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 .

This post contains affiliate links.

Letter Sorting Tree – Alphabet For Starters

alphabet activities for preschoolI love doing active alphabet activities with my toddler. They don’t have to be big running or throwing games ( although those are great too) just simple ones that aren’t restricted to a table or sitting.  The other day on the walk to her brother’s bus stop she pointed to the half moon and declared ” A lowercase moon Mama!” and since that declaration we’ve been exploring and seeking out more lowercase letters in our books. As you will see this activity was still challenging for her as I thought it would be but we worked on it together and I have left it up in our playroom to use as a talking point . In a class it would be a great group project too. For more alphabet ideas for beginners check out all of our Alphabet For Starters series.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some craft paper , scissors, fall leaves ( make your own or pop to the dollar store before they all disappear) , markers , painter’s tape and double stick tape. I also have a container of crayons because my daughter wanted to color some of the leaves as well.easy alphabet activities for kids
  2. Start by writing out a variety of upper and lowercase letters on the leaves. I did half the alphabet in upper and half in lower. Do however many you want in any combination. Remember we are playing not drilling. I made a good number of letters that are the same in either one too. This builds some freebies in which is always good for confidence building.
  3. Next make a bare tree with your craft paper. I cut free hand because I am way better at cutting than drawing. Do what works for you. Attach it to the wall with painter’s tape. While you do that if you have a little artists with you waiting to learn let them color the leaves and don’t forget to slip in a few ” You are coloring the uppercase m !” etc… getting into the habit of labeling what they are doing really helps make it more natural and it teaches them in such a natural way.
  4. Add double stick tape to the branches and the roots. Now ONLY use this if you are not planning on repositioning the leaves. They can be taken off and moved immediately but after they are on for a few minutes they will rip. If you need to be able to move them use contact paper sticky side out held on with permanent double stick tape.
  5. Make a pile of leaves and start sorting. She always starts with her first initial. You will have to explain to your child that upper case letters go on top and the lowercase on the bottom. I try never to use the terms big and little since you can have a 6 foot high lowercase b or a tiny uppercase one. Using the proper terms especially when they are just starting out really helps.  I found myself saying ” Upper goes up and lower stays low!” as we went through the letters.
  6. Encourage them to find letters they know or like and then hand them ones that maybe they are struggling with. My daughter is only 2 so I am not purposefully handing her any letters yet as it’s all introduction and play. If she was older and mixing up b and d I would target that or maybe g and j … do not turn this into drill and test. It’s hard not to sometimes but keep it light and fun.  If your child puts a uppercase letter with the lowercase don’t worry instead ask them about it they may be confused and you can address that, they may have a really good only a 4 year old can think it up reason or they may catch their mistake and correct it themselves which is 20 times better than having someone correct it for you.  This is as far as she went and I was thrilled .
  7. I sorted the rest out loud as she played with her doll house next to me.

 

Move & Groove – Gross Motor Alphabet Game

alphabet for startersThis is a super simple alphabet game that gets kids moving and grooving while they learn their letters. This is part 14 of our Alphabet For Starters series, a series of alphabet activities that use play and exploration to introduce and learn letters. We did the game as a lower and uppercase match but you can adjust it for your needs and child’s abilities. To be honest I wasn’t exactly sure if I was at the target level of learning for my daughter , I wanted it to be challenging but attainable so I enlisted her brother to help. He loved being her guide even though she only needed him a couple of times. Soon he had the controls and I went to warm up my coffee. Here is how you can make your own gross motor alphabet game.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paper or card stock , a marker, painters tape and some good music your kids will dance to. Ours was Call Me Maybe . alphabet for starters no time for flash cards
  2. Start buy pushing some furniture out of the way and making letters our of the painter’s tape right on the floor. Don’t feel like you have to do all the letters. Every lesson doesn’t need to cover every letter. I admit I did mostly ones that were easier to make with tape. gross motor letter games
  3. Write the lowercase letters on the paper. ** Adaptations ** You can also write the same uppercase letters and simply have your child match them or for even older kids you can write a word and have them find the first letter.alphabet for starters
  4. Invite the kiddos. To have them start I have them find the first letter of their own names- hands on heads, eyes on me.
  5. Music starts and they dance !alphabet for starters
  6. Music stops and I hold up a letter.
  7. They find the match.
  8. Dance again! Match again.
  9. This went on for a long time and after it was apparent that my daughter understood and could do most of the letters herself my son wanted to be what he called the ref. So they played solo.
  10. I went for coffee and popped my head in every now and then. We’d play again but my daughter sneaked into the living room after dinner last night and tore up all the letters. Maybe sometime this week I will put new ones we didn’t have down and we’ll play again. It was a hit and both my 5.5 year old and 2 year old liked it which is not always the case.

