Letter of The Week Craft

Lighthouse l

Lighthouse Craft

We have been chatting about lowercase ls a lot around here lately because my son recently gained a new sight word FIRE (it’s always all in caps on extinguishers, fire doors etc..)  – and the uppercase i throws him off sometimes.  So we had a brief discussion about fonts ( using your computer to show all the silly different ways to make the same letter is a great way to play with that idea), and decided since we were talking so much about this letter we’d use it for this week’s craft.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a full sheet of blue construction paper, some white, yellow and red as well. Glue, blue markers , scissors and sea life stickers.Lighthouse Craft
  2. Write a lowercase l on some white paper.
  3. Start by having your child draw waves on the paper. I was so surprised that this was my son’s favorite part, he was so into it, carefully drawing squiggly lines.Lighthouse Craft
  4. Next add sea life to the ocean. This is not a must do step but I think it’s important to reinforce some learning about the sea. We took time to talk about the different animals on the stickers ( crabs, sea horses, fish and starfish) and peeling those little stickers off is great fine motor practice.Lighthouse Craft
  5. While they are working on their ocean, cut out the red roof and yellow ray of light. Lighthouse Craft
  6. Hand them the lowercase l, ask them what letter it is, sounds it makes and why you are making it into a lighthouse.
  7. My son insisted on making red stripes on it , so I grabbed him a crayon. ( Mental note where is my red marker?? Can’t find it anywhere.) Lighthouse Craft
  8. Cut the l out.
  9. Add glue to your oceanLighthouse Craft
  10. Add your lighthouse, my son’s was way to the right only because he didn’t want to cover any of his stickers. Place yours wherever as long as it’s vertical .
  11. Add the roofLighthouse Craft
  12. Add the ray of light and let dry. Lighthouse Craft

Song!

Over the Irish Sea

When I was 1 I sucked my thumb
and then I went to sea
I climbed aboard a pirate ship
and the captain said to me
“Let’s go this way , and that way.
backwards and forwards,
over the Irish sea!”

* Continue counting with rhyming words like 2 and shoe, 3 and knee etc

Books About The Sea!

Stanley At Sea

Stanley at Sea by Linda Bailey made me giggle . The story is about 4 dogs that go out to sea unintentionally when they are searching for food. While out there they start wondering when outside will end because the sea is so wide and they are so far from land. One dog suggest that outside will end when then hit a fence. Sure enough they hit what they think is a fence, what readers know is a tanker and are rescued and fed steak and sausages they can eat before being returned to their owners.  Doggie nirvana for sure.  I love that the book is presented through the dog’s perspective, it gives young kids a chance to laugh and correct the dogs ideas about the things they encounter.

My very own lighthouse

My Very Own Lighthouse by Francisco Cunha is a book about what it’s like to watch a parent go out to sea while you wait at home for their safe return. The little girl in this book is worried about her dad who is a fisherman so her mom explains to her why there are lighthouses. She decides to make her very own so that she can keep her daddy safe. I love the authors deep understanding of childhood anxiety, and how he has her gain some control by making her very own lighthouse with toys and a star. It’s not realism ( using a star as the light) , but any child will relate to the shift in power from being afraid and having nightmares to feeling as though she is actively helping keep her dad safe.

A Sea Wishing Day

A Sea-Wishing Day by Robert Heidbreder is a wonderful tale of adventure, pirates, mermaids and treasure! The best part the little boy and his canine companion never really leave his backyard in the city , instead the adventure is all in their imagination. Anyone with a preschooler will appreciate this book, playing pretend is a huge part of most 3-5 year old’s playtime, and it should be. This book encourages, as well as celebrates that as this little boy discovers adventures on the high sea.

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Letter of The Week : Family Letters

Alphabet Craft

I often get asked how and when to start doing letter crafts.  My best advice is to start when your child starts paying attention to letters, pointing them out and enjoying alphabet books and toys.  The other question that normally follows that is which letter to start with? I suggest starting with a letter they are confident recognizing, and a theme they enjoy. This is why this family letter craft is so fun and perfect for beginners. Kids are narcissistic and  crafts with their own smiling faces are often sure fire hits! This uses your child’s initial as the letter of the week, my son decided we should also make M for mommy and D for daddy. We used lowercase because that is what we are working on but either upper or lower would be fine!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need pictures of your child and whoever else you are making into letters, a sheet of construction paper for each letter, and one for the backing, scissors, glue , a marker and crayons. Alphabet Craft
  2. Start by writing the letter on the construction paper.Alphabet Craft
  3. Color the letter with crayons. We did this as a family so Daddy came and made his too !  Alphabet Craft Alphabet Craft
  4. While they color cut out the pictures.  Alphabet Craft
  5. While you cuts the letters out your child and husband can  play puppets with their picture cut outs  !Alphabet Craft
  6. Add glue  to your cut out letter and glue it to the backing. Alphabet Craft
  7. Add glue to the front of the letter- we did a little counting here , first counting the picture cut outs and then adding that number of glue globs to the letter.Alphabet Craft
  8. Add the picture cut outs.  Alphabet Craft
  9. Let dry.

