Shake it like a salt shaker (shake it like a salt shaker) shake it like a salt shaker (shake it like a salt shaker)
I’m sorry, my millennial heart just couldn’t resist the opportunity to shout some Ying Yang Twins lyrics out into the world when writing about a lesson involving…you guessed it…twerking!
Nah alright alright jk my lesson involves salt. I am the least qualified person on this earth to teach you how to twerk. Not for lack of trying though. Thank goodness our phones weren’t good enough quality to record any of that time in our lives, ya know?
Back to the salt. The real objective here is to teach you a cute learning activity to do with the nursery rhymes/abc crowd.
Around pre-k age (4 or 5), our children begin to develop some interest and ability to truly learn some letters! A great way to start is to focus on the letters within your child’s name. Young children are egocentric (it’s all about me me me) so they’re usually pretty pumped to be able to read/write their own names. We have reached this window of excitement to learn letters with my 5 year old pre-k son Jack! My teacher heart is oh so exciteddddd!
Before I continue with our lesson, it’s important that we parents/teachers always, always remember that our older preschoolers are still very much in the thick of the early childhood stage and very much learn best in a play-based environment (early childhood continues through age nine). What we can do at home to keep learning fun:
- Keep lessons relatively short (5/10/15 minutes-will vary lesson to lesson and child to child)
- Read your child’s body language and stop when they show signs of disengagement
- Use lots of positive encouragement
- Focus on fun and love of learning
Today’s lesson is sure to be lots of fun for your child!
- Shallow tray or Tupperware-smaller lunch size will work great
- Handheld vacuum/broom and some paper towels for easy clean-up
Fill your tray with about a 1/2 inch of salt. Show your child how to use their pointer finger to trace letters (start with the first letter in their name) into the salt. Say out loud what you’re doing to form the letter (I’ll do J for Jackson as my example) ”Big line downnnnn…turn! Little line at the top like a hat!” I try to make my voice sound like a car turning when I say turn too. Silliness and playfulness are your friend when teaching littles!
Next, have you child try it! Have both you and your child say the formation words together as they trace the letter in the salt. You can hold their hand and help guide their finger the first few times/any time throughout the lesson if they’re struggling. The highlight of the activity? Probably erasing! This is when you can get crunk with it, get loose with it. Shake that tray real fast then stop and watch the letters disappear. It’s oddly satisfying to me as an adult as well. Sometimes it’s the small things in life.
When you start to notice your child growing confidence you can talk about the sound the letter makes. ”J for Jackson! /j/ /j/ /j/. What else starts with the sound /j/? Oohhh I know! Jelly! Jaguar! Jewel! Can you think of any?”
If your child is still having fun with the salt and activity, have them draw a picture in the salt of an object that starts with the letter as well! Keep up with the activity as long as your child is interested (remember this may only be a short period and that’s ok). I like to leave out the salt for Jack to play with as an open ended activity and he will stay occupied playing with his toys in the ”snow” for a good hour!
Enjoy and have fun! Play is learning.