As you’ve probably guessed by now, I like making things. I was raised “crafty” by a former schoolteacher, and I’ve continued on being crafty with my own kiddo. This time, I decided to make Peanut a set of flash cards to help him learn lower-case letters in both print and braille.
Admittedly, I planned to make these even better by having an item he helped me pick out on each card (I still remember writing a story with clippings from newspapers and ads with my mom when I was a kid–way cool, Mom!), but I decided that my index cards simply weren’t big enough or strong enough. I’d bought the buttons ages ago with the intent of building him a touchy-feely alphabet book; I’m sure I’ll get around to it eventually. Give me a few months (years? I’m slow these days.) and I’ll get it done and post the results on this Web site.
Self-adhesive buttons. I found these at Oriental Trading Company; they’re all the same size, and they have little stickers on the back so they’re all peel-and-stick. Very convenient. You can buy ones just like mine here.
A black marker. I borrowed one of Peanut’s Crayolas.
These are pretty straight-forward; toddler help is optional (sometimes less optional than others–he likes to help, and he did enjoy picking out the buttons.).
- Write a lower-case letter at the bottom of your flash card. I recommend using black ink–I was going to use different colors on the cards but then realized that other colors were hard to see–thick black lines are best.
- Stick buttons on the index card above your print lettering for the braille letter. This makes the braille colorful, large and tactile. I did some in all one color and some with multiple button colors; I think I like the monochrome ones better, but it’s a personal choice.
- Repeat this process until you have all 26 letters.
Peanut likes these–he’s very proud when he gets the letters right, and it’s helped me ID where he’s having problems with lower-case letters. (He knows his alphabet, but he’s much, much better at upper-case print.) The edges of the cards will slip under the buttons on other cards, so you have to be careful with these. Also, my toddler, at least, finds the buttons fascinating, and is interested in seeing if they come off. I’d just as soon he not find out; these are a parent/child together toy rather than a child-by-himself sort of toy.
I hold flash cards up individually, and if Peanut gets it right, he gets the card. He makes a little stack of them and gets very excited. It’s fun to watch him concentrate. I’ve been reiterating that the braille on top is the same letter and trying to count out the dot numbers (a = 1 dot; l = 1, 2 and 3 dots; etc.). Hopefully, this will help him learn his lower-case letters in both print and braille.