Jax still has quiet time every afternoon while Em naps, and now that it’s warmer, a lot of it takes place outside. Most of the time all he needs is a stick and his dog to keep him occupied, but sometimes he needs something new and intriguing.
Enter fishing for magnets!
This one is easy enough. Every parent under the sun has at least one set of these ABC magnets–got ours for $1 at Walmart–and every parent hates them because they end up all over the kitchen floor and kicked under the fridge and under the stove. Just add a magnetized fishing pole–ours came with a fishing puzzle–and any kid would be enchanted, even if they’re not obsessed with their letters like somebody I know.
I sat next to him and read a book while he fished for letters that formed a word, and only had to occasionally prompt him to fish for a vowel–yeah, he knows them thanks to Word World. Even if he couldn’t find the right combination, the act of fishing was challenging and fun, plus it was like eighty degrees so he loved when I moved the fun to the water table.
And after a while, when the novelty wore off, he went off to hunt for bad guys and little sister picked up where he left off.
I loved this because although Em knows all her letters, she still can’t tell a 4 from a zebra. This was a great way to work on number recognition without her realizing it. I would ask her, “What’s this number?” and she’d reply, “This number.” Well played, little girl, well played.
Thanks to Teach Beside Me for the great idea!