Guest blogger Sarah Noftle of How Wee Learn shares creative letter building activities for handy kids and little learners!
I have come to learn, over my 10 years as a teacher, that there are a thousand ways to help children learn their letters. And I am quite sure that there are a thousand more ways that I do not even know about yet.
This is such fabulous news for all those little learners! We now know so many ways to help every kind of learner master those ABCs.
My youngest is a very hands-on learner (as I think most little ones are) and we have been having so much fun using our Melissa & Doug workbench to form letters!
After the initial motorcycles and race cars were crafted – which were also completely full of learning – I simply couldn’t resist throwing in a little bit of alphabet letter forming as well.
We began this letter building extravaganza with a bit of sorting. We had to figure out which letters could be formed with the wooden pieces from our toolkit. Benjamin used our Melissa & Doug jumbo abc chunky puzzle to sort, between the curved letters and the straight letters.
He looked through the alphabet puzzle and found all of the straight edge letters. This was a great way for us to review the letter names and sounds.
After we had pulled out all of the straight edge letters, we began building!
Benjamin loves using the screws and screwdriver and was very eager to get started. This made him eager to form the letters – and when a child is eager and engaged, learning really sticks.
When Ben focused on screwing in each screw at every angle, he was really focused on how that particular letter was formed.
He knew that an ‘A’ was made up of two long straight lines and one smaller straight line. He also knew that he needed three screws to connect the ‘A’ together. That is a lot of information he discovered about that one letter!
The learning continued over a long period of time. When we were nearing the end of our wooden pieces the challenges grew!
Now Ben had to carefully examine how many pieces, and of what size, would be needed to form a letter and compare that to the pieces he had left. Tricky, tricky, tricky! But because he was so engaged in this activity he was absolutely up for that challenge.
I know that children learn best through play, and I am mindful to give my little ones oodles of time for open ended play! A secret benefit of watching my kids play is finding fun ideas for teaching them their letters and numbers using toys and games that they are interested in.
If you have a little builder at home, perhaps this idea would be just right for you too!