Last Summer, I added home pre-school time to our daily routine for Austin.
I like to have fun activities in our school time, and I also like to have an activity that will help Austin in an area where he might have some weakness. I try to keep activities that help him follow instructions, slow down, and focus. I’m not off my rocker, I know he’s only 4 and I know he’s a boy. But, we have no problem being creative, developing language, memorization, being social, entertaining, laughing, running, jumping, or taking charge. We do have the typical boy challenges of focus, self-control, and listening….to name a few.
Anyhow, our new activity is stringing letter beads. We’ve done this before with colored beads and matching colors.
I bought these letter beads at Walmart with the fuzzy pipe cleaner. I am a bit frustrated that the letter bag isn’t even with letters. I’m short on the following letters: U, R, and E. Hmmm.
I made two separate bags for him.
The first bag, I sorted the letters out for our names. Austin James, Justus Reed, Mommy and Daddy. I put 4 pipe cleaners in bag. Tied a not at one end of the fuzzy pipes. Then I printed and laminated the corresponding names. I have the exact letters in this bag that he can do all four of our names and use up all the letters.
Second bag, I sorted out a bunch of other letters and made a list of random words they would spell as options for him.I used words like Cat, Bat, House, Joy, Love, Peace, etc. I printed and laminated a list of these words with the mix of letters and the little fuzzy pipes and put them in a bag, too. I have about 30 words in this set on 4 different cards. So, this is more a mix/match set. He won’t be able to do all the words. In fact, some of the words I printed in blue to know that we may be short on some of the letters in those words. He can pick one or two words at a time and put them on the pipe cleaners. I included about 5 pipe cleaners in this bag. This will give him more choice on the words. I rotate from letting him choose the words to choosing for him. If he is in a particularly bad mood that day, I will choose for him.
I have some little heart beads that he can add in between the words, too.
Some of the benefits of this activity for Austin:
1. Following instructions and having control of himself.
2. Reinforce the phonetic sounds of each letter and help with basic reading skills. He will get to practice picking words off the cards to match.He often says “Stop…SSSssstttttttop!…Tha’s an ‘s'” I want to encourage that.
3. Larn his name and his family’s names and how to spell them.
4. Slow down and focus on what he is doing. Kind of counters the hours spent ramming trucks into each other. Hee hee!
5. Match patterns of the letters he sees and duplicate those patterns.
6. Achieve a goal and see his results. Love to encourage him in doing well.
7. Fine motor skills of sliding the beads on and focusing on the little holes in the beads.
I’m sure there are plenty of other benefits. But, those are a few of the reasons I like this type of activity.