I saw this idea from Allison McDonald, over at No Time For Flash Cards, and I thought it was really cool… but wasn’t sure how to relate it to Becca. Then one day it hit me. Sentences. Becca is always wanting to write. But due to her very asynchronous development paired with her perfectionism… she is unable to write in a manner that looks correct to her, so she doesn’t enjoy writing. She gets very frustrated. But this way… this way the world is opened to her.
I started by taking the Duplos that she already had and writing a bunch of words on them. We did the activity and then we discovered I had inadvertently forgotten to make any prepositions. And we needed color words. And adverbs. And… and… and… she thought of more words than I had ever dreamed of. SO, since we needed to go to Toys R Us that afternoon anyway, we got another set of Duplos. Because truly, we can’t ever get enough of them around here.
As of today, she has 169 words and punctuation marks. (And that includes three blocks with ” ‘s ” written on them.) She keeps thinking of more words she wants. I told her that she’ll need to wait a while because we aren’t going to buy any more Duplos right now. She wants me to write words on all of her brother’s Duplos too… which I have also held off doing because his go to specific sets.
I love the tenacity with which she approaches building her sentences. Sometimes she likes to build silly sentences just by putting words together that don’t make sense. Sometimes I think of sentences and have her hunt through all the blocks to find the words that are in the sentence. And sometimes she comes up with things on her own that just blow me away. When she wrote “I love my Mommy,” I couldn’t help but smile.
She has discovered that she can also build sentences vertically, and she loves sorting the words by type (which I made easy for her by matching the colors – all the verbs are yellow, food nouns are light blue, pronouns are red, etc.) It’s a great way to talk about types of words, appropriate punctuation marks, sentence structure. She can write stories by building them vertically, or by making them wrap around the table. It’s also a great way to practice sight words if you have some words your child is struggling to remember.
I love the flexibility that comes with this activity, and that she still has the ability to use her engineering skills to build fun towers as well. For example, yesterday I told her to forget there were words on the blocks, and just build something cool. Then after she was done building, we read all the words in order and giggled at the silly nonsensical story she had written!
I also made male and female word sets to reinforce male and female pronouns, and that can be an activity in and of itself sorting them into the correct stack.
We have a bunch of flat Duplos that I haven’t been sure what to do with… and I think I’m going to use them for math facts. Whatever I decide to do with them, you can be sure I’ll share. What ideas do you have for fun ways to use Duplos?
This post was not sponsored in any way by Lego Duplo… we’re just a family who loves Legos and Duplos and has an overabundance!