We’ve been focusing sporadically on Br’s (4 y/o) letter & phoneme (letter sounds) recognition, as seen here and here. We do “talk” about them a lot- trying to help Br isolate beginning sounds & rhyming games/songs, but generally pretty casually and as it organically comes up.
Today while we were in our backyard and I was trying to beat the dust out of our door mat*, Br pulled out some sidewalk chalk and started coloring on our pavers. I remembered reading this idea of Teach Mama’s this summer, and thought “hmm, can I throw some sneaky alphabet practice into this?” My door mat abuse could wait…
So I asked Br a question guaranteed to get his interest:
“Hey Br, want to play a game?”
beat. Interested kid moves closer. “What?”
“Want to play…(special secret surprise voice)… Alphabet Hop?”
“How do you play it?”
There was some discussion on whether to do “big” letters or “little” letters. We finally just decided to do both. And whether he wanted to do letter sounds or “names”. We did both of those too.
We don’t have enough pavers for each letter to be on its own, so we doubled back when we reached the end.
Br did multiple passes, hopping on each letter. I alternated rounds between singing the Alphabet song (changing the ending to “…next time won’t you Alphabet Hop with me!”), or making the letter sound, as he stepped on the letters.
He definitely started to get worn out after a while, and then started to kind of skip/run. This made it a lot faster, and made him skip some letters. I still tried to keep up with saying the word sound of whatever he was landing on as he did it, which ended up in a whole lot of quick nonsense syllables. Both boys found this HIL-A-RIOUS.
Bl (18 mo) thought is was sooo funny, he had to take a run at it too. It’s hard to keep your phonemes straight at sprinting toddler speed. But somehow, I don’t think he was focusing that much on the visuals…
Br finally got tired enough of going back and forth on the alphabetized pavers, he announced he was now going to show me “Alphabet Baseball”.
I was determined to sneak in a little more learning, and he HAD named it “Alphabet Baseball”, so I had him think of a word that started with the letter sound the baseball first landed on.
All in all, turned out about as awesome as I could hope for. Rock on, Alphabet Hop…Run, Baseball!
*no door mats were harmed in the making of this post