Kids will be kids
"Let it go, let it go, I don't care anymore…" Sounds familiar? This came from my then 3 years old daughter who can now sing the whole song (and a few others) from "Frozen" (with some words and phrases she made up on her own haha!) Like most kids, Heidy loves catchy songs and nursery rhymes. She also enjoys being read to since young, as we believed that cultivating literacy skills in her early years will help to build her interest in the English and Chinese languages.
Now that she is turning 4 years old, we saw that it was getting more challenging (and nerve-wreaking) as she began to have expectations on the resources we got her. They must be something that can capture her attention and most importantly, retain her interest so that meaningful learning can take place.
Criteria we have when choosing an educational resource
As an educator and parent, I enjoy exploring ways and strategies to impart literacy knowledge and skills to Heidy. However, my challenge was to make it a win-win situation- to be able to let her have fun while bonding with her, yet at the same time, hopefully able to guide her in her literacy development over fruitful activities. I guess "fighting with time" everyday is the main difficulty all of us face as we wish to accomplish so much with so little time with our little one! So other than books and magazines, we wanted to get something else that is useful and enjoyable, all "rolled into one".
Then we found Elione Sun!
As easy as "A,B,C" with Elione Sun's Alphabet Riddles & Poetic Wordplay cards
Elione is the author and creator of literacy products. Her mission is to offer joyful learning for children in language development by the power of poetry.
As I am always amazed by how Heidy can catch the lyrics of the songs and rhythms she likes, I decided to tap on this similar idea- to use catchy poems, funny rhymes and other forms of wordplay offered in this Alphabet Riddles & Poetic Wordplay literacy product and see if Heidy can thrive in it, though the level of the product was more suitable for kids 5 years old and above.
I was having fun with the cards before Heidy did!
Honestly, I was very impressed by the well-thought wordplay by Elione Sun. My hubby had always "wish" for something simple and fun that he can use when playing with Heidy too. The general parent's guide card is self-explanatory. On top of that, every single letter card contains a very detailed note for parents on how we can activate our kids' creativity and imagination, lateral thinking and perceptiveness and observation skills.
This is something that I have not come across so far in other literacy materials I bought before. It will save me the trouble of needing to think ahead on alternatives ways/extension activities so I can make full use of the cards to reap its benefits fully. This is a plus point as even my hubby was having fun with the riddles he read!
You can click the link to preview the sample of the cards at https://www.elionesun.com/about.aspx#arpw .
What we did with Heidy in Session 1
Heidy is able to recite and recognise the alphabets quite well. As there are a total of 26 cards (letters A to Z), we decided to select only 5 cards for a start because we wanted to keep the session short, focused and fun. No prize for guessing which letters we selected!
Haha! After session 1, I hope to share with you guys on some suggestions and tips on how you can use the cards after kids guessed the answers to the wordplay:
- We did not show all 5 cards as one go so that the answers will not be so predictable and also so that Heidy would be able to focus on just one wordplay card each time. I will be showing other letters that make up the (new) words that I want her to learn in the subsequent sessions. This may help her remember those words vividly through play at the end of each session.
- We read through the cards we selected beforehand so as to know what to expect and pre-empt what Heidy might ask during the session. i.e. letter 'H' was on the Tower Bridge of London! I actually dug out pictures of it my hubby and I took years back when we went London and showed them to her. She was so amazed to see us beside the real bridge in the photos! I also borrowed a story book on the City of London for her bed-time story. Of cos, as suggested by Elione Sun, we also play the 'London Bridge is Falling Down game!
- We asked Heidy to trace the letters at the back of the cards with her fingers to assimilate the shapes of the letters. I intend to allow her to use playdoh or beads etc, to form the words on the letters in the subsequent sessions! This will hone her fine motor skills and enable her to visualise the letters with concrete materials.
- We recorded how Heidy tried to read after us or when there were opportunities for role-playing. These can be replayed for her to watch so that she can learn how to improve when reciting a poetry. It is always fun for kids to watch themselves in videos. We may be recording ourselves beforehand in subsequent sessions too
In a nutshell…
The poetic wordplay and riddles give room for creativity and imagination in kids. Some riddles are pretty challenging for Heidy, however, I feel that the enjoyment process is more important than deriving the answer for younger kids. Anyway, with the clues in the riddles, they help her to attain the answer with our support via sight, sound and action, thereby helping to build her confidence as we went on to more cards.
There are so many ways and endless possibilities to use the cards, and can be "stretched" and improvise to suit different needs and paces of kids at various literacy stages. My take is, don't overwhelm younger kids with too many cards per session, rather, take it slow and naturally in a fun manner. Sometimes, less is more, don's you agree? And most importantly, being prepared ourselves as parents will definitely make the learning and bonding session more effective.
Kids spell 'Love' as 'T-i-m-e'! Take time to love our kids the way they like. These is what I believe. Hope you guys find this review useful dear parents!
Alphabet Riddles & Poetic Wordplay is available at https://www.elionesun.com/Default.aspx and Elione Sun's website has so much more to offer! Please comment or leave more ideas after you have tried the products too. Sharing is caring!