I have never been so frustrated in my life as I was when I tried to teach my 4 year old his ABC's. He's the type of kid who decides a brown cow is a "cowhorse" and stubbornly insists that A should make a P sound. I try to do "school" with him, and while I'm trying to teach him his colors, he's busy making a train out of his markers. Frustrating I tell you... mind exploding, ulcer inducing frustration and despair. While all the other Moms are bragging about how Susie learned to read at two, and Danny can play the violin like a natural at three, my four year old is pretending to be a dragon while I patiently go over his abc's for the 5,330,449th time.
Then a small life preserver was thrown my way by the teacher in his pre-K class. Alphabet Magnets. So whether you have kids or not, are still 16 or 65... tuck this tidbit away for babysitting, future children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews.
Magnetic letters are magic.
They can be played with endlessly and in a variety of ways. They work well whether your kid is a kinetic, auditory or visual learner. (but they work especially well for the hands on type of kid.). My kids play with them while I make meals or clean up the kitchen. I'll pause on my way to the pantry and ask them to find me all the M's for Mommy. Sometimes they sort them by color. Or if my preschooler asks for a snack, I arrange the letters to spell S-N-A-C-K and then he has to find all the letters and build the word himself under mine. (all while I make him a pb&j). It's a pleasant system, and if learning can be fun and easy, then that's a double score.
This is the handout I was given, and I wish I could give credit (because I certainly didn't come up with them on my own), but there is no author listed, and his teacher didn't know either.
25 Ways To Use Letter Magnets
Some of the ideas I don't like, some of them we haven't done yet, but a lot of them have worked...brilliantly. I feel like making claims those expensive programs promise: "A fool proof method to teaching your children to read and write"... except this one actually works. Plus, the only cost is however many sets of magnetic letters you decide to buy. At 99 cents for the whole alphabet (walmart/target), you can get four of them and still come in for less than one Happy Meal. (not that we ever eat frenchfries or eat at McDonald's around here. ;-) )