Recently Pebble’s Grandma travelled interstate to visit family, and we had the great pleasure of picking her up from the airport when she returned home. Grandma didn’t know that Pebble and I were going to be there – it was a bit of a last minute decision and a lovely surprise. We were both very eager to see her, we had missed her lots and lots! To prepare for her arrival I made this quick little DIY Letter Puzzle for Pebble, which became the ‘Welcome Home’ sign for Grandma at the airport.
Pebble has been very keen to learn about letters and words lately. She points to print everywhere in her environment and wants to know what it says. She loves to spot her own first initial, and is also getting good and spotting the initials for mum and dad. This DIY Letter Puzzle gave Pebble a chance to practice what she already knew about letters, and to learn about some new letters too. Even if she didn’t know the letter name or sound for all of them, she still enjoyed matching up the letter with the correct shape on the page.
DIY Letter Puzzle
You will need:
- self adhesive foam letters
- coloured paper
- a lead pencil
- Go through the letters and select the ones that you need to create the puzzle.
- Place (not stick) the letters on the page in the order that they need to go, and trace around each letter to leave an outline on the page. Your puzzle is ready to use!
- Introduce the puzzle to your child. As our puzzle was quite large and included many letters and three words, I started by breaking the puzzle up into three parts – introducing the letters for each word separately. If you have a smaller puzzle (ie. the child’s name) you could introduce all the letters at once.
- Talk about the shapes of the letters as you search for the right one to make a match. Are they tall? Curly? Short? Straight? Do they have a ‘tail’? Practice saying the sound that each letter makes. Talk about the order that they go in. Include more or less detail, depending on the age and interest of your child.
- Help your child to peel and stick each letter on, if needed. Don’t worry about the finished product, let them explore and give it a go. Some letters may not end up in the right spot, and that’s ok. It’s all a part of the learning process.
- Put the finished puzzle on display (or take it to the airport to meet a loved one!).
Make it meaningful
Making literacy activities like this one meaningful will help your child be more likely to want to be involved, and give them more success with their learning. We had a reason to be making this sign – it was for Grandma! You could try these ideas to make the experience more meaningful for your child:
- create a sign for their bedroom door
- create a birthday card and/or envelope for a friend
- make signs for pretend play (eg. road signs, shop signs)
- create labels for around the home (kitchen cabinets or toy drawers)
- copy the names of their favourite story book titles or characters
- create table mats or place cards for a special dinner
- make personalised book marks
- create an alphabet poster