Not too long ago, I attended an early childhood educator conference where I took part in a session called "make and take". For those of you who are not familiar with this, basically, there were a couple of presenters who showed us how they take everyday items and make them into effective teaching tools. At that time, I was struggling with how to teach my Greek school class in such a way that the children would learn and have fun at the same time. I searched the internet for items to bring into my class, but really could not find any. My point in all this is to tell you something that the presenter said that really changed things for me. She said, there are teachers who buy things to use in their class, and then there are teachers who use the things around them and create things to help their children learn. Wow! That was so liberating. Yes, I could create things out of nothing and make them effective learning tools.
So, as I was cleaning out my children's game cabinet, I came upon a "Twister" mat with no spinner (my children have an abnormal fascination with game spinners). As I was about to put it into the recycling bin, I counted the circles...hhmmm...24 circles and then it hit me, I could repurpose this into a Greek alphabet game. So I drew out the letters of the alphabet on each circle, and the rest is history. My students enjoy this so much, my kids ask me to bring it home so they can play with it, and the best part is, they are learning their letters in the process. Not only that, but it teaches them left from right and body parts!
It is easy to make... find a "Twister" mat and with permanent markers draw a letter in each circle. If you do not have a mat, simply go to the dollar store and purchase a plain shower curtain. Lay it out on the floor, use a dish or bowl to make 24 circles and then draw the letters in the circles. Voila.. a useful game that cost you a buck!
To play, simply call out the letter sound, or a word that begins with a certain letter sound, tell the kids to place either their left or right foot on the letter circle you called out and have fun!
I have also used this as a matching game for upper case and lower case letters. If you put capital letters on your mat, print out or write out the lower case letters on index cards, and have the children take turns matching the letters.