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Naturally Educational » 1-2 (Toddlers), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), Bodily-kinesthetic, Featured, Literacy, Touch » D is for Dirt, R is for Rocks

D is for Dirt, R is for Rocks

Getting physical with your learning is a great way to reinforce academic lessons. The connection is especially strong with language and literacy. The experience reinforces the memory of the letters and words and creates a deep connection.

We’ve also been exploring the universe of literacy in WordWorld–a television program on PBS that supports pre-reading skills. The characters on the show (“WordFriends”) are formed out of the words that are their names.  They solve challenges by building words that morph into the “WordThing” they need.

The key element for me is the way this innovative design reinforces the concept that text has meaning and many words signify actual objects.

We took this idea and went outside to play with natural objects and text.

First we spotted a patch of dirt.  So, my daughter wrote “dirt” with a stick:

My son is a bit younger so we had him trace the “D” with a stick, first with my help and then on his own.

Then we collected pebbles and wrote “ROCKS”” with them:

For my toddler, we are reinforcing the phonics: “Rrrr-ROCKS!” My daughter is learning to associate words with the objects they are.  And they are both learning in the very genuine context of some outside playtime.

The possibilities are endles.

  • You can form words with or in twigs, leaves, acorns, mud, or sand.
  • Spell out “bird seed” using peanut butter (or sunflower nut butter for those who are allergic) and seed on a disposable cookie tray and then leave it out for your feathered friends.
  • Even indoors, make an “F” out of feathers, write an “R” in a tub of rice.

Tactile learning and physical activities are a perfect match with literacy activities.  They activate multiple centers of the brain to increase recall, creating a visual and physical memory to go with the language development.  And they help children form a deep understanding in context with their world.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by WordWorld. All activities, ideas, opinions and educational information is my own. You can access free eBooks and games, and find out more about WordWorld’s iPhone and iPad apps on their website. You can also follow them for daily tips and ideas on Facebook and Twitter.

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Written by

Candace Lindemann, Yale, BA, Harvard Graduate School of Education, EdM, is an educational consultant and published writer. She enjoys new learning experiences with her children, ages 6 and 4 and 1.5.

Filed under: 1-2 (Toddlers), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), Bodily-kinesthetic, Featured, Literacy, Touch · Tags: , , , ,

10 Responses to "D is for Dirt, R is for Rocks"

  1. Love love love this idea of writing in a physical sense – – and outside! :) We are WordWorld lovers as well.

    I featured this post on my weekly High Five! —

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. […] At the end of March, we went outside to play a little in the dirt and mud and write words using natural elements. […]

  3. I can’t wait until it stops raining here so we can try this! Thanks, Candace!

  4. Rachel says:

    Dirt is so much fun to play with!

  5. Okay, so I featured this a long time ago too… But Candace I love it. I had (HAD) to include it in a roundup of dirty, muddy ways to play! LOVE!


  6. […] dirty learning :Dirt is Good:Peaceful ParentingD is for Dirt:Naturally Educational3 Dirt Science Projects:Parenting ScienceMake Compost:Spell […]

  7. […] sure to give them a High Five! and check out their blogs and leave a comment.][1] R is for Rock : Naturally Educational Collecting rocks to write letters…Looks like some learning might be done outside this […]

  8. Jennifer says:

    In addition to our weekly Monday Kid Corner, this week’s theme is MUD. Brush off those archives and link them up at See you there! Jennifer

  9. […] Schreiben in der Erde, Schreiben mit Steinen/D is for Dirt, R is for Rocks: Naturally Educational […]

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