Alphabet Books

I have many alphabet book reviews here but these three are my 3 favorites for beginners.


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!


Chicka Chicka ABC by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault 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 !

Letter Of The Week

Road r !

Alphabet Craft

Using words that are easily recognizable, and readily used by your child for letter recognition activities is important.  Most all children can identify a road and what goes on it from very very young, so it’s a great choice!  Add in a child who loves anything that drives and you have a huge hit! Also finding vehicle stickers is dead easy, they are every where. My son loved this craft, when he woke from nap he skipped his usual snuggles and went straight for the table where I had the craft ready.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 2 pieces of construction paper ( one should be black) , vehicle stickers, scissors , glue and white or yellow chalk.Alphabet Craft
  2. Start by writing a large lowercase ( or upper) r on your green construction paper. If your child wants to decorate this go for it, it will mostly be covered by the road but if they are game , do it! Alphabet Craft
  3. Cut 3 rectangles out of the black paper. I included kid scissors in my picture because I was hoping my son would want to do some of the cutting but he just wanted to hurry to the stickers! If your child is able, encourage them to do some or all of the cutting.Alphabet Craft
  4. Have your child use the chalk to make road markings.  Alphabet Craft
  5. Add glue to the r Alphabet Craft
  6. Add the road. Alphabet Craft
  7. Time for stickers! Not only does this add extra fun since for many kids stickers are treats ( I know I use them as treats for all sorts of things) but it also adds great fine motor practice. When they carefully peel the stickers off they are using those fine motor skills, so do not do this step for them! Alphabet Craft
  8. Let dry completely then show it off ! Alphabet Craft

Books

Sputter Sputter Sput

Sputter, Sputter, Sput! by Babs Bell is all about a little car that zooms… until it starts to sputter! What could be causing that? It’s out of gas! The story is simple but the illustrations take it from basic story to a quirky and fun book.  The concept of up and down is reinforced multiple times but with fresh and fun illustrations by Bob Staake each time. My son enjoyed this book but it was a quick read , I think it would have been a favorite a year ago though , it was a little simple for him now at 3 1/2.  It’s definitely worth a look to see the illustrations !

Road Builders

Road Builders by B.G. Hennessy was a birthday gift for my son in November and he was not interested at first. Maybe because of the plethora of lego that was taking over our house… however it has since become such a favorite he recently “read” it to my sister’s dog. It’s a story all about how a road is built , explaining what the crew does, and how each type of construction vehicle has a different role in building a road.  I like that it explains the process from start to finish, in just the right level of detail for preschoolers.  I also like that there is a female crew member and her participation is seamless .

I'm A Truck

I’m a Truck by Dennis Shealy is about Big Blue Bill a big rig on his way from the Big Tuna to the Big Apple! As he travels along the highway, stops at trucks stops and runs into road construction he visits with his truck friends. Most every type of truck is covered in this book and the illustrations by Bob Staake ( yes the same as above!)  are so detailed that you can spend extra time just finding things on each page. All the trucks are anthropomorphized and some hilariously so. I am quite fond of a logging truck named Leif who had a beard and toque ( winter cap for non Canadians ) , he makes me giggle. My son loves the part where Big Blue Bill is stuck in city traffic behind a garbage truck who is stinky!  The text is a good length and I have a feeling this will be a favorite for a while at our house.

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Letter of The Week

Yarn y

Letter of the week y craft

Y is always tricky but this craft does double duty not only reinforcing the letter y, but also as a active fine motor skills lacing toy! As you can see I wasn’t fussy about how my son laced it. I wanted him to get the yarn through the holes not make perfect stitches. Holding the yarn in between his thumb and fingers also promotes the tripod grip ( proper way to hold writing tools).

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some cardboard, a hole punch, some markers, yarn, scissors and tape. Letter of the week y craft
  2. Write a lowercase ( would work great with uppercase too ) on your cardboard. Letter of the week craft
  3. Hand it to your child and invite them to color it with markers.  My son has taken to tracing and writing the letter on it. Letter of the week craft
  4. Add more colors until they decide they are done. Letter of the week craft
  5. While they are coloring cut off a long piece  of yarn and double it, so it make a bog loop. Tape the 2 ends together tightly so that it makes a hard end for easy lacing. Letter of the week craft
  6. Cut the y out. Letter of the week craft
  7. Hole punch time!  Our card board was too thick for my son to punch the holes, if the cereal box in the picture hasn’t had writing on the inside ( why do they do that?!) it would have been great. If your child can help , have them help. Letter of the week craft
  8. Before you hand the y back thread the yarn through the first hole and loop it back through the yarn so it ties onto the y. This eliminates meltdowns about the yarn just zooming through all the holes. As well as keeps the 2 pieces together for later use! Letter of the week craft
  9. Lace! I laced the first two holes to demonstrate it to my son then let him at it. Letter of the week craft
  10. Keep going! Letter of the week craft

