Great Preschool Activity for Expanding Vocabulary and Practicing Phonics

We have a 20 minute drive each way to get Edison to and from preschool. As much as I love getting a glimpse into the inner workings of the preschool mind, sometimes it is nice to have a productive conversation that does not revolve around rocket trains. So, recently we have been playing a modified version of “I Spy”.

Wow! What a great way to pass the time! Not only does it keep the conversation focused, but I swear he learns 5 new things every time we get in the car. It has introduced him to new vocabulary, helped him practice his phonics, and improved his cognitive and problem solving skills. I can almost hear his little brain cranking away when we play. Now, he initiates the game more than I do which is pretty cool. 🙂

This is how my preschooler and I play…

One of us starts off by saying, “I am thinking of something that starts with the letter [A LETTER].” We follow it up with a few general clues like, “It is purple”, “It is a person in my school”, or whatever.

There is no limit to the number of hints we can ask for. We just keep asking questions until we figure it out. Then we switch sides and the other person gets to start.

Yes…Sounds kind-of lame, but it can actually be pretty challenging. Sometimes, when it is Edison’s turn, he does not get the first letter right (especially with C’s and K’s), so it makes it extra tough. Plus, he occasionally will come up with such crazy things that no amount of hints will lead me to the right answer.

Case in point…

Edison: I am thinking of something that starts with the letter F.

Me: Is it a person?

Edison: No.

Me: Is it a place?

Edison: No.

Me: Is it a thing?

Edison: No.

(Um…Maybe he does not understand what a “thing” is.)

Me: Is it a food?

Edison: No.

(I list other categories of things, and he says “No” to each one.)

Me: What color is it?

Edison: Um…No color.

Me: How big is it? Is it bigger than the car?

Edison: Um…It isn’t big.

(I list a bunch of “F” words and he says “No” to each one.)

Me: Are you sure it starts with “F”?

(Edison makes the “F” sound quietly to himself before answering, “Yes”.)

Me: I give up.

Edison: It’s “Friction”!!!

Seriously? He could have given me a million hints and I never would have guessed that.

Now, in case you are thinking that my preschooler is some kind of amazing genius who reads Physics books alone by candlelight before he goes to sleep, I should probably tell you how he learned the word.

At school, he was doing something that was the exact opposite of genius…Crawling around with his head on the floor. Afterwards, he looked up at his teacher and said his head hurt. By the time we picked him up, a giant welt had formed on his forehead. You guessed it…Rug burn.

So, we gave him a nice demonstration of friction by rubbing our hands together really fast and feeling how they got warm. We explained that the welt on his head was actually a burn because the friction made it so hot.

Apparently, the conversation made an impression because it came up over 2 months later in our little game…Crazy kid.

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