Fun ways to learn the Alphabet: Say A, the Fun Way!
Hope you have gone through this article to understand why we should teach alphabets to our toddlers in more interesting ways than just saying, A - for Apple!
Let’s start with the letter ‘A’ straightaway!
Letter Aa Activities:
All the activity trays and the objects we used here are phonetically compliant. Meaning for letter A, I set out trays with objects like an apple, ant, and astronaut. But not an “Airplane”, as the phonetic sound of letter A is “Aah” and the child needs to learn these letter sounds, to be able to confidently read later.
Shelf trays / works:
1. Tracing work:
Tracing the letters using sand tray / salt tray or sandpaper letters is a great way to start pre-writing exercise.
Sandpaper letters are a great tool to learn the sound and shape of the letters of the alphabet. They help to gain a muscular memory of the shape of the letters as a prelude to the actual writing. The child can trace the letters using his index and middle finger.
There are many brands in India that sell the sandpaper letters online. I have found the best quality, budget ones from these brands - Kidken, Eduedge, Kidomontessori
These you can find on amazon, flipkart, firstcry. Always do a price comparison before buying in order to get the best deal ;-)
At this point, we also like to review the upper case and lower case letter A.
2. Another fun activity to learn uppercase letter A formation is by using popsicle sticks. You can even go for a nature walk, ask your child to collect some twigs and leaves, and form the letter A using the natural materials!
Alternatively, you can also use play dough / clay to help your child form the letters. I always recommend such activities over directly asking the child to trace or write the letters on a worksheet.
3. Letter of the week folder: Here, I have created a folder with picture cards of objects starting with letter sound “aah”. You can download this and all the other printables from my Blog for free.
4. Cutting work and sorting of uppercase & lowercase letter A: For this activity, I simply wrote several uppercase letter A’s on a strip of a paper, and several lowercase letter a’s on another strip of paper. The child can then cut the letters and sort them!
5. Apple play dough activity: We used red clay as apples and put them on a tree template. This is such a great fine motor skill as the child learns how to make little red balls. We took this one step further by doing counting work, too!
6. Apple stamping – painting: Such a fun art activity – just cut an apple in half, insert a fork and ta da your apple stamper is ready! Let the child dip this in various paints and stamp on paper!
7. A is for Astronaut: Here we created few astronomy-themed puppets using popsicle sticks and picture cards (the printable to which you can find n my blog). We also learnt about fun space facts!
8. Letter A Discovery box: For this, I simply used a shoe box, made a hole in center and added various objects starting from letter sound “aah” – an apple, ant, antelope, alligator etc. We removed one object at a time, spoke about it and kept them in a basket. A great sensory and language activity!
9. A is for animals: so we did a quick sorting game of farm & jungle animals.
10. Apple Seriation Puzzle: We also enjoyed this quick puzzle. This one is form the brand called Little Genius.
I like to set up our activities on our Montessori shelf. The activities are presented in tray / basket. This really helps the child to enjoy the works better without really getting overwhelmed.
Some quick tips to make learning more enjoyable:
1. Don’t start out with too many activities at a time.
2. Try one or two activities and see how your child likes them. Follow the child, their cues, their interest level and accordingly tweak the activities.
3. Gently encourage the child to keep the tray / activity back in its place after it’s done. Or offer them to help you do it.
4. Be ready for mess, activities been neglected (or even abused!). This just tells that maybe the activity is too easy or too difficult, or the child simply isn’t interested. Re-introduce after few weeks.
5. Believe in your child. For them play is learning, play is work, play is serious! We very often underestimate this quality. A prepared, de-cluttered, beautiful and an inviting “play” space works wonders! Encourage free play, exploration and creativity. Do not push the child. Let him self-learn. Be there as a guide / facilitator!
6. And lastly, have fun with your child. Toddlers and Preschoolers have this amazing will to know, explore and learn. And we as parents can help their quest of absorbing whatever interests them!
This is how our Letter A set up looked like.
However you do not need a Montessori shelf at home to display the activities. We started off our Montessori journey with few simple activities displayed on our TV Unit. So make do with whatever you have at home. You can bring out couple of activities every day to begin with.
You can check my video below for more details on the activities and to get a sense of how this all looks. You will also get the link to my blog in the video from which you can download the printables.
Have fun while you learn with your toddler! Stay tuned for the activities on ‘B’ next week.
If you are new to this series, do not forget to check all the letters we have covered in the past: Letter B, Letter C, Letter D, Letter E, Letter F, Letter G, Letter H,Letter I, Letter J, Letter K, Letter L, Letter M, Letter N, Letter O
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