What does the alphabet have to do with rocks? Collect 26 rocks and paint each one with a letter of the alphabet for your very own alphabet rock collection. This activity offers an educational double whammy: As your kid paints each letter on a rock, he'll practice letter formation and work his fine motor skills, and once they're done and dry he'll practice learning the letters and their sounds as you turn the rocks into a letter learning game. Any excuse to get outside and enjoy a little active, energetic playtime with your child is thumbs up in our book!
What You Do:
- Start by going on a rock hunt. While you supervise, invite your child to search the yard, neighborhood, local park, nearby creek or stream for rocks of a manageable size that he can easily lift and move around.
- Wash any dirt particles clinging to the rocks by soaking them in water and rinsing them. Let the rocks dry.
- Now for the painting! Help him paint one letter of the alphabet on each rock so he has one rock for each letter by the time he's done. Encourage him to use a wide variety of different colors to make a vibrant collection. If he's unsure of how to paint any of the letters, have him practice on a scrap sheet of paper before painting on the rocks.
- As he paints each letter, have him say its name and the sound(s) it makes. Can he think of a word that starts with that letter?
- Once all the rocks are painted, place them aside to dry.
- When the rocks are dry, use them to “label” objects in and around the house. For example, take an apple from the fruit basket and set the “A” rock beside it to show him that “A” is for “apple.” Repeat for the other letters; once he gets the hang of the activity, encourage him to find objects on his own.
Use your cool new collection again and again until your young learner has mastered the alphabet and letter sounds. Mix up the rocks and then challenge him to put them back in order, or work with the rocks to spell simple sight words.