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Here are 2 simple games for children to help practice Letter Recognition and Handwriting.
Adding the sensory element of salt and presenting it as "game" gives this basic and necessary skill practice a different dimension and that fun and interest level that entices children to want to have a go!
(See the Handy Tips at the bottom for ideas to Simplify or Extend to meet your child's needs)
Upper Case/Lower Case Writing Challenge
Materials: Table Salt, Dish, Letter Cards (see below to print a copy), scissors and glue.
Optional laminating pouch. (We use the paintbrush for the next activity)
To make the letter cards I made a simple table in Microsoft Word and put in the Upper Case letters (or Capital Letters), of the alphabet in the grid. I then made an identical table but with the Lower Case letters (sometimes referred to as "little letters") in the grid but with the alphabet starting from right -> left so that when the blank side of the sheets is stuck together and the grid cut out, each card will have the same letter on it with Upper case on one side and Lower case on the other. Stick the grids together, laminate and then cut out.
(Alternative: just use cardboard squares and write the upper case on one side and lower case on the other)
Click the links below to download your own copy of the Alphabet grids to make your own double sided Alphabet Flip Cards
Click here for Alphabet Flip Cards (Victorian Cursive Handwriting). (This is the way handwriting is taught in schools in Victoria, Australia which is why I use this font when we do any handwriting activities. These are the cards we used).
Present the salt in a tray and the pile of letter cards
Explain that they need to choose a card and without looking at the back of the card, pop it in the salt and attempt to write the opposite case to what is shown.
This is a Capital F (or an Upper case F), can you remember what a little f (or Lower case f) looks like?
Being able to self check/correct by simply flipping the card over makes this a good game for a Literacy centre
While children are practicing handwriting it's important to ensure they are starting their letters at the correct point and forming them in the expected way.
The Missing Letter
This is a great game for children to play in pairs as you need 2 people for this game. It would also make a good Literacy Centre game. This game practices letter recognition, ordering and memory.
Materials: Table Salt, tray/tin, Letter cards, Paintbrush
One person chooses one of the letter cards and buries it in the salt tray.
The other person must first figure out which letter is missing and then search the salt tray to see if they were correct.
Maddie (aged 4) found that the easiest way to discover the missing letter was to lay out the remaining cards alphabetically. We sung the Alphabet Song many times over!
Using the paint brush to discover the missing letters was fun!
- Simplify the first game by just having children practice drawing the letter that they can see. I would start with lower case letters as these are the letters they will see and use the most often. You could simplify the second game by only providing a few letters at a time and making it a bit of a memory game as to which letter is now missing.
- Extend these activities by having children name or write words that start with the chosen letter.
- Mix it up by having children draw something that starts with the chosen letter in the salt tray. The other person can try and guess what they are drawing and what the beginning letter is.
- Good to Know. If you are practicing handwriting at home, I would be finding out how they teach it at your local schools so that your child can learn it the same way. It can be difficult re-teaching children how to do it the expected way so if they learn correctly from the beginning it's much easier. Obviously your children will experience text in all different forms and be exposed to a huge variety of fonts that they will need to recognise but it will make it easier in the long run if they learn to write the letters in the expected way to begin with.
- Talk with your child about what they are doing while they are doing it. Encourage children to name the letter and the sounds it makes as they choose different letters.
- Check out our most popular post for Learning Letters
(click on the picture to go to the post)
(click on the picture to go to the post)
What age did your child start showing an interest in Letters?
We like to play here as well. Come play with us :)
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