Super Simple Grocery Store Alphabet Hunt

alphabet hunt at trader joe's Errands can be fun, they can also be huge flops. After church yesterday I knew I needed to run to Trader Joe’s with my daughter in tow. No biggie right? The thing is Trader Joe’s is about 35 minutes away and after sitting quietly at church I wasn’t so sure we’d have a good time. On the way to church, I asked my daughter if she’d like to make an on the go post for the blog.  I suggested a super simple grocery store alphabet hunt and she agreed. All we had to do was borrow a sheet of paper from church since we had everything else in the car already!

Need more in the car activities? Check these out! 
Gather your materials. You will need a clipboard, something to write with, and a piece of paper.

easy alphabet hunt on the go

Write out the alphabet on the paper. The jazzy title is completely optional. grocery store alphabet hunt

Hit your favorite grocery store with your favorite letter hunter. trader joe's alphabet huntYou can choose to go letter by letter but if you are trying to make this a quick trip just check off the letters you find and don’t worry about order. Also prep your child that they will likely not find every letter and that’s OK.  B for banana was our first of many b finds ( blueberries, bar, brownies). Super simple grocery store alphabet hunt

Keep the excitement going by saying things like ” Oh you better get ready to check off  M.” Then push the cart near the milk for example and let your child put two and two together. I also said things like ” Can you guess what I am going to buy that starts with y?” and she yelled out “Yogurt!” This works if your child has enough letter-sound knowledge for it but don’t make this activity about challenging them with new things, it should be a fun game for you to play together. grocery store alphabet hunt for kids

When there was a drought of new letters she went back through her memory of what she saw earlier. ” Mama I saw hydrangeas in the front of the store so I am going to cross out h ok?” Yes! The reality is that there is no wrong way to play with this idea, as long as you are playing with letters and letter sounds. You can even base it only on sight finding letters in signs.

Beginning Letter Sounds Game Homework

beginning letter sounds game learning to readDo you have a child as eager to do homework as I do? I am not talking about the child who actually gets homework, I am talking about the younger sibling chomping at the bit to be a big kid too. I am lucky because my son’s homework is very short, and since he must do it before he can even ask for screen time he gets it done without argument. I ask my daughter to play quietly or to go upstairs when my son is doing homework so she was overjoyed when I moved my laptop and set up some homework for her right next to where her brother does his every day.

I chose a beginning letter sounds game for her “homework” because his homework was word work as well. The other reason I chose it was because she needs little to no help with this skill and I was hoping my son would offer to check her work if she asked. You could easily do this game without the homework spin just for the benefit of early literacy skill development.

 

Gather your materials. You will need 1-2 cookie sheets, letter magnets, some magnets with easily identifiable items like animals, plain paper, and markers.

literacy game for kindergarten Start by choosing the right magnets. For this activity you want to make sure your child knows exactly what the pictures are. If you are doing this as a free choice activity in a class what I like to do is use the items first in a circle time or just with the child using them so I am certain they know what each item is.

Write out the words without the first letter.This may act as a scaffold for children more advanced in their literacy development but I wrote it out so that after my daughter matched the beginning sound I could go over the full word with her. She is presently obsessed with spelling and writing and I knew for HER  this would grab her attention and make the activity more meaningful. beginning sound letter match game

Set the trays up with the items next to their word and place the letter magnets some place off the trays.

letter sounds

She saw the set up as we were leaving to pick her brother up from the bus stop – look how excited she was!

homework activity for kids

Homework time.letter sound activity

He got busy with this word work and she started saying each animal name and grabbing the corresponding letter for the beginning sound.

letter sounds game for kids

I kinda love this picture of the two of them hard at work. beginning letter sound match homework station

She kinda loved feeling like a big kid and I managed to sneak in learning too.

