There are these lists all over the internet about what your child should know, when. You should forget those lists. I did. There are random, random lists that told you a three year old should know everything from putting their clothes away to writing their name. Every kid is different – some are interested in learning, some aren’t. Some kids whiz through iPad apps while others are more interested in playing outside.
The fridge letters were there, large and ready to be played with. It started out sorting the letters into their specific colors and then she became interested in ‘her letters’. Now, she’s able to identify 22 of the letters and is actively looking for the letters on signs and products. Fridge letters peaked the interest in letters and words. They’re one of the most played with toys and this large set came from The Princess and the Pea. If she’s in a running kind of mood, we’ll do alphabet drills where we’ll encourage her to run to the fridge find a certain letter and come back. Two birds, one stone.
When teaching her the letters, she knew who they were associated with or what they were before she knew their names. She knew that J was ‘Daddy’s letter’ and V was ‘Violet’s letter’ and that ‘this is like Planet’. To me, this seemed a bit backward but it was helpful in learning the sounds that the letter made.
We started introducing themes of the letters when she was bored with me trying to teach her the letters and I was being upstaged by iPad apps that were teaching her more in five minutes than she was getting from me in half an hour. When we learned ‘P’ we made a cardboard rocketship and learned about Planets. That was a couple of months ago – and she’s still talking about the planets. Including one letter daily, you can get through the entire alphabet in a month.
Games like endless alphabet and letter tracing taught her to match letters with their sounds, pick the right letter out of a group of four and surprise me with the letters that she already knew. Adding them into her regular mix of games like Disney’s Brave interactive storybook and Where’s Waldo made it accessible to her and we still find her playing these games. Plus, the letter tracing apps taught her to get the form down. There are some great free apps, like Endless Alphabet, that are some of our favorites
It’s part of our routine for 15-30 minutes daily (or whatever the attention span of a three year old will allow for) to include some sort of learning. We’re focusing on writing the letters and including it in our routine and her new obsession with playing school has helped make it easier to teach her the letters.
Themed for holidays, letters and even customized sheets that you can generate using the child’s name make it easier for me to keep things interesting. Plus, we’re getting to the point where she can sit down and do it by herself. She loves this – and the fact that there are so many free versions of printable alphabet sheets online makes it simple. Plus, it’s less expensive than buying the $10 preschool learning sheet books at Costco.