Montessori alphabet rice seek-and-find is a hands-on literacy kids activity to promote letter and phonetic sound recognition in preschoolers and kindergartners.
Do you recall memorizing the ABC song and then parroting it back without genuinely understanding what sound each letter makes? Or, better worse, do you remember mundane endless tracing of the same letter over and over in a notebook and not seeing the end? Well, I’ll tell you this! Hands-on, active learning is more effective than passive absorption of the information or rout memorization! And if you add a sensory touch to your literacy activity, it is an absolute win-win! Yes, repetition could be helpful. However, it is the emotions along with sensory stimuli that make learning meaningful and not rote memorization! Remember, children, learn by creating and manipulating, not by consuming! So, go grab some rice, and let’s make a Montessori Alphabet Rice Seek-And-Find sensory bin!
You’ll Need for Montessori Alphabet Rice Seek-And-Find:
- a tray or a dish to contain your filler
- sensory filler (we are using dyed rice ~ see PDF recipe below)
- Montessori movable alphabet
- a brush
- plain paper to write the alphabet on
Dyed rice is my absolute favorite sensory filler since it is inexpensive, versatile, easy to make, and lasts forever! The only downside is that it might get messy, but having a large mat under the work area will assure easy clean-up.
To Make Dyed Rice You’ll Need:
Dyed Rice Instructions:
- First, measure 1 cup of rice for every 1 tablespoon of vinegar.
- Next, add rice and vinegar to a recycled jar.
- Thereafter, add a few drops of food coloring to the jar.
- Shake a jar well until all the rice grains are coated and colored evenly.
- Lastly, pour the mixture out to dry on a flat tray by spreading out into a thin layer.
Dyed Rice Tips:
- Plastic is very damaging to our environment, so to mix the rice, use a recycled glass jar instead of a plastic zip-lock bag.
- To facilitate the drying process (which is about 30 minutes), place dyed rice in the oven for 5-10 min at a low heat ~ about 250 F.
- The vinegar helps spread and set the color. The only downside is that the vinegar smell is strong, but leaving it outside to dry helps reduce the smell.
Montessori Alphabet Rice Seek-And-Find Activity
Montessori Alphabet Rice Seek-And-Find Skills At Play
- hand-eye coordination
- fine motor control
- spatial awareness
- letter recognition
- phonological awareness
AGE 2.5 years + Always supervise your child!
- In Montessori, children are introduced to lowercase letters first.
- Montessori utilizes a phonetic approach to literacy.
- Montessori alphabet letters are color-coded where vowels are blue and consonants are red
- In Montessori, children and not introduced to letters in the ABC order, but rather in specifically predefine phonetic groupings which have been proven to be effective in allowing the child to quickly form as many words as possible.
What the hand does, the mind remembers.Dr. Montessori
In preparation for language work, children start in sensorial areas, where they learn to focus, concentrate, and develop a sense of order. Through senses, children learn letter sounds by using hands-on materials. If you think about it, the alphabet letters are merely written codes for phonetic sounds in words. (Hello phonological awareness!) Thus, the road to literacy always starts with spoken language and sounds! And hands-on learning proves to be very effective! So, hide, freeze, or bury alphabet letters in rice or other sensory filler!
Why Hands-On Learning?
Hands-on Learning allows children to engage in kinesthetic Learning by doing! ’Hands-on learning’ is the common name for ‘Experiential Learning’ ~ a philosophical term behind the method of immersing oneself in a process in order to learn it. Experiential Learning has been around since 350 BCE, when Aristotle wrote, “for the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them”. Most importantly, hands-on Learning is uniquely positioned to support or elevate any type of learner! Best of all, research has proven that children who learn using hands-on methods with manipulatives outperform those who are not. What are manipulatives? They are physical tools that engage a child visually, sensorially, and physically with objects such as brushes, tongs, droppers, figurines, blocks, loose items, etc. Manipulatives are constructive because children are actively engaged in the discovery by touching, transferring, and manipulating during the learning process.
Have you tried hiding alphabet letters in rice? Leave a comment!
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