Meet our Alpha-Monster.
Using a bunch of materials around the house that otherwise would have been thrown out, I created a great game that has a bunch of different applications. I took an empty coffee jar, covered it in construction paper, added some eyes, cut out a mouth and drew out the different letters. Then I let my daughter decorate it aand the finished result looked like this.
I had also been saving the milk caps each time we finished a jug of milk and was able to create two sets of letters – upper and lower case. I really love using different manipulatives to enhance our learning – it’s a great tool that M seems to really enjoy as well. (Added benefit is that you can make so many types of manipulatives yourself using items from around the house!)
I started babysitting a little boy a few months younger than M a few days a week and this was a perfect game to do with multiple kids! I put out the alpha-monster and laid out all the letters on the table. They each had a pile in front of them and took turns finding letters I called out to “feed the monster”. We went through upper and lower case letters but also just called out colors. There were so many ways to play with this. M also liked calling out the letters she easily recognized to give the monster.
What I did realize for future adventures is that putting out all the letters at once is a little overwhelming for them. If I only put out a handful at a time, they had an easier time looking for the letters I called out. With all of them on the table, M would get frustrated if she couldn’t find a letter right away. This will provide good practice for letter recognition and reinforce her knowledge of the different colors.