As a former primary school teacher, I can honestly say that reading at home does make a monumental difference to a child’s development. And for a nanny who is working in a home setting, I understand how difficult it can be to motivate your little readers and introduce an educational plan that often needs to be more ‘structured’.
To help you with this, I have come up with five simple and adaptable activities that take 10 to 15 minutes to play. These games are designed to support your little readers with their letters and sound recognition in a fun and engaging way. All you need are plastic letters and sound cards. Don’t panic if you don’t have one or the other, you can simply create your own using cards and keep them for future activities.
1. Sensory letter digging
This activity covers two key areas of development: letter and sound recognition, and sensory play. To start, get a long, shallow container (a roasting tin works well) and fill it with any dry, sensory resource - I use flour or rice. Next, bury some plastic letters corresponding with both sounds your little readers are familiar with and ones they are currently trying to learn. They can then dig around to find their letters, say the sound, and match them to cards on the table.
2. Letter jump
This is a great engaging activity perfect for active learning. Scatter relevant sound cards on the floor, call out a sound and ask your child to jump on the correct one. Letter Jump can easily be adapted to suit the little one’s reading level. For a more engaging experience, you could even have your little reader call a sound for you to find. It provides a fun learning experience for everyone.
3. Sound match
The sound match is another engaging activity easily adapted for all skill levels and sounds - single or digraph (double letter sounds). Scatter two or three of your focused sounds on the floor, along with multiple items or pictures of objects containing those sounds. When using single sounds /s/, /a/, /t/ etc, focus on objects that start with those sounds. When using digraphs (two-letter sounds) /or/, /ar/, /th/ etc. use objects that have those sounds in the middle or the end. Simply have your little reader say a sound and find the matching object - you could even play with them and see who gets the most.
4. Sound snap
A quick, simple game that can be played anywhere is Sound Snap. All you need are two sets of sounds your little readers already know and ones they are currently focusing on. It’s as simple as a game of snap. To support recognition, say the sounds as you lay each card and give your reader a little time to think. This is a game that will have them recognising their sounds in no time.
5. Letter and sound spotting
This takes no set up at all and is something that can occupy your little readers when you are out and about. Simply ask them to spot a letter when walking past shop signs, street names, etc. I just ask, ‘who can spot the letter… ?’ Again, this task can easily be adapted for more advanced readers to read street and shop signs together.
I have used these activities in my classroom and now make use of them with little readers I care for. You don’t always need to plan the activity; sometimes I grab the sound cards when we have some spare time during the day and play one of the quicker games.
Your charges will be recognising their letters and sounds in no time!
Today's blog was written by Rhian Menday from Nanny World. Want to know more tips and tricks? Visit Nanny World on Instagram to get an inside look in the world of nannying, including the secrets to succeeding in the childcare industry.