Shell Letters – Alphabet Activity

learning activity letter formationThe beach and playdough are two of our very favorite things. Put them together and you have the perfect tactile summer letter activity. My daughter has been able to recognize her letters for a long time as well as their sounds but forming those letters is still something we are working on often. This alphabet activity combines textures to make creating letters truly hands on.  As you will see after the initial activity she modified it for more play while I sat back and marveled at how quickly she went from a baby to a child… some days you just need to stare at them don’t you?

Gather your materials. You will need some shells, playdough, a cutting board or other playdough friendly surface, card stock, marker, some fun containers and a little letter engineer ready to explore.shell letters letter recognition for kids

I made little letter cards and since our shells were so rigid I only wrote out letters with straight lines like A, E, F, K, etc…beach shell letters

Start by setting things up. When I make an invitation to learn like this I usually have it set up so she knows what to do and then let her explore with out me interjecting. In a classroom I would have this set out on a table and allow the students to come and go ( or not come and go) as they pleased.shell letter cards

First she pressed the playdough down into a flat surface.shell playdough letters

Then she dove right in using the shells to create letters that matched the cards.making letters with shells and playdough

Some took more planning than others.thinking sabout how to do it shell letters

Then she changed things up and started using the shells to write in the playdough. writing with shellsAs the play shifts encourage the exploration. Activities like this are invitations and when they start exploring like this please don’t stop them. She was still learning and having fun even if she wasn’t still doing the planned activity. That is not a bad thing, roll with their discovery! shell letters explore

 

 

 Books About The Beach

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At-The-Beach-

At the Beach by Anne and Harlow Rockwell .A little girl visits the beach with her mom. She plays in the sand, hunts for shells, takes a swim before she settles in to a nice beach lunch. A visit to the beach can be a full day and this story gives the reader a great description of what to expect. This is great for young kids who haven’t been to the beach. It explains using a young girl’s point of view what you bring to beach and what you can expect to do once you’re there. The illustrations are muted and warm and fill the page and included our young red-haired beach girl enjoying herself in each one.

squirrel

Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach by Melanie Watt is hilarious, I actually snorted while reading it. I love books like this that have absurd humor thrown in with a great story. Before you even start flipping pages on the inside flap you will notice a blurb that ends with “This story is not suitable for pirates” it just makes me giggle! The story follows the most anxious squirrel you’ll ever encounter as he tries to make his own beach, only to end up at a busy one! What I love about this book are the details, the small asides will have you laughing and the main story will keep even young ones totally entertained. Super fun and a great message about overcoming fears as well.

what lives in a shell?

What Lives in a Shell? by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld is great book in my favorite science series the Let’s-Read-And-Find-Out . This book is a little long for toddlers but really great for preschoolers and easy to break into parts. The book starts talking about snails, then moves to turtles and finally sea shells. Like the others in the series this book break down facts to a preschoolers level without loosing any substance. If you are looking for a non fiction book for your little one, you must check out this series, they are hands down my favorite non fiction for young children.

Read & Make : Letter Of The Week

letter of the week books Letter of The Week crafts are one of our most popular series on No Time For Flash Cards and one of my most frequently asked questions via email are for good books that can go with each letter craft we have. Instead of just throwing out a bunch of books that subject start with one of the letters I have used books that are about the subject used for the craft. The letter is in context and real connections can be made. If you follow a letter of the week curriculum remember to use these crafts as one part of it and focus on the whole alphabet most of the time using alphabet books and other whole alphabet activities as well. Each pair is linked to the original letter of the week craft and the book title is an affiliate link to Amazon.com .

Read and Make ABC ARead The Lady with the Alligator Purse and make an alligator A.