 

 

Phonics Game for Kids Who LOVE Princesses

phonics game for kids princess toys I am glad I read the book Cinderella Ate by Daughter before my own daughter was “eaten” herself. My daughter loved princesses and tutus… and bulldozers too. My point is that instead of fighting these obsessions we can use them for a greater good, like learning! This is a quick phonics game that only took 5 minutes to set up ( 4 of which was me trying to find Jasmine in my daughter’s bedroom) and she played it 3 times in a row.  All I had to do was set it up and say ” I made you a game, and it’s got princesses!”

Here is how we did it.

Gather your materials. I grabbed all her Little People princesses, a sheet of card stock, a marker, a clip board, and a tray for the princesses. I set this up in our sun room right where we have to pop on shoes before leaving for preschool because that’s been a challenge for us lately. I decided to lure her to where I wanted her to be without a struggle. This did the trick. phonics game princess letter sounds

I wrote out the first letter of each Princess ( or prince) on the paper.

princess letter sounds activity for kids

All ready for matching!

letter sound activity for kids who love princesses

She played as she matched up. Belle and The Beast were very happy to see that their letters were so close together.

princess letter sounds match up

The second time around there was some debate about Aurora or Sleeping Beauty? Use these sort of questions to say ” If she is Aurora what letter sound would she make? What about Sleeping Beauty?”letter sound matching game with princesses

The other issue that popped up was that my daughter is starting to break words down and she wanted to match up the 2nd, 3rd, and last sounds she heard in the names. This derails the activity m but in a completely awesome way. Stop and chat about all the sounds if they do this. When children start noticing things like this jump on it but only when they are ready. With my daughter we talked about how she could hear a r in Aurora, and d sound in Aladdin.  Listen carefully and even if it’s not completely in line with the lesson follow their lead.princess letter matching

And make sure that you set this out with plenty of time to play before preschool… we were a little later than usual that day. I had no idea she’d play so many times.

princess letter sounds matching game

 

Princess Books For Kids

All our book lists include affiliate links.

TenBigToesandaPrincesNose

Ten Big Toes and a Prince’s Nose by Nancy Gow  is a story about two very different fairytale characters. They may be a prince and a princess but they are definitely different . I love the book’s rhyme ” I am what I am and that’s alright with me.” which is such a fantastic message to self acceptance and before confidence can be built we must accept who and what we are . The love story is pretty cute too, it is a fairytale after all.

Paper_Bag_Princess

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch has enchanted me for years. I bought it while volunteering as a leader in training at a day camp when I was a teen. It’s followed me to many schools, children I babysat and finally my own son. I can’t remember one child ever not liking it. It’s a story of Elizabeth a princess who outwits a dragon to rescue her prince. I love that the author has switched the typical damsel in distress and has the princess as the heroine. Some parents have expressed concern about Elizabeth calling the prince a “Bum” in the end of the book, personally I love it. I have always used it to explain why she was so angry, and as a reminder why calling names hurt. That said I think she is totally justified !

NotAllPrincessDressInPink

Not All Princesses Dress in Pink by Jane Yolen .This book is not so much about being different and facing adversity but about being yourself even if the world has decided you should fit perfectly into the mold it’s given you.  When we think of Princesses we think pink, sparkly and dry clean only! These princesses can’t be pigeonholed, they do what’s in their heart not what’s expected of them just because they are princesses. The princesses have all different interests, all different looks and I love that there are some with glasses too. Strong girls being themselves isn’t too different but for a book about princesses it is and it’s refreshing to read.

 

Quick Supply Links
This supply list contains quick affiliate links to items used in the post.
Fisher-Price Little People Disney Princess
Fisher-Price Little People Disney’s Aladdin and Jasmine
Fisher-Price Little People Disney 2 Pack: Belle and Beast
Solid Wood Tray ( part of a wooden food set)
Array Card Stock
Permanent Marker

 

Word Building With Letter Magnets & Word Families

word family activity with letter magnets As children get a firm grasp on letter sounds they will be able to manipulate those sounds to create new ones.  My daughter has been playing with letter sounds for a while ( I think she is desperate to catch up to her big brother) and rhyming is one of her favorite things to do. All of her time rhyming has definitely helped her be able to isolate and substitute sounds and I wondered if she was ready for some word families. She was. I chose the word families that we used in this activity ( all, ap, at, it ) because she can sound them out without help. I wanted her to be able to build the words without me, because you are using masking tape you can easily switch up the word families as your child develops.

