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! 😉

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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