In kindergarten, kids spend hours and hours learning letters and sounds. It may all seem simple to us grown-ups, but for brand new readers, it's serious business. In teacher talk, it's part of a process called “phonemic awareness,” and it couldn't be more important for reading and spelling development. Without these phonemic connections, reading can be nearly impossible.
So parents, any time you have a chance to practice letter sounds with your kindergartener, it is an A+ day when it comes to reading development. Here's a goofy phonics craft that offers a special focus on the letter “F." as in big green “Froggie.”
What You Do:
- Paint the plates: paint the underside of one plate green and paint the serving surface of the other plate red. Put the plates aside to dry.
- Use the scissors to cut four frog legs from the green construction paper. Each leg should be about 5 inces long and 1 inch wide. If your child can handle the scissors, have her try cutting a wavy edge onto the bottom of each frog leg to look like a froggie foot.
- Make sure the plates are dry enough that they can be handled.
- Start by stacking the plates with the green one on the bottom and the red on top, so the plain white sides facing each other. Help your child fold the plates sandwiched together in half across the diameter of the plates. You've just made a semicircular froggie head with a big red mouth space inside!
- Stick two froggie legs on each side of the semicircle, inserting them between the bottom green and red sandwiched layer. Now have your child use the glue to attach the frog legs to the green layer and then have her use the glue to attach the green layer to the red. When you're done, make sure that the plates are folded so that there is a semicircle with legs sticking out.
- Glue two cotton balls onto the top green layer of the semicircle and then glue a googly eye onto each one.
- Now for some extra fun: Take out your party blower, and invite your child to blow it all the way out, so that it's fully extended. Hold it fully spread out on a table and have your child write “F” followed by “FROG” in large black letters on the tongue. Be careful not to tug too hard—you want the party blower to roll right back up when you're done!
- Cut a slit in the fold of your plates (where the plates are folded in half to form a semicircle) and insert the plastic blower end of the party blower all the way through so there is enough of the plastic end sticking out of the back to still be able to blow the "tongue" out. The extendable end should stick out of the rounded part of the semicircle. Use a few dabs of glue to anchor the plastic section to the plates.
- Invite your child, or any relative or friend, to blow the party blower. The froggie’s tongue has a delightful, homemade message: “F” is for “Frog” and your child is sure to remember it!
As an added bonus, try making this phonics craft when you and your child are also reading one of the many early reading books that feature frogs, such as the “Froggie” series or “Toad and Frog.” Invite your child to play with the "phonics frog" as you are reading, and then see if she can retell the story using the puppet. This boosts a second crucial reading skill: comprehending a story enough to explain it in sequence.
Julie Williams, M.A. Education, taught middle and high school History and English for seventeen years. Since then, she has volunteered in elementary classrooms while raising her two sons and earning a master's in school administration. She has also been a leader in her local PTA.