It’s always the way, which do you concentrate on first or do you do them together, is there one that is more important to you initially? To make it fun or to sit and teach? Too many questions? I thought so too.
Here at pocketnannies we believe in the fun way! This matching letters or numbers activity is such a hit with my charge that I’ve just kept adding to it resulting in a multi dimensional, sensory, letter and number recognition game and maths skills task that I’m pretty proud of to say the least!
It has taken me a little time to build it up to what I have got to now but that has involved a lot of my OCD-measuring to the mm to make sure each card was the same size, precision colouring in and careful laminating. Please, just have fun making and doing it, you don’t have to be as precise as me.
Initially you need (to do the whole alphabet and numbers 1-20):
- 46 Multi Coloured envelopes
- 46 large lollipop sticks
- a large space to stick the envelopes (I used a radiator).
Letter (big and small together eg. Aa) 26 envelopes and number 20 envelopes on the back of the envelope normally where it would close. I used a repeating colour pattern to do this (you’ll see why later). Then write the alphabet (big and small) and numbers on the lollipop sticks, also using a similar repeated colour pattern.
Stick your letters or numbers up in your large space so that the envelopes look open. Like this:
Let your little one choose a lollipop stick, tell them the sound or number that is presented to you and get them to at least attempt to repeat it back to you. Then ask your child to put it in the matching envelope. *TIP* to begin with stand your little one in front of the block of letters/numbers that the one you are looking for is in. I found my charge was a bit overwhelmed with so many envelopes to begin with that he didn’t really know where to start looking.
- Instead of putting all envelopes together, sort them into colours and do the same with the corresponding lollipop sticks (There’s the use for the repeating pattern!). Doing it this way could benefit a beginner as I said before it can be overwhelming to see so many choices in front of you, so narrowing it down by the envelope colours can be a good starting point. It can also help a more advanced child by having the different groups and then you asking ‘can you find me the number 5 stick and then match it to its envelope’. Doing it this way gives them the opportunity to recognise the number and then match it to its envelope, not to mention follow a two point instruction!
- Make sensory letter/number cards by writing them out in glitter glue. Be generous in the amount of glue to get a good rise off of the paper! This is another great way to get children to recognise letters or numbers. It is also a useful tool when children are learning to form their letters/numbers as they can trace them with their fingers in the correct way.
- I had already made a number line and an alphabet for my charge combined into his two favourite things; diggers and trains. I added these into the game so he could put something he was slightly more familiar with into the envelopes.
- A little more advanced….Make pictures of an object beginning with every letter of the alphabet, either from the Internet or painstaningly draw, colour, cut, laminate and cut again (like myself!). Then ask your little one to pick a picture and see if they can tell you the letter it starts with. Then put in corresponding envelope. You can also do this with the numbers, make cards with dice dots on and ask child to pick a card, count the dots and put in correct envelope.
Things to talk about/bare in mind when doing this activity
- Even if you are doing the letter part of this activity, it is just swamping your little one with maths tasks again and again and again! 1) The language you use. I ask my charge “which one is the small/big letter?” When sorting the envelopes i ask “how many piles do we have?”, “how many in the pink/blue pile?” You are continuously using size and quantity vocabulary. 2) By putting envelopes into colour piles you are problem solving and sorting. 3) When putting the Letters or numbers into their corresponding envelopes you are matching, looking at patterns and formations. 4) If you include all the different types of cards all at once in one game you are repeating.
- For a slightly younger child or interested younger sibling this a good way of practising colours. And if not, a bit of revision never hurt!
- When sounding out the letters to your little one it is important to try and follow the patterns of words, sounds and actions that nurseries and schools use. These are called Jolly Phonics. For me, it’s definitely been a learning curve, I didn’t learn letters in the way children do now, so I’ve had to relearn! http://jollylearning.co.uk