Let baby play with ALPHABET LETTERS!
Knowledge of alphabet letters and sounds is the foundation for reading, writing and speaking, so why not begin early?! I personally started from day one. My son has an entire wall of his nursery dedicated to the alphabet AND. I. LOVE. IT! I admire his alphabet wall every single time I’m in the nursery. My friends, family and I painted it at my baby shower. I point to the letters and sing the alphabet song with my son daily. I’m a bit overzealous, I know, but it’s never too early to begin introducing alphabet letters to babies. At the baby level (newborn to toddler), it’s more about exposure and exploration using their senses, which helps to develop positive relationships with letters. Pointing out letters and words in books and within babies environments builds an understanding that letters go together to form words.
I have an old school refrigerator that’s magnetic, so it works out perfect for this mission! I knew I wanted to put letters on the fridge for my son to begin playing with, but it didn’t go without trial and error. I learned a few lessons. You need to use large letters. I started with plastic letters but they were a bit small and went completely in his mouth…scary! Then I tried wooden letters , which I really liked but was afraid they may break or splinter plus I think baby’s drool may make the paint bubble and peel. I ended up going with large foam letters which are durable, flexible, mouthable and cleanable. Also, I recommend letting baby play with just a few letters at first. Their name is a good starting place! When the idea to let my son play with alphabet letters came to fruition, I first put the whole alphabet on the fridge. Mistake….letters went flying everywhere and the activity was too broad. So I decided to narrow the focus down to just his name. Each morning and throughout the day, we go over to the letters, I state the letter names and move them with my fingers then say, “Fisher, that’s your name” and let him play with them. This works on sensory integration, visual and auditory memory, attention, letter and sound recognition and discrimination skills. This has also been an awesome gross motor task. My son has improved his squat to stand, balance, independent standing and reaching skills. Of course mama has to throw a wrench in things and inch the letters up more and more each day. Fisher is currently partial to the “S” for whatever reason. Yes, the letters are going to get thrown, lost, mouthed, bitten and misplaced, but the pros outweigh the cons. Watching my little initiate play, smile, sing and manipulate the letters all the while working on many developmental skills is a score for Team Mom!
I realize a lot of refrigerators don’t have magnetic surfaces these days, so you can use a magnetic cookie sheet instead. Give this a try and let me know how it goes!
Peace & Love,