And if meshed into your daily routine for about 1-2 weeks, it actually works. Most of the tots in the 2-3 year-old Parent-n-Me class that my daughter and I attend not only know how to orally spell their name--but can also recognize it. Wicked.
In took about two weeks for my head-strong 2 1/2 year old daughter to catch on. I found that in order for this project to be a success (and not become overly frustrating for either of you) you need to keep a couple of things in mind:
1. First and foremost, convince your strong-willed tot that the whole project was her idea. Master this, and you've got the parenting thing in the bag, don't you?
2. This needs to be as routine as brushing teeth. It takes a bit of discipline. We would spell and hop my daughter's name (more on that later) when she'd rise in the morning, at bedtime and any other time she showed an inclination.
3. NEVER push your child to do this project. At first she'll be confused, but after watching daddy do it a few times, she'll want to get in on the action, too. Remember, this project is a game and should be sold like one to the unsuspecting tot. We don't want them to hate letters before they can even read!
4. Have fun with this--if you're rocking the name game then so will your child!
Step 1: Gather necessary materials
A LOONNNNGGGGG piece of butcher paper. Long enough to make that child work for those letters!
Tempera Paints in assorted colors, paint trays and paint brush
One eager to learn tot who is over the age of two
Scissors--for extension activity
Step 2: Write up
Now, don't make the same knuckle-head mistake I made the first time we put together the banner and write the letters of your child's name down the length' 'of the paper.
Using your pencil write out your child's name going UP the paper so that it looks backwards when written. However, when your child is later doing the "game" she'll need to jump up the paper to each letter in her name, spelling it as she goes...Get it?
*Make sure the letters are large and spaced out enough so that your child can hop from letter to letter. Capitalize only the fist letter in your child's name to get use to capitalizes and lowercase letters.
Step 3: Tracing over
My daughter has six different letters in her name so she chose six different colors of paint and which letter she wanted to paint which color.
Step 5: "And now...Let the wild rumpus start"
Start with tot off the poster on the end where her name begins. Explain how she's going to play a name game with oodles of wiggly, jumpy fun!
Demonstrate what you'd like her to do first! Burn a few extra calories--it won't kill you!
First up, say the letter in front of you then take gigantic step to it! (The first several hundred times prepare to say the letter for your child then have her repeat it back in a silly voice before jumping onto the letter).
*This is NOT the original poster that my daughter made. My daughter's first poster tore from use before I realized that we hadn't taken any pictures. This is my quickie poster!
Step 6: Bounce, baby, bounce
Try bouncing on both feet to the next letter...
Step 7: Hip-hop ya don't stop
Step 8: Get into character
We, of course, must ALWAYS spell our name while walking like a ballerina!
Be a pirate, monster, puppy, royalty, penguin, the British, a Jedi...the skies the limit!
Also, try various types of traveling:
Step 9: Extend the fun AND learning
This is the perfect opportunity to have your tot practice her scissor handling and cutting skills.
Draw a line between the letters and have her cut on the line....de-licious! Can't you just see those small motor skills working?
Take a break after all that cutting to read your favorite ABC book before proceeding with your newly-constructed game.
Step 10: Your name is a huge puzzle to me
With all the practice your tot did spelling her name, the next step is to extend the letter recognition by teaching her how to unscramble the letters in her name!
This will be WAYYYYY hard at first for most kids and you don't want your child to become frustrated, so don't push the puzzle. Instead, ease into it by simply practicing the letters with the child first:
Perhaps spread out all the letters in her name facing her and practice a name cheer as your child hands you each letter:
You say: "Gimme an "A"
She says: "A" (as she hands you a "d"--don't let this frustrate you...We're all learning here! In time an "A" will be an "A" and a "d" will be a backwards "b")