My four year old son is incredibly excited for back to school, but sadly there is a two and a half week spread between when big sister started school and when his pre-school begins. While keeping Noah happy without Emma presents an incredible parenting challenge (last year he asked me to do his hair with her barrettes by about day three…), it also gives me an opportunity to play school with him here at home. Noah loves to read and does so fluently, thinks numbers and math games are fun even asking me the answer to infinity minus google, but avoids writing unless it’s critical such as creating a “No Girls Allowed” sign or a love note to his mother on a magnadoodle. I’m taking this week of alone time as my chance to sneak a little writing into our week.
Mission: Encourage 4 year old to practice lower case letters
Method: Trick him into believing he is completing a “challenge”
Materials: Markers, paper, a pencil, assorted stickers
We started with a color challenge, otherwise known as a way to get Noah to write the names of the colors. He believed that he was showing me his ability to read the color names, when in fact I was forcing him to write lower case letters in order to prove his reading skill. I wrote each color name in pencil, handed him the appropriate markers, and asked him to trace the color name in the matching color, showing that he was able to read the word. It worked! He zipped through the first activity boasting that of course he could read those simple words.
The next challenge would be difficult, so I pulled out every mom’s secret weapon – stickers. We have a bin in the craft area of our kitchen that is filled with assorted stickers from smilies to princesses to return address labels I didn’t actually order. I chose a few stickers of objects that I knew Noah could read and set them to the side, then I wrote the names of the objects in the stickers in pencil. I told Noah that the challenge was to show me he could read by placing the sticker next to the matching word and then tracing the word. Of course I really just wanted him to trace the words. Success! Again he very proudly completed the task with no complaining and only a slight eye roll to show his disapproval.
As parents we do what we can to encourage our children to learn and practice new skills. In the end, I think Noah was pleased with himself. He quietly took the papers into the kitchen during dinner preparation time to show his dad the homework he had done today. Clearly, he thought he had won the challenge…and you know what? I’ll let him have this one.