Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Inexpensive Summer Activity: Giant Letters!

Summer is here! Kids are excited to have time off from school and parents are stressed about how to keep their kids engaged and learning through the summer - without lots of screen time! This idea from Constantly Lovestruck is a great activity for kids of all ages that can be used inside or outside - even adults can join in on the fun!

I thought this would be a fun game to play with my niece and nephew. Alexis is 6 and is starting first grade in the fall and Gunner is 4. They loved this game and it was a fun way to get them moving and learning!

Summer Learning Loss Phenomenon can occur when children lose one to two months of academic learning during the summer. One way to combat this is by stimulating your child’s brain. This highly versatile, inexpensive activity allows your child to practice their reading, writing, math and spelling skills as well as allowing them to be active and creative - which is all great for their development! Should your kids love it, you can make more permanent letters with materials such as plywood, discount vinyl flooring tiles, and luan. Don't forget to try it as a math game by including numbers, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division signs!
Supplies Needed:

  • Paper plates. The amount you will need will depend on how many letters and numbers you want to make. I bought the amount we needed with extra to spare for under $4 at my local grocery store. You can also use materials like recycled cardboard or cereal boxes.
  • Markers, paint, etc. Try having your children write the letters and numbers with you so they can practice their skills! Alexis wrote about 50 of the plates and enjoyed counting out the number of plates we needed to get the amount we needed!

  • Letters*
    2: J, K, Q, X, Z
    3: B, C, F, H, M, P, V, W, Y
    4: G
    5: L
    6: D, S, U
    8: N
    9: T, R
    11: O
    12: I
    13: A
    18: E

    ( *Tailor the amount for your needs but this the correct amount of each letter for playing Bananagrams or Scrabble. If you want to switch gears into math, you can try having your children make their own math equations appropriate to their level.)

How to Play:

After laying out all the letters, challenge younger children to put them in alphabetical order or spell simple names and words. Play Bananagrams or Scrabble with older children. Alexis spelled out her entire name as well as the names of family members while sounding out the letters. Gunner spelled out his name and located letters that we asked him to find. The great thing about this activity is that you can play in so many different ways!

Tips: Here are some tips that I learned from playing with my niece and nephew!

  • On letters that can be mistaken for each other when they are flipped upside down or sideways (ie M/W or Z/N), make sure to either draw a line underneath to show the bottom of the letter, or make all your letters lowercase.
  • If you are using paper plates, make sure to use the backside of the plate so the wind doesn't catch underneath the lip of the plate.
  • Work in teams with your younger children who may not know all their letters yet, but make sure you are not playing for them - help them recognize and learn their letters.

Have fun coming up with different ways of using your letters and numbers! How would you do this activity differently? What would you add? Let us know in the comments!

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