50 Alphabet Books

Reading alphabet books has made a world of difference for both my son and my daughter learning their letters and choosing good, interesting and visually awesome books helps. These 50 alphabet books are my favorites . Many have themes and choosing a theme that appeals to your child is a great way to get more reluctant lap sitters or book listeners involved.

Leaf Matching Puzzles

leaf numbers
by Kim

Looking for a fun way to practice number recognition? Then look no further. Playing with these letter and number recognition puzzles is a fun way to get little fingers and mind active. This is an activity you will want to do ahead of time and have ready for the little ones.

Grab a piece of corrugated cardboard, a marker, and a pair of scissors. You can use posterboard or craft foam, but corrugated cardboard is so much thicker and it is easier for your child to see that they are matching the pieces up correctly.

Draw some leaves on the cardboard. Then draw a line through them. I like to do a squiggly line to help the pieces “lock” in together better. Now draw a number on one side of the leaf and dots corresponding to that number on the other side.

Cut out the leaves. This is the part where you will be glad you are not making these pieces with your children. Cutting the cardboard can be tricky because it is so thick.

You can also draw and cut out leaves with upper and lower case letters to match up.

*VARIATION- Math equations would offer a more challenging task for older siblings that want to join in the fun, too. For younger children (and ambitious caregivers) you could color the leaves for color matching.

Cut along the line you drew that divides the leaf.

Now divide your leaf pieces into two sections. One section with the numbers written on them and one section with the dots drawn on them, or upper case letters and lower case letters.

Watch your child match them up. It is fun to watch them match different ways each time. Sometimes my daughter would match by number recognition and then counting the dots. While other times she matched the shape of the leaves.

Any way they match is great practice for reasoning and logic skills. Putting the pieces together make great motor skill exercise, too.

 

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.

Gardening For Letters – Alphabet For Starters

alphabet for starters Yesterday the whole family was outside playing and working in the front yard and my daughter ( who is almost 2) was helping me weed. She loved it and after we were done weeding we checked on our carrots that are almost big enough to eat . This all gave me a great idea for an outside sensory filled alphabet activity for our Alphabet For Starters series. What Alphabet for Starters is all about is to play and introduce letters to children just starting to show interest , point them out and recognize them. We try to incorporate other areas of learning into the activities too. Today’s has a strong sensory element and if you want to do this inside you can use a tub and fill it with coffee grounds or rice.

  1. Gather your materials. To make the carrots you will need an orange pool noodle ( a red one could be radishes too!), a permanent marker, some green ribbon , a knife and scissors. For the rest of the activity you will also need some soil and patch of garden if you are doing it outside or a tub and filler for a sensory bin. Pail and shovel are optional .
  2. Start by slicing your pool noodle. Bread knives work the very best but our cheap steak knife was ok too.
  3. Next write letters on the noodles with a permanent marker.  You will notice I did not to 26 letters. If your child is capable of staying engaged the whole time with 26 letters by all means do. At 23 months I am not expecting my daughter to stay that focused, this shouldn’t feel like work to her it should be a fun new experience. letter recognition
  4. Next cut some ribbon and tie it to the noodle as the top of the carrot.alphabet letters
  5. Head outside and plant them. letter recognition All ready for my little carrot farmer!
  6. Time for a letter harvest. As they picked them we looked for the letter on each carrot.letter game for kids
  7. She was also counting as we went , perhaps it’s time for a math for starters series ?
  8. After filling up the bucket we found a few of our favorites ( R and O ) and then picked some real veggies.outside activities for kids

Books About Vegetables

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.

The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss is a rare gem, it has been in print for over 60 years and has delighted generations . If you aren’t familiar with the story, a little boy plants a carrot seed and everyone tells him “It won’t come up.” this doesn’t stop the little boy from patiently taking care of this little seed, that eventually grows into a giant carrot. The message is a universal one of sticking to your guns even when everyone tells you you should give up. My son loved the story the simple pictures that will bring you back to your own childhood, at least they did for me. A true classic.

Coco The Carrot by Steven Salerno is an absurd tale of adventure, and I loved it. Coco is a carrot who dreams of a life larger than the vegetable drawer . She dreams big and goes for it. Unlike most carrots that end up in stew she becomes a famous hat designer and is the toast of Paris with her Monkey companion Anton. If you are scratching your head but oddly intrigued you will like this book. It was long but my son sat with me giggling and telling me ” Carrots can’t do that?!” more than once. I loved it because it is so absurd that she is a carrot, but the story itself is about going for your dreams, hitting bumps in the road and realizing that your dreams shift and change and that’s OK.  There is great bits of humor for the adults as well, something I always appreciate!