Sunshine boy(4) was struggling with his pencil today. He kept changing his mind about what direction some of the numbers went in. He wanted to list his numbers from 1-10 but that darned pencil was giving him trouble.
We threw away the pencil…into the pencil box…
whipped out the GREEN pipe cleaners!
I took out a green writing board I had purchased years ago from one of the homeschool “schools” ..maybe Our Lady of Victory… This board has lines for writing that allow the chalk to create 2″ high letters.
With the pipecleaners in hand, we shaped each number from 1-9 cutting where necessary. (a nail clipper is the best tool for that sticky job) We made them on the green board so that we could match the top, medial and bottom lines. (using a fingernail to bend the pipecleaner in the appropriate places) We then lined up our finished projects on the board and traced them one at a time with our fingers and then did the Handwriting Without Tears method of “Wet, Dry, Try”
“You will write the first model of the letter using a very small piece of chalk. Use the same language you used when building the letters on the mat as you show your child how the letter is formed on the slate. Your child will then “wet” over it with the small sponge, then trace over it again with a wet index finger. You then have your child “dry” the letter with a small piece of paper towel by tracing over it in the same stroke order that you wrote. Then the child “tries” to write the letter independently. “
(BTW Handwriting Without Tears has some other great hints and tricks for learning letters and numbers on the same page)
We “played” at that for awhile then whipped out…
the poker chips!
Sunshine boy lined up the numbers across the table leaving ample room between each one. We then placed the appropriate number of poker chips under each number pairing them in twos with the odd numbers being left alone in the leftmost position without a “partner”. He calls this the even-odd game.
Then he stacked up the groups of chips and placed the pipecleaner number atop each stack that represented that amount. We then lined up the stacks like stairs and the numbers took turns walking up and down the stack counting forwards and backwards till they all had their turns…(complete with sound effects of course)… and giggled when there were ZERO stairs to climb!
I loooove the way he smiles after this kind of “play”. Learning without frustration leaves him with such peace and a really wonderful smile that would make your heart melt.
I plan on making a home made batch of play dough next week so we can rope more letters and numbers into shape. When I get the courage up that is. Learning is a messy business! ;o)