Because language development is one of the primary and most rapidly learned skills other than motor movement in the first year of life, the is no reason to delay in teaching kids the sounds, sights, and feel of letters. The great aspect of language is that it is always morphing and changing; therefore, kids will learn more and more as they go along. Any craft or activity you make, can be used throughout a child’s education, so I did some quick and easy DIY sensory letters and wooden blocks for my child.
Having seen the different learning styles in action in my former classroom, I know that teaching the same thing three ways makes it more memorable and easier to understand. This concept is no different for babies, toddlers, and young kids. We all are Auditory, Visual, and Kinesthetic learners to some capacity, even if one far outweighs the other or even if they’re all equal. That being said, it is important that it is introduced in child’s play and learning activities early on.
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Hope you enjoy these DIY Alphabet and Number learning materials! These are some great ways to have very hands-on, sensory learning activities that don’t cost a lot, aren’t plastic, are durable, and are fun!
NOTE: For all projects, the paint I would recommend is Tulip Multi-Surface Paint. It will be the best product for your money and, as the name indicates, it can be used for many different projects. Also, if you are a perfectionist or want your project to look very nice, look into some stencils or even rubber stamps and paint if you already have them.
- MATCHING UPPER AND LOWER CASE LETTERS
- For a more permanent home set. I would recommend finding some wooden craft squares or home-improvement shims.
- For a more mobile, secondary, or on-the-go busy bag set, you can buy pre-laminated business cards and either use two or cut each in half. Here are some examples: Avery Laminated I.D. Cards or Avery Self-Laminated Business Cards.
- Use two different color markers. Make all the Vowels one color and all of the Consonants the other. For “Y” use both colors since it is “sometimes” a vowel.
- Gently write the letters again with the paint. I would recommend barely squeezing it and dragging fairly quickly. This will ensure the colors of the letters can still be seen (unless you buy 2 different colors of paint) and that it’s not globby, but smooth.
- Above or below the letter you may even want to write the phonetic sound of each letter. This will also aid in matching and encourage more auditory play.
- Make your own WOODEN BLOCKS
- Everyone loves the classic wooden block, but few want to spend the money for the set that they want. It, however, is not hard to make, and then they will be exactly what you want. YOU get to choose the 6 sides! So maybe you child likes flowers, each letter could actually be the different name of a flower. Each block could also include numbers or addition and subtraction signs. Really the possibilities are endless and it’s a fun learning toy.
- Especially if you are using wooden craft cubes, make sure you use the multi-purpose paint and not the fabric paint that most are used to using.
- They make some stencils with letters and a corresponding picture if you are going the generic route.
- Make your own FELT LETTER MAGNETS
- First, obtain some furniture floor protectors. These are all uniformly cut and already have heavy duty adhesive on one side. This makes them ideal because it’s easy assembly and they are durable.
- Then find some craft magnets in the corresponding or smaller size. To stick each piece of felt to.
- And, of course, paint your letters or numbers with fabric, or multi-purpose paint. (Again, I still recommend multi-purpose).
Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living in Boston, MA and believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!