When your kids are young, you want them to enjoy their childhood and worry about all that school learning later. But sending them off to a school with a little head start won’t hurt, will it? If your child is interested in learning about the alphabet and numbers, these are 7 activities that Sara Keli does with her pre-schooler to create fun and engaging learning at home.
ABC matching eggs
This is a good one for kids learning to recognise the matching upper and lower case letters. You will need 26 plastic eggs (they are usually available in craft stores around Easter or check eBay at other times of the year). Write the upper case letter on the top half of the egg and the lower case letter on the bottom half of the egg. Pull the two halves apart and then the task for your child is to match the correct halves together. You can also do this one with numbers. Write the number on the top half and then draw the corresponding number of dots on the bottom half.
Post it alphabet
This is another good activity for matching lower and upper case letters. Place 26 post it notes onto a large sheet of poster paper. On the post it notes, write the upper case letters of the alphabet. On the poster, underneath each post it note, write the corresponding lower case letter. Take off the post it notes and ask your child to place them over the top of the correct letter.
If you are teaching your child to recognise their name, or particular letters, this is a good one to increase their exposure to the word/letter. Write their name (or whatever word/letter you are teaching them) in large print on a piece of paper. Give them a sheet of stickers and ask them to put the stickers around each letter on the page. Who doesn’t love to stick stickers! You could also use this idea to create birthday cards for friends by doing the same activity on the front of a blank card.
Draw 10 circles on a piece of paper and number them from 1-10. Make the circles different sizes, starting with 1 as the smallest and 10 as the largest. Give your child a collection of objects such as buttons or pom poms and ask them to place the correct number of objects in each circle (e.g. 1 button in the circle labelled 1, 2 in the circle labelled 2 etc.). This is a good activity for counting and also for number recognition.
If you don’t have counting blocks, get a few pieces of Lego or Mega Blocks and number them from 1-10 with a black texta. Ask your child to build a tower with the blocks in the correct number order. If that is easy, ask them to build the tower starting with 10 so they can work on their skills in counting backwards. This is another activity that will help improve counting and number recognition.
Peg missing letters/numbers
On a paddle pop stick write a series of numbers, (e.g. from 8-14) but skip one or two numbers (leave a space for these). Write the missing numbers on a peg and pop them aside. Make a few of the paddle pop stick/peg sets and then ask your child to match them up. You can do this with numbers or letters and it helps them with recognising sequences and counting.
This can get a little messy so it’s only for the brave! If you have a sand play table that would work equally well. Place some flour (or sand/breadcrumbs, whatever you have) on a plate. Pat it out and ask your child to trace letters or numbers with their finger. It’s fun, sensory and they are learning at the same time. Maybe just do it outside to limit the clean up.
Sara Keli is the Editor of Kid Magazine. When she isn’t writing, designing or creating, you can find her enjoying the sunshine on her back deck with her two daughters or escaping into a good book.