I can be such a mean mom. Really, just ask my kids. For about a week now, I’ve had an Alpha-Bits Cereal box sitting out on my kitchen counter, teasing the kids. They’ve heard, No! You can’t have that for breakfast! My SD-Card is in the computer! And Snack?! You want Alpha-Bits for a snack? But I need to do an activity with it! Sigh. Such is the life of a blogger.
Yesterday afternoon, camera in hand, I greeted Little (age 4) after preschool with a snack she loved: a bowl of dry Alpha-Bits.
“But you said it’s crafting time!” she said.
“It is!” I replied. She offered her “but! What!?” expression, full of arm movements demonstrating a lack of a project.
“What’s wrong? What do you need?” I asked. I love to “entertain” my kids this way. Even as a teacher, there was nothing I loved more than teasing my kids with open-ended projects. The kind where I’d say, “okay, kids. Today’s we need to craft something to show we understand the alphabet. [Or whatever the objective was that I needed to assess understanding.] Go!” And, after a minute or two of looking at each other or staring off to space, they’d get out the crafts they needed and get started.
So I gave that challenge to my daughter. “You have Alpha-Bits,” I said. “You may eat as many as you want. But we’re also practicing letters today.” Then, I followed her lead. She suggested creating a book and asked for crayons, paper, and glue. We spent some time finding letters and writing them as she began a ‘fruit’ book.
At four, she’s already identifying most of her letters but found the “scavenger” hunt for letters to be fun, though, at times, a bit frustrating. Our box was full of As, Bs, Os, and Ds, but we had a bit of trouble finding letters like E and M. Letter searches (just like picture searches) are also excellent for eye-brain training and a pre-reading skill.
B has been a difficult letter for her to learn, so having a fun, edible guide to assist offered a reward at the end of writing the letter. And it was far more fun than connecting Mommy’s dots, again.
Needing a new activity, we began preparing snacks for when her brothers got off the bus. Peanut butter is an excellent sticky food, so we shmeared peanut butter on rice crackers and spelled a few easy words and names. When the boys were home, the ideas for future snacks started flying: Use Nutella! Use Fluff! How about Ants on a Log? (Celery sticks with Peanut Butter and raisins… now interspersed with letters. Aha! The kids created our Thanksgiving table activity!)
Good thing we have a second box! I’m all set to pull out Alpha-Bits as craft, learning, and “busy” work for my kids this season and beyond.