In this game, children will practice naming letters and their associated sounds through a game of finding buried letters. Working with letters helps children learn their names and sounds, which are important pre-reading skills.
Place a variety of letters in a pan. You may want to begin with the letters in your child’s name. Pour the corn meal/oatmeal/rice into the pan and bury the letters. Introduce the activity by letting your child know that he will play a game of digging for buried letters in the (sand, rice, etc) and naming each letter. You can say, “Let’s play! Some letters are buried in this sand like treasure that we need to find and dig out. When we find a letter, then we’ll try to name the letter. I might say, ‘I found a T!’”
Demonstrate for your child by digging with your hands in the pan and pulling out a letter. Tell your child the name of the letter, the sound it makes, and a word that starts with that letter.
Now encourage your child to dig for a letter. Ask your child for the letter name, and if he knows the name, ask for its sound and a word that begins with that letter. If your child cannot give a correct answer, help him by giving a clue (for example, “This is the letter that says [b sound].”) or by naming the letter for him.
You can narrate aloud as your child digs to keep the game interesting and playful for him, for example, “I wonder which letters are hiding in here. I don’t know if you can find all of them. Some of these letters are very sneaky and are still hiding from you!”
Continue taking turns in this game until you find all the letters.