A little while ago I was inspired to begin playing “I Spy” with Miss Oh Waily.
It is one of the early language games in David Gettman’s book. For those unfamiliar with the Montessori approach to learning to read, it is based on phonics, so they teach the sound of each letter rather than the name. The name is introduced later.
Miss Oh has had a wooden Alphabet Puzzle for absolute ages and so we taught her the names of each letter of the alphabet. This was all well before I started to read and become interested in the Montessori way of doing things. I also made a letter recognition game that you may have seen here using the computer and some of her magnetic letters, and this was also before I had a better understanding of the order of doing things. Still, no real harm done. Miss Oh knows a lot (if not all) the names of the letters, and now I simply need to focus on teaching her to recognise the sounds that go with them.
As it happens, just over the past week or so she has begun to show interest in writing letters, so I think it is time to do some more preparatory work on writing and reading. I will post more on this preparatory work, as I understand it from what I have read, soon.
So, back to the I Spy… game.
Once she begins to learn the phonetic version of her letters I will be able to introduce the Montessori version of the game which uses the sound rather than the name of the letter. In preparation for this I thought I would introduce the way I Spy… works with something she was already familiar with. Colours.
So our version currently is “I spy with my little eye, something…green.”
After which we look around the room or wherever we are, trying to find things that are green. Sometimes she can’t contain herself when she is waiting for us to guess, because we deliberately don’t guess correctly the first time, and she ends up telling us. This is becoming much less of an issue, and the great thing about playing I Spy… is that she is also learning to take turns at a game. She is showing great patience with this and has become very good at allowing others to be the I Spy-er.
I’m sure there are other ways to use this simple but engaging game. Maybe I should work on an I hear with my little ear… game too. She is always asking me “what’s that noise Mummy?”, so perhaps this would go down well too.
Does anyone have other fun games for toddlers that help stimulate their senses and their observation skills? Inquiring minds would like to know.