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Questions about 4 year olds


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  #1  
April 27th, 2009, 12:32 PM
::er!ca::'s Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Brinlee will be 4 years old in less than 2 weeks. She knows her alphabet and recognizes each letter, however I want to work with her on writing the letters (in both upper and lower cases). I have a couple questions (sorry if these sound silly!)

What should I have her practice writing with? She'd love to use crayons, however would a pencil be best? How about colored pencils so that it's the pencil shape but the fun colors?

What activities could I do with her, to help her learn to write her letters, besides just having her trace and write on paper over and over again. She'd get so burnt out on that. She's a very active child, and trying to hold her attention for 20-30 minutes to do some "school" isn't the easiest task. She's real eager to start, but her attention quickly goes elsewhere.

I also want to do the same thing with numbers (work with her on writing them). She can count and can recognize them, just needs to learn to write them.

If you have any online (preferably free) resources you could link me to, that would be great. I have a printer, so I'm able to print sheets out for her. I think she'd also like some interactive websites too, if there are any out there. I obviously know that isn't going to help her write letters/numbers... but she'd enjoy them for other things.

Also, is there some sort of suggestion list on things that a child should be doing or learning at these young ages (3, 4, 5 years old for example is what I'd be interested in). I'm thinking all subjects, not just letters and numbers. She's been really interested in the body lately (not just naming body parts like arms, elbows, knees, hips, waist, etc. but more of skeleton anatomy). Is there anything I can use that is age appropriate for her? She's also very interested in the solar system and the planets. I bought her a big poster with all of the planets and the sun on it, but she was a little disappointed because it didn't have the moons on it.

Thanks for any help you can give me!

Last edited by ::er!ca::; April 27th, 2009 at 12:37 PM.
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  #2  
April 27th, 2009, 12:39 PM
BensMom's Avatar Ephesians 4:29
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Sounds like what we're doing with Ben, actually. He's 3, but he's "unofficially" in kindergarten right now. I'm taking it slow, but he's hard to slow down. He's been reading for a year already. His writing is just barely starting to develop, though.

I've found that triangle shapes are great for teaching him how to hold a pencil. I use either triangle crayons (crayola makes them) or I get pencil grips. To keep writing fun, I bought him a little dry erase board with the dotted lines on it like you'd see on writing paper. You don't have to just teach letters, either. You can work on writing by doing dot-to-dot exercises, matching exercises, etc. Ben enjoys drawing lines like that, but he doesn't realize it's helping his writing skills at the same time.

As for learning body parts, etc., try looking for charts online. Places like wikipedia, national geographic, or discovery would have them. http://creationwiki.org/pool/images/...n_skeleton.png

*Edit*

Check out http://solarsystem.jpl.nasa.gov/index.cfm ... there's a kid section, but also, when you click on each section (like planets ... then earth), there's a tab for "kids' eye view" that puts things on a kid level for you.

Last edited by BensMom; April 27th, 2009 at 12:43 PM.
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  #3  
April 27th, 2009, 12:46 PM
::er!ca::'s Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Thank you!

May I ask you what you've done to teach him how to read? I'm very impressed! My inlaws want to get Brinlee that Tag reading system by Leap Frog for her birthday, and I don't know that it's a good idea or not. Any thoughts?

Last edited by ::er!ca::; April 27th, 2009 at 06:10 PM. Reason: spelling- it's Tag and not Taq.
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  #4  
April 27th, 2009, 02:57 PM
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Personally I don't like battery powered teachers. Her best reading teacher is YOU!

But first she needs to know all her letter sounds. You can teach her those the same way you taught her the alpahbet, which I'm assuming was through play. Sing the sounds or talk about them while you run errands or do housework. Do letter puzzles and talk about the sounds they make. Go outside and write them with sidewalk chalk. Or get a really big piece of paper and have her practice big letters with marker or crayon or a big fat pencil. (colored pencils are usually frustrating to write with unless you buy expensive ones.)

Make it fun and natural, not school-y. 3 yr olds don't need to sit at a desk and do school unless they really want to. And even then, not for longer than a few minutes at a time.

As for the other subjects, go to the library and read books to her on the subjects she's interested in. They will have plenty of body and space books targeted for her age group.

Most of all, have fun!
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  #5  
April 27th, 2009, 03:30 PM
Butter's Avatar Heather the Mama Duk
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Brightly Beaming Resources and First-School Preschool Activities and Crafts are both good places to get stuff.

