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).
- Gather your materials. You will need some cardboard, a hole punch, some markers, yarn, scissors and tape.
- Write a lowercase ( would work great with uppercase too ) on your cardboard.
- 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.
- Add more colors until they decide they are done.
- 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.
- Cut the y out.
- 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.
- 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!
- Lace! I laced the first two holes to demonstrate it to my son then let him at it.
- Keep going!
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.
- Gather your materials. You will need a shallow cardboard box, cornstarch, and some brightly colored markers, pastels or what I used… window markers.
- Color the bottom of your box with a few colors. If you are using anything “wet” let it dry 100% before adding the cornstarch.
- Add the cornstarch and cover the color.
- Start writing! Isn’t it cool how the colors pop? I was giddy that it worked!
- He wrote an M then exclaimed – look I can make a W too, then flipped the whole box , then wrote another M.
- We stepped outside to shake all the extra off!
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
I have fond memories of writing letters to Santa, first dictating it to my mom and after writing it myself. My favorite was in grade one when I wrote to Santa and Santa wrote back ! So in that spirit this acitivy is one where your child writes or dictates a letter and you send it away to Santa . Ours was send via Grandma who has a “contact” at the north pole and will make sure that Santa’s letter to my son gets here! I hope when it does my son’s wonder will be the same mine was so long ago .
- Gather your materials. You will need some paper, a pencil or marker, some fun holiday stickers , an envelope , stamps and an eager child to write or dictate.
- Explain to your child why and what you are doing, if your child is young like my 3 year old they may need some explanation. Encourage them to not only ask for things but to ask Santa questions and tell him about things they have been doing. We chatted while he ate lunch!
- Start writing.
- Have your child sign their name even if you did the writing.
- Add stickers.
- Label your envelope and add stamps.
- Don’t forget to watch the mail for Santa’s return letter!
My Penguin Osbert by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel is a perfect book for this activity. In this story a little boy writes to Santa and asks for a very specific gift, a real live penguin! It’s not long before he realizes that a real live penguin is not as much fun as he thought it would be. He is very responsible though and sacrifices a lot for Osbert. He is thankful to Santa for getting his gift exactly right but writes a follow up letter explaining how it would be ok if Santa sent a replacement. Very cute story, it’s not short though but my 3 year old listened to it happily for a bedtime story. Laughing at the funny parts and pointing out that he wrote a letter to Santa too, but he didn’t ask for a penguin… thank goodness!
Inside, Outside Christmas by Robin Spowart is a great simple Christmas book for toddlers and preschoolers. The text is short, each set of pages has something we do during the holidays inside and one outside. The text has simple rhymes that my son liked and it isn’t too short for preschoolers, the pictures led to questions and discussion and the end of the book has a holiday greeting for everyone! Cute book to get young readers into the spirit of Christmas.
- Gather your materials. I used Benjamin Moore chalkboard paint, a roller, paint tray, painters tape, an old picture frame, an old sheet, 4 nails and a hammer.
- Start by deciding where you want the chalkboard. Have your child show you how high they can reach so that it’s all usable space. I’m no good with measuring tape so I just eyeballed it and thumb tacked it to the wall to decide. You may want to measure where on the wall you put it.
- Tape off the area to paint.
- Apply your first coat. Wait 4 hours or more and add a 2nd. Let dry.
- Take off the tape.
- Place your frame on the wall so the painted area is centered, and secure it to the wall. I nailed mine but depending on your walls you’ll want to use the appropriate fashion. I particularly liked using a frame because it creates a ledge for the chalk as well.
- Add chalk and child!
Kids get so hung up on drawing sometimes and this abstract art can be really liberating. It also helps learn how to color in the lines if you are working on fine motor control. I don’t know what to call this, this is what I used to do in math class, which explains why my grades were so horrible. It is really relaxing, great for a rainy day or even to keep your antsy kids busy while watching a movie or traveling! And they look really cool too.
- Gather your materials. You will need some markers and paper. Yes that’s it!
- Start by drawing loops and squiggles that criss cross all over your paper.
- Next using your colored markers fill in the closed shapes however you like.
- Keep going until you either fill the whole thing or just feel like it’s done!