My eldest began primary school this September, and as mentioned in “Handling the arrival of Majority Language homework in a minority language home”, we now have to handle having Majority language (ML) homework at home but also handling the little sister during that time.
One evening, after having observed the previous days her elder sitting at the desk doing her homework, my little one enthusiastically shouted “Homework! Homework! Me too!” in response to me instructing my eldest to go and do her homework.
It was indeed very cute but I was taken a bit short. So we took out a tiny table, her little chair, put a pot-full of felt-tips and paper on the table and she began scribbling away. However, scribbling is not something new to her so it did not entertain long. So that evening, I went on the hunt for activities that I could use as “homework” with my little one to keep her entertained. I turned to the amazing La Escuela de Spanglish Facebook page that I mentioned in “Blogs I follow: Spanglish Easy” and asked for ideas. A mum shared several ideas and recommended another Facebook page called “Mamá Estimula” full of original and colourful ideas to stimulate little ones.
For the first try, I opted for the letter-tracing with chickpeas.
I chose the first letter of my little one’s name, as recommended by the lovely founder of Spanglish Easy. It is a letter they can learn to relate to personally and hence it can help foster their interest in learning the alphabet.
The homework was a huge hit with my little one. Though her eyes shined with curiosity at the sight of the chickpeas jar, her initial reaction was to step back and refuse to copy me, placing the peas in line. But once these few seconds of hesitation over, she jumped in, and to our utter amazement did a perfect job at it in no time! She was very proud of herself as we praised her. And I did not have to look for any extra activity after that as she enjoyed herself filling and emptying the chickpeas jar!
The only downside with this activity is that for young children this activity requires supervision so as to avoid choking hazards.
- Dry chickpeas
- A sheet of A4 paper
- A felt-pen (preferably a colour that stands out)
- Using the felt-pen, trace the letter of your choice on the sheet of A4 paper (you can fold it in half if you feel it is more convenient for your child)
- Explain the letter to your child (give its name and/or sound, give an example of a word beginning with that letter)
- Put a handful of chickpeas in the jar’s open lid so that your child can grab them easily without them rolling all over the place.
- Show your child how to trace the letter by starting the tracing and asking him to finish it off.