February 08, 2014

Teaching Toddlers: Using Stickers for Patterns and Counting

I promise to not dedicate my entire blog to educational worksheets, but I've been on a roll lately….  These worksheets are honestly very simple and quick to create, but if you aren't a computer person, you can easily draw something for your toddler to utilize.  Or heck, leave your email address in the comment section (I will not post your email address on my blog) and I will email you the file to print!

Patterns

A great way to learn matching and sequencing is by using cheap garage sale dots (you can find them at the dollar store).  You know what I think of when I see garage sale dots?  Tiny Twister.  It makes me laugh (at my self) every single time. 

Okay, back to the tutorial…. 

At first, I was using notecards and placing a row of stickers at the top and Sweetpea would place matching stickers underneath. We went through a lot of stickers and a lot of notecards.  Using Word, I created circles sized .75 x .75 and shaded them the same colors as my garage sale dots. The row under the colored circles were left blank for Sweetpea to place her stickers on.  

Now, I know there are a ton of different colored dots you can buy, but if you are going to print this type of worksheet, stick with the basics.  Matching your computer dot to the exact color of neon pink on the other dots takes more time and patience than I have!


Counting

Below is another worksheet utilizing the KG Primary Dot font I used on my previous blog posting 'Teaching Toddlers: Tracing'.  Instead of tracing, I utilized the font to encourage visual recognition of each number. The goal is to place the correct number of stickers for each number.


Sweetpea loves using stickers, but sometimes she struggles to get them off the page independently. I recently learned to remove the "backing" to the stickers which allows her to easily peel the stickers off all by herself.  And you know how toddlers just LOVE to do stuff all by themselves!  Such self pride!!!  


February 01, 2014

Teaching Toddlers: Tracing

Sweet pea is always bringing home a worksheet where she traced something (her name, letters, numbers, lines or shapes).  And she seems to enjoy tracing because now in her coloring books, she will trace the outside of the objects before coloring them in!  Naturally (for me at least), I wanted to create some of my own tracing worksheets for her to utilize at home.

Step 1 is adding a "tracing" font to your computer.  I own a Mac and I am by no means a Mac expert.  In fact, when it comes to stuff like this, I would 100% prefer my PC.  However, I love the Mac for other things, so it is a trade-off I guess =)

Adding a Downloaded Font to Word (Mac Version)

You will have to Google the exact font, but to create the traceable letters, I downloaded the "KG Primary Dots" font.  I am certain there are easier (and probably correct) ways to download fonts to your computer, but the following steps worked for me.

Step 1:  Find your desired font and download it.  This font was free!

Step 2: After your file downloads, open the .trf file you wish added to your font listing.

Step 3: The pop-up window titled "Font Book" will appear with a button titled "Install Font".  Click it.

Step 4: The pop-up window shown below will appear.  You will click the "KG Primary Dots" link (highlighted in grey) and drag it over to the font folder (highlighted in blue).

Step 5: Close everything and restart computer.  Yes, I am pretty sure this step is not necessary for people who naturally know how to install a font, but this is what I had to do.  Once I restarted my computer and opened Word, the font was available to me.



Creating Tracing Worksheets

After the download of your tracing font, you can create all kind of fun worksheets for you toddler or preschooler to use.  On this example, I used the font size of 100.  If you are using the "KG Primary Dots" font, then you should pair it with the "Century Gothic" font.  Both fonts type the lower case 'a' in the same manner. Try it out and you will see what I mean.

For structure, I like using a table to keep my letters and numbers lined up.  I also left the last row blank for her to practice writing letters without the aid of the dotted lines.



In addition to worksheets for learning to trace letters, you can use the font to have your kiddo practice writing their name, numbers or even words.  My Sweet pea absolutely loves tracing everything, so be creative and let them have fun while they learn!  It is very rewarding to see our little ones put effort into learning something new and then succeeding!!!

For more worksheets for toddlers refer to an older post "Teaching Toddlers Shapes, Letters and Numbers" for other worksheet ideas.