Letter of the Week ! E e !

Elephant E !

This is a simple but effective activity to introduce the letter E. With older children I have grabbed everything from my craft closet and let them make ” Everything Es” but toddlers and young preschoolers are better served with something more tangible like an elephant. So it’s not our cutest craft ever, but it will do the trick!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 2 pieces of construction paper, something to color with, glue, scissors and a marker. We used chalk because we haven’t used it in a while but paint would look great!
  2. Draw an E with a long trunk in the middle. Draw a large ear .
  3. Have your child color the E, talk about how elephants have trunks, and ask them what other big things do elephants have on their heads?
  4. Have them color the big ear.
  5. This is just a picture of my son stacking the chalk on his tractor, he took a breather while I cut out the E .
  6. Grab the 2nd piece of construction paper and if your child wants to color it as well.
  7. Time to glue everything on!
  8. All done!
Books!

” Ella : The elegant elephant” by Carmela and Steven D’Amico is a cute story about Ella the little elephant that is nervous about her first day of school. She tries to make herself feel better but the school bully still teases her. I like this book because it shows kids that you can stand up for yourself without bullying the bully.

“Elmer ” by David McKee is another book with a great message. Elmer is different, he isn’t gray like all the other elephants, and he’s a little bit of a goof too! He’s not so sure he likes that though. Like all of us it takes some time for Elmer to accept who he is but in the end he sees that patchwork is just who he is!

Letter of the Week ! M m!

M for Mountain!

I was going to do marble painting for M, but my teething toddler is putting even more things in his sore mouth right now so the marble idea will have to be saved for another less accident prone time. I was surprised that my son knew that these were mountains when I was testing this idea out on him, I was thinking this may be a 3+ activity, but I was wrong. He had fun making it and I hope you do too!
  1. Gather your materials. You will need 3 pieces of construction paper, glue, scissors and markers or crayons to decorate.
  2. Draw a low and wide M. Don’t cut it out yet.
  3. Have your child decorate the M, my son spent 5 minutes playing “match” with the markers and lids before coloring, I was loosing my patience but took my own advice after a few crabby minutes and let him lead. As it turned out he wanted to color the “bala” which is a W, so a little flip is all we had to do!
  4. While your child is drawing wild flowers, animals or other things like scribbles draw some small clouds . Older children should be able to do this and the next step on their own.
  5. Draw some snow caps for the tops of the mountain. Cut them and the clouds out.
  6. Give your child the 3rd piece of construction paper, have them draw birds in the sky, a sun or whatever they want.
  7. Cut the M out.
  8. Glue the M on the backing.
  9. Glue on the snow caps.
  10. Add the clouds and let dry.

Songs!

She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain!
She’ll be coming round the mountain when she comes
She’ll be coming round the mountain when she comes
She’ll be coming round the mountain, she’ll be coming round the mountain,
She’ll be coming round the mountain when she comes

She’ll be driving six white horses when she comes
She’ll be driving six white horses when she comes
She’ll be driving six white horses, she’ll be driving six white horses,
She’ll be driving six white horses when she comes

Oh, we’ll all go out to meet her when she comes
Oh, we’ll all go out to meet her when she comes
Oh, we’ll all go out to meet her, we’ll all go out to meet her,
We’ll all go out to meet her when she comes

She’ll be wearing red pajamas when she comes
She’ll be wearing red pajamas when she comes
She’ll be wearing red pajamas, she’ll be wearing red pajamas,
She’ll be wearing red pajamas when she comes

She will have to sleep with Grandma when she comes
She will have to sleep with Grandma when she comes
She will have to sleep with Grandma, she will have to sleep with Grandma,
She will have to sleep with Grandma when she comes

We’ll all eat chicken and dumplings when she comes
We’ll all eat chicken and dumplings when she comes
We’ll all eat chicken and dumplings, we’ll all eat chicken and dumplings
we’ll all eat chicken and dumplings when she comes!






Letter of the Week ! I i !

Ice Cream I !

Who doesn’t love ice cream? This activity can help teach the letter I , but it can also be used as a lesson about shapes and a simple math lesson. We only put on one scoop but you can add as many scoops as you can count!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 3 or more pieces of construction paper, crayons, scissors, glue and cotton balls if desired.
  2. Start by drawing a large I . Don’t cut it out yet.
  3. Have your child color and decorate the I, let them know that it’s going to be the cone of an ice cream cone. Ask them about the shapes they normally see on a cone, if they tell you a shape ask them to draw it on the cone. If they aren’t quite there yet, don’t push. It’s more important they are enjoying this activity , then us adults trying to cram in 4000 lessons into one. Go with their flow!
  4. While they are coloring and possibly drawing diamonds or other fun shapes, cut out one or more half circles for the scoops or ice cream. I made my scoop look more like ice cream but if you are using this as shape lesson simply use a perfect half circle.
  5. Cut everything out and glue together. Glue the I on the backing paper first, then the ice cream.
  6. Add more scoops if you want, and you can make the ice cream 3D by gluing on a few cotton balls.
  7. Let dry.
Books!


