Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Alphabet Bean Bags

My sister is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Really. I am not lying. For Christmas she made these Alphabet bean bags. My 3 year old got all capital letters (shown in the pictures) My 5 year old got all lowercase with 5 of all the vowels. Labor of Love. That is all I have to say. She said she found the alphabet block fabrics at her quilting store and then came up with the idea to make these fun bean bags. They are in a FABULOUS drawstring bag too. (She got the drawstring bag pattern here.) She color coordinated the backing fabrics on all the bean bags too. That way there are even more games and ideas I can use these fore. Here are the ideas she sent to do with them.

* Put in order
* Group according to colors (on the back)
* Lay them out like a snake (or trail) and use as a board game set up. Get markers and dice. For every letter you land on, you have to name the letter, or it’s sound, or a word that starts with that letter (depending on child’s ability--you could even get harder when they get better and make them give you a noun or verb rather than just any word). If you get it wrong, you have to go back a space. If you get it right, you go forward two.
* Spell words. Variation: see how many letters you can use up spelling words. Can you use the whole alphabet in different words?
* Combine with some of the lower case letters and play memory.
* Pull out a letter at a time and say something you are grateful for that begins with that letter.
* play alphabet bingo. Set up a series of letters in a grid fashion. As you call a letter, they turn it over. First to bingo gets a hug from mom! (or a treat... as that might be more motivating :))
* place them in a never-ending path or circle, like a board game. You can place them in random or alphabetical order. Provide each child with a counter and a piece of paper and pencil. The children choose a letter and place their counter on it, writing the letter on their piece of paper. Now take it turns to roll one or two dice and move around the board. Wherever your counter lands, write down that letter on your paper. The first child to find a three-letter word using their letters wins. Older children can play with four or five letter words. You can also put in extra copies of the vowels and most popular consonants and use more than one of them on your board.
* You (as mom) choose a combination of letters which make a word appropriate for your child's age. Scramble them up and have the child put them in the right order. You can make this game more energetic by "hiding" the cards around the room and telling the child how many cards he has to find. It is also a fun team game: use two different sets of alphabet cards and the kids will have great fun running around each other trying to find where their cards are hidden without giving away cards to the other team!
* Create a trail of alphabet cards around the room (or house), spelling out a word or short sentence which the child will need to write down in a little notebook and present to you when he reaches the end. You can make this more difficult for older children by throwing in "extra" letters which he will need to identify and exclude.
* Lay out a set of alphabet cards in alphabetical order. While the children close their eyes, take one card away. On your command they open their eyes and identify which letter is missing.
* Use a set of alphabet cards and 3 containers (bowls, paper plates etc) marked "beginning", "middle" and "end". Shuffle the cards and have the child turn them over one by one and place them in the appropriate container. Younger children could do this with the help of an alphabet strip.
* Using a set of alphabet cards, turn one over at a time and try to identify as quickly as possible the letter before, the letter after, or both! Younger children could use an alphabet strip to help.
* Simply shuffle up a set of alphabet cards and put them back into order as quickly as possible.
* Give each player a piece of paper and a pencil, and shuffle a pack of alphabet cards. Decide on a "theme" such as flowers, girls' names, cities etc. Turn the top card over and, in a given amount of time, see how many words you can write down which begin with that letter. You can control this game more by deciding after the card is turned over what the theme will be!
A shorter and easier (and noisier) variation of the game is to decide on a theme for the whole game, and to try to shout out an answer as quickly as possible for each letter. Perhaps the winner of each round could take a counter and at the end of the game the counters are tallied for the winner.
* Choose a word and find the correct letters to assemble for your child. Challenge them to change the word to another by swapping one letter at a time. For example, change "cat" to "cot" to "cop" and so on.
(Some of these ideas are my sisters and some she found here.)

Fabulous right? And dear sister of mine, I would say make yourself a set right now, because I can promise you that by the time your little guy can do this you will have more kids and less time and energy and probably be on to another project. Do it. You won't regret it. I sure love them!!


Carly Jane said...

Thanks T! I loved making them. It most definitely was a labor of love... I just kept thinking how fun and educational they would be (and at a might 2.5 x 2.5'' they are pretty darn cute too).

I sure love you (and your cute boys!)


Letti said...

What a fantastic idea. Those would make great birthday ideas. I love that there are so many things you can do with them. Your sister sure has been making some fun things.

Lisa O said...

I know what I'm making my boys for Easter! I'm drooling over those pretty alphabet fabrics. Thanks for sharing all of the great ideas of games to play with them. This is definitely a post I'll be coming back to! What a VERY sweet, sweet sister you have.

BFree said...

I love bean bags, we used to make them for hop scotch as kids.

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