We discussed helping children understand the difference between an ask (question) and a tell (statement) in our previous post. Now you can take this one step further and add Concept of Print to the fun. You may even want to enjoy the spring weather while you are reinforcing the concept. This adds to a child's enjoyment and helps learning feel like a natural part of life.
Write a large question mark on a paper and a period on another paper. When you and the child (or children) are talking about signs of spring, hold up the question mark to indicate an ask and the period for a tell.
For example, this child described the buds on the bushes. He said, "There are small, small buds on the prickly branches." This was a statement so he was prompted to hold up the period.
He also asked questions such as, "Are there worms crawling under the ground?" He was given the question mark to hold. He learned this was the special sign to use when you ask for an answer.
As the outdoor experience continued, the child did not need as many prompts to hold up a question mark or period. He learned by doing!
Finally, the child sat outside with a book and eagerly discovered the same punctuation marks in print.
We think we may need to teach literacy objectives inside, but outdoor learning, using a child's natural curiosity, can accomplish something as important as understanding punctuation marks!