Monday, December 20, 2010

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Trees

We discovered this book a couple of years ago and the kids have loved it. (There is a numbers book by the same author called Chicka Chicka 1,2,3 that is also fun) This book is great for lots of reasons, and one of them is that it features both capital and lower case letters. The capitals are the adults, and the lower case are their children. Ha!

Last year at our Joy School day about letters, our host had made palm trees with letters on them for the kids to play with as we read the book. I loved it and had to make my own to keep at home! When I made mine I used several different shades of brown for the trunks and a couple of different greens for the palm fronds, just to add visual interest. Then I wrote a capital of each letter on the trunks, and the lower case on the leaves. And since I knew we'd be using these a lot, I took mine to get laminated for durability. The last thing to do was add a velcro dot to the leaves and trunks so that the matches could stick together.

We have played with these several ways.

Game 1: The first is what we did at Joy School last year. First, spread out all the trunks, spread out all the leaves, and have the children find the upper and lower case matches. For lots of letters, like Xx, Ss, Mm, this is easy. But some of them are more challenging, like Gg, Rr, Qq, and this is a fun way to practice them.

When they find the match, they can put them together with the velcro.

Game 2: Another game we came up with is similar to the alphabet puzzle game. I placed all the trunks face down, divided the leaves up between the players, and we played a memory matching game until we'd built all our trees.

While the object of the game was similar to the first activity, it was more exciting for my kids when they found a match.

Game 3: This time we played with them and made up our own version of Go Fish.

Each child got three trunks and three leaves. Then they'd have to ask the other players, "Do you have a capital J?" or "Do you have a lower case p?"

If we had what they asked for, we'd have to pass it over, and they'd get a match. If they didn't find what they were looking for, they'd have to draw one from the pile. The game was over when the first person got rid of all the letters in their hands, and the winner was the one with the most matches.

How else can you think of to play with these trees?

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