Friday, July 28, 2017

I Can Build Lowercase Letters!! by Fundanoodle

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Heidi, a very kind Education Ambassador with Fundanoodle sent me a set of I Can Build Lowercase Letters.  These things are AWESOME!  What are they?  They are magnets that are shaped like the straight lines and curves you will find in lowercase letters.

These things can be used in so many ways, but I do believe, they will be a perfect fit for Adam who will be 3 and a half as we enter the new school year.  Adam has a mean pencil grip and is just starting to follow lines in order to trace letters, but what he can also do really well, is stick magnets to a board.  This magnet set will allow Adam to explore letter formation in a fun new way.

There is a Color Coded Alphabet Key that comes with the set and it tells you which colors you will need to make each letter.  Like 4 light pink magnets to make a w.
First, let me show you how we spent some time playing with them today.  We played with our magnets on this Fisher Price magnet writing board.  I am not sure of their official name.  I showed him how the magnets left a mark on the board and he quickly took a magnet and filled the whole screen in black by sliding it back and forth.

As he was messing around with the fun of the magnet I started building letters off to the side so he could get another idea of what they could do.  Looking at the Color Coded Alphabet Key I saw that to build m I would need one pink and two purples.  I grabbed the magnets and then set to work trying to figure out how to make an m out of my supplies.  It's a bit like a puzzle and fun for even an adult to see these weird shapes come together to make a letter.
 Here I made i and d.
I really like that the cross line in f is made with one solid line even though it doesn't lay flat on the surface.  When you draw this line it should be one long line, not segmented.  Unfortunately, my older boys sometime draw an f or a t by drawing the cross line as two lines instead of one fluid one.  So to me, these details are important.
 After he had a while to just explore the materials, I showed him how if you lay the magnet down carefully and then pick it straight up, it will leave it's mark on the board.  He thought the i looked like a person and so he started to create families on his board.
I saw the brown half circle piece and wondered how it would be used so I searched out the letter or letters it would be used in.  Turns out it's only used in one letter and that's the letter e.
Z was fun and colorful.  This time I overlapped the magnets instead of keeping them separate like I did for the W and I think it looks a lot better.
 Adam knows his shapes pretty well and he like making a circle with the dot used for the i and j.
And I am sure you have heard this a lot, but this kind of work with the hands is a great fine motor building activity and that is a huge and important step to success in writing.
 He discovered how to make another circle with two of the curved magnets.
This was a fun introduction to these new learning tools and a great way for him to get excited about them.  But I have a great plan on how to use them for some real serious learning fun.
Each month with Mother Goose Time we learn 3 new letters.  My plan is to set up a tray with just the magnets needed to make one of those letters at a time.  Set before him in this way, it won't be too overwhelming.  I just ordered a magnet board that will stand up on the table in front of Adam and I will place the magnets on the board to form the letter.  He can then see how it is supposed to look and recreate it.  Once the letter is formed he can trace the letter with his finger.  We can get out the corresponding Muscle Mover Card too and trace those and do the recommended movement.  I can lay the magnet board down and he cold roll out play-doh to lay on the letter.  The possibilities are endless.

I can't wait for Adam to have more tools as he learns his letters and letter formation.  It's a much more global way to learn (all parts of his brain and body involved in learning) and is far superior to paper and pencil alone.

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