Letter of the Week A !

Alligator A !

This is a pretty classic letter of the week idea, but my son and I were both so excited about how cute the alligator turned out to be. The foam teeth and googly eyes really helped turn the A into an alligator. Don’t miss the additional activity for more ideas about how to incorporate letters into playtime.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 2 pieces of construction paper ( different colors), 2 googly eyes, some white foam or paper will do, glue, scissor and markers.
  2. Draw a large upper case A on one piece of construction paper. I added two triangles on one side of the A for eyes.
  3. Give your child the A and have them color it to their liking. We have been talking about inside vs outside a lot this week so I shouted out “Inside the A” and ‘Outside the A” and my son obliged, it made it a little silly but fun.
  4. While they color cut out some triangles for alligator teeth.
  5. Cut out the A
  6. Glue it on the 2nd piece of paper.
  7. Add glue to the eyes ( you can see where we had glue all over above the eye, no biggie, just wipe it)
  8. Add the googly eyes
  9. Add dots of glue for the teeth
  10. Add the teeth. Let dry.

Books!

“SNIP SNAP! What’s That? “ by Mara Bergman was a great library find. The book is about an alligator who sneaks into an apartment filled with three very terrified children. I love that the story changes when the children decide to stop being afraid and to fight back. My son really enjoyed the book, he liked he use of onomatopoeia throughout and the exaggerated illustrations of the alligator. After we read it at lunch he asked for it to be his nap time book, and again for it at bedtime. That is a good review from a 2 year old!

“Alligator Alphabet” by Stella Blackstone and Stephanie Bauer. I was so excited to find this book because just this week my son started pointing out lower case letters in text. This book is a beautifully illustrated book with each letter represented on it’s own page. Pretty standard right? Wrong, although the text below the illustration had both upper and lower case letters, the main illustration is only the lower case letter. This is perfect for children like my son who are just starting to learn their lowercase letters.


“Alligator Baby” by Robert Munsch is a ridiculous story that will have your child laughing and screaming “No no that’s not a people baby!” The story is about a family who brings home the wrong baby, over and over again. Finally the older sister takes things into her own hands and saves the day. Kids love this story, it’s not the best bedtime book though, my son was very very hard to settle down after laughing so hard at this one.


Additional Activity


Cookie Sheet Letter Board

Looks simple doesn’t it? It is. All I did was buy $1 magnetic letters at Wal-mart and grabbed a cookie sheet from my pantry. My son has been playing with this on and off for days. Here are some of the fun things we’ve done.

  • All the letters on the sheet- take turns finding a letter and taking it off
  • All letter off the sheet, taking turns finding a letter and putting it on
  • Grouping the letters by color
  • Counting the letters as we put each on , and taking them off again.

Of course we labeled each letter as we did this. It is definitely simple but it was also a lot of fun.

Giant Sunflower Craft

sunflower kids craft
It was cold, dark and dreary today, so we made our own cheer with this giant sunflower project. This is a great craft for a day when you are stuck inside because there are so many steps . You can plant a seed or act out how a seed grows into a plant while you are waiting for your sunflower to dry.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a paper bag, a paper plate, some black rice, glue, yellow and green paint , a marker , scissors, a bath poof or sponge and double stick tape.
  2. Start by cutting open your grocery bag and drawing a long stem along one edge and multiple petals on the rest of it.
  3. Cut the stem outline out and have your child paint it green. My son loved using the roller paints for this because it was so easy to make long straight lines. Let dry.
  4. Paint the petals with the bath poof or sponge. I find that when we are painting a large surface it’s much better to use a big tool that covers easily.
  5. Paint the bottom of the paper plate with the yellow paint too. Let dry.
  6. Cut out the stem and petals
  7. Add glue to the center of the paper plate – more is better so this is a great time to have your child control the glue.
  8. Add the rice. My son added a few at first then dumped the whole dish on. Let dry. This actually dried to the touch pretty fast.
  9. Flip the plate upside down and using the double stick tape tape the petals on.
  10. Tape the stem on.
  11. Brighten even the darkest day !

