I've been waiting for these little mailboxes to arrive in the stores. I've tried using small buckets, muffin cups, etc. to do independent sorting activities, and simply kept mentally kicking myself for not buying some of these last year.
Luckily, Target had them in their dollar section last weekend, and I snagged the last few.
Since children have a natural affinity for the number three, I try to appeal to that natural order. However, I can use only two of the mailboxes if that's all I need, for instance noun vs. verb; or up it to four on the few occasions that is needed, for instance sorting by seasons.
The tops of these mailboxes come completely off, so I am able to label them on either side for two completely different activities, one for the bigs and one for the littles.
For the bigs, I wanted to work on them distinguishing the blends dr, gr and tr. I used my clipart program and made up picture cards. Since they read well, I didn't want the word on the cards, as many teachers do, so I had to make my own. It was pretty easy for them, but helped to reinforce the skill.
Surprisingly, dragon gave them the most trouble, with it often going into the gr box.
For the little ones, I simply take the top off and plop it the opposite direction. For the youngest, they have red down, but green and blue get mixed up. So I included red as a given success. For the first few times, I place the green and blue right next to each other for easier discrimination. Once they seem successful, then I move them to either end with red between for higher mastery.
These thick magnetic number and letter tiles were also in the dollar section at Target.
One of the best aspects of these little mailboxes, is that I do not allow the children to take off the tops. First of all they would ruin the soft plastic trying to get them back on, and secondly this allows the children to not fix their mistakes, usually what I DO want, which allows me to assess their first response ability. I can go do something else, and have assessment results wait for me, rather than having to observe the activity.
Some of the other planned activities:
- shapes sorting, including 3-D
- beginning sound sorts
- ending sound sorts
- animal pictures to habitats
- animal families
- size sorting
- sequencing sort
- food groups
And I'm certain to find a LOT more uses for these little gems!
Tags: homeschool, preschool, pre-k, children, child, kids, math, language, science, sorting, fine motor, homeschool, homeschooling, child care, daycare, care, learning, activities,