Getting familiar with the ABC

I do not want to brag, but yes… a little I do. E. is so  interested in the letters and the ABC that, I do not exaggerate if I say, within a year or two she’ll be reading. In this blog post I would like to collect some fun activities we’ve been doing with the ABC.

-Videos/Songs

The very first favourite. E. was watching this video her mouth agape in amazement when she was 8-10 months old.

Phonics Song 2

The traditional one is always the best (Upper- and lowercase)

A song about how to pronounce the letters – Phonic Song:
Since the age of 2 we have been watching a lot of Mother Goose Club songs:

She could watch it all the time. Sometimes she wants to watch them all day (if I let her).

Magnetic alphabet

I bought the first set of magnetic alphabet when E. was about 18 months old. She loved them at once.
First it was just one pack of upper case letters. We used it on the fridge, but the letters always fell under it. So I had a magnetic word game at home (for adults, the letters are too tiny for little children) and I started to use one of its steel boards (You can also use a steel tray or a magnetic whiteboard)

Then I bought another pack of both upper- and lower case letters later when we started making up words at about the age of 20-22 months. (Frankly, we don’t really use the lower case letter yet – age 2,5 years)

At the very beginning we just put together the alphabet from A to Z. We sang the ABC song and/or the phonic song while arranging the letters.

Adding the missing letters to the alphabet with Daddy

I told her words starting with certain letters, like  E. for her name or D for daddy, M for mummy, A. is for our nanny’s name etc. As time passed I added some more words, such as E. is for elephant, egg, or A is for apple, ant and so on, not just names. I always tried to include things that she knew or she was really interested at that time. Within a few days she was the one who said the words: – B is for ball and bubble.

Next, we made up short words she was already familiar with.
Daddy, Mummy, M. (our dog), dog, cat, yes, no, hat, rat, egg, bat and so on. I have no intention to teach her how to read. She is the one who, from time to time, comes to me with the letters to play with. She’ll work it out by herself.

Matching game with the magnetic letters

What you need:

  • letters (magnetic, felt, play dough, cut out from cardboard, drawn on bottle tops)
  • plastic surface (e.g.: whiteboard, but I used an A/4 sheet that I spoiled while laminating. 
  • markers (not permanent!!!)
  • sponge or tissues to wipe the surface if you want to reuse it
I put the letters of these words mixed in a little container 

E. came and emptied the container.

And matched the letter. The interesting thing was that I didn’t need to tell her toe start from left to right.

She wanted to do it with our nanny, too.
When she got bored with it I wiped the surface off and at another time I made a new one with: yes, no, love, sun, hot, rat as you can see it in the photo.
She had to start with her letter, E.

 It was summer time we last did this activity, and now sometimes she “reads” letters on her clothes or, some book’s title.

Search for the letters – sensory bin (autumn)

What you need:

  • a container
  • bark (you can buy it in a packet at animal stores)
  • small object connected to autumn in some ways (berries, grapes, apples, pears, twigs, conkers, pumpkins, leaves etc. What I did was I chose 1 bunch of grapes made of plastic, 2 apples made of felt, 3 golden leaves, 4 pumpkins made of felt, 5 real conkers.)
  • letters (wooden, foam, felt, magnetic, whatever) of A-U-T-U-M-N
  • a sheet of the object and the letters of autumn shown
Throw the bark into the container and hide all your chosen objects in the bark. Put the sheet in front of your child and whenever they find something among the bark, place them in the right group, or if it’s a letter, then on the right letter.

And the search can begin.

This activity gives you and your child plenty of opportunity to talk about not only the letters, but also colours, autumn fruit, trees, leaves and berries, and in this case numbers too.

I still have several activities, but I’ll need to come back with them in another post. Try them, enjoy them and let me know how they worked out.

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At night

Teething is a hard period both for mommy and baby. Still, some sleepless nights are spent with a little English.

It started two months ago when E. first started to call me in English at night. Her tooth didn’t let her sleep, so she cried out for Mommy: – Mommy, coming, E. get out.
When I went in I asked her in English what the problem was. She replied in English: – Drink.
So I gave her water. Then when she stopped drinking, said: – Enough. She also asked for her Doggie and nappy, which she always sleeps with, in English.

So after this experience, whenever she wakes up during the night and asks for me to go into her room I use the language (either Hungarian or English) she talks to me. (It’s about 50-50%)

She’s had some funny night comments since we “speak” in English during the night:

  • She is so heavy it is easier for me to hold her while we are sitting in the rocking chair. I was holding her once and she said: – Not comfy. Then I changed her position and she was satisfied.
  • Another night I was holding her but she wanted to get away from me, and when I asked her what she wanted, she pointed to the floor and said: – Dummy, there.
  • I was singing to her one night – English songs -, but when I wanted to sing something else she said: – No, no. Every time I wanted to sing something else she said no-no. So I had to sing two songs for half an hour:

    Lavender’s Blue

          Stars shining (I couldn’t attach the video but you can find it on youtube if you search for “Stars shining – a lullaby”

Mind you, I do not talk to her during the night if it is not necessary, but sometimes a little communication is important, and if we do not sleep at least we have a little language practice.

