Monday, May 11, 2020

Alfoil Puzzle Piece Fine Motor Activity: Learn ABCs and Phonics With This Simple Invitation to Play

Did you know puzzles can be great open ended toys? Although they appear to only have a single purpose, to match the correct piece into the correct slot, you can use them in many different ways. One of our favourite ways to use older puzzles is an alfoil wrapped puzzle piece invitation to play. It's a game, fine motor and sensory play activity combined.

I already use toy rotation to try and make sure the girls don't lose interest in their toys, however when we've had a puzzle for a long time and they've done it numerous times it can become boring. Before thrifting them or buying new puzzles, I use this activity to spark new interest and make the puzzle exciting for the girls again. My big girl loved this alphabet puzzle activity that helped her practice letters and phonics.

Aluminium foil wrapped puzzle fine motor, phonics and letter activity.
*This post contains some affiliate links*


ALFOIL WRAPPED ALPHABET PUZZLE ACTIVITY FOR CHILDREN


Wrapping puzzle pieces in alfoil is a really easy way to make an old resource feel new again for children of all ages. By wrapping the individual pieces it adds an element of surprise not knowing which letter they'll unwrap each time. It also makes doing the puzzle into an interactive game.

To set it up you'll need to individually wrap each piece with alfoil while your child is not watching. I chose to use alfoil because it adds sensory input as it crinkles as they touch it and it also sticks to itself so it doesn't require any tape. It can also be easily unwrapped and reused to wrap the letters again if you want to repeat the activity. However, if you don't have any aluminium foil you could use tissue paper or newspaper as they scrunch and unscrunch easily, or wrapping paper and tape.



Once all the letters are wrapped up present them in a tray or container alongside the empty puzzle board. If you want to make it easier {or think your child might lose interest after a few letters} you can leave some letters on the board in their correct spot and wrap the remaining letters. When we first did this activity I prompted her so she knew what to do by saying oh look at the presents, let's unwrap them and see what's inside. Once she realised they were letters we tried to guess which letter it would be by feeling the shape of the package before opening each one. 

It's worth mentioning that although my photos only contain an uppercase puzzle {because that's the first letter puzzle we had}, we've since got a lowercase alphabet puzzle too and this activity works well with both options. When I first started teaching her letters I naturally taught uppercase because it was easier for her to learn, but since she started school I've realised teachers place much more importance on learning lowercase letters so it's important to expose children to both options if possible.



Alphabet puzzle pieces wrapped in alfoil


*This activity is intended for children who are no longer mouthing and should be done under strict supervision*

LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES


  • Fine motor skills
  • Concentration
  • Hypothesising
  • Problem solving
  • Letter recognition
  • Phonics {extension ideas}


Although this invitation to play is essentially quite simple, it has so many developmental learning opportunities. The most obvious one being the many opportunities for fine tuning fine motor skills. As children grasp each piece and work to remove the alfoil they're using their pincer grip which is imperative for good pencil grip development later on. If they decide to repeat the activity and wrap the letters back up again then they'll also be building hand strength as they push the alfoil together tightly.

When they guess what each letter is before unwrapping it, and while they try to find the correct space on the puzzle board to place each letter, they're hypothesising and problem solving. These are cognitive skills which will help exercise their brain, improving their ability to process information. Doing activities that involve thinking skills like reading, playing games and solving puzzles will help children strengthen neurological pathways and improve their attention span, memory and reasoning skills.

The entire activity is great for letter recognition and matching the pieces to the empty puzzle spots also helps with letter formation as the kids need to analyse the shape of the letters before placing them. Extending this activity to include phonics practice is also really easy, simply use some of the prompt questions below. 
aluminium foil wrapped puzzle invitation to play

EXTENDED PHONICS PLAY FOR PRESCHOOLERS AND SCHOOL CHILDREN


When I last set this activity up my big girl was 5 and I initially had it out as a fun fine motor activity for her to come home to after kindy, however once she started playing with it she extended the activity herself. I left it out simply for her to find assuming she would unwrap the puzzle pieces and find the correct spot as we'd done with other activities before, but as she opened each letter she said the letter and then started saying the sound they make and a word starting with the letter. I'm really passionate about following the girls lead when setting up any play activities for them so the fact that she loved it to much she extended her play herself made me so happy.

She also surprised me with the word choices she came up with as they weren't the standard default words I expected her to choose. For example for L I expected her to say lion, but she said L lah, lah love. At the time she hadn't started school yet and was only in kindergarden so she hadn't done any formal phonics learning, we'd only practiced words from books and objects we owned at home. To extend the activity like this if you have preschoolers you can simply ask them to sound out the letter and think of a word that starts with that letter, e.g 'What sound does S make. Can you think of a word that starts with S?' If they're only just starting to explore sounds and words you could give them examples e.g 'B says ba like ba-ba-ball'. It's easiest to start using examples of items they're familiar with in their everyday lives.



Please note these are very simple ways to introduce the concept of phonics to preschoolers before formal schooling. The way schools teach phonics will vary between each school {for example some use Jolly Phonics and others use S2L programs here in Australia}. Once your child has started formally learning a specific phonics program I recommend consulting with their teacher and doing activities that align with that particular teaching method.

ANOTHER EASY PUZZLE PIECE GAME FOR TODDLERS


Four years ago when my big girl was only 2 and a half years old she was learning the letters of the alphabet and I was coming up with some fun play based activities to help her learn. Being a toddler still she only had a short attention span, so anything interactive and play based was the key to getting her interested and learning for longer. One of the games she loved to do was pulling puzzle pieces out of an empty wipes container. 

To do this you'll need a plastic wipes container {we used an old Huggies one} so you can fill it with letters and then they can pull them out through the dispenser lid. Just like wrapping letters in alfoil, pulling the letters out of the container adds the element of surprise and suspense into learning letters. She loved pulling them out, guessing which one they were and then finding the matching spot on the puzzle board. I shared this video of us playing the game on Instagram way back in 2015 {her baby voice is so dam cute}.




ALPHABET GAMES AND RESOURCES FROM AMAZON




FOR MORE FINE MOTOR FUN TRY THESE ACTIVITIES






Disclosure - This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience which means I may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you, should you make a purchase.

No comments:

Post a Comment