As a former elementary school teacher, often times I would come across a learner who truly struggled to grasp concepts until they were able to touch, feel, or manually explore that idea with their hands …a true kinesthetic learner. One reason why many children struggle to learn how to read is that though they are holding a book in their hands, the content of their book is very abstract … and it’s difficult to wrap their minds around it and make it real enough to become worthy of comprehending and remembering.
Felt boards are a wonderful way to bring stories “to life”. These can be expensive and sturdy such as this set, or you can very easily make your own! There are many ways to make a felt board set, including simply gluing a sheet of 29 cent felt inside a manila file folder to stick inside your diaper bag.
So what are these good for, you ask? TONS! You can draw, print and cut, or buy a bazillion different projects to use with these boards. You can color copy pictures from your child’s favorite book and add a velcro dot or strip of sandpaper to the back (laminate it first for a longer lifespan) … they can put the pieces in order as you read the book, or simply use them as an independent work station to “read” the story again and again with or without the book. This is how the book becomes more real …when they can hold the picture or object or shape in their hand, touch it, talk to it, hug it (as my daughter would), etc … by being able to explore the book with their hands, it becomes more concrete in their minds. More importantly, it helps them to focus on the book because they’re not being asked to simply sit and listen quietly … they can keep busy and engaged with the book because their allowed to move and be a part of it!
What else are these good for? Lots! You can make matching games … color copy 2 sets of characters from the book, add the velcro or sandpaper and wallah! Instant game! Spread the pieces on the floor and let them go to town finding the matching pairs! You can do this with letters, colors, numbers, shapes, and any other project your creative mind can develop! It may seem silly at first, but once you get going with a felt board, the possibilities are simply endless. Your preschooler will look forward to discovering the new and exciting adventures you create!