More flashcards – clothes, dogs, birds and more

I coloured the clothes flashcards, but that was the end. I’m not going to colour more cards… I’ve had enough. So I asked D. to have them printed on the way home from work. And here they are!
I just needed to laminate and cut them up. It was easy-peasy. What’s more, they look more professional 😉

So here are some ideas what to do with the clothes cards:

  1. just show them one by one saying their name
  2. show the real items and match them with the card (once I lay down and E. put the clothes cards -the items I was wearing- on me. It was a little chill-out time for me 🙂 this is why I have no picture of this activity)
  3. group them according colour, sex or where we put them on (upper-body/lower-body, feet etc.)
  4. put together matching outfits: white and red hat, red jumper, blue jeans and red boots or orange blouse, yellow skirt and brown sandals (she got some weird combinations too: bra, slippers, tights).
  5. select the ones you can wear in the swimming pool, or what daddy wears at work, what we wear when it rains etc. – kind of situational usage of clothing

I was fed up saying “It’s a doggy” while we were walking in the street and saw different breeds of dogs. It must be strange for a child to see a Westie and a Bernese Mountain dog and hear that Mommy calls both of them a dog.

And what we do with the doggie cards:

  1. just show them one by one and say their names
  2. identify the size, colour and length of their fur
  3. group them according to colour, having a tail or not, met them in our area or not
  4. give them dog names (we have the picture of our dog, M. and at Grandma’s place she’s got a plush dog called Bobby, and a sleeping toy called Morzsi, so after naming all the dogs we know we give the other dogs different names. We’ve got a lot of Bobbies, some Georges – after Peppa Pig’s brother etc.)
  5. pat and stroke (E. picks few dogs and pat them or stroke them, nowadays she started to kiss everybody and everything, so the dogs cannot miss her kisses)

Bird cards: – we haven’t used them, but I plan the following activities:

  1. just show them one by one saying their name
  2. identify the colours on them
  3. listen to the sounds they make on youtube (I put together a playlist on youtube with the sounds of the birds – She loved the sound of jays so much she laughed out loud)
Bird cards in autumn light

    Household appliances:

    I cannot add anything new to the activities we do with these cards. Sometimes E. takes the washing machine card to our washing machine and throws it inside. 🙂

    Insects:

    The ‘nice’, not too disgusting insects

    I have made some more cards in the topics we already had as well as new ones. E. loves them but gets bored of them quickly (she knows all the dogs and clothes already…) so we have baby objects, furniture, vehicles and famous building flashcards too. If I have time I’ll take photos of them too. However, we do the same things with them. And there are more to come: tools, kitchen utensils, geographical features, famous people, paintings – just to mention some which are on my mind.

      What’s the weather like?

      The weather is getting more and more changeable. So here is how we deal with it.

      I found some really inspirational ideas on this blog about displaying what the weather is like in a child’s room. So I’ve made it myself too, but I’ll do the date and days later on, introducing them gradually, just like the feelings.

      In the mornings we look out of the window (She points at the window and says “window”) and look at the sky. I tell her if it’s sunny or cloudy, rainy or windy.

      First, I drew some of the weather features on the window pane with special Crayola Window Crayons On the other window we have some other pictures: a butterfly, some fruits and bugs etc. E. loves to look at these as well, so I don’t want to wipe them.

      To make the weather display a little bit more interactive, I made this:

      I printed the weather pictures from this blog and laminated them.

       After that I glued them on  special magnet sheets that can be cut (and one side is sticky).

      We had this old and rusty steel tray (lucky I didn’t throw it away) and its back served as the display surface.  (With two sided sticky tape I fixed it on the wall.)

      I put green and yellow stripy electrical tape on the sides because of the rusty edge. I placed the weather board in the living room next to E.’s toy boxes and books. I wrote: Today it’s … and E. is … with a permanent marker.

      Location

      Every morning after looking out of the window and checking the weather (“It’s rainy today” or “It’s sunny, but there are some clouds in the sky”, “Look at the trees, it’s very windy today” etc.) we go to the display and E. puts on the weather signs and how she feels (mostly happy). She needs time to understand the concept of changing weather and feelings (I have more heads showing feeling I’ll add them gradually)

      First, she put all the magnets everywhere, but the time will come when she can do it on her own without my help.

      When we have time and the weather changes we go back to the display and add or change something if it’s necessary. She enjoys it a lot. Whatever involves magnets, she is into it.

      

      Final result

      Days and the date are coming soon.