” Ice Cream , The Full Scoop”
by Gail Gibbons is a fascinating book all about, you guessed it, ice cream. It touches on the history of the tasty treat, how it was made in years past and how it is made today. As someone who once called St. Louis home, I was happy to see it also talks about the very first ice cream cone that debut at the 1904 World’s Fair in good old St. Louis! This book is not for toddlers or young preschoolers, it may even be too long for some 5 and 6 year olds. The delivery is fun with a lot of pictures so even if the whole book is too much, bits and pieces in small does much like ice cream is perfect!

“Manana, Iguana” by Ann Whitford Paul is a great book. It is a re telling of Chicken Little with a fun twist. The sky isn’t falling in this tale, instead Iguana is throwing a fiesta and although her friends say they will help, they all back out. She stands her ground and in the end they learn that you don’t get to have your cake and eat it too! The best part about this book is it’s use of Spanish mixed in with the English text. Small children will pick up on these words quickly and any exposure we as parents can give our children different languages is a benefit to them.

Letter of the Week ! W w !

Word!

This is an awesome craft for children old enough for scissors, it’s still fun with younger ones but it requires a little more prep work. If you are homeschooling and have a word wall you can use those words for your craft , and simply write the words out instead of finding them in newspaper.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some newspaper or paper to write words on, some cardboard ( old cereal boxes are always handy) ,double stick tape, crayons, glue and scissors.
  2. Cut out your words from the newspaper, if your child is able to let them do this themselves. Help the read the words .
  3. If you are doing this for a toddler cut the words out and using double stick tape tape them to cardboard backing , I just used some more cardboard for this. This will allow your child to glue the words on, newspaper is easily crumpled and toddler fingers have a hard time with it. The backing will help them do it without your help, which will help prevent hearing ” I do it” and ” Me do!” .
  4. Draw a big W and cut it out.
  5. Let your child color it with crayons.
  6. Grab the glue – I usually dot it on then close the cap and let my son imitate me. He is learning where to put it , and soon I will open it for him , but right now we are still practicing!
  7. Add the words.
  8. After it’s dry , sit with your child and ask about the words they chose, point our letters or simple praise their fantastic work!

Alphabet Book List

animalia by Greame Base

Align Center

Animalia by Graeme Base is iconic in teaching circles, you can loose yourself for hours in the detailed illustrations. The book is an alphabet book on steroids! Each page had a wonderful paragraph in each letter such as for the letter L ” Lazy Lions lounging in the local library.” The pages are filled to the gills with pictures of things that start with that letter as well. Parents and kids a like will fall in love!


Alphabet Under Construction by Denise Fleming is a wonderful example of what an alphabet book should be. Perfect for toddlers and preschoolers learning their first letters, the text is short , the letters are front and center and the illustrations are fun and interesting. My son loves this book, I grabbed it at the library after remembering how much my Pre K class loved it too! Many alphabet books are too long to read entirety at circle time or in one shot with a toddler but this my 19 month old will sit through Z every time!


The Racecar Alphabet by Brian Floca did not live up to my expectations. My main complaint it that the letters aren’t showcased at all. Yes each page starts with the appropriate letter but I really feel like in an alphabet book the letter needs to be obvious , and easy for young children to pick out. The text was centered around each letter but there wasn’t very good flow from one page to the next. I was disappointed in this pick.

What Pete Ate
What Pete Ate from A to Z by Marie Kalman had my Pre-K class in stitches begging for more. It really is a funny book about a dog and his alphabetical list of things he’s eaten. I like it because it’s funny and simple and the alliterative text isn’t forced. The sarcastic bits will keep parents giggling too!

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom 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. It’s text is musical , it’s premise is brilliant in it’s 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!
Chicka Chicka ABC is a fantastic board book and shorter version of the longer book. My son loves this book and it’s the perfect amount of text for a toddler, the illustrations by Lois Ehlert are so bright and bold that even very young babies will respond to it! A must have for all bookshelves.

Baby's Alphabet by Jean Marzollo
Baby’s Alphabetby Jean Marzollo will appeal to your baby and toddler, we were given it as a gift and my son has loved it since about 9 months on. The photographs of other babies will keep your little one interested and you will be surprised how soon they will anticipate the next page, I know I was. Sadly our copy is now flying the friendly skies , we took it on a flight with us last week and forgot it. Hopefully someone with a baby finds it !

The Ocean Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta is a good book, not a page turner but it is filled with fun facts about sea creatures. The book is geared towards older children but because it has letters prominently displayed on each page, with great illustrations your toddler will enjoy it too. The text really is too long to read from A-Z for a circle time or a toddler but it was very easy for me to simply read each letter and label the ocean animal for my son who then sat through the whole alphabet. If your child is into all things that swim this is a good book to foster that love and learn a little about letters at the same time!


Alphabeep!: A Zipping, Zooming ABC by Debora Pearson is a great book for older toddlers and preschoolers. The transportation themed book uses rhymes and colorful illustrations to go from A to Z. The text was a bit long for my young toddler but I shortened it and he was able to enjoy the book , children 2 and up will love it just the way it is! This is on my must buy list.