Do your kids like to sort things? Mine sure do. On a regular basis I seem to find my daughter sorting plastic plates and bowls stolen from the kitchen into coloured groups (whilst surrounded by a million toys). Don't get me wrong, I think it's great. Sorting and organising are great skills and important developmental milestones. I just wish I had known I could have spent $5 on plastic coloured dinnerware instead of $50 on various toys.
But back to sorting.
I realised the other day I had several incomplete sets of alphabet cards (my daughter's other favourite game is to hide cards around the house so we never have a full set of anything). I was in a 'use it or lose it' mood, but I was sure we could find something to do with them.
What I came up with was so easy to make, used all the mismatched alphabet cards in the house and entertained my daughter's love for sorting. Here's what you do:
- Find some envelopes. We had a stash in the cupboard, but you could use ones from old Christmas and birthday cards or even just fold and glue paper. You'll need 26.
- Stick one side of the envelopes to paper/cardboard/or even a wall so you have 26 pockets. I used the back of two old posters.
- Write the letters of the alphabet on the envelopes. I wrote the uppercase letter on one side and the lowercase letter on the other (as shown in the picture above) because the cards I had had both upper and lowercase versions. I also believe there's no point in avoiding the fact that both upper and lowercase letters exist. They are there in every book a child looks at, so you might as well tell them about them from the start!
- Find some alphabet cards. You can buy these pretty cheap, but you could also just type out the alphabet in a large font, print it out and cut the letters up. I'm a big believer in the KISS philosophy: Keep It Simple Stupid!
- Get your kids to sort the alphabet cards into the right envelopes.
And there you go! Fun, easy learning.
Just one word of caution: You may come across letters on your cards that are not written the same way as you have written them on the envelopes. When this happened to me, I simply explained to my daughter that some letters can be written in different ways and then I added the second (or third) version to the envelope.
And here's a fun play tip: tell your kids they work at a post office and are sorting mail. I got an extra half hour out of the game when I suggested this!
Hope you have fun!