Like most moms, I am always looking for ways to reinforce concepts that my child is learning in school or at child care. Since Hank is now in the Pre-K class at preschool, a large focus is on school readiness and early literacy skills. To help bridge the gap between school and home, I put together Our ABC Basket. Now, whenever we have some down time and need an activity, we can pull one out and have fun learning in the process. We can also continue to add to the basket throughout the year to reinforce other concepts as well (i.e. math, science, etc.). The most important thing for me is for Hank to have fun while learning, and the more active I can get him in the activity, the better. If the activity isn’t fun any longer, we just put it back in the basket and grab something else.
Have a Great Week!
A couple of weeks ago while looking for fall activities, I ran across a blog post from Toddler Approved called Fall Leaf Alphabet Movement Activity. This post inspired me to create my own version of the alphabet games to use throughout the year with my son. I printed out 2 sets of Alphabet cards (one set to use on the floor with painters tape and another set for the letter cards). I found some alphabet cards from Homeschool Creations that I liked because it had actual pictures along with both the upper and lower case letter. I show Hank a card at random and see if he can identify the letter. Then I hand him the letter card and say, “Can you put the B on the ball?” He then looks around on the floor to find the picture of the card with a picture of a ball on it and places the letter card on top to match. When he is ready, we can incorporate letter sounds, i.e. “What sound does it make?” You can also play without the extra letter cards, but just the ones on the floor. I tell Hank to walk around on the letter cards and following different directions, i.e. “Put your nose on the dog,” “Sit on the apple,” “Hop on the cat,” “Can you put your elbow on the picture that starts with the sound ‘h’?”, “Can you hop to the letter that makes the ‘s’ sound?” etc.
ABC Movement Cards
I loved this idea I saw a couple of weeks ago. The 26 ways to Exercise through the ABC’sblog from Kids Activities blog. Presenting a list of movement suggestions of exercising/moving to each letter. While the list is great, I really wanted to have a set of cards that I could print out with the letter and exercise on it that I could use for the activity. So I searched some more and found a set of Exercise ABC Cards from The Home Teacher. Most people would have stopped there, but I went further. I decided to make my own set ABC Movement Cards specifically for my kids with inspiration from both ideas. Whether you use the list from the Kids Activities Blog, the cards from The Home Teacher blog, or my movement cards, it doesn’t matter. The point is to get your kids moving and learning about the alphabet at the same time.
Feed The Alphabet Frog
I was already collecting bottle caps for an art project when I came across an alphabet activity from I Can Teach My Child called Feed the Alphabet Monster. I love reusing items that we would normally throw out into something usable. Hank is a little recycler, so he was very excited to help collect the caps. Hank wanted to Feed a Frog instead of a Monster, so we modified the activity. I used an old kid’s meal bucket (the plastic ones that they have around Halloween) instead of the baby wipe container. I then printed out some Fly Stickers using Avery 5160 labels to put on the top of each cap. Then under each lid, I used scrapbooking stickers so that I didn’t have to manually write the letters on each cap. I decided to use both upper and lower case letters, so I used 52 lids in all. We placed the frog on the floor and then made a pile of all of the lids about 5 ft. away. Then Hank picked out a lid, told me the letter, and then got to “feed” the lid to the frog by tossing it into the “frog’s” mouth.
They are going to have so much fun with this activity. Hank and Faith both love to play with cars. So what better way to incorporate literacy into their play than with letter tunnels inspired from Toddler Approved. Instead of hand printing the letters on the tunnels, I designed a Tunnel Template so that I could print the tunnels with my printer. As a bonus, I added number tunnels as well. I also made a couple of “Road Trip” maps for both Hank and Faith (since she has to do everything that big brother does) to follow and “drive through” the tunnels in a specific order. On the maps I used letters and numbers that actually look like roads that came from Making Learning Fun . You could even use the letters by themselves as roads scattered on the floor to drive on between the tunnels. After I got all materials ready, I put them in the bag along with some painters tape to attach them to the floor. I can also see Hank wanting to use the tunnels with his wooden train set, and if so, that will be fun as well.
Target The Letters
After seeing this idea on the More Mom Time blog, I decided to do our own version. Instead of using a shower curtain and using markers to draw circles and print the letters on it, I wanted to make Letter Targets to just print out and scatter out on the floor. I then printed a set of the Letter Target Cards. To play, we put the letter targets on the floor and put the cards in a pile. Hank picks a letter card and tells me what letter is on the card. Then he takes a beanbag and tries to hit the matching letter target. Lots of fun!
The Alphabet Mystery
We have a Leapfrog magnet alphabet set that a friend gave us for the refrigerator. I thought it would be fun to hide the letters and have Hank go on a “mission.” His mission (if he should choose to accept it) is to find the missing letters that have disappeared from the fridge. I have previously used this Alphabet Word Game printable that has the capital letter listed, but it also has a blank box next to the letter in which to put the corresponding letter magnet. We will just tape it to the fridge. I then give him a magnifying glass and send him on his mission. After he finds a letter, he will run back to the fridge, and we can discuss what letter it is. We then put the magnet in the player to see if he’s correct and learn about what the letter sounds like as well. Then he can put it on the chart and see what letters are left to find. You could also play this with the magnet letters that can be purchased at WalMart, the Dollar Store, etc.