Today I want to share some of the language materials we have on our shelves. My son is 3 years (36 months) old but age is not so relevant here. You will find these activities are potentially useful for children from 2 to 4 years. Children's interests and ability with language materials vary greatly. It's important that we meet the child where they are at and not feel that we need to rush this very important stage in development. Here are four activities that we currently have on our shelves:
Rhyming Activity with Objects - I've presented this in a two part tray. Most often I do this work with the child and I invite him to join me. I put one object on the mat from the left tray like the 'hat' and say 'can you find something that sounds like hat' and the child gets out the cat and puts it next to the hat. Then move to the next object. We have eight sets here including bear/chair, cake/snake, key/bee, frog/dog, goat/boat, hat/cat, bell/shell and jar/car. If you are starting out with rhyme I suggest using 2-3 sets of objects and build up from there. I've tried to use as many items from around the house as possible including model animals and a few miniatures.
Firefighter Language Cards - this is one way we can help develop language around an interest. The cards contain lots of real and interesting images that can stimulate conversation, story-telling and even result is the child asking more questions about the topic. My child will use these independently and will talk out loud, often describing what he sees on the card. These can be used later as a base for three-part cards. I've included the model to make the tray more inviting from a distance. For a younger child, and even at three you can use these with the child, giving them the names of objects of the cards or ask the child what is happening in the images. These cards can be useful from toddlerhood.
Initial Sound Booklets - for a younger child I would present these individually. While I love alphabet books the initial sound books really help the child to focus on each individual letter. The images in booklets like these are realistic and the word is also written on each page. We use these with the child and our child also uses them independently.
Letter Matching/Bingo - my child loves this way more than I had anticipated. I only put one card out at a time with the matching six letter tiles. The child can do this independently using visual discrimination skills (matching the letter visually) but they can also this is using the letter sounds 'here is the s', 'can you find the other s'? I like this set as the letters are lower case and the images are realistic. It's almost time that I could put out the whole alphabet, this can also be played as a game like bingo or lotto with multiple players.
A rhyming activity with objects. We do this work on the floor as it takes up a bit of space and my child likes to do it while moving around.
Loving these Firefighter language cards.
Some alphabet matching. This is all about the child making the connection with the oral sound and the visual written letter.
Please note that my child pictured here is not currently attending a Montessori preschool. If your child is attending Montessori classes you may want to make sure you are not duplicating any work done at school, it's always best to keep an open dialogue with the child's teachers/guides about at home activities.
It's almost time for us to introduce the sandpaper letters! Most of all at this age reading and talking, having conversations and asking questions are the most important language activities we can do with our children.
You may also like to read Developing Phonological Awareness - Our Focus & Activities At 2-3 Years.
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