At a garage sale years ago, I paid a woman $5 for what seemed like every single stamp that had ever been made; she was moving, was tired of stamping, and wanted them out of her house. So I lugged them home to my teeny-tiny apartment thinking that one day I would put them to use in beautiful, handmade cards and notepaper. I’ve yet to create the cards and notepaper, but what I do have are three children who love to use stamp sets.
We only had a few minutes today before we took the troops outside to enjoy the (hip, hip, hooray!) warm weather, so I brought out Maddy and Owen’s new favorite stamp set. These are child-friendly and are made by a company I have had a secret crush on for years: Melissa & Doug.
- Alphabet Stamps: This awesome wooden set has both the uppercase and lowercase letter stamps, and each one has a sturdy wooden handle that has a perfect grip for little hands. All the letters and ink fit perfectly in this wooden box. The set even has some punctuation marks, which my children don’t use now, but I think they’ll love in a few years when they start writing sentences. For now, they had a blast “building” words they know and creating nonsense words for me to pronounce. They both started with their names (which is a great place to start for word learning!), then we moved onto names in our family: Mom, Dad, Pap, Cora, Mommy, Daddy. After that, we played with some word families we knew: -at, -ot, -ad, -ap. For each family, I stamped -at/-ot/-ad/-ap about five times in a row, and they picked a letter to put in front, creating words as they went!
Here are some other things we did with our letter stamps (but you could do this with magnetic letters, too!):
1. Add a letter or letters to the end of a word we know: go-going; can-can’t; look-looked; come-comes; see-seem; bat-bats. . . . (This is easier than you think for children to grasp.)
2. Change the last letter/ letters of a word we know: up-us; is-if; our-out; will-with; his-him; at-as.
(reference: Reading Recovery–How Words Work: The 7 Basic Principles)
Maddy is at the age where she is amazed by letters and word building, so she ate this up and could have done it all day long. Owen, being 3 1/2, was proud to stamp our family names and create words from one or two families but then wanted to do his own thing. He loves mixing his stamp colors and making letter patterns, and that’s fine with me. Any bit of discovery play counts as learning in my book!