I don't think it matter what you use to teach her to write. Just be sure to follow her cues. Some kids just aren't ready to write as early as they are ready to read.
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  #6  
April 27th, 2009, 04:16 PM
::er!ca::'s Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Motherbird View Post
Personally I don't like battery powered teachers. Her best reading teacher is YOU!

But first she needs to know all her letter sounds. You can teach her those the same way you taught her the alpahbet, which I'm assuming was through play. Sing the sounds or talk about them while you run errands or do housework. Do letter puzzles and talk about the sounds they make. Go outside and write them with sidewalk chalk. Or get a really big piece of paper and have her practice big letters with marker or crayon or a big fat pencil. (colored pencils are usually frustrating to write with unless you buy expensive ones.)

Make it fun and natural, not school-y. 3 yr olds don't need to sit at a desk and do school unless they really want to. And even then, not for longer than a few minutes at a time.

As for the other subjects, go to the library and read books to her on the subjects she's interested in. They will have plenty of body and space books targeted for her age group.

Most of all, have fun!
To the bolded- I agree with this, and I love to read to her. We read books all day long. I guess my issue is that my inlaws will ask what we think about them buying a specific thing, but regardless of what we say, they're going to buy it anyway. I'm sure she'll play with it and enjoy it, but it will not replace the reading time we have together.

To the underlined- She actually knows the sounds the letters make. We've been working with her on this for over the past year while playing. She's very curious, she constantly asks about objects and words, and trying to tell us what letters they start with, or what rhymes with what, and groups words together that all start with the same letter or same sound.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Butter View Post
Brightly Beaming Resources and First-School Preschool Activities and Crafts are both good places to get stuff.

I don't think it matter what you use to teach her to write. Just be sure to follow her cues. Some kids just aren't ready to write as early as they are ready to read.
Thanks for the links and the advice! I feel like she is really eager to write... she tries to write a lot of the letters already, she's constantly drawing, painting, coloring, etc. and you'll find letter doodles all over her papers. Sometimes the letters are backwards (like the line on the lowercase a is on the wrong side, or her J is curved to the wrong side). She's learned how to spell her name, and would like to be able to write it out.

When we read, she likes for me to read the book, and then she'll go back to the beginning and "read" me the book making up her own story based on either what she remembers, or the pictures in the book.
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  #7  
April 27th, 2009, 04:39 PM
~hsingtreehouse~
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If she doesn't know all of her letter sounds, then start there. We loved the Leap Frog Letter Factory DVD here and he picked up a lot from it. Of course, I worked with him a lot too, but he also loved the DVD. Once she is ready to learn to read (saying, "mom, what does that say?" and realizing that letters go together to make words and words go together to make sentences, etc) you can use a phonics program to teach her the fundamentals. We started with Explode the Code and we are now doing an ETC/Phonics Pathways combo. My son is 5.5 and he is reading at about an early 3rd grade level. Some kids take off really fast and others take a bit - my older son is almost 10 and has just in the last year become a good and confident reader. It all depends on the child.

As for writing letters....shaving cream, rice, or sand with her finger on a cookie sheet, dry erase board. You can use anything to start with - but if she is ready to hold a pencil properly, then definitely do that. Colored pencils are good for the fun colors. Even the fat pencils and bigger crayons are okay at her age. The goal is not perfection, just exposure.

Best of luck to you and welcome to the group!
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  #8  
April 27th, 2009, 05:00 PM
Butter's Avatar Heather the Mama Duk
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Not really on this topic exactly, but reading what Rebecca wrote about writing letters in rice, I remembered my experience with that and Fritz. For some reason, he'll spend 10 second writing in the rice and then he proceeds to EAT it! Every time. Let's just say that dry rice makes for some interesting diapers. I'd be worried if I didn't know he'd eaten the rice
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  #9  
April 27th, 2009, 05:10 PM
::er!ca::'s Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ~hsingtreehouse~ View Post
If she doesn't know all of her letter sounds, then start there. We loved the Leap Frog Letter Factory DVD here and he picked up a lot from it. Of course, I worked with him a lot too, but he also loved the DVD. Once she is ready to learn to read (saying, "mom, what does that say?" and realizing that letters go together to make words and words go together to make sentences, etc) you can use a phonics program to teach her the fundamentals. We started with Explode the Code and we are now doing an ETC/Phonics Pathways combo. My son is 5.5 and he is reading at about an early 3rd grade level. Some kids take off really fast and others take a bit - my older son is almost 10 and has just in the last year become a good and confident reader. It all depends on the child.

