For years you gave and repeated the names of any object you happened to be passing by. A walk down the street would be an exercise in reciting things like tree, bird, house, and rhododendron (or perhaps just flower). It only seems logical that at some point we graduate to reading the signs we see on our outings. Here are a few ways for children to explore environmental print in Orange County:
A Is for Angels
We could hardly talk about letters and numbers around town without thinking of Angel Stadium. Its giant A can be seen from several neighboring cities. As the first letter of the alphabet, this is a great place to start your learning adventure. Perhaps you could take a look through the park and find all the letters of the alphabet. A is for Angels, B is for ball, C is for cap, and so on.
At nearly twelve feet tall, each letter stands individually for your child to admire and explore. Stand up close and the kids can read each letter, thinking of words or names that correspond. If they stand farther away, they can read the entire California sign in front of Disney's California Adventure. A walk through Downtown Disney will also offer up plenty of chances to read. Admire brightly lit and decorated signs for stores, performances, restaurants, and activities.
Follow the Leader
Whether you're in your favorite amusement park or hiking a trail for the afternoon, maps are a great way to incorporate reading and word or number recognition in your day. Locate a map of your location, and let the little ones guide the way. Talk about the starting and ending points and spend time identifying other trails or attractions along your route. Some of these will be shown by number, some by name, and all of them will encourage reading in a fun way.
This three-acre working farm gives plenty of opportunity for reading and education. You could take a tour or visit on your own, both of which are free. Walk through the vegetable and fruit gardens, all of which are conveniently labeled with both the common name, the botanical name, and interesting facts. Each variety of an item is also labeled, giving plenty of reading and classifying opportunities. The livestock are great to visit, with the animal names posted, and well, who doesn't want to see the animals? Near the cattle, kids can read about how dairy helps us grow strong bones and other useful information. Visit their website and take a look at their educational materials. Print activity sheets for your outing, or turn the whole trip into a scavenger hunt! The farm is closed weekday mornings due to educational school tours, so be sure to call ahead or go in after 1:00 p.m. during the week and all day on the weekends.
A Trip to the Museum
Orange County has a number of museums ranging from traditional art museums (for adults and children) to non-traditional toy museums. No matter which museum you pick, or what interests your family specifically, you are guaranteed chances for reading and word recognition. Our favorites are the International Surf Museum and Pretend City Children's Museum.
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