values.  Check out www.shelfwork.com for some great ideas and printouts.  We also have fun counting random things around the yard or house.  B is also working on mastering the alphabet phonetically.  The letter activity allows practice with letters out of order to assist with mastery.  We are consistently work on beginning sounds of words and then finding the corresponding letter.

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Time to be in the garden!  We had fun planting flowers and herbs this week.  B has fun watching our strawberries turn from green to red.  He is learning to be gentle with flowers and general body control.  What is okay to pick and how do we care for plants (and animals)?  We talked about how the sun is hot and trees create cool shade.  We observed birds and had fun listening for them even when we couldn’t see them.  What do you talk about with your  toddler when you are outside or on a walk?

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Learning Letters

My 22 month old is working on letter recognition and phonics.  We have letter activities all around the house.

B thinks it is hysterical when I pretend that our foam letter “H” is very hot.  I toss it up in the air and yell “hot, hot, hot!”  He wants me to do it over and over again.  And I do.  B has “H” and the word “hot” down solid because we made it a fun game to learn the letter “H”.  Now if we could just figure out “cold”.  It took me awhile to realize that B was saying “hot” and meaning “cold” when the weather turned cold and things like his car seat were very cold.

The point is that we try to make our letter activities a fun game.  This week we matched magnet letters in a muffin pan and integrated letters into the felt board.  B loves playing with his felt board.  I recently bought a set of felt vehicles.  I wasn’t sure how to make it a letter learning activity until this week when we talked about the first letter of each vehicle.  I wrote the letter on our chalk board and then B found it on our alphabet sheet.  B was very excited to find the letters.

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Here are some of our other letter activities around the house.  On our shelf I put out a small mirror with a few magnet letters on top.  B likes laughing at himself in the mirror.  We talked about the letter sounds that he found on the mirror.  Sometimes I hide letters in the purse shown next to the mirror.  B is working on zipping as well.
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I have a basket of large foam letters.  I put the letters out on the floor and B finds the letters as I call them out.  I ask him to stand on the letters or hand them to me.

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We have a basket of small foam letters in the bathtub, along with numbers.  B likes it when I line letters up on the side of the tub and ask him to find them.  When he finds the right letter he throws it in the water and we yell “bye, bye D” or whichever letter we’ve picked.

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Finally, like many families, we have magnet letters on the side of the refrigerator.  We also have a LeapFrog Letter magnets.  I have two set of alphabets for matching.  Sometimes I make a short word on the frig and B matches letters underneath mine.  I will also trace the letters onto an index card or piece of paper and B will fit the letters into my traces.  I try to put a picture of the word next to the word.  If the word is mom, I’ll put a picture or me.  Or if the word is sun, I’ll put up a foam or sticker sun.

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You can also make Letter Tubs and Letters with salt or sand.

What are your favorite letter activities?

 

 


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Montessori Toddler Activities

Here are some Montessori-inspired toddler activities that we are enjoying this week.  The activities including a focus on math, sorting (early math), art mixed with language, music, practical life and more specific language activities.  We are working on letter recognition and phonics.  And we are working on number recognition 1-5 and the basic concept of numbers.  Sometimes B (22 months) will seem to understand numbers and sometimes he won’t.  If he isn’t “into it” on any given day, I just move on.  B loves transportation and construction vehicles, so I integrated that into our art and language activities.

Here is a snapshot of our playroom and shelf this week.  Below are a few of the activities.

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Here is a number activity.  We enjoy placing the numbers 1-5 on our felt board and in the bathtub with foam numbers.  Here I chose to highlight the number “4”.  This tray has several different ways of showing the number “4”.  B loves the counting lizards from Melissa & Doug.

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Here is a basic sorting activity.  I am always so pleased with myself when I find a new way to display a sorting activity.  I found this little art bucket in Target.  It’s light and easy for B to carry.  Here he will place the blue popsicle sticks on one side and the yellow sticks on the other.  He loves it!

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Here is an art activity.  I added a small printout of transportation pictures.  I actually snagged this from Chik-fil-a!  It’s an eye-spy road game that came in his kids’ meal.  B enjoyed coloring the pictures as we talked about them and then we put down transportation stickers.

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Here is a language activity of sorts.  It’s more about vocabulary than learning to read.  They are sort of conversation starters and from there we talk about other things relating to the cow and butterfly, like where we saw a cow or butterfly and what they eat and the sounds they make.

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This last activity is simply a music basket.  I usually have a basket of musical instruments out for B to play with.  I rotate the instruments almost every week.  I swear I find my husband playing with them more than B, so I guess it’s for the whole family.  We go to a toddler music class once a week too, which is fun.  B is one of the first toddlers to jump up and put things away.  Otherwise, he’s shy and quiet (like mom).  The teacher noted the Montessori approach they use to set up and clean up!  She noted last week that the class had “normalized” meaning that they had mastered the concept of taking instruments out of the basket and returning them (without a fuss) at the end of a song.  Montessori is everywhere!

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Spinach and Butternut Squash Enchiladas!

I’m very excited to share my friend’s recipe for Spinach and Butternut Squash Enchiladas!  This mama is an amazing cook, so check out her blog Stupendous Strouts.  She’s especially great at baking and designing very cool birthday cakes.  She also has gluten free recipes like one for Chocolate Chip cookies.  In addition to cooking, she’s also very crafty!  I love her Letters craft with bright, colorful buttons.  I’m not sure how this mother of three gets it all done but I’m looking forward to seeing what she’ll make next!  🙂

Stupendous Strouts:

Stupendous Strouts

Stupendous Strouts Craft