Ideal Age: 3.5 years – 6.5 years
It is fascinating to see our children grow through their different phases and one such thrilling phase is when they begin to put words together into sentences. Next, they begin picking up sounds of letters to make more sense out of them.
In simple words, learning Phonics is about learning the sounds of each letter so that they can be put together to make a word. This means that instead of rote learning CAT with the letter C, A, T, the child would learn to ‘develop’ the word CAT by saying the sound of each letter as in C-A-T. Today we will learn simple exercises to boost your child’s phonic awareness in powerful ways.
ACTIVITY ONE: The first step is to get your child interested in the alphabet per se. We need a magnetic surface and magnetic letters. Place toy letters on the fridge top or a magnetic surface to attract your child’s attention. Playing A-B-C nursery rhymes and showing them letters in their environment makes them more aware that letters give meaning to our world. When we are waiting for our train ride, or parking at the airport, my daughter and I have fun playing I Spy and spotting letters.
ACTIVITY TWO: We need lots of blank white paper, a dark color marker, and some cello tape. We are going to write names of simple objects around the home and then stick the paper on that object. E.g. Write DOOR in big bold letters and tape the paper on any door. Same with Fridge, Wall, Chair, Table, and so on; this helps your child associate words and letters to objects in their environment and learn spellings at a later stage.
ACTIVITY THREE: We need some wooden plain blocks, (preferably rectangular) and a marker. Along with your child, write the name of each of your family members on a block. Encourage your child to place that name block on the dining table assigning each family member a place to sit. This way the child learns to spell names and gets more involved in mealtime preparation.
Another alternative: take more blocks and write one letter on one block to spell out names of all family members. This is an advanced version in name spelling and can create a lot of fun for your child especially if s/he likes challenges.
Below you can see I have used the same block to write both words on opposite sides. This way my daughter learns the spelling of and associates both the words. Similarly, you can take 3 cubes and write M on one, O on the other and M on the 3rd one to help them spell it out literally by themselves.