I have a little box from a pair of shoes we recently purchased for our 2 year old. Like most of us parents (right?), I thought to myself, ‘This box is way too nifty to toss or actually store a pair of shoes in!'
So like any good parent would do, I decided to use it as an early literacy tool to compliment our letter baskets and ever present ‘Eye Spy' game. You could also use a recipe box. Same idea. The idea is to connect sounds to images and eventually to letters. This First Words Box is a great way to build your child's vocabulary and to implement the idea of ‘sight words' into your daily routine.
What you need is pretty simple: I purchased 4×6 index cards – plain and a set of alpha index cards. Then I grabbed my scissors, a glue stick and a pile of misc. magazines. The idea is to look through printed publications, cut out images (e.g. a Leopard, a Bulldozer, a Crane, a Mountain, etc), glue the image onto an index card, write the name of the image onto the back of the card, then index that image under the appropriate letter.
My child is two years old so our approach may differ from your approach if you have older children. For example, my son is beginning to learn how to use scissors. So, with great patience, we cut images out together. He is great at finding the image and telling me what it is. Then typically, at this point in his development, I lead the cutting and we find the letter to index together. Of course, he is a fan of using the glue stick, always very helpful.
My goal right now during the preschool years is to visit this box a few times a week, look at the images already filed away and add new ones. As my son grows older, I imagine that he will lead the activity and, that, eventually, our First Words Box will become an independent activity for him as we fill his shoebox with new images and lots of new vocabulary words.
- Especially if you have younger children, when first starting this activity, spend time setting it up without your child, cutting, gluing and indexing a few images.
- Kids magazines, like National Geographic's publications, or local zoo magazines are loaded with great stuff!
Thanks for reading!