As for writing letters....shaving cream, rice, or sand with her finger on a cookie sheet, dry erase board. You can use anything to start with - but if she is ready to hold a pencil properly, then definitely do that. Colored pencils are good for the fun colors. Even the fat pencils and bigger crayons are okay at her age. The goal is not perfection, just exposure.

Best of luck to you and welcome to the group!
She loves the Leap Frog Letter Factory DVD! I'm glad to hear that it is recommended by others She is asking about what things say, shirts, signs, things on TV, books, things on the computer, etc.

I like the shaving cream/rice/sand idea. She has a dry erase board too, loves to draw on it. It's a chalk board on the opposite side, and magnetic as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Butter View Post
Not really on this topic exactly, but reading what Rebecca wrote about writing letters in rice, I remembered my experience with that and Fritz. For some reason, he'll spend 10 second writing in the rice and then he proceeds to EAT it! Every time. Let's just say that dry rice makes for some interesting diapers. I'd be worried if I didn't know he'd eaten the rice
Good to know incase Isabel gets into it, so I won't be too alarmed!
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  #10  
April 27th, 2009, 05:12 PM
BensMom's Avatar Ephesians 4:29
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I've never heard of Taq. Ben mostly taught himself. Once he figured out that letters have meaning, and once he figured out you could put letters together to make more than one sound at the same time, he was off. He started out by learning the sounds of letters ... like ... we'd tell him what "an" was, and then he could figure out a whole series of words like can, pan, man, ran, etc. From letters, we moved to combined sounds like sh, ch, and th. Just recently, he's figured out that y can sound like a, e, and i just because he knows sight words like "my" and "may". It's just a progressive thing.

Read aloud as much as possible. From the day he was born, he never really cared about toys. He always wanted books. He was physically delayed, so his speech was way ahead of normal. He said his first word at 3 months and had about 10 words by 9 months. He didn't really say anything at all after that until 18-19 mos when he had a language explosion. Children pick up things even when you think they're not listening. When you read aloud, always move your finger along the words so she can keep up.

A good website for teaching letters and reading is starfall.com. It starts out pretty boring, but the higher you get into it, the more fun it becomes. Ben's on the section right now that teaches him about composers and painters. He's learning to read and learning something cool at the same time, so it keeps his attention very well.
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  #11  
April 27th, 2009, 06:09 PM
::er!ca::'s Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Thank you for the tips, you ladies have been very helpful to me today!

I'm taking the summer and fall, at least, off from school myself so that I can focus more on the kids and the family in general. I want to keep the kids in a fun and educational environment and since I'm home with them all day, I figured it would be a good idea to activities, crafts, projects, etc. with them (well including Isabel as much as is age appropriate at a wee 10 1/2 months). I don't like to just throw Brinlee infront of cartoons (like what happens at my SIL's house when I'm in school) when her imagination is growing like wild flowers. She's like a sponge with a lot of things, and her memory is outstanding. I feel like I need to help give her the tools and a place to exert her energy. Plus, her behavior is so much better when I have a specific task for her to do. She's more of a schedule child, not sure if it's her personality or what. But she constantly wants to know what's next. "What are we doing today?" "What are we doing next?" "When I get done with this what am I going do?" kind of thing. If I don't have anything planned, it's almost a meltdown because she needs to know what she's going to be doing. Does that make sense?
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  #12  
April 27th, 2009, 07:51 PM
Nedene's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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I wanna say it's letteroftheweek.com that i found great "lesson plans" for letters and numbers, and i believe it was their site that i found the printable writting sheets on. one second i'll check.

Nope sorry i was wrong it was starfall.com here's the link to the letter pages.. Download Center: ABC Printouts ~ Perfect for Kindergarten

I've found tons of things but just searching around, and mostly guides for me as to what i should be "teaching her" or showing her through play.
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  #13  
April 27th, 2009, 09:42 PM
BensMom's Avatar Ephesians 4:29
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Ben also likes to know exactly what's on the agenda. Actually, as I leave his room at night, he always says "I'm gonna wake up in the morning and have ___ for breakfast and go to ___ with ___". Sometimes he throws absurd things into the sentence hoping I'll comply. I usually don't. Sorry babe... no lobster for breakfast or going to see Mickey Mouse on a whim!
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