In our quest to learn letters and sounds, the preschooler and I have been having wonderful fun with our Jolly Phonics kit that we were very kindly sent to review from Jolly Learning. I simply cannot praise it highly enough. I will be reviewing Jolly Phonics in stages- not just because it is so fantastic that everything I want to say cannot possibly fit into one post, but also because the preschooler is only at the very beginning of his phonics journey. The kit we have been sent will see him well into the next couple of years of his road to reading.
We were sent the My Jolly Phonics set for use at home, which came in a beautiful canvas carry case adorned with a super soft snake! The preschooler immediately love the fact that he could carry his books like a ‘suitcase’! Inside the case we have:
- Jolly Phonics Activity books 1-7
- Jolly Phonics DVD
- Jolly Phonics games CD
- Jolly Songs book and CD
- Hardback Jolly Stories book
- Jolly Phonics letter sound poster
Knowing that the preschooler only recognises a handful of letters, I want to make sure that I keep phonics activities simple and fun. We started by listening to the CD and using the hardback book to follow the letters and sounds. The songs are brilliant. They are very short, very catchy and very engaging. The preschooler giggled his way through the first time we listened, and then we put it on again straight away.
The second time we listened, we used the book a little more. Each double page is dedicated to one letter and sound, and has a story to go with it. For now, we haven’t read the story or met the characters as the preschooler was so taken with the songs. The fantastic thing about the book is that you can dip into it as you please. Each letter is heavily featured in the pages of the book and there is a large print, tactile letter to that you can trace with your finger. So as we listened for the second time, the preschooler traced each letter and sound with his finger.
Then we brought out the moon dust! We made this after reading how on The Imagination Tree. It’s a lovely sensory way to practise mark making and so simple to make:
- we used an empty Melissa and Doug wooden sandwich tray- a shallow wooden tray, rectangular shaped.
- I mixed table salt with food colouring. In the past, I’ve used liquid colouring which coats the salt really well. This time, I used a paste variety which doesn’t coat the grains as well but produces a more ‘glittery’ colour. I added a little bit of glitter too, to give it some sparkle!
- I transferred the salt mix onto a plate and left to dry overnight.
- Once dry, I tipped the coloured salt into the tray and that was our Moon Dust!
The preschooler uses his Moon Dust to trace patterns with his finger, cotton buds, plastic cutlery etc. It’s a great way to get him making some simple marks. We used the Moon Dust alongside the Jolly Phonics CD:
- as each letter came up, we sang along and traced the corresponding letter with our finger in the book.
- I paused the CD and showed the preschooler how to draw it in the Moon Dust. Then, one shake and it is gone!
- The preschooler used the Moon Dust to trace the letters himself. The photos show his first attempt at s. a. t. p. i. n
I’ve used the CD so much since we got it. We listen at dinner time (I caught Ghostwriterdaddy singing “I like to eat, eat, eat yoghurt and bananas!” with great gusto last night!), we listen as we play and the Big One sits and reads the stories to the preschooler too. I can’t praise it highly enough! It’s fun, it’s engaging, and it’s working!
As we go about our day, the preschooler constantly points out letters and tells me their sound. As each sound has an action in the Jolly Phonics series (the teacher’s book that comes with the CD explains them all) the preschooler is now linking the actions to the sounds too. This makes it so much fun! I’m still popping letters into his play where I can, like with our Space themed sensory play, our Shaving foam play and our Farm world play. I also plan to move on to more letters with the Moon Dust tracing and to try some of the activities in the books too.
First impressions of Jolly Learning’s Jolly Phonics? Fantastic. Such a lovely kit to use and everything the preschooler and I need to establish a firm understanding of phonics- the foundations for a lifetime of reading.