Let me introduce you to the greatest game ever invented:
The Uh Oh Game!
I don't honestly know where this came from or who made it up. A friend of mine told me about it (kind of by accident, which is a funny story) and Amani LOVES it.
The Uh Oh Game is perfect for preschoolers who need a little help working on letter recognition but you can use it for anything: math facts, number recognition, colors, words in other languages, animals, shapes, whatever.
It is genius, I tell you.
Here's the game:
No lie. This is the whole thing. I cut up scrapbook paper into small squares, wrote letters on them, crumpled them up and stuffed 'em in a plastic container.
Two pieces of paper have the words "uh oh" on them with a smiley face. You'll see why.
How to Play
Start by letting your child dump all the papers on the floor (this is fun already, right?)
Taking turns, one player picks up a crumpled piece, uncrumples it, and reads the letter.
If he/she gets the letter correct, you are now playing basketball: Child gets to toss it into the plastic bin (we experiment with holding it up high, putting it far away, standing up over it and dropping the paper) and you do lots of celebrating. Keep trying till your paper goes in!
If the player can't identify it, work together to come up with the answer but it doesn't go in the bin, it goes back onto the floor (so it will be picked up again later). I often have Amani trace the letter with his finger, while we say the letter or while he thinks about it. And we say words that start with that letter too.
If you pick up the "uh oh" card - your child gets to dump the bin over his head or your head or whatever way he wants and the fun starts all over again.
Not hard to see why this is the greatest game ever.
We started with 10 letters or so, most of them being letters he already could recognize. The key is for your child to have LOTS of success playing the game. For example, he was great at recognizing the letters in his name, so I started with those and then added in two letters he had trouble with. And as we played, if it seemed like he was struggling with a particular letter, I'd add in another paper with that letter on it, so he'd come across it more often. I really try to make it so that there aren't more than 2-3 new letters in the bin at a time but each of those might be in there twice or even three times.
The "uh oh" cards don't go back onto the floor. Once one is found, I keep it next to me (otherwise the game would be NEVERENDING). That way, the game can be over once the bin is all full. Of course, you can always choose to keep playing.
Y'all. This game is so fabulous. Amani loves it. His older brother & sister love helping him play. And it REALLY helped him with letter recognition! You could even use it with spelling words for an older child (you uncrumple the paper and he/she has to spell the word to you).
And now your life is better. You are welcome.