Who says playing with the letters of the alphabet can’t be a fun and exciting outdoor activity?
Who thinks that all letter-learning involves a pen and paper?
Who knows a kid who doesn’t love using a water squirter to hit a target?
Not I, not I, and not I.
I’ve found that just like when you add glitter to a craft activity, my kids get nuts crazy when water and squirters are involved in play.
So after lunch today, between one of our last morning swim practices and an afternoon return trip to the pool, I squeeeeeezed in some letter-learning for the kids. We were out back already, it was hot like whut, and they were just about ready to start whining and complaining about the heat and that someone took someone else’s bike and someone knocked into someone else’s elbow when I decided to take advantage of our huge ‘chalkboard’ and our fully-loaded squirters.
We have a flower pot full o’ chalk on the back porch, the kids had just finished helping me water (okay ‘squirt’) the flowers, when I saw a teeny opportunity to get Cora–and ultimately Owen and Maddy, too–playing with the ABC’s.
Here’s the super-cool skinny:
- Alphabet Letter Splash: In the midst of heated he-said-she-said chatter, I walked away and wrote the alphabet on our fence.
I wrote the uppercase letters on the top row and lowercase letters below it.
Our chalkboard–ready for some squirt action.
And I said, Okay, Cora, I need your help over here! Grab the squirter and make sure it’s full of water!!
She and the Braidster joined me at the fence, while Maddy and Owen checked out what we were doing.
I said, Awesome. Okay, I’ve written all of the letters of the alphabet on our fence, and I’d like for you to show me what you’ve got up there in your ole brain. Can you squirt the letters of your name? Think about what they are, then find them on the fence, and squirt those babies!
She squirted her letters–just a little–and I told her what a super job she did.
Now, I want you to totally squirt the next letters until they erase–so you’ll really need to use your muscles. Can you squirt either the letter ‘M’ or the letter ‘I’? / ‘O’ or ‘D’ / etc.
Once she did a few sets, I called for Owen to head over.
I said, Okay, Owen, I know you think you know all of the letters of the alphabet, but let’s see if you really do.
As a starter, let’s see if you can squirt the lowercase letters of your name. Ready? Go!
Owen squirts the letters of simple words.
He squirted super-speed style, and then he looked at me like I asked him to eat an M & M.
Right on. You did that Lightning McQueen quick. Now I’m going to give you two words. You squirt the letters in whichever word you want. Okay? Squirt the letters in either the word ‘cat’ or the word ‘log’ / ‘map’ or ‘stop’ / ‘Brady’ or ‘Maddy’/ etc.
Then Maddy joined in the fun.
I said, Okay Maddy, your turn! Let’s see if you can remember some of your old spelling words. . . can you think of any that you learned this past year?
She immediately said she couldn’t (and I couldn’t either) but then I remembered. How about ‘mathematics’ or ‘chocolate’?
She squirted the letters for ‘chocolate’ and then she said, I think I just want to squirt what I want to squirt, Mom.
And that was totally cool with me.
It’s been hard to squeeze in any sort of learning in the last few days with this monster of a cold I’ve been hit with, but I’m trying here and there. Even little activities like this count–they get kids talking about letters and letter sounds and thinking about how they all fit together and will help build a solid foundation for literacy learning.
Please join Candace of Naturally Educational, MaryLea of Pink and Green Mama, and me for the Smart Summer Challenge, a six-week campaign where we all pledging to sneak in some sort of fun learning into our children’s summer days.
You can follow our calendar if you’d like, but you don’t have to. You can get really crazy, but you don’t have to do that either.
It can be simple learning–even 5 or 10 minutes a day. Anything and everything counts–even this teeny, tiny simple letter-squirting activity shoved in between lunch and the rest of our day. All we ask is that you link up here on Fridays and share what you’ve done (meaning: share one way you participated). Each Friday for the next six weeks, we’ll choose one participant to receive an awesome (and I mean totally worth your time awesome) prize.
Our goal is to show all parents that if we can do it, anyone can do it. And if we want our kids meet with success in school and to enjoy learning about the world around them, it’s our job to create a lifestyle of learning for our families. Join us!