Parking Lot ABC's- Learning Through Play

I've come to learn that teaching your child can be a difficult task. Every child learns differently as well, which means that there is a good chance that the method I use for O won't necessarily be the most effective method when it comes to P. O likes a challenge. He wants to race, finish first, be the best; it all comes down to playing games. He will not be the child I sit down at the table and do workbooks with. He is a visual and hands on learner. So my approach with O is through play.

Our newest "Learning Through Play"activity is called Parking Lot ABC's. It involves... you guessed it... matchbox cars. A big winner in our house, so I knew this was going to be a hit!

Materials Needed:
1. Foam core. You could also use poster board. If you use poster board, I'd spend a few dollars and have it laminated.
2. Markers
3. Cars/Trucks
4. Alphabet flashcards* (optional, you could simply just call out a letter, but in order to sell this as a game to O, the flipping of the flashcard of the deck makes this a game. =) )

We bought these flashcards at the Dollar Tree.

How to Make:
1. I cut my foam core in half. It was poster size, but cutting it in half makes it more manageable to play and reach across as well as store. You can find foam core in Wal-Mart, Target, office supply stores and even the Dollar Tree!
2. I then used a ruler to measure each parking space out. They are each 2 inches. The different color markers made it look fun and exciting!

How to Play:
As I mentioned above, the selling point for O was to make it a game, which is why I decided to use a deck of flashcards instead of just calling out the letters. I also liked the idea of him visually seeing the letter on the card and on the parking lot board.

The game begins by drawing a card from the deck. Which ever letter is on the card is the parking spot with the letter he drives he car to. I try to have as much conversation about the letter and the corresponding picture on the card before drawing the next card. The game continues until we've gone through all of the letters.

This game was very easy and inexpensive to construct.  It has been a lot of fun play. Even P grabs a car and joins in on the fun!


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