Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Tots on a Tuesday {"eggy" phonics}

I wanted to let you know about this activity, with some urgency.

"Why?", you may ask.

Well, it is something you could do "On the cheep cheap" if you get into the shops this week, perhaps.

It uses something that very possibly will be reduced as of today, and at least IN the shops, but not for much longer.

I picked this handy item up a couple of years ago, and the younger children have had a lot of fun with it, when doing phonics.

It's these....

Plastic, fillable eggs.  They are perfect for spring-themed crafts, but they can also be used for lots of phonic-themed ideas!
I used them for learning about the letters of the alphabet.  As I remember, they came, inconveniently for my idea, in packs of 24, so I had to get 2 packs!  Silly alphabet having a number of letters MORE than 24. *rolls eyes*

I got my lovely Sharpie pens out, (which I got on offer at Tesco) , and wrote the upper case letter on the top half of the egg, and the lower case letter on the bottom half. Now, having got them out again for Abi, after using them for Susie, I see that I could actually have made them self-correcting.  Had I been a bit more careful about the colours of pen I used, on the colour of eggs, I may have been able to have enough variety to have no same-coloured egg with the same colour of "writing". I wasn't that smart first time round. Silly me. It's not essential, but have self correcting activities is helpful for the child to do an activity more independently. So, if the letter "S" was on a green egg, with red writing, the child would be able to check if they had got the right lower case half, by checking it was a green egg with red writing. 

Clear as mud?

We are currently using them as a matching activity, simply matching upper and lower case.

As we learnt each letter, some months ago, we used each egg to find things that started with that sound, and put them inside the egg.  You could put the items in yourself, and then get the child to open the egg, and work out the sound you are learning based on the item found inside. You could also get the child to draw a picture and fold it up and put it inside, and get them out to look at them again, as a review, when you have finished learning all the sounds.

An older sibling may enjoy getting involved by being the person responsible for finding the items to put in the egg, or by drawing pictures to put inside it, to surprise the younger child as they learn! I love having children help each other to learn.

Here are some pictures of items we have used in our home.

Starburst sweets! Two "S's"!

There are ever so many inventive and fun things you could put inside, that start with the letter you are learning. Edible items never go amiss!!

  You could use it as a lesson in alphabetical order, lining them up accordingly.  You could do it for the whole alphabet, in order, or just use a few and put them in alphabetical order.  If you actually do it slightly differently from me, and write the lower case letters so that they egg half sits flat on the floor when reading, then you can line them up more easily on the floor or table, without them wobbling! It would mean that when you match them up as a whole egg, one looks "upside down", but I don't think that matters.

Another idea is to use the eggs for spelling games.  Spread the eggs on the floor, and get the child to choose letters, randomly, one at a time, until they can build a word. How about spreading lots of little items on a tray, beginning with different sounds, and get the child to cover them up with the correct egg half? Alternatively you could cover items up yourself, then the child looks at them and tells you if the right sound is covering the item up. 

You could use it to do other types of matching - numbers matching with the number word, contraction words, with the contraction on one side, and the two words that make up the contraction on the other, or colours with the colour word. 

You could make the eggs more versatile by having removable words, letters, numbers or labels, that you simply stick on the eggs for each activity.  There's my frugal Scot's side coming out!

I'm sure there are many other things that I have not thought of, that could be done. Please feel free to share your ideas in the comments section, so we can all have fun with them!

I cannot suggest where to get them anywhere outside of the UK, but I can tell you of a couple of UK suppliers. Baker Ross has them in sets of 12, or you can buy 48 for slightly less money. If you know of other Mums who like the idea, and want to do it too, eBay has a bulk buy option, which is the cheapest I have found. I have also seen them in Tesco and Sainsburys, but I am not sure if they will still be available now that Easter is past, or whether they may actually be available for cheaper?

So there you have it - EGG-cellent fun with phonics!

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