I cannot believe it but 2014 is the year my baby boy will start school!!!! He isn’t four until June so will be one of the youngest in his school year. I simply cannot believe how fast the time has gone and I don’t feel ready at all. He on the other hand (although I hate to admit it) really is beginning to show signs of readiness! Not for a formal curriculum or anything but for more play based learning and is actively asking me to teach him to read. As a result, I have promised him that by Christmas this year, he will be able to read!! He is so excited and up for the challenge so lots of phonic based play will be taking place at home. No matter what stage your child is at, introducing phonics through play is a good way to learn and there should be NO PRESSURE to sit down and learn their sounds (in my opinion)! Learning to read should be a magical, fun and natural progression. Hopefully this year, I will demonstrate how learning to read can be fun and stress free!
Today’s game was ‘Which Platform’ as J loves playing with his train set…
- Address labels
- Lolly sticks
- Felt tip pens
- Blue tack
- Train set
I also incorporated J’s till as it has a microphone which was FANTASTIC fun for using when taking on the ‘Train Announcer’ role! Fun for Mummy too and yes I did use that nasal ‘stereo-typical train’ voice to announce my platforms names!!
To set this game up I simply, used an address label around a lolly stick to make a flag. Next, I labelled each one with a different platform name. Finally, I attached the platform names to the train track using the blue tack and voila! The platform names combined both the numbers 11-15 and sounds J is rehearsing.
I set the activity up for J and called him out to see what I’d done…
This activity needs two people, one to act as the train driver and the other as the train announcer. I began as the announcer and would say, ‘Train now arriving at platform 15e .’ I made sure I said ‘e’ phonetically as ‘e’ rather than ‘ee.’
J would then check the flags and carefully ‘chugga chug’ his train to the correct platform. This game can be easily adapted to suit whatever stage your child is at. The platform names could be colours, numbers 1-5, letters from their name, key sight vocabulary, 2 times tables and many more. Put simply, if you have a train lover, this can be used for learning anything!
J really enjoyed this simple train game and listened eagerly each time to hear his next order!! He kept saying, ‘my boss keeps me busy!’ He loves the thought of work at the moment and often asks me to give him jobs and pretend to be his boss!
As J arrived at the station he would repeat, ‘platform 14p’ and tell me a word starting with p. If he was unsure of the number he’d ask, ‘what’s a one and a four again?’ J knows it NEVER matters if he doesn’t know something, he should always just ask. Making children aware it is fine to be wrong or not know something is a MUST! This sounds like complete common sense but the number of children who start school with a fear of being wrong or afraid to admit they don’t know is frighteningly common! This is a barrier to learning before the children have even begun their journey!
Once J was aware of the train announcers job, he then took on the role and I was the train driver. J loved this role as he saw himself now as the ‘boss!’ It was also fantastic rehearsal for J naming the platforms for Mummy and showed me where he was really confident and what he still was unsure of! A little Mummy assessment time!! No formal exams necessary!!!
I had provided a pad with the game but made no reference to it as I wanted J to use it if he wanted or not as the case may be. J did pick it up and as he said the platform names, he scribbled them in the pad (using circles and dashes) and would tick it saying, ‘check’ as Mummy arrived! What an efficient boss!!
I am determined to make J’s learning fun, natural, stress free and playful! J got so much from today’s play and went on to use the flags in his kitchen, giving each meal he made a table number! He is such a creative little man and I just want to nurture, engage and excite his little brain! I hope you enjoy learning with us in 2014 and if you need any help regarding early phonics, please do just ask via the Facebook page or drop me an email… firstname.lastname@example.org Happy New Year to you all and let’s make this one FULL of Precious Play! ;D