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The summer holidays are just around the corner now and maybe you’re already thinking that it will allow you extra time to spend with your kid. Perhaps you want to encourage them educationally, over the holidays and prepare them for the next class they will be going into. In today’s blog, I want to focus on younger children – approximately aged 2 to 6 years. During this period, children in Ireland are encouraged to recognise letters and know their name and sound. For some, this can come very naturally, but for others, it can be difficult to grasp. Here are some fun educational toys that will help your child learn what each letter looks like and from there, you can teach them the sound it makes.
As soon as children can speak, we tend to teach them the alphabet song. This is also the perfect time to show them what the letters look like. This fun wooden alphabet puzzle from Melissa and Doug Toys has each letter cut out of the board. It’s also great for your child’s fine motor skills as they attempt to place the letter into the correct letter shape. As you do this with your child, tell them what the letter name and sound is. Underneath each letter is a picture of something that begins with that letter. So, for example, underneath Z is a picture of a zip. This will help reaffirm the sound z makes.
Flashcards are a great way of learning letter recognition and sounds and I love that they are card sized, so they are easy to slip into your bag if you’re going out and need to distract your kid for a few minutes while you wait in the car or travel on a plane. What makes these flashcards even more impressive is that you can view them through an app on your phone or device and they turn into 4D form. So, for example, if you view the L card as it is, it will have L and the word Lily and Librarian. The picture will be of a young lady in a library. Look at the card through your phone and she becomes a moving cartoon character working at her library desk. Rory the Racecar Driver actually drives a car around the track and the Daisy the Dancer does a little hip-hop dance.
3. See and Spell Wooden Puzzle – €30.99
Once your child has learnt what each letter looks and sounds like, it’s time to introduce blending sounds. This See and Spell Puzzle from Melissa and Doug Toys is a perfect way to introduce this. Each board has a picture of a word and letter shapes for your child to find the correct letters for. It’s wooden, so it’s super durable and it will last through several kids.
4. Magnetic Letters – €14.99
These are for children aged 3+ and are ideal if you have a metal front to your fridge or freezer. It means you can put them up and you’ll find that your child will gravitate towards them. Initially to learn to letters but over time, they will ask you how to spell words or they will put letters together and sound them out. If you don’t have a metal front to your fridge or freezer, I’d recommend purchasing this magnetic whiteboard for your child and they can play with these on it. This set comes with capital letters and lowercase letters.
5. Alphabet Stamp Set – €22.99
For older children who love making cards and gifts, this alphabet stamp set is lovely. It has all the letters in lower and upper cases, so your child can stamp out and spell out whatever words and sentences they wish.
6. Djeco Wordsearches – €6.99
This pack of 30 wordsearch cards is designed for children aged 6-10 years. As your child searches for the words, they will be sounding them out unconsciously.
7. Boggle – €14.99
Boggle is a really fun, fast-moving game which you can enjoy playing with your children aged 8+. Find as many words as possible from the letter combinations drawn out.
No matter what stage in letter recognition and phonics your child is at, I’ve something to help in a fun and enjoyable way.