Over the last couple months, I’ve been working at becoming a more hands-on mom to my boys. Our oldest son, Connor, has been in speech/preschool classes for a couple years and LOVES learning! Our middle son, however, likes to read and color, but learning beyond that… no thanks. To help prepare them for school routines, I started doing the Alphabet Challenge with them during the month of August… using activities, tracing/coloring sheets, and crafts daily to learn (or review) the alphabet.
With all this hands-on fun, Dylan finally started to embrace learning and needless to say, I am thrilled! It has been fun finding new, creative ways to learn and do activities together. And it usually results in lots of “I love you, Mommy!” from Dylan (which in Dylan terms means “I’m really having fun!”)
Therefore, this activity was inspired from a free kid’s learning app called Touch ‘n Sing which uses bright colors, fun animations, and classic children’s songs to promote the learning of letters, body parts, reading, numbers, and science through interactive play. (Check out their Facebook page to find out more of this fun app!)
The Alphabet Song on Touch ‘n Sing was the boys’ favorite. (By the way, Touch ‘n Sing comes with two free interactive play songs/games included and the option to purchase more.) The Alphabet Song helps children learn and identify letters through matching up and popping letter balloons. If the wrong letter balloon was chosen, the balloon greyed out. However, when the correct letter was selected, the balloon popped and rewarded the child with a picture of an item starting with that letter.
I first tried out the Touch ‘n Sing app on Dylan on a day that he was feverish (which in our home means clingy and crabby). He. LOVED. It.! (So did Ethan, the littlest member of our family!)
With Dylan just getting into learning his letters, he made several incorrect choices when picking balloons. The little “chirp”/hint the game gives you is nice so the child doesn’t get frustrated. And I loved that after every 6 letters, a celebration screen comes up that recaps all the letters the child has just worked through. Very well done!
I took this same concept of alphabet learning and made it hands-on with the Alphabet Balloon Pop. I blew up 26 balloons, taped them to the wall, and labeled them with the letters of the alphabet. (Note: tape the balloons up before you write on them. This way you can make sure the letter is visible to the child. Also… I used a fat tipped dry erase marker to write the letters on the balloons. The thick line made it a little easier for the boys to see/identify.)
I had purchased a set of Sesame Street’s ABC flash cards (at Target for $1). Since Dylan is still learning the letters and working on identifying them, we needed a visual for him to match the letter balloon to. These were perfect! (With children who are already familiar with the alphabet, you could just call out a letter and have them find it.)
I called the boys downstairs to the playroom, where they were both excited and baffled as to why mommy had letter balloons taped to the wall. I showed them the Touch ‘n Sing Alphabet Song game and told them we were going to do the same activity with these balloons. They couldn’t wait (and, by the way, they really wanted to play the Alphabet Song again when they saw I had it up on the iPad)! I quickly explained our game:
- They had to take turns. When it was not their turn, they needed to sit in the “waiting” chair.
- I would show them a card with a letter on it. They had to find the matching balloon and show it to me before they could have the nail to pop it.
- After the balloon was popped, we would look at the special word on the back of the card. I would say it, then they could repeat it. (With Connor’s speech delay and knowing the importance of the child hearing the sounds each letter makes, I always try to include a listen & repeat aspect in our learning activities. Plus, this helps grow the child’s vocabulary.)
- Then we’d say “Switch!” and it would be the other child’s turn.
Both boys LOVED this activity! At first the popping of the balloon startled them and well, made Dylan scream with excitement! We did have to tame down the screams, but the excitement stayed high through the whole game.
Afterwards, we sat down together, sang the ABC’s a couple times and then reviewed all the letters on the flashcards. They did tire out of this 20 letters through, but they humored me and finished the last 6 letters.
The Touch ‘n Sing app (that this activity was based off of) has many other great interactive games to offer in addition to the Alphabet Song. The Hokey Pokey (one of the free games) teaches body parts and helps the child learn their left and right. Unfortunately, it took several taps on the screen before the character would respond. Dylan didn’t have enough patience for this. However, Connor (our 5-year old) really enjoyed it and found the characters amusing.
I loved that the boys actually worked together with the Touch ‘n Sing app! If your kids are anything like mine, sibling squabbles are way too frequent. Maybe it was the threat of taking the iPad away, but the boys sat and played these games together for almost an hour. They nicely took turns on Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, clicking on the planets and exploring outer space. It was a lovely morning of quiet time for mommy and learning time for the little ones!
AND enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card from SumahoMAMA below!
This post is sponsored by SumahoMAMA, using music and play to encourage discovery and development! All opinions expressed in this article are my own.