Teaching children about letters is more fun if you include as many novel and sensory experiences as you can. This was a huge hit and even bigger mess, but well worth it. My son who is in the midst of a perfectionist phase loved that he could “erase” his letters. He also loved how the bright colors magically appeared under the cornstarch.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a shallow cardboard box, cornstarch, and some brightly colored markers, pastels or what I used… window markers.  Letter of the week craft
  2. Color the bottom of your box with a few colors. If you are using anything “wet” let it dry 100% before adding the cornstarch. Letter of the week craft
  3. Add the cornstarch and cover the color. Letter of the week craft
  4. Start writing! Isn’t it cool how the colors pop? I was giddy that it worked! Letter of the week craft
  5. Explore! Letter of the week craft
  6. He wrote an M then exclaimed – look I can make a W too, then flipped the whole box , then wrote another M.
  7. Letter of the week craft Letter of the week craft We stepped outside to shake all the extra off! Letter of the week craft

Have fun this one is MESSY – I was covered, my camera was covered, my son was covered and we had a blast!

Some of our Favorite Alphabet Books

Letter of The Week – Earth Day

Earth e !

Earth Day Craft

Earth Day is coming up so to extend our learning about the earth into our regular letter of the week craft we made an earth e today. My son loves this paint roller and for a craft like this where you cover over crayon it was the perfect painting tool.  I couldn’t narrow down my books to just 3 today, they range from toddler to school age so there is something for everyone.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some white construction paper ( or paper plate), another sheet for the backing, a blue crayon, a black marker, green ( or yellow and blue) paint,scissors , glue,  a dish and a paint brush or roller. Earth Day Craft
  2. Start by writing a lowercase e on your white paper. If you are me fail miserably, try again on the other side ( yes this is a picture of my better e). Still mess it up. Earth Day Craft
  3. Grab a paper plate because that was your last sheet of white construction paper, make a stencil and trace it on the paper plate. Earth Day Craft
  4. Give your child the blue crayon and explain that this e is the Earth ( show them pictures of the earth if need be to explain how the blue is the ocean and the green is the land).  Have them draw some ocean- make sure they press hard. Earth Day Craft
  5. Time to pour paint Earth Day Craft
  6. Now mix it. I prefer to do this than use the regular green if possible. It’s some extra fun and extra learning. Earth Day Craft
  7. Roll it on! Earth Day Craft
  8. Let dry and cut out.  earth day craft
  9. Glue on your backing paper. Earth Day Craft

For more letter of the week crafts check out my eBook Alphabet Crafts !  From A-Z you will be learning and creating with your child .

Books

in the garden

In the Gardenby Leslie Bockol is a little board book all about growing your own fruits and vegetables in your garden. It is simple and although it’s listed for 3-6 year olds I would read it to 1-3 year olds. It identifies a number of fruits and vegetables and completes each page with ” I pick it and eat it!” my son loved the repetition and quickly completed each page for me while I was reading it to him. I think it’s a perfect book for toddlers and young preschoolers to introduce gardening to them.

The Whole Green World

The Whole Green World by Tony Johnston was an unexpected hit with my son.  Today reading it he learned that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, he saw the book in our pile to read and wasn’t taken with it, but I suggested maybe just reading the first page and he was hooked. The book is really about appreciating the whole world, from the view point of a little girl who grabs some seeds, plants them , waters them and savors the beauty all around her. My son loved the sing song text and the ultra detailed illustrations by Elisa Kleven. Which my son would study with every turn of the page asking me ” Mommy which bird, which book, which cake is your favorite?” making reference to the illustrations . It was a wonderful book to snuggle up with !

Herman and Marguerite

Herman and Marguerite: An Earth Story by Jay O’Callahan is a funny story with interesting and sometimes unexpected illustrations. The story is about a worm who has heard about the orchard above and wants to see it, but the sun is threatening and he is saved by a caterpillar! They develop a friendship and because of it the orchard that was once barren starts  attracting  animals again.  It’s not all easy along the way and the worm gets to return the favor of saving the caterpillar when she gets stuck between rocks on her way to spin her chrysalis. When she emerges as a butterfly her worm friend is there and so is a beautiful flowering apple orchard!   My son liked this book , I found it somewhat disjointed and what we both thought was odd was the random inclusion of photos of the author throughout the book. “Who is that weird guy Mama?” I wasn’t sure how to answer that one. Still he sat for the whole thing, and learned just how important worms are. It won’t be renewed over and over from the library though.

EcoMazes

EcoMazes by Roxie Munro is a new book that was sent to me by the publisher for review. The idea of this book is to showcase different ecosystems like wetlands, the tundra, desert and more through both a maze and search and find game. This book is not designed for preschoolers although my son loves it. We do the maze together as that is far too complicated for him, but he loves to find the animals on each page and has learned a lot about them too. What is awesome for older children ( 7-10) is that along with an answer key to the maze and pictures there is a full page of information about each ecosystem in the back of the book. This doesn’t talk down to the reader and gives great information using sophisticated vocabulary. I am excited to see how this book’s use changes over time in my home.