Both my four-year-old and five-year-old have an especial interest in spelling and reading right now. All I want is to foster this natural desire in them. Research has shown that contextualized and play-based learning are the best ways to teach children. So that means we can ditch the flashcards and (most of) the worksheets. Instead, I’ve opted to have lots of hands-on early literacy mediums at my kids’ fingertips.

DIY Story Stones for Early Literacy inspired by the classic Christmas picture book The Jolly Christmas Postman by Allan and Janet Ahlberg.

For instance, we have:

  • Lots of magnetic letters on our fridge. Recently, I decided to make my kids’ attempts at spelling easier by painting all of the vowels a different colour from the rest of the magnets. I’m hoping this will solve the questions of, “What does gtwkx spell, Mama?” I’m hoping I’ll now at least get a “geta wukix” or two instead!
  • Books on every floor of the house and every room (less the bathrooms).
  • Been reading books with repetitive phrasing or formats. This makes it easy for my kids to “read” by memory (an important step towards actually reading).
  • Been saying yes whenever they bring me mountains of books to read no matter how busy I am.

 The Jolly Christmas Postman is a great way to promote early literacy

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Earlier this week, I splurged on a new Christmas book. At my local bookstore, The Jolly Christmas Postman was more expensive than what I typically spend on a single book. However, the book was so hands-on and clever, I couldn’t resist.

Because my kids love opening the envelopes, playing the board game, and completing the puzzle, I decided to continue with the early literacy fun! Recently, I came across this beautiful and simple idea for story stones using clipart and decided to try my hand at it as well.

Check out the video how-to below.

First, I made this printable containing clipart characters featured in the book. I also typed out the many characters’ names as well as Ho Ho Ho and Merry Christmas. I coloured the vowels again because my kids want to “spell words,” but haven’t yet figured out the whole A E I O U thing. Then I split up the word pairings. This way my daughter and son can play with the stones while trying to pair the names with their corresponding characters.

Story Stones Inspired by the Jolly Postman

Materials needed to make your Story Stones

DIY Story Stones for Early Literacy inspired by the classic Christmas picture book The Jolly Christmas Postman by Allan and Janet Ahlberg.

How to make your Jolly Postman Story Stones

  1. Paint rocks allow to fully dry. A second coat may be needed.
  2. Using a laser or inkjet printer, print out printable.
  3. Cut out clip art and words from printables. (You’ll notice I coloured the vowels in the words in the printable to help my kids identify them there too.)
  4. Using Mod Podge, affix cut outs to rocks.
  5. Then, cover rocks and image with Mod Podge. If you haven’t used a laser printer, be very mindful to ensure the ink doesn’t run. More about this here.
  6. Let dry. Then play, enjoy, have fun!

DIY Story Stones for Early Literacy inspired by the classic Christmas picture book The Jolly Christmas Postman by Allan and Janet Ahlberg.

What they’re learning: Early Literacy Benefits

  • Promotes symbolic thought through pretend play and word association (needed for writing)
  • Uses fine motor skills to cut, paste, and play
  • Teaches vowel, letter, and word recognition

We hope you enjoyed this activity as much as we did! For more hands-on learning ideas, check out 50+ Ideas to Improve Hand Writing Without Printing.

More Jolly Christmas Postman Inspired Activities

Read and play with this Christmas themed early literacy role-play activity based on the classic British Christmas book The Jolly Christmas Postman.

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Easy for kids to make Hot Cocoa Gift inspired by the classic British Christmas storybook The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg.

Create a Hot Cocoa Gift for the Mail Man

Pin this Christmas Early Literacy Activity to Do Later

DIY Story Stones for Early Literacy inspired by the classic Christmas picture book The Jolly Christmas Postman by Allan and Janet Ahlberg.

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DIY Story Stones for Early Literacy inspired by the classic Christmas picture book The Jolly Christmas Postman by Allan and Janet Ahlberg.

Author
Cerys Parker

Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, high school teacher and mum. Realising that life doesn't have to be put on hold and you don't just have to survive whilst the kids are young she shares ideas to inspire you to LIVE with the kids, with activities to do together, recipes to cook and enjoy and family travel to make memories to last a lifetime.

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