Read and Make ABC BRead Buzz and make a buzzy bee letter B craft.
Read and Make ABC CRead The Very Hungry Caterpillar and make a simple caterpillar C craft .
Read and Make ABC DRead The Paper Bag Princess and make a letter D dragon craft.
Read and Make ABC ERead First the Egg and then make a sweet Egg E craft.
Read and Make ABC FGet patriotic and read Hats off for the Fourth of July then make a Flag F craft.
Read and Make ABC GRead In the Tall, Tall Grass and then make a grass G letter craft.
Read and Make ABC HRead My Heart Is Like a Zoo together and then create this letter H craft filled with hearts.
Read and Make ABC IRead Ice Cream: The Full Scoop and then create your own Ice Cream I letter craft.
Read and Make ABC JRead If You Were A Jellybean then create your own Jellybean J letter craft.
Read and Make ABC KRead all about kites in Kite Flying then make your own Kite K craft to go with it.
Read and Make ABC LLearn about leaves with Leaf Man then find your own and make this leaf L craft.
Read and Make ABC MGo with Sally to the mountains in Sally Goes to the Mountains then make a Mountain M craft at home.
Read and Make ABC NCount all sorts of things with Anno’s Counting Book and then talk and learn about numbers while making a number N.
Read and Make ABC ORead Owl Babies and then make your own little owl O letter craft.
Read and Make ABC PRead Bees, Snails, & Peacock Tails and make your own peacock P!
Read and Make ABC QRead Quilt Alphabet which is a perfect book for this letter Q craft.
Read and Make ABC RYou can read about planting a rainbow in Planting a Rainbow and then make your own letter R craft.
Read and Make ABC SRead Draw Me a Star and then make your own sparkly star S letter craft.
Read and Make ABC TTrees are rad and so is Pablo’s Tree , after reading it make your own tree T craft.
Read and Make ABC UGo underground with Up Above and Down Below and then again with this Underground U letter craft.
Read and Make ABC VExplore all the flowers in Zinnia’s Flower Garden and then make your own and pop them in this Vase V craft.
Read and Make ABC WCount the seeds in One Watermelon Seed and then make your own Watermelon W letter craft being sure to count the seeds too.
Read and Make ABC XDem Bones isn’t just for Halloween it’s a great book year round and perfect for our X-ray X letter craft.
Read and Make ABC YThe classic color mixing story Little Blue and Little Yellow is a great fit for our Yellow Y letter of the week craft too.
Read and Make ABC Z On Beyond Zebra! is a natural fit for our Zebra Z craft !

 

Want more letter of the week crafts? Check out our full list here.

Button Letter Craft – Alphabet For Starters

letter craft Teaching your children or students about letters means a lot of things. Teaching to recognize and name letters, to know the sound the letters make, and how to make the shape of the letter in it’s upper and lowercase forms. It takes time and finding different dynamic ways to do this can make  learning letters a ton of fun. We made upper case button letters and while we made them we tried to think of all the words we could that started with the same sounds. This is part of our Alphabet For Starters series, the goal for this series is to provide hands-on ways to explore letters while also developing other areas like fine motor development, math skills and more.

Gather your materials. You will need some construction paper, a pencil, white glue , and lots of colorful buttons.button letter craft

Start by having your child choose a letter and write it on the paper. If they are still learning how to make the letter write it for them. They will get a chance to work on the formation with the next step.

Now grab the glue and trace the letter with it. I showed her how to do it with my letter A, then she did hers. I did glue tracing letters with my son a few years ago and plan to do the same with my daughter soon since she is showing a desire to write and form the letters. glue tracing button letters

Add the buttons! button letter recognition activity for preschoolShe loved this. I enjoyed watching her take her time picking out which button to add next. button letters color and sizeWe talked about the letter sounds but after that we moved on to the attributes of the buttons themselves. Counting was naturally included as well. button letters counting buttonsDon’t worry about planning topics with this activity beyond the letter sounds but be ready to jump on the topics that naturally arise. I had her estimate how many buttons it would take for her to finish the letter and she was right. She was also very happy about being right! all done button letters

She was so into it she finished mine for me. button letter collage

All done! button letters

Spell Your Name – Spelling Game

name actvities My house is full of kids who want to know how to spell everything. So far I am keeping up but as you may know, spelling is not one of my strengths. I struggle and because it’s such a struggle for me I try hard to make spelling enjoyable for my kids. I want them to associate spelling with fun not fear.  This is a super simple spelling game, my daughter loves it and she is learning how to spell all the names in our family. You don’t have to stick to names this could be used with any spelling words. How are you going to play?

