Disappearing Letters – Alphabet For Starters Activity

abc activity for kids It’s been a while since we have done an Alphabet For Starters activity. This is our popular series of alphabet activities that aim to introduce and play with letters in simple ways for beginners. This one was a true “Throw it together” activity. I was on a conference call for the first half sitting on the other side of the table jotting down notes while she played. When I saw what a hit it was I grabbed my camera and started clicking. This combines letter recognition, color mixing and fine motor all in a super simple activity.

  1. Gather your materials. I have no photo because this wasn’t planned at all but you will need a container for water, an eye dropper,  some coffee filters, a plate to protect your table from the running colors, markers and coffee filters. Have multiple coffee filters on hand because kids love this.
  2. Start by writing letters on the coffee filter.
  3. Ask your child to find their favorite letter. I like saying this instead of ” Find f, find r…” because in my experience it leads to them deciding which letter to find next and naturally declaring which letter it is. Drop the water on using the eye dropper and watch it disappear. My daughter LOVED this. ” It’s gone Mama!” She made multiple ones and helped me choose which letters to write.
  4. After my call was done I gave her the markers and she made her own letters on some coffee filters. When kids are learning to write even at the very early stages never say to them ” That’s not a B it’s a scribble, here let me make you a real B.” Their writing is a B it’s just in the early stages of development and by encouraging them their development will get there slow and steady as it is meant to.

Alphabet Books

 Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert is an alphabet book extraordinaire and perfect for a letter F eek, 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. { This is one of my daughter’s very favorite alphabet books right now and possibly the number one reason she knows all her upper and lowercase letters} .

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 it’s 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 .

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Feather Color Match

feather color matchingMy daughter is a natural color matcher. Although you most often see her in her PJs my daughter is a stickler for matching accessories and can be heard saying ” It matches , look Mama dat toy matches me dress!” often.  I knew she would like this activity but I was still happily surprised by the concentration she showed while doing it .This activity not only for color recognitions it is great for both fine motor development and eye hand coordination too.We called it a turkey feather match since we’ve been talking a lot about turkeys and Thanksgiving but you could do this any time of year.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some styrafoam ,colored feathers,  permanent markers in colors that match your feathers. That’s it!
  2. Start by making dots on the styrafoam with the markers.
  3. Invite your best color matcher to do their thing! I showed her how to do the first one and then she was off!
  4. She pointed out extra dots that we had no feathers for. Luckily I hadn’t put all the feathers out and was able to get a few more for her to match. 
  5. And she did.

{Fine Motor} Button & Cork Builders

It’s getting to that time of the year when our time outside is limited by bad weather ( we still go out, just don’t stay out as long) and I am looking for new and frugal ways to engage my kids on long days . This idea came from nothing other than staring at my supplies and thinking ” I wonder if this will work?” and it did. Using corks and buttons to build with is fun but add in some Velcro dots and it’s even more fun. After playing I realized how multi-sensory this activity really is with the texture of the Velcro both soft and spiky, the sound of it pulling apart, the hard buttons and the softer corks. Did I mention we had a blast with them too?

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a board or shoe box lid,  some self adhesive Velcro dots, big craft buttons and corks.
  2. Start by putting Velcro dots on the shoe box lid, I only gave her hook dots. I like using a lid like this so that any corks that fall don’t roll too far away and create frustration. Peeling the stickers off and placing them on the lid is fantastic for fine motor development.
  3. Press them on well.
  4. While she did that I put them on buttons and corks. I put one hook and one loop dot on each cork and some buttons got one of each , some just got loop dots.  Ideally try to give it 24 hours before playing after putting the dots on. If your child is insistent as mine was ( what 2 year old wouldn’t be?) you can give them only a few and then return to the rest after 24 hours when the adhesive is at it’s strongest. In my experience none of the dots came off the buttons at all even right after popping it on. The natural corks didn’t fare as well, they stuck fine but when we went to reposition a handful came off.
  5. Play ( now or later) .
  6. Don’t they look like something out of a Dr. Seuss book?
  7. She loved the buttons !

Byron Barton Books about Building

Building a House by Byron Barton is a no frills look at how homes are built. The bright colors and concise wording is perfect for toddlers and young  preschoolers. I love that there is writing on one page and illustrations on the other, makes it super easy to show children the pictures as well as for them to see you follow the text with your finger! My son started enjoying this book well before age 2 and still grabs it for me to read at three and a half although seems to yearn for more details than this simple book provides.

Machines at Work by Byron Barton is a bold and bright book that is perfect for toddlers who are obsessed with construction vehicles. The text is brief but effective. My son loved this book as an infant ,  at 2 he enjoyed reading it, as well as counting the workers and trucks on each page. Now at almost 4 he will still grab it and read it to his imaginary friend Sammy who ” can’t read yet”.  All in all it’s been well loved over the years !

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Pin & Pound Pumpkins – Easy Halloween Craft

easy halloween craft I bought these pumpkins at the dollar store with every intention of decoupaging them and adding sparkle but my son vetoed that. I still wanted to make an easy Halloween craft so I quickly looked around the playroom for an idea. That’s when I saw the hammers on the floor, the buttons on the counter and I was pretty sure I had nails too. I am so glad I didn’t press for them to do my original idea, both kids had a lot of fun pinning, hammering as well as pressing the nails in and my upstairs hallway have two very adorable pumpkins in it now.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a foam pumpkin ( at Dollar Tree right now) , some nails, craft buttons and some hammers.
  2. Place your buttons ( I held them for my daughter for the first nail)  my son did his own.
  3. Place a nail in the button hole and press it just far enough to hold and then hammer!
  4. The hammer was ok but both kids also pushed the nails in with their fingers.
  5. Keep going making faces, or simple designs.  My son added nails without any buttons for hair and my daughter methodically placed nails in each hole.

This would be a great craft for a party since there is no drying time for paint or glue.

 

Halloween Books

Check out these great Halloween picture books for kids.

 
The craft buttons were provided for us by craftprojectideas.com.

Monster Math Tray – Learning After School

preschool math Math is probably my son’s favorite subject right now and I am running with it. This monster math activity took 2 minutes to set up and could be used over and over . No need to buy anything other than paper and googly eyes! I like making simple tray activities like this that I can have ready for him at the table in the playroom to do after school. They are educational and appealing but not so long that he gets overwhelmed after a long day of school. As you will see my toddler demanded she get in on the action too, luckily this was easy to adapt to her level as well. For a fun variation check out how you can use dice for even more monster math over at Inner Child Learning.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some bright paper, googly eyes, a pencil ( if you want to use the monsters more than once) , and scissors. I also had a small cup and cookie tray to keep everything contained.
  2. Start by folding your paper in half and cutting out the shape of a monster. Best part is that they can be detailed or a blob , not need for extraordinary artistic skills! halloween math
  3. Next write simple math equations on the monster. If your child isn’t up to equations yet just do numbers. You can also do shapes and have your child place the eyes on the shapes. I used markers for the photos but If you want to use this more than once you can use pencil, or laminate the monsters and use dry erase markers.Counting
  4. All ready – now add a math wizard! He loves this . I love that while doing math he is also working on fine motor skills that he needs for writing.
  5. After he did addition we flipped it over and did some subtraction. He loved it too!
  6. ” I do it TOO!!!” To make it toddler friendly I only used the largest eyes, and wrote simple numbers on the monsters. My daughter still needed a little help as I thought she would but she was ecstatic to be doing big girl math with her big brother. All I know is she begged to do math. Let’s keep that spirit going right?monster craft

Monster Books

halloween books for kids

 Check out our round up of monster books for some reading after your math!