12 October 2006

Games to play with the alphabet floor mat

Kristen, much-admired author of Motherhood Uncensored and The Mom Trap and co-founder of Cool Mom Picks, finally found a use for the alphabet floor mat:

So, you know those foam letter puzzle floor covering things that you buy to keep your floor covered but then your tot figures out how to rip them up and you shove them in a drawer and they just take up space?

Well, turns out, my 2 year-old LOVES them now. We take about 9-12 pieces, put them together and then play games with them (even just putting them together is great).

You can play "letter stomp" where you say a letter and your child has to find it and stand/jump on it.

When they get older, you can ask them to find you something that starts with a particular letter and then put it on that spot. Great for transitioning from flash cards to actual items.

AND, you can play a modified Twister - like "left hand on C, right foot on D."

I imagine the possibilities are endless. I'm just happy they're not sitting unused in the drawer.

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I tutor preschool and kindergarten children and the ABC floormat is my most prized possession. I've used it for all of the above games as well as removing all the letter inserts, hiding them, and then having children find and place them in the correct tile after saying a word that starts with the letter. All good stuff! If you can get a numbers mat it works great for math games for kindergarten and first graders. While flash cards bore them at this age, they love the physical interaction and silly fun on the mats.

They did make a cute rug for a couple of days.

We use the letters to practice phonics with my toddler. I hold up a letter and he says the sound it makes. I am amazed by his memory!

OMG! I have exactly the same set that you have pictured and guess where it is? Uh-huh, in the back of my 2 year old's closet because she kept scattering them everywhere.

I love this hack and we're gonna try it out real soon! Thanks!

We love to jump or hop or roll from one letter to another. And to jump from one letter in his name to another to another.... good fun!

Very good ideas! Here's one if your child is a little young for true appreciatio nof the alphabet...
We have a mat that had been sitting in a drawer (the 16 mo old would just pull it apart and gnaw on it), but the other day i got the idea to pull it out and make stacking blocks out of it the tiles. Baby didn't pull them all apart once they were put together into blocks, and we could then stack them and then he could run into it and knock them over. much fun was had. Eventually he punched most of the letters out (he enjoyed sticking them in the holes like a shape sorter). but it was making a mess, so i just left the cubes out and put the letters themselves back in the drawer.

An aside: If you are a knitter or crocheter, those foam shape and letter mats have utility beyond the toddler years. They're perfect for pinning out and blocking just-finished knitwear prior to sewing the pieces together. My kids are now in 2nd and 9th grade and beyond the letter training toy stage, but the foam mat is still going strong.

And if you don't have one yet (mat, not child), because they tend to last longer than the pre=literacy of any given set of children, foam shape/letter mats are relatively common at items around here at yard sales.

Hate those things. My daughters shoved the letters into their electric heaters one summer and we didn't find out until we turned on the heat that winter. Melted letters stink in every sense of the word.

I was about to chuck my ABC foam mats away cos all my toddler does was to peel out the letters from the squares ! I was spending more time putting them together than doing anything constructive with her... thanks for the hack (in the meanwhile, I just decorated the room with the letters of her name - least the letters go missing!)

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