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Fun With the ABCs

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I'm not in favor of putting a pencil in a 3 year old's hand and expecting them to copy their name or some letter of the alphabet.  I have my reasons and I don't claim that they are grounded in research although I wouldn't be surprised to find that true.  I'm working off of my mother's instinct which I happen to think is pretty good :-)   ONE of the reasons I'm not in a rush to get my child to write is because I believe that as parents we can create a language rich environment that will help our kids to flourish. Preschoolers have an energy and a curiosity that I'm ready to explore - I am not ready to sit it down with a workbook for even 5 minutes.  There is time enough for workbooks later.

This is not to say that I think pre-literacy skills aren't important.  To the contrary they rate very high on the priority list.  I feel that investing extra time and creativity NOW will pay off in the long run by leaps and bounds.  There are so many ways to explore language that no one article could cover them all.  This article is just ONE idea of how to reach those little minds, that act like sponges, and fill them with some knowledge while you're having fun.

Maybe you've heard of Galaxy Glass paints made by Plaid?  It is a line of paints and products that help you create homemade window clings on virtually any topic or theme you choose.  These paints can also be used on windows and mirrors directly.  There is another product line, one that I actually prefer, called Liquid Rainbow. It is put out by the DecoArt company.  Galaxy Glass will cost you about $2.50 - $3 a bottle. I've gotten my Liquid Rainbow at Micheal's for $1.69 - $1.99 a bottle.

I used these paints to create BIG letters of the alphabet to put on our sliding glass doors. The letters are about 5 inches tall so that they can easily be seen from anywhere in the room.  I would make 3 or 4 letters at a time. If you haven't worked with these paints I can tell you it is very easy and fun too.  You outline the picture with a special leading paint and let dry for about an hour. Then you fill in with the other colors and allow them to dry for 6 - 24 hours depending on the size of your project.  Both companies recommend buying styrene blanks, which are basically clear pieces of plastic, to work on.  You can use wax paper instead. Its cheaper and can be cut to whatever size you need.

With each letter window cling that I created I would also make a picture to serve as a "keyword" for that letter.  One of our first letters was the letter F and next to the letter is a small frog.  There are patterns and pattern books available for sale in a variety of themes. I prefer to find or make my own.  Once I have the picture I want I put the wax paper on top and simply trace it.  Smaller or more intricate designs take more finese.  One of the reasons I prefer Liquid Rainbow is that the paints come out of the bottle more easily and the result is a smoother line.

I wouldn't recommend letting really young ones use the paints until you have played with them yourself.  They must be squeezed just right and tracing an object may be too difficult at times.  IF your preschooler would really LOVE such an activity I recommend that you create the outline, let it dry and then let them fill it in with your help.  Older children may enjoy making letters for their younger siblings.

If you've never seeen these paints you can find them at Micheal's, A.C. Moore and Joanne Fabrics.  I highly recommend getting the Galaxy Glass at Joanne's if you are a homeschooler because of the education discount.  Remember - at Joanne's you get the 10% ON TOP OF any existing sale.  All my paints were bought at 35% off. Liquid Rainbow is very reasonably priced at Micheal's.

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