Easy Gem Letters – Alphabet Activities

alphabet activity Playing and creating with letters has been a fun way for my children and students over the years to get comfortable with letters, learn their shapes, and spark discussion about letters as we craft. As children color, paint, glue, and handle letters  while doing alphabet activities like this one they are learning. You can do this letter with upper or lowercase letters. I chose uppercase for my daughter because she is very comfortable and familiar with recognizing both and my goal for her is to get comfy with the shapes of the letters for writing. The handwriting program she uses at preschool and will be using in kindergarten next year focuses on uppercase first so we are focusing more on uppercase at this stage, though by no means ignoring the lowercase letters.  Adding jewels, buttons, stickers… is a novel way of personalizing this activity. My daughter adores these gems which made this activity a shoe in from the start. You don’t have to make a name sign but as we make the letters she wanted to make something and I suggested a name sign for a bedroom. She loved that idea.

Gather your materials. You will need some acrylic gems, sticky back foam, permanent double stick tape, scissors, and multiple sheets of card stock if you want to make a sign. alphabet actvity

Start by writing the outlines to the letters on the back of the foam. Don’t forget to make them backwards so when you cut them out they are correct. jeweld alphabet

Cut out. alphabet activity

Add the double stick tape. jeweled letters gemsI find this is way better on foam than glue. Once it’s down if you give it time to sit it will stay on forever. We did this craft before Christmas ( all those Christmas crafts pushed this one to drafts) and not a single gem has fallen off. This is VERY tricky. She did the straight letters and the curves ones I took care of. alphabet activity

Add the gems. This is where the literacy activity can easily morph into counting, patterns, shape recognition, even estimation. How many gems do you think will fit on this letter? Take cues for your kids to decide how much to push just make sure it doesn’t feel like pushing. gem lettersI had put them into pretty little containers to make it easier for her to grab them, but there was no point as she just dumped them on the table to get a better view.  This took a lot of patience and if your child is struggling let the tape settle and really adhere to the foam first before adding the gems. alphabet activity

Let them sit for a while. We used them to spell all sorts of things before settling on her name.

alphabet activity

Arrange them in whatever display you want . I layered a few sheets of card stock with more double stick tape to make the base of the sign.  You could do the same or get a cheap canvas and add them to that. callie gem letters

Peel the back of the foam off and stick onto the card stock. gem letters alphabet

Find the perfect place for it and hang it up. Like I said we made this before Christmas and since we hung it up she traces it every night before we turn the light off. It’s a sweet reminder of how proud she is of making it as well as just a good literacy activity. alphabet activity

 

Easy Alphabet Activity For Kids

alphabet activity This alphabet activity was created because my daughter adores the alphabet, she loves stamps, and I NEEDED 10 minutes to finish cleaning the bathrooms before my holiday guests arrived. She LOVED it and I wanted to say that while printables are great I know that for me printing something out can be cumbersome. I don’t have my printer out all the time and sometimes I am out of ink. I didn’t have time to make this a printable and I am glad for that now because it shows you that you don’t need it to be pretty and perfect to be useful and fun!

Gather your materials. You will need some paper, something to write on ( I love using clipboards), some letter stamps and stamp pad ( or stickers), and a marker.alphabet activity

Start by writing out the alphabet on a piece of paper leaving out some letters. I wrote out 5 sheets at once because I had a feeling ( and it was right) that my wee one would want to do a bunch.alphabet activity

Prepare the tools you are using with the sheets. You can also just have your little learner write the letters. I didn’t think my little one could accomplish that solo but in the days since we did that I think she might be able to. I am going to make some more sheets and repeat this activity, she loved it so much.alphabet activity

Let the fun begin! Adjust this activity to your child. If they struggle with some of the letters make sure that you have lots of letters they do not struggle with to balance out the success and challenge. If possible have the easy ones as the first few if you know there is a challenge ahead. If they are having a hard time sing the alphabet while touching each letter and when they get to a blank spot the song will act as a prompt. fill in the blank alphabet activity for kidsI quickly took pictures of the first sheet – ran next door and cleaned the bathroom while she yelled out which letters she was doing.alphabet activities

Then she called me in because she said she ” Made up an even better letter idea!” She grabbed a highlighter from her basket and started highlighting all the letters. This is a fun and easy way to work on letter formation anywhere but I’d only have kids this young (4) do it if they are interested. If they are resistant work on writing their name and more authentic writing like making signs, writing cards… anything that doesn’t make writing a chore. Start them out on the right foot. That said if they are like my daughter who is fond of writing and wants to do it, have the materials available and support them as they do. alphabet activity fill in the blanks

Learning doesn’t only happen with perfect graphics in all sorts of colors so don’t stress about picture perfect printables. They are fun and can add excitement at times but learning will happen when the activity fits the child no matter how pretty something is.

Our Favorite Alphabet Activities of 2014

alphabet activityWhat an amazing year. 2014 has been a banner year for the blog with the most traffic, the most subscribers and I think the most fun! Over the next week I will sharing six posts filled with my favorite activities from 2014. Many posts are our own but there are some of our favorite bloggers woven into each list as well. Today we are doing alphabet activities. Here are my favorite alphabet activities of 2014!

alphabet activities

Come back Monday for our favorite math activities for 2014 and all week for even more!

best kids activities

Happy New Year !

Letter Harvest Corn – Alphabet Craft for Kids

alphabet craftsWe love adding letters to plain old crafts and making them into an  alphabet craft. It’s a simple way to work on letter recognition and kids love it. This simple ear of harvest corn went from plain to rad with some letters. More importantly my daughter spent time with each letter making it’s sound, suggesting words that also make that sound, and really being engaged. I didn’t plan on her tracing the letters with a marker but I loved her suggestion. I always run with her suggestions because even though I came up with the idea this is HER creation and I don’t want her to think there are steps so much as options. So try adding some letter stickers to whatever you are creating to turn a simple craft into a literacy activity.

