Little Abdu’s favourite toy was the alphabet train puzzle. He loved putting the pieces together – like a train. He also found joy in matching the alphabets to images and learning words written on the pieces.
One night, when his Mumma was too drained to have a full-blown reading session, she found a new way to bond and make him learn language. She asked Abdu to look around for things in the room and identify words linked to the different alphabets. While he did not want to stop playing the guessing game, he was happiest to know that his Mumma’s favourite thing in the room started with the letter A.
The session delayed his bedtime, but his Mumma was still happy. She had discovered a fun way to keep him engaged without toys, in or outside of home…and to help him OBSERVE, THINK and CONNECT.
It was Day 1 of son’s pre school summer holidays after coming back from vacation. I had not even finished unpacking and he started to pull curtains of the living room out of boredom. I had decided to not enroll him in any summer camp for reasons more than one. So I took him to my work drawer and made him select an animal and bird from the list of photographs from my latest Travel Diaries workshop. It was the Golden Parakeet and the Giant Panda that caught his fancy.
The initial intent was to only draw the bird and the animal and do some painting along with the flags of country they belong to. When I realised the names share the same alphabets G & P, I thought it was an excellent opportunity to also teach him some new alphabets. All the more because it aligned with my philosophy of not learning alphabets in a sequential order, the first two alphabets he learned were M for Mumma and E for Ekta.
Inspired by the designs of my books, we brought out some bindis and dals to craft the alphabets to help him further enhance his fine motors skills, but also ensure alphabet recognition. It took him 5 days to complete them bit by bit, a true test of patience both for him and me. But at the end when he learnt to say new words that are not a part of his usual vocabulary – P for Parakeet, G for Giant and started recognising and pointing these letters in numbers plates of cars and sign boards, the effort seemed worth it. I was also happy to hear a new slogan GP GP as I was bored of listening to ABCDEFG…song over and over again.
The greatest joy though came when we coined the word guessing game starting with initials of our new slogan, GP for Grand Parents, GP for Gurgaon Police! And just like that he learned two new concepts, the city we live in and the folks who discipline our city. But I could not think of any other phrase that has GP as its initials. And suddenly all the memories of playing Scrabble as a child came flashing back.
The son is not even 3 yet, but I am very inspired to buy the game and play with him. It may help him further with alphabet recognition or learn new words and concepts, but more importantly, will be another joyful way of spending time together as it brings back cherished childhood memories.
It has always been a part of our daily ritual to sit around mumma (me), and listen to stories either from books or just plain made up. But to get the attention of a 6 year,4 year and 3 year old at the same time has always been a challenge. One day we were reading “When I Grow up “when Ethan suddenly got up and said, mumma lets do Spell Cat. To suddenly transition from a reading a book to doing an activity with all three was something I wasn’t prepared for. So we kept the book aside and gathered at the dining table. The girls ran to their room and got writing boards .
But I wanted to make this game interesting so I got the story book we were reading and opened it to a page. I asked each one of them to pick a 2, 3 and 4 letter word. So while Ethan found a 4 letter word and read it out loud to the girls he took the alphabet cards from the spell cat to form the words while Sarah my 4 year old (just learning to 3 letter words) wrote it on the slate board. Akira( my 3 year old) not to be left behind took a chalk and tried to write the first letter of that word. And for the next 1 hour we found words in the book we were reading and tried writing them, spelling them, and understanding them.
– Pallavi Fernandez, mother of 3 children