Learning to read should be fun and led by a genuine interest the child has at this age. No question! So, this is a really simple, open-ended sensory tub that will be used for weeks to come in lots of different ways.
Firstly, I gathered all the letters we have from: magnetic letters; letters from puzzles; letter moulds; wooden letters; foam letters and so on. Once gathered, you’ll be surprised how many letters you probably already have! Or maybe I’m strange!
I put all the letters into a large box, the under the bed storage boxes are ideal for sensory tubs.
I gathered the toys we have been using in other games in this series and added them to the box. Each of them is a CVC word (consonant, vowel, consonant). CVC words are a key feature to this sensory tub as these words are the first words J will read using his phonic knowledge.
Last week, I saw some re-sealable eggs for a £1 (part of the Easter collection) and thought they would be great for various games. I used ten today and just hid a CVC word inside each one.
Finally, I put all the CVC toys and eggs inside the tub, along with a wooden pair of tongs (for that all important fine motor workout) and my sensory tub was complete. The beauty of this is, I know J will play with this in different ways each time, so I will be sure to add to this post as and when interesting play emerges.
J being J, he spied the cap and immediately had to wear it! It was essential for the game apparently! Also, he picked up the tongs and used them to retrieve the eggs.
As J held the egg, he realised there was something inside and declared excitedly, ‘there’s a secret message for me!’
J took out the card and used his sounds to read the word. He is SO excited by the prospect of learning to read and can’t wait to do so completely independently. He is definitely having fun learning as it is light, non-stressful and fun! Just the way it should be!
J loved rummaging through the various letters and rehearsed his phonic knowledge as he did so by saying, ‘look there’s a m’ and so on.
It was a while before J seemed to notice the toys. He eventually pulled out the pig and said, ‘p-i-g, pig.’ This was natural rehearsal of segmenting and blending and showed me that what we have been doing is paying off. J then began looking for the sounds for the word pig. He pulled out a ‘p’ and ‘i’ and struggled to find a ‘g’. He opted for a ‘q’ as he knew it looked similar and thought it would do!
Rather than saying he was wrong and making a negative out of this, I offered to help him look for a ‘g’. We did it together and replaced the ‘q’. It was no big deal and just used as a learning experience. Whether child or adult, when learning something new, we have to make mistakes and get things wrong as part of the learning process. Getting stressed or fed up when a child makes a mistake will only make the child not want to have a go any more. They MUST be made to see that making a mistake is a good thing as we will learn. On a day where J is feeling sensitive or low in confidence, I would’ve have just praised J and moved on from the ‘piq’ spelling. We know our children best and know whether they are in the right mood to be able to manage with another go at something.
J concentrated very hard on his activity for a sustained period. Searching for particular sounds took on a variety of approaches.
After a while, J decided to take out all of the eggs and read each word inside. He read some correctly and others completely bizarrely! It did make me giggle with some of his attempts. The great thing is J really wants to do this and although it is going to be a long journey, it is a crucial and VERY beneficial one.
It wasn’t long after that J decided he need to make Mummy a game! He does this a lot now, I’ve no idea where he gets it from!! Ha!
This tub will go nicely under J’s bed for storage whilst not in use and can be pulled out easily! This really is a great open-ended, non-messy sensory tub that supports learning to read beautifully! Sounds good to me! Little Miss G seemed to like it too! A keen interest at the grand age of 1 and 2 days! Not bad! :