Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Paper Crafts Make Learning A, B, C's Simple and Fun

In a recent search for innovative ways to teach youngsters the names of letters, we came across two free resources too delightful not to share. We were looking for something pretty specific: a system that turned each letter into a recognizable shape so that the familiar image would trigger both the shape of the letter and the sound it represents. A tall order to be sure, but we were delighted with two wonderful ideas we discovered.

The first, shared by the Totally Tots blog, is a collection of crafts, one for each letter, which artsy parents or teachers can make with their little ones. For example, capital A is given two eyes and teeth and turned into an alligator. Capital H receives windows, a door, and a rooftop to turn into a house. It’s important not to neglect the lowercase letters when learning the alphabet, and luckily, they’re available, too.
There are no templates to download, but the letters are as simple as they are ingenious and should be easy to reproduce with glue and construction paper. Kids will have great fun decorating the letters. After it’s finished, the whole alphabet should be displayed for easy reference. A minor, cautionary note, however: The orientation of some of the letters is altered in their presentation on the website. For example, the lowercase f, dressed up to look like a fish, has been rotated 90 degrees. This makes it look more like a fish, but sideways letters may cause confusion among young learners, so it’s best to display the letters right-side up. After your child has made and admired each letter the way it’s presented on the website, be sure to hang it up the right way. 

The second resource is not for the faint of heart or wobbly of hand, but patient adults with some free time will be delighted with the results. Paper crafter Markus Fischer has generously made available free templates  for three-dimensional versions each uppercase letter. Download the PDFs, print them in color, cut them out, and glue them together –you may wish to consult his tutorial for one of the trickier letters if you’re a beginner to paper craft—for a whimsical, ingenious way to teach kids their letters. We suggest printing on cardstock to make the letters more durable; after all the work of assembling them, you’ll want them to last. Children will have fun handling the letters, examining them from all sides, and using them to form words.

Do you have any innovative ways to help children remember their letters? We’d love to hear them!

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