Gather your materials. You will need some sentence strips, a marker, some masking tape, some dice ( I used two but you might need 3-4), and pom poms. Wearing a tutu is optional and fabulous.name spelling activity for kids

Start by writing out your family names on the sentence strips. If my son had been home I would have requested his aid for this. I am always trying to sneak in more writing since it’s something he ( and most kids) can use practice with. He wasn’t home so I did it myself.name game name plates

Next cover your dice in masking tape. I had to cut the tape in half lengthwise. I was going to use little labels but they didn’t stick to the dice at all!learn to spell your name

Add the letters in your names to the dice. Our little family has short names with the same letters popping up all over so we only needed 2 dice. You may need many. If one person has a much longer name you could use middle initials or even adding in middle or last names to the shorter ones to even things out. spelling name game

Get your pom poms and get ready to play.name game name recognition activity

Roll! name game roll a letterPlace a pom pom on a letter when you roll it. If you roll more than one letter in your name you must choose only one to cover with a pom pom. If you have two of the same letter like I do ( Allie) you can only cover one letter at a time.name game roll and win

She had three letters covered and two to go. name game counting too

Finally she spelled her dad’s name before I managed to roll all the letters in mine.roll and spell name game

We played with four players later and it was a blast! We even made my sister her very own name plate when she came for a visit and she joined in the play.

 

Stamp & Match – Letter Matching Activity For Kids

uppercase and lowercase letter match game for kidsI threw this activity together when my my daughter didn’t want to go outside and I didn’t want her to watch another Doc McStuffins. This quick fun letter matching activity did the trick and we got a little play and learning in before heading out for the day. This letter match activity is quick to throw together and doesn’t use up anything. If you don’t have alphabet stamps I can’t tell you how much I love and how often we use these stamps . <– Affiliate link so if you want to see what I am raving about you can. If you are looking for a similar idea for older kids try our Stamp & Spell activity.

Gather your materials. You will need some playdough, a tray, and letter stamps with both upper and lowercase letters.playdough letter matching activity for kids

Make small circles out of your playdough. You have probably noticed that I am not doing all 26 letters, that would be too much and overwhelm most kids. If you want to make sure you are going over all letters make a list and as you do different letter activities make sure all get some play over a few days. I like to have a balance of easy achievement with some challenge too. So choose a mix of letters that they are confident at matching and some that they still need to work on. playdough letter match activity for children

Using the uppercase letters press a letter in each blob of playdough. uppercase and lowercase letter match activity for kids

Place the lowercase letter stamps near by. letter match for kids

Invite your alphabet whiz to the table. Play! letter match activity for preschool and kindergarten

She got into it right away stopping only to ask me ” This is q right?” Q has been her one tricky letter since she started recognizing letters. letter match for preschool playdough activity

Keep going. stamp letter match for young kidsShe stamped them a few times which is great but if they only want to do it once that is fine too. You can flip the playdough blobs over and let them explore with the letters at their leisure too. letter match game for kids

Alphabet Books

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abc_x3

ABC x 3 English, Espanol, Francais by Marthe Jocelyn is a simplistic alphabet book in three languages. My daughter loved it and giggled while we tried to read the words in English, French and Spanish. I liked that some of the words were so similar in all three languages and some were completely different. The stark colorful illustrations by Tom Slaughter were a delightful bonus.

alphabets everywhere

Alphabet Everywhere by Elliot Kaufman is a book filled with letter shapes found in the environment. My 3 year old loved seeing all the photos of letters made out of doors, ladders, pipes, wood and more. I liked that the book caused her to recognize letters in different shapes. The letters are in alphabetical order so even if some of the images aren’t clearly a letter the order can help readers figure it out.

A isn't for fox

A Isn’t for Fox: An Isn’t Alphabet by Wendy Ulmer was fun to read aloud. The text is melodic and made my daughter laugh from cover to cover. The book goes from A to Z with funny rhymes about things that don’t start with the letter before revealing what does. Cute and more fun than a plain old alphabet book.