Visual discrimination may not sound like a fun skill to practice, but I put an Easter twist on this dusty classic that will have your kids begging for more! This fun, hands-on game will help your students in preschool or early kindergarten learn to visually discriminate the letters of the alphabet.
When you hide alphabet letters inside the plastic Easter eggs it adds an extra element of fun. Kids love opening the eggs to find the letter hiding inside. Placing the letters in the baskets to sort them is another engaging component of this game.
You’ll need the following materials:
- Plastic Easter eggs
- Magnetic alphabet letters
- Index cards or paper
How to Prepare the Easter Egg Alphabet Game
To prepare this small group game, start by placing one magnetic letter inside each plastic Easter egg. Then, place the eggs in an Easter basket or other container. Next, use your marker to draw lines on three index cards. On the first card draw curved lines, on the second draw straight lines, and on the last one draw both curvy and straight lines. There is no need to draw actual letters on the cards, just lines. Use tape to attach one card to each of your three baskets.
How to Introduce the Easter Egg Alphabet Game
Start your investigation of sorting letters by shape with a whole group activity. Draw a large letter on chart paper in front of the class. Call attention to the lines or curves in the letter as you write, for example, “I’m writing a capital T. It has one straight line across the top and one straight line down.”
Next, draw another letter that has only curves, such as the letter C or the letter O and call attention to the curves as you write. Explain that some letters have lines and some have curves. Finally, invite the students to participate in the activity pictured above where they sort curved or not curved letters into two baskets. When they become familiar and comfortable with this process you can introduce the next level of sorting which is curvy, straight, and letters that have both types of lines- such as the letter P.
How to Play the Easter Egg Alphabet Game
Invite students in your small group to select an egg from the basket. When a child opens the egg, ask him or her to touch the letter to feel the shape. Ask the child if their letter has curvy lines or not. Students will then place their letters in the appropriate basket. If their letter has curvy lines they place it in the basket with the card showing curvy lines, if their letter does not have curvy lines it goes in the other basket. This is the first stage of visual discrimination- same and not the same.
Culmination of the Easter Egg Alphabet Game
After the letters have been sorted it’s important to take a closer look at the letters in each basket. Place the letters on the table in front of each basket and examine their shapes together with your group. Ask children to tell you why they placed certain letters in particular baskets. For example, “I see you put the letter A in the basket with the straight lines, can you tell all of us why you put it there?” You could also invite the children to place the letters on a Venn diagram with you.
Why didn’t you just write the letters directly on the eggs with a marker?
It’s important to use real, three-dimensional letters so children can touch and feel the shapes of the letters. When young children can touch and feel the shapes of the letters they begin to internalize those shapes and are then able to identify letters more quickly.
Also, the act of opening the eggs to discover the letters hiding inside is exciting, which increases the level of engagement. When young children are engaged and having fun they will retain more information which translates to more learning.
The best part of this activity is that you can use the letters and baskets again for more fun and educational Easter games!