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.
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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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.
Story Stones Inspired by the Jolly Postman
Materials needed to make your Story Stones
- Jolly Christmas Postman Inspired Printable
- Clean, flat stones you could collect them but if you don't live near where they are readily available we recommend using stones like these ones available on Amazon.
- Acrylic paint
- Mod Podge
How to make your Jolly Postman Story Stones
- Paint rocks allow to fully dry. A second coat may be needed.
- Using a laser or inkjet printer, print out printable.
- 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.)
- Using Mod Podge, affix cut outs to rocks.
- 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.
- Let dry. Then play, enjoy, have fun!
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
More Christmas Story Stones to Make Together
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.