Ever since my children started showing a genuine interest in learning their letter sounds, I have been thinking of new ways to bring some natural learning materials into our home. Maybe one day I’ll buy a full set of wooden letters but for now, this free DIY feels perfect. The hardest thing is finding enough flat rocks! Honestly I spent weeks on all of our nature walks looking for some (and then hiding them before they could get thrown into the water!) and I finally have enough.
The DIY is easy enough, you can paint your rocks with acrylic if you want to make them colorful but the real key is the paint pen for writing your letters easily and clearly. Make sure you go with a standard letter typography, don’t get fancy with any script, you want it to be clear and easy to read for your little ones. I painted the uppercase letters on one side and then once we master these I will paint the lowercase letters on the other side, marking it somehow to show the difference between the two. I also made a point to have the vowels standout in different colors.
To get started, don’t introduce all of the letters at once, it will be too overwhelming! I suggest always starting with meaningful letters, those in your child’s name or in a pet’s or their favorite animal. Go slowly working with just a few at a time and slowly add to them as your child learns and feels more comfortable. There is no rush! We will probably spend months slowly learning more and more.
How will I have this set up? How will I use this to help facilitate learning?
Matching games are amazing with this. You can simply write out letters on paper or cardboard and then have your little ones match the alphabet stones to the written letters on papers. You can also have them match these with the little wooden alphabet disks I wrote about a week ago.
Each child has their own name puzzle and they will match the rocks with each letter on their puzzle. This has been their favorite work so far and they can already spell their name and sound it out without any issues after only a few days of work!
I also love the idea of having these out on a shelf that we can take out and match up with items that share a starting letter. You can have actual objects of pictures of objects and slowly help your little ones start making the connection between the letter they are holding with an object that starts with the same sound.
We will have these to take out during our morning circle time, holding them up, passing them around and making the letter sound as we go. It could only be 5 minutes here or there whenever we are learning inside and that will be enough! You will know when it is time to build upon a lesson and when it is time to slow down. Just remember that encouragement and patience are incredibly important. Try not to push your little one, follow their lead and focus on their passions as you look for new ways to engage them in your learning at home.
Tools to help you create your own:
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