Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Feed Me!

Today I formally introduced the definition of letters and numbers using Norm the Number Guy and Lucy the Letter Monster. This activity is geared more to older kids (4/5 yr olds?), but it was a fun way to start talking about the differences between numbers and letters and do some sorting with my almost 3-year-old.

Materials Needed:
- scissors
- templates (Norm, Lucy, numbers, letters)
- cardstock
- tape
- 2 boxes
- basket/bowl for numbers/letters

Prep ahead
- Print out templates onto cardstock
- Tape or glue Norm and Lucy to the front of a box
- Cut out letter/number cards
- Cut out Norm and Lucy's mouthes using scissors or a knife
- Mix letters and numbers up and put them in a bowl (we did all 26 letters and numbers 1-20)

How to play
1. Explain differences between letters and numbers

Numbers= we use numbers to help us count (simple definition for my 3 yr old)
Letters= we use letters to help us make words

2. Model the activity. Show child that Norm likes to eat numbers. Find some numbers, put them in Norm's mouth. I made Norm say "yum yum!"... and if I would accidently put a letter in Norm's mouth he would say, "Yuck! I don't like letters!" Next, show that Lucy likes to eat letters.

3. Get started playing! Have child choose a letter or number. Prompt by saying, "is that a letter or number?"... once they tell you, then have them decide who wants to eat it! If my son chose incorrectly, we just made the monster spit out the letter/number and say "yuck! I don't like..." and my son would try again.

I realized quickly that the lesson I was trying to teach was over my son's head and he wasn't ready for this activity yet... although he had a lot of fun with it. Instead of getting frustrated, we focused on naming the letters and numbers and then I would help prompt him to put the card in the correct monster's mouth... (for example, "yes, that is an L. L is a letter. Who likes to eat letters?")

If you have older kids/students who are at this level, definitely try this out. We may find a different use for Norm and Lucy for the next little bit until we are ready to reintroduce this lesson.

I will post the files for these templates on scribd tomorrow in case anyone wants to play with Norm and Lucy. :) I have several different versions of the number/letter cards (some colored, come blank) and a version of Norm/Lucy with some prompts.


  1. Hi!! This is a great game to teach numbers! Thanks for sharing.....I have posted the 100 Acts of Kindness project on my blog, and intend to document my efforts in subsequent posts. Thanks for coming up with this wonderful idea : ) My blog is at:

  2. 8 thumbs up.

    My six-year old liked "spitting" the letters/numbers out when they were sorted wrong (y-y-yuck. I do not like the letter y. G-g-gross. The letter g is gross.).

    My four year old liked figuring out which cards were letters and which were numbers... then putting them in wrong (as long as she is doing it on purpose, the lesson is being learned.).

    My 17-month old liked maneuvering the cards so they would fit into the mouths (so very tricky!).

    I liked that these two boxes and cards kept all three of my kids busy for an hour. They were upset when I made them clean up so we could leave.


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