Scrap paper , magazines and catalogs all crowd my recycle bin. So today I put them all to work for me and made this recycled alphabet craft using only one piece of paper that hadn’t been rescued from the bin. It’s fun, bright and makes a great long term cooperative art project for young kids. Pull it out when it’s rainy and search for a few letters in a magazine, glue them on and add some more another day. I like projects like these because they teach young kids how be committed to something over more than 20 minutes. Also in classrooms these long term cooperative projects always seemed to be the greatest sources of pride for my students.
- Gather your materials. You will need one large piece of paper, some construction paper scraps, glue, a pen, some magazines/catalogs and scissors.
- Start by cutting your construction paper into squares ( or any other shape)- this just makes a fun frame, you can skip this and simply glue the letters onto the paper too.
- Glue them on. This is a fun way to get your child counting to 26, as well as figuring out how to fit all on one page. If your child is really young I would probably do this before bringing them into the activity, just so their energy is on the letters, not the set up.
- Write the alphabet on the construction paper squares.
- Cut some letters out of the magazines for your child if they need help. I did this for every age group I worked with up until school age. They are still challenged looking for the individual letters but not frustrated by looking for them in magazines that may or may not have what they need. * Tip … auto magazines are great for these activities, because of the abundance of car makes with Z, Q and X letters that are usually a pain to find.
- Start adding the letters on. Go for as long as your child wants. This does not need be be done in one sitting!
- To make it more challenging for older kids have them find only upper or only lowercase letters.
ABC of Canada by Kim Bellefontaine is a cute little book that is a perfect little introduction about Canada for toddlers and preschoolers. The text is short, the colors are bright and the illustrations are both fun and accurate. I was happy to see things like the northern lights, Calgary Stampede and of course Z is for Zamboni ! Even if you have never been to Canada it’s never too early to learn about your neighbor to the north!
The Alphabet Tree 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.
The Graphic Alphabet by David Pelletier is a fun book to share with a child who has already mastered the alphabet, because this book is challenging. Each letter is shown in it’s own illustration, but you aren’t sure exactly what the picture is of, this is the challenge. As you can see on the cover it has an avalanche, the hardest one for me was N no matter how I looked at the picture I thought it was of magnets! Turns out it was noodles! Very fun book for kids that already know their letters and are up for a challenge.
Want more Alphabet Crafts? Check out my Alphabet Crafts eBook and you will have a craft for every letter!
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.
Dogabet by Dianna Bonder is a fun playful alphabet book, perfect for animal lovers. We love dogs in our house so this was a sure fire hit, but even if you can’t tell a foxhound from a poodle you will like the busy pages and cute alliterative text. Each page is devoted to one letter and a corresponding breed of dog, our favorites were the Otterhounds with their oboes and the purple Pugs. Also at the back of the book there is a guide to hidden images on each page that all begin with the proper letter, as well as a cat and bone. My son loved this book and playing “detective” with it.
Sleepy ABC by Margaret Wise Brown . I had never read this book before, and although I have a legendary hatred of Runaway Bunny I generally love this author, I can’t get enough of The Big Red Barn right now. I like this book, and the illustrations will zip you back in time for sure. Unlike many alphabet books it has a great rhythm for reading it all without breaks. My one complaint is that the child is tucked into bed then a few letters later is out listening to a story from another woman not their mom. I am not sure perhaps those are different children, didn’t bug my son one bit, but left me wondering. Like it’s title suggests it’s a good alphabet book for a bedtime read, it even ends with something I say often ” Go To Sleep!”.
ABeCedarios: Mexican Folk Art ABCs in English and Spanish by Cynthia Weill and K.B.Basseches , wood sculptures by Moises and Armando Jimenez. This is a simple but amazing book. The text is simply labels in both English and Spanish for the bright and wonderful photographs of the matching sculptures. I loved that for X the sculpture is of a mythical animal and the book asks the reader to make up a name begining with X, very clever!
Firefighters A to Z by Chris L. Demarest is an alphabet book that teaches about fire safety and the danger firefighters face every time the alarm sounds. My son is fascinated with firefighters right now, he loves to dress up as one at preschool and we often take the long way home to swing past the station and see if the engines are in or not. He loves this book but I don’t think your child needs to have the level of obsession mine does to enjoy it.
Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert is an alphabet book extraordinaire! 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!
The Abc Bunny by Wanda Gag was first published in 1933 and is delicious! Readers follow along with a little bunny all the way from a to z ! The rhyming text is bouncy and my son was fully engaged. I thought the black and white pictures may throw him off but he loved them and didn’t seem to notice that there was no color, they were beautifully done and that was all that mattered. I love the language used like the words dash, gale and jaunty. Good books are good books no matter when they were written, and readers will always love them, I loved this book.
T is for Touchdown: A Football Alphabet by Brad Herzog is a beautiful book that will delight even those of us who are never happy to see football season start. I admit even being an anti fan this book was fun and really full of information that even a football scrooge like myself can appreciate. Also it’s easy to read simply the letters and look at the pictures for little ones and has genuinely interesting blurbs for each page for older children.
The Human Alphabet photographs by John Kane. This book is fascinating. Each page is a a different photograph of dancers making the shape of both the letter and something that starts with the letter. The letter is always obvious ( and in order which helps…) but the picture isn’t and I love that. It forced my son and I to work together to think of words that started with each letter to figure the tricky ones out .
Museum ABC by the Metropolitan Museum Of Art is a book that was first loved at our house because of the “C is for Cat” page , an early interest of my sons. I loved it because for each letter there are 4 usually very cropped pieces of paintings, showing only that part that fits the subject of each letter. In my nerdy love of identifying paintings I play a game with myself trying to figure out which are which as my son is identifying the letter, and finding the subject matter in each. The book is so beautiful, it’s hard to do it justice in a simple review. A wonderful concept and a great intro to art books for even the tiniest patron
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.
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 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.