Letter Box Launch!

Oh, 2022! I hope this new year brings you all things you wish for and a whole lotta love and healing for us all. For me, here at Wander+Grow, 2022 is the year of the Letter Box! Creating these has been nothing short of a labor of love. I have been able to bring together my love of and experience with teaching little ones, beautiful graphics, simple fonts, engaging activities, and purposeful play into a easy to use, low prep, open and go box to help you teach the alphabet to your child. I cannot wait to show you, so let's dive in!

Each box (there will be 6 in total) has activities for 4-5 letters. For this post we will focus on Letter Box 1 which has letters A, B, C, and D. Everything you need for the crafts and activities is included, and the worksheets are divided by letter. The idea is to focus on one letter a week, and follow the provided lesson plans. The lesson plans have 4 days worth of activities (with an optional day 5). Each day is broken into 5 parts: introduction, letter recognition, letter sound, letter formation, and math. The activites for each are short and sweet!

Let's talk letter recognition. Children are usually ready to learn to recognize letters around ages 3-4. Of course, all kids learn at their own speed, so some may be ready earlier and some later. The beauty of homeschool is we can meet them right where they are! The activities in the letter box will allow children to practice identifying the uppercase and lowercase of each letter with the letter sort mat, letter maze, letter find, and memory game using the letter squares. You will find a mix of worksheets, hands-on activities and crafts throughout each week.

Children learn to recognize letters before learning letter sounds, so depending on where your child is developmentally is where your focus should be. If your child is learning to recognize and identify letters, then let that be your focus. Introduce letter sounds, but know that they may not pick them all up right away, and that is perfectly normal. If your child has a good grasp of letter recognition, then focus more on letter sounds because they are ready! In this box each activity provides an opportunity to reinforce letter sounds. Let's use letter A as an example. You will use the Letter A Poem and My Letter A Book to find all the words that start with A (letter recognition), and then say the words that start with A and have your child repeat them. Have your child make the A sound they hear at the beginning of the word a few times. Practice these everyday. Repitition is huge for learning letters! Children need to hear the sounds again and again. When you use the Apple Sorting Mat there is the opportunity to have your child make the letter A sound every time they place an apple on the correct basket.

Learning to write the letters is the next step, and increasing fine motor skills is the key to good handwriting. Building hand and finger strength is so important at this age which is why I intentionally added a variety of playdoh activitites. Children have to use those hand and finger muscles to roll and smash and build with playdoh. It's so great because they think they are just having fun, but they are actually getting their little hands ready for all that future writing! The letter box comes with double sided laminated playdoh mats and two colors of playdoh. One side of the mat has uppercase and lowercase letters to practice forming the letters and becoming comfortable with how the letters are made. Provide guidance for your child by showing them how to roll a "snake" with the playdoh and place it in the correct spot. Demonstrate which lines you should make first and let you child practice. Remember, even if they get off track and just want to play with the playdoh, they are still productively building those hand muscles! Your child will also practice letter formation with the Dot It pages using the paint and cotton swabs in the box. By the end of the week they will practice tracing and writing the letters on paper.

As I was creating these activities I realized there were lots of ways to incorporate math and letter sounds together. You will use the sorting mat and the back of the playdoh mat to play some fun and easy counting games. These can be played together with your child, or they can play independently (giving you a free minute or two!). All of the activities provide an opportunity for practicing and reinforcing those letter sounds. Point out the pictures that begin with the letter you are working on: apples on an apple tree, beach balls at the beach, candles on the cake, dots on the dragon. There are number flash cards and a dice that are included in the box to use for these games. Roll the dice once to make that many candles on the cake. Stop there, or roll it again to practice addition. These games are open ended and allow you to meet your child where they are. If your child is working on one to one correspondence stick with the dice and have them count one at a time. If your child is ready for larger numbers, use the number cards up to 20. Hang on to these, even after you finish with the activities in the box so your child can pull them out anytime!

So, there you have it. 1 box. 1 month worth of activities. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

The Letter Box works great if you are a homeschool mom, but also if your kiddo goes to preschool part time and you are looking for something to keep them busy at home on their days off. Or, if you are a working mom and you have a grandparent or nanny watching your child this is something easy for a caregiver to pull out and work on with you child. If you get the box, or have the box definitely email me with any comments or suggestions. My goal is to make your life a little easier. Happy Learning!

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