Books!

“The Tiny Seed” by Eric Carleis a story about a tiny seed who unlike the other seeds from his flower makes it against all odds to continue the cycle of life. I really enjoy this book and love how it shows all the obstacles along the way for a simple little seed. My son liked this book but didn’t make it all the way through, which I expected since it is a long book for a 2 year old.

“Planting A Rainbow” by Lois Elhert is a wonderful book to use for teaching about flowers and colors. The illustrations are bold and bright, perfect for little curious minds. I have always liked this book because you can sit down and dive into it reading each flowers name on every page , or browse it more casually with a youngerchild simply noting the colors.


Additional Activity


” Grow Little Seed!”

I love teaching through acting things out, and just like all the classes I have had my son loves it too. For this theme we started as little “ta ta tiny!” seeds deep in the dirt. Then it rained and we started growing roots ( ours looked a lot like jazz hands) and then started to push through the dirt to the sunlight. Then the sun was bright and strong and we grew and grew, and finally blossomed. With older children I would havegone into more detail , maybe include a strong wind blowing us to and fro, sprouting leaves etc…However you do it , go big, take your children’s suggestions and have fun!

Earth Day Inspired – Letter Of The Week !

Tree T !


So this was not quite what I imagined in my perfectly optimistic head, but my son liked it, after doing it we were reading a book that had trees in it and he said “Look mama, T for Tree!” I wanted to make it from mostly recycled materials, to stick with the Earth Day theme we will be doing all week. Below I have linked a reader submitted spring tree craft that would be a great add on to this activity!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a cardboard egg carton, green and brown paint, glue, scissors, a marker and a large piece of construction paper.
  2. Start by drawing a large T on your paper.
  3. Cut a long piece of the cardboard off the top of the egg carton for the trunk.
  4. Paint the trunk brown
  5. Paint the bottom of the egg carton green, for older kids I would cut them before painting, but little guys need to have a larger object to paint.
  6. Let the paint dry.
  7. When the paint is dry enough to handle cut the egg carton into “Leaves” aka smaller pieces.
  8. grab the glue and add glue to the bottom of the T
  9. Add the painted trunk
  10. Add glue to the top
  11. Add the egg carton leaves.
  12. Let dry.
Books!

” the alphabet tree” by Leo Lionni is a stunning book. The book is all about letters that come together to make words and then after a caterpillar informs them that they need to say something they join together to make sentences. Up to this point the book is a brilliant teaching tool , but for me the best part is yet to come. When the words get together they decide to say ” Peace on earth goodwill toward all men” and then the caterpillar asks them to jump on his back so he can take the words to the president . Considering it was written in 1968 it’s quite the statement. A fantastic activity to do with your child after reading this would be to ask them what they would write to the president ? For younger children using letters on leaves you could spell out easy 3 letter words like they do early on in the story. All in all a brilliant book.

Chicka Chicka abc by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault is a favorite. A lot of parents are familiar with Chicka Chicka Boom Boom but not this shorter board book version that is perfect for young toddlers . I started my son with this one and moved on to Chicka Chicka Boom Boom at about 2. The colors are so bright even the youngest of babies will like it and the rhythm of the text will keep toddlers going too!


“Up , Up, Down” by Robert Munsch is a cute and funny story about a little girl who climbs and climbs and falls and falls! She decides to climb to the very top of the tree. This time she doesn’t fall and doesn’t come down until it’s time to lecture her parents withe their own words. Kids love this book, it’s silly , it’s about climbing and has giant band aids in it, what kid wouldn’t love it?

Additional Activity
Sent In By You


Isn’t this beautiful?
Bring a little of the outdoors in , and reuse bubble wrap with this adorable spring bud craft !
Pop over to The Entertaining House for the full how to.

Letter Of The Week S s !

Seahorse S

This craft can be used for letter of the week or as part of an under the sea theme. Living by the ocean we are always finding and learning about things in the sea. Seahorses are favorites in our house and this was surprisingly easy to make !