 

Gather your materials. You will need some masking tape, some letter magnets ( try to find ones that are fully magnetic instead of having little magnets glued on the back to be safe) , a cookie sheet, and a marker. The older brother overseeing the activity is completely optional. word building word families with magnets supplies

 

Add a few strips of masking tape on your cookie sheet.Write the word families you want to work on with your child. You can do a few or stick to just one. Here is a list of the 37 most common word families. word building with magnets

Take a few moments to have your child sound out the word families for you to make sure that this activity will be challenging but not impossible. When we give children challenges they grow but if we give them impossible tasks we end up discouraging them and sending them the message that learning is too hard for them. word building with magnets

 

Add a bunch of letter magnets ( I had 3 packs available) and help your child do the first modeling sounding out the word family and then adding the first sound and sounding out the word again.  Then let them at it.word building with word families

She started adding the magnets then sounding them out with her brother overseeing under strict instructions “To let her do it herself.” Sometimes she’d add one that didn’t make sense, he’d shake his head ,  and she’d just remove it and try with another letter. After a few letters he declared he wasn’t needed and left. I left words that she sounded out but might not know the definition of like pall. Even though should couldn’t tell me what a pall was she was sounding out the words correctly so I decided to leave it be. When kids are a little older I would ask is that a real word? Then ask them to look it up to find out.word building with letter magnets

I am so happy I caught this picture. After she made a word it was so amazing to her she turned to me saying ” Mama I did it again!” as if the other times were just flukes. I LOVE moments like this when kids take ownership of their abilities. She KNEW she could do it at that moment and continued to build the rest of the words.word building learning is fun

We will do this again soon with a few of these word families and mix in one or two new ones. Remember kids love repetition, it feels good to know what to expect and it gives them a chance to master something.word building with magnets and cookie sheets

 

Super Simple Letter Sounds Matching

letter sounds hands on activity You don’t need to reinvent the wheel when you are working on early literacy skills ( or any other type of skill) with your kids. You can make simple activities like this letter sounds matching and fit them in between coming inside from playing and sitting down for lunch. These are little snippets of important learning that add up but don’t overwhelm. In a classroom I would have this as an option in a center and encourage but never force children to try it. Start with only a few sounds and as your child masters matching them add some more. I always have a few “safe” options. These are sounds you know your child knows and will work to boost confidence and add some definite success to an otherwise challenging endeavor.

My daughter cracked me up with this activity… you’ll see why. When children go off book like she did run with it if you can.

Gather your materials. You will need some thick paper ( but a chalk board, white board, or even a recycled cereal box would do), a marker, and some recognizable animal toys. easy letter sound activity for preK

Start by gathering the toys and writing out the letter that corresponds with the first sound in the word.  That’s it for set up. Pretty simple eh? I did two sheets one with upper and one with lowercase letters. You can also mix up the letters all on one page. Once children are at this point of matching sounds they need to be focusing a lot of attention on lowercase letters. I let my daughter decide which sheet she started with. letter sound match with toys

Add your letter sound detective ( that’s what she called herself) and explain that all the animals are looking for their place on the paper. letter sound matching game for early literacy developmentThey belong on the letter that says the same sound as the first sound in their name.  We did one together and she was off on her own. The only thing that made her pause was the walrus. ” Is this a seal or a walrus?” letter sound activity for children

Since she flew through it I gave her the second sheet. Then our babysitter arrived and my sweet and sassy little one turned on the performance. For the 2nd round of matching she decided to name the animals with first names and at first I was trying to get her back on track until I realized the names she was creating matched the letters on the page. Whoa!! She wasn’t just matching anymore now she was creating and being really funny so our giggles fueled her even more. letter sound activity for children matching game

Awesome learning from an activity that took all of 2 minutes to set up.

Here are more than 50 more simple letter ideas for kids.

50 awesome alphabet activities