Over the summer my son is focusing on play but I am focusing on working on his fine motor skills. This activity satisfies both . The best part of these letter puzzles are how adaptable they are. You can make letters, shapes, even spell simple words. You could provide your child with a card next to each group of pegs to let them know what letter it is or leave it as a puzzle for them to figure out like I did to combine fine motor and spacial skills.
- Gather your materials. You will need a cork board, some pushpins and elastics.
- Start by stretching two elastics across the board to make 4 distinct areas.
- Using the push pins I created 4 letters. I wanted to make sure that they could be made into letters so created them myself. Then removed the elastics and called my son.
- He dove right in. The A was easy but the B was tricky. It took a while for him to see that it was a B but once he did he couldn’t make the B fast enough.
- I took all the pegs out ( adults only if you aren’t careful the elastics can pull the pegs out and they go flying) and reconfigured them into 4 new letters. These were easier and he flew through them but he was still getting lots of opportunity to fine tune his fine motor skills.
Advanced Alphabet Books
These books aren’t your basic alphabet book. They offer challenges that will appeal to school age children but could still be shared with kids 5 and under.
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.
All Aboard!: A Traveling Alphabet by Bill Mayer was more fun for my husband and I than for my son when he was a toddler, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s a book of pictures, with hidden letters in them. For example the letter O is overpass with loops of road and hidden in it is an O. Some letters were easy to find some were hilariously hard. We read this to my son tonight at bedtime and while we stared at the letter H ( highway) picture debating where the h was, he fell asleep between us in his bed. This is a great alphabet book for families with children just learning and those who have mastered the alphabet. Oh and the debate was settled , we were both wrong. The final page highlights the letter in each picture in a compilation of the whole alphabet.
Al Pha’s Bet by Amy Krouse Rosenthal is a rare find. An alphabet book that can keep a 5 year old who says alphabet books are for babies, completely engaged. The story follows Al who has bet himself that he can win a contest ordered by the King figure out an order for the brand new 26 letters that were just invented. In a string of adorable events and a little chance the alphabet as we know it is put together. My son thought it was hysterical that P was put in the line up after Al went pee. It’s a cute idea for a book and abstract enough to be a bit of a challenge for preschoolers but just the right level of interest for kids that think they know it all when it comes to the alphabet.This post contains affiliate links
My son had these in his preschool class. I thought they were really neat and wanted to have one at home. Have you seen the prices of these? I know they are worth it, but if I can make one inexpensively…why not?
All you need are colored rubber bands, black paint (helps the rubber bands show up better), ruler, rounded tip nails, hammer, and a wood plaque. You can use any piece of wood, but the store bought plaques are already have smooth routed edges.
I bought the rubber bands, plaque, and nails at Walmart and spent only $5.50. Your prices may vary, but it should be close. Here are the exact nails I bought. I had a hard time finding adequate ones at the home improvement store.
I had my son paint the plaque black with a small roller. This provides a nice even coat with quick drying time.
While he was painting I marked the nails with a red marker. This way I could keep the height of the nails even. I just lined a bunch up and made one mark across then at once. It was very easy.
Once the paint dried I made a grid on the board of 1 inch squares. [When I make another one I will make 1.5 inch squares, to give a little more space.]
Then I hammered the nails until the red line was in the wood. This is what it looked like all done.
It looks a like a medieval torture device, but it isn’t sharp at all. It could still hurt someone if not properly supervised, though.
This is definitely for preschoolers and not toddlers. I would suggest supervising, at least the first few times it is played with.
My son had a great time with it. He was so excited and recognized this from his classroom. What a great way to practice fine motor skills and experiment with shapes.
We plan on making a few more for friends. They were such a hit.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It.