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 1-2 full size pieces of construction paper ( two if you want to mount the finished seahorse on some paper), water colors, paintbrush, some water, glue, sparkles, scissors, a googley eye and some scrap paper.
  2. Start by drawing an S on your paper, I used the seahorse on “Mister Seahorse” below as a guide, but a regular upper case S would do the trick.
  3. Hand the letter over to your child to paint with water colors.
  4. While they paint cut the scrap paper into little fin shapes, we did some triangle and some trapezoids.
  5. Set the S aside to dry and hand your child some glitter to use on the shapes. Let dry
  6. Glue the googley eye on .
  7. Glue the shapes onto the S
  8. When everything is dry cut the S out and glue onto a 2nd piece of construction paper.

Books !



” Secret Seahorse” by Stella Blackstone is a fascinating and beautiful board book. The story follows a little seahorse that hides on each page as it makes it’s way along the ocean back to it’s family. The illustrations are felt, fabric, sequins and other fun and very beautiful hand stitched creations. I am never ready for the next page because the previous has so much to look and marvel at. Kids like finding the seahorse on each page too!



“Mister Seahorse”
by Eric Carle is a story about the more involved fish fathers in the sea. Mister seahorse isn’t the only fish that takes care of his eggs until they hatch , in the book we meet other dads that do too. I didn’t realize how many people don’t like this book until I read some reviews on amazon when ordering the book a few months ago. Many parents are off put by the father fish who announces he is “babysitting” his own baby fish. It never really bugged me even though when a parent says that in real life it irks me. All the positive daddy fish outweighs that one comment for me.

Plastic Egg Crafts & Activities

recycled easter egg bugsRecycle your plastic eggs after the chocolate and jelly beans have been consumed and make something fun ! These crafts are fast and fun and let your kids create while they learn.

 

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some plastic eggs that have pre made holes in them ( most do) , some pipe cleaners, label stickers and markers.
  2. Start by drawing on your label stickers ( they are matte so you can color them and it will stick). I was shocked with how much my son liked this step, glad I added it in.
  3. Next stick them onto the egg.
  4. Use two labels to act as eyes and draw some eyes on them with a marker!
  5. Pick out a pipe cleaner or 2 if you are a toddler and like to always say “Two?” whenever anything is offered. Thread them through the holes.

Egg Blossoms!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some tissue paper, pipe cleaners, scissors and eggs.
  2. Cut your tissue paper into a flower shape. I used multiple layers for each egg.
  3. Break the egg into 2 pieces if it has a connector, and thread the bottom piece onto the pipe cleaner.
  4. Add the tissue paper by making a small hole int the middle and threading it on.
  5. Add the top piece. Thread your pipe cleaner through and then gently tug, some eggs have one hole only, in this case make a little knot and tug, if there are 2 holes simply thread it back in.
Polka Dot Discovery
I have done this activity for years and never once called the eggs Easter eggs, they were polka dots with surprises inside. Obviously if you celebrate Easter there is no reason to call them anything else but if you don’t celebrate Easter you can still jump on the polka dot bandwagon and use them to have fun learning.
  1. Gather your materials. You will need some plastic eggs that open with room to hide things inside, you can also use small gift boxes. Some paper, a marker, some scissors and basket or bag.
  2. The great thing about this activity is that it’s versatile. If you are learning about shapes you can pop shapes in the eggs, if you are doing letters you stuff them with letters etc… So this next step is where you decide what to stuff them with and using a marker and paper make the surprises.
  3. Stuff the eggs and either hide them for a hunt, or place them in a basket for your child to choose from.
  4. When you child finds the egg make sure to ask them what color the outside is, and encourage them to open it up and find what’s inside.
  5. If your child is a young toddlers you can simply put fun toys in and they will be kept busy finding them. Just opening the eggs are great fine motor skills practice!
  6. One last note if you have an older sibling who is working on sight words at grade school you can pop those in some eggs for them too!