Gather your materials. You will need some watercolor paper, a pencil, scissor, foam stickers in any color but we chose to match ours, some paint ( use paint daubers if you want them to dry quickly), and some glue or double stick tape. harvest corn letter craft

Start by drawing an ear of corn and the stalks separately.letter corn craft

Time to paint. These Do A Dot Art ( affiliate link) really do dry quickly especially when you use water color paper. corn letter craft for preschool Kids love them too. My class and I just did a variation of this number art project with them and they painted for ages! As you can see I didn’t cut the pieces out. Over the years I have discovered kids will paint all the way to the edges if you leave it but if you cut the shapes out they will often paint in the middle only. corn painting for thanksgiving

When both are done you can grab the foam letters and play a little game of ” Can you find the letter…” while the paint dries. alphabet craft indian corn

Add on the letters. letter indian corn craftPeeling stickers of the backing is a valuable fine motor activity so let them take their time and only help if they ask. No need to rush. corn craft for kids with letters

After she popped the yellow letter stickers on she decided to trace the letters with a red marker. It took a lot of concentration and hand control. I thought it was rad. corn craft for children

Cut out and glue or tape together with double stick tape. corn craft farm craft for preschool

All done! Don’t forget to display it someplace where your child can see all their hard work!fall alphabet craft letter corn on the cob

Books About Farms

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Margaret_Wise_Brown_Big_Red_Barn

Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown is one of my very favorite books to read to my daughter before bed although it took a while before she warmed up to it. I was worried because I loved reading it to my son and couldn’t wait to share it with her.  The story is simple readers see a day in the life of a big red barn and all the animals inside. Each animal is introduced in the seamless text that reads like a melodic poem. It’s  calm , soothing and Felicia Bond’s illustrations are perfect, I love how the sky subtly changes as the night beckons.  A wonderful book for anytime, but especially poignant before bed.

The Grumpy Morning

The Grumpy Morning by Pamela Duncan Edwards is a great book. I think I got it as a freebie with a scholastic order years ago, either way I am so glad I have it. The book follows all the animals on a farm as they wake up grumpy and hungry and needing attention from the farmer.As a parent I like this because it’s a great reminder that we need to feed our bodies for the day to be at our best.  As a teacher I love this book because I could talk about whining, and demanding and ask my students if there are better ways to get what you want.

duck-on-a-bike

Duck on a Bike by David Shannon tickles my funny bone. I love this book, the message is awesome too. Just because it’s never been done before doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try. Also how cute is a duck riding a bike? Kids even young ones get the message loud and clear as well.  The illustrations are amazing and your child will love the farm animals and the tractor at the end. Oh and please tell me I am not the only one waiting for “Duck on a Tractor” ? I’d buy it in a heartbeat !

Alphabet Coloring Sheet – Free Printable

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alphabet coloring sheet A few weeks ago my son was home from school because of parent teacher conferences and I made him a Word Ladder Printable. While we were printing it out my daughter begged me to make her something special just for her. Time was short and I needed to start dinner but she was really sad that she didn’t have something. So I through this alphabet coloring sheet together. Matching upper and lowercase letters is still a fun activity for her and adding an element of secret code into it made it special. I didn’t plan this activity but she loved it! I wouldn’t call this a handwriting activity because the font used is anything but standard but coloring in the dots still takes good hand control and concentration.

Color coded alphabet

Gather your materials. You will need this printable ( click on the image above and print), crayons in the matching colors, and a clip board to hold everything still.secret code alphabet activity printable

Explain the sheet to your child by showing them the colorful lowercase alphabet on the bottom and telling them that they need to use the crayons to color in the uppercase alphabet in the same colors as the lowercase letters.color coded alphabet printable for preschool

That’s really it. So simple but not only are they working on the mechanics of writing they are working on letter recognition too! She dove right in and colored so carefully. color coded alphabet coloring sheet  for preschool

Lowercase p and q are still a little tricky but she figured it out. alphabet printable coloring sheet

When she was all done she recited the alphabet from A to Z. Then asked me for another sheet. I think 6 have been completed since in about 10 days which is usually just enough quiet time for me to answer a few emails that can’t be put off until after bedtime. color code letter recognition

Alphabet Books With Upper & Lowercase Letters

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eating the alphabet

Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert is an alphabet book extraordinaire and perfect for a letter F since it’s all about food!  Wonderful paintings of fruits and vegetables seem ultra simple and it is but somehow the way the author has pieced this simple book together is brilliant. Maybe it’s that children learn about food at the table multiple times a day and feel proud being able to identify not only some of the letters but some of the pictures too! From a teaching standpoint I love that there are both upper and lower case letters on each page. This book will grow with your child, and beware it will also make you hungry.

chica chica boom boom

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom: Anniversary Edition by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault is one of my absolute favorite books ever. Many alphabet books are great tools but this one not only entertains it never gets old. Its text is musical , its premise is brilliant in its simplicity and kids love it. My favorite line is ” Skit skat scoodle doot. Flip flop flee. ” I hope I am conveying how much fun this book is to read out loud. I have never had a class who didn’t like it and if you don’t have it, you should!

Alphabet Books For Kids

The Sleepy Little Alphabet: A Bedtime Story from Alphabet Town by Judy Sierra is a great alphabet book. I couldn’t help myself, I read it to my son to the tune of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom . It is clearly its own book though. The alphabet is getting ready for bed and just like your little ones, these lowercase letters are pulling out all their tricks and antics to avoid bedtime. Well almost all of them, z is more than happy to go to bed!  It’s a sweet book that your kids can relate to and I like that it focuses on lowercase letters.