Teachable Moments : Letters

Living with kids, we’re realizing that there are teachable moments all around us! So we’re turning them into a blog series. Example number 1 : BUGS!

I guess it was about a year ago, when Alex was just turning three, that we started to pay more attention to letters. It began with singing the alphabet and spelling his name, and then we started to help him identify the letters all around him : pointing out letters that we saw on daily adventures, spelling words on packages and in store windows, and it’s snowballed from there.

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Early on, we realized that we could minimize a lot of letter confusion if we just stuck to one case, and for now our focus is on uppercase letters. They’re everywhere! ūüėČ

And in this post I wanted to share¬†a few of the fun ways that we’ve increased the letter play in our house.

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The Cinnamon Schoolbook Cookies from Trader Joes are awesome. They taste great, and the container contains all of the letters as well as a few numbers. I keep a container of these in the car and they become my go-to snack if we’re out longer than expected and caught with empty bellies. The main game with Alex is just passing him a few and asking him to identify the letters and numbers by name.

I was out of the letter U the day I was taking the first pic, so Luc’s name was spelled with an O with the top chomped off… and that brings me to another fun game – when we’re eating pretzels, Alex will take calculated bites to try to form letters! It’s pretty cute and pretty abstract, but I love the creativity, and I think it stems from eating letters in other foods.

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My mom found the alphabet noodles in the photo above, and she’ll send us a bag every so often (I haven’t found them in any of the stores around us in CO). Just like the cookies, they contain all of the letters and a few numbers. The kids love to eat these with just butter and salt – perfect for still being able to identify the letters when eating. And I find that when Alex has a whole bowl of these in front of him, he’s more likely to try to spell a word, which can’t happen when I’m just giving him one or two cookies at a time.

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As far as non-edible letter fun goes, we realized that the Bananagram tiles are perfect for play. They are plain and uppercase. Win win! I’m sure scrabble would work too.

And below, Alex is showing off his skills at our letterboard. We keep this hanging in the kitchen with a fun saying on it, but whenever I’m going to change the phrase, I bring it down to the counter with a pile of letters and let Alex play.

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At first he was really into matching up the same letters in a row, but then we advanced to copying basic words. I’ll write words he’s interested in on an index card, and then he’ll find the letters and spell it on the board. It’s perfect for keeping him occupied while I work on dinner!

And beyond these “tools”, we’re big fans of reading, pointing out letters in everyday life, and answer Alex’s every question about how this or that is spelled.

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Podcast Suggestions {Earth Day Edition}

Hey party podcast people! Remember way back in January when we shared our goals for 2015? Well, one of mine was spreading the news about great podcasts. ¬†Maybe you listen to them and maybe you don’t, but after reading this you MUST. ¬†Podcasts are pretty nifty. I think of them like blogs for the radio. ¬†Some podcasts have huge budgets and a big staff and others are created by an individual out of their home office (or closet!). ¬†Plenty of podcasts are free and simply ask for donations if you really dig the program, but obviously you don’t have to give any money if you can’t spare it. ¬† Podcasts are really easy to download (for free!) and you can also subscribe to your favorites and they’ll automatically upload to your phone, computer or ipod each time there’s a new one. ¬†I find podcasts through iTunes, but if you use a different music program just do a quick google search and you’ll certainly find a tutorial about how to find, download and subscribe to podcasts.

I loveeee listening to podcasts because radio is awesome, but commercials suck! ¬†It’s also nice to be able to really control what you’re listening to in the car. ¬†I get so frustrated, annoyed and tired if I don’t have something good playing on the radio. ¬†I love music, but sometimes I want to learn something nifty in my spare time and podcasts are perfect for bits of information or unique perspectives on different topics. ¬†Today I’m going to share some recent interesting episodes that have a little something to do with the environment, ’cause ya know, earth day was yesterday and arbor day is tomorrow! Did you do anything special for yourself and our planet yesterday? ¬†I hiked to the top of Mount Sanitas and I won’t forget about it anytime soon – SO sore. Totally worth it of course!

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