The bin included dried black beans, flat marbles, capital magnetic letters, and plastic fish. The plastic fish and the flat marbles were part of a floral rocks set I found on clearance at Wal-Mart over the summer. I added some magnetic tape to the back of half the fish. For an old-fashioned fishing look I found a stick in the backyard and tied a magnet onto it with yarn. In order to add another level on interaction with the bin, I typed up an alphabet list and laminated it with self-laminating plastic paper. This way he could cross off the letters he found with a vis-a-vis marker and we could save the sheet for another day.
Big Brother was pretty excited to give it a go when he got up from quiet time. Right away he started fishing. Unfortunately the magnet wasn't quite strong enough, so I wound up grabbing a clip magnet off the fridge.
Although this picture is blurry, I had to include it as he had such a great expression when he "caught" his first letter.
After catching the letter, he marked it off on his sheet. He decided he'd try and trace some of the letters as he caught them.
At first Big Brother had fun just trying to catch any letter. But then we added in some new levels of play. I'd call out a letter and he'd try to catch it. Then he caught all the letters in his name. I tried a little bit of sound work, where I'd say a letter sound and he'd find the letter, but as we're not really trying to focus on that right now we didn't do much of it. He also liked saying a letter and having me try to catch the one he called out.
Big Brother also decided to change how he was marking which letters he'd caught by matching the letter to its space. By doing this, he was working on alphabetical order (all on his own invention) as he would sing the alphabet song while finding their places.
Of course, he also enjoyed just catching the fish too, and did a small color game with them as he tried catching them.
He had a lot of fun with the bin and went back to it several times over the last few days. I'm looking forward to some other ways we could use the bin. It could also be used as a sensory bin without the stick. Another idea to extend the learning would be to swap out the capital letters for lowercase letter magnets. The letters could be taken out and more ocean animals added for a whole different learning experience. Lots of opportunities!
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