One of the core skills that most children will learn in a preschool program (like Family Ties Child Center) is fundamental letter recognition. Starting with visual identification and moving to physical letter formation, kids will learn the role of letters in language. One of the best ways to help kids grasp both letter formation and application is by providing lessons that engage the senses. Here are some tips for creating hands-on letter lessons at home to support your child's preschool learning.
Letters in the Clouds
Print out multiple sheets of letters in both upper and lower case. Create a solution of shaving cream and white glue with a mixture that's approximately four parts shaving cream to one part glue. Use a popsicle stick or something similar to lift little puffy "clouds" of the mixture onto a baking sheet or a silicone mat. Then, cut out the letters and place a letter on top of each cloud. Let it sit overnight so that the glue sets up in the mixture. Call out letters so that your child can squash the cloud with that letter on it. Kids will love the feeling of the mixture and the action of squashing the piles with their fingers.
Fishing in the Bathtub
Make bath time an opportunity for learning while encouraging water play. Foam letters are a great tool for enhancing letter recognition in the bath. Have your child "fish" for a letter using a large spoon or something similar. With each letter caught, have your child tell you what it is. If there's a letter your child can't identify, teach it again and put it back in the water. This kind of repetition and sensory engagement can help enhance retention.
What kid doesn't love an excuse to dig in something? Sensory bins are a great way to provide kids with different materials they can dig in, and hiding letters in those bins, you can engage your child in an excavation activity where he or she gets to discover the letters by digging them out. Choose foam or plastic letters, and bury them in a sandbox or a large, deep bucket of seeds or beans. Then, encourage your child to dig with his or her fingers, toy construction trucks or small shovels to find letters. Create a large mat where he or she needs to match the letter found in the bucket with a printed copy of that letter for even more letter recognition.
By making letter lessons interactive and engaging many of your child's senses, you can help reinforce that learning and build a foundation of academic success.