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.

 

Letter Monster Craft For Kids

alphabet for startersI love monster crafts and so do my kids. My daughter is all about googly eyes right now and since she has stopped putting everything in her mouth I am excited to let her use them. This monster craft was a blast to make and I have some tips to make sure that there is ample alphabet learning involved too. This is the 15th post in our popular Alphabet For Starters series which is all about playing and learning letters in fun simple ways.If you are looking for a more traditional approach to letters we have our Letter Of The Week series as well.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paper, scissor, contact paper, foam letters ( ours are stickers but I left the backing on ) and googly eyes. You might also want some painter’s tape to keep the contact paper on the table.alphabet for starters
  2. Start by folding your paper in half and cutting out a monster shape. Then cut the middle out .letter recognition
  3. Peel the backing off the contact paper and place it sticky side up on the table. Place the monsters on it.
  4. Invite your kiddo to the table and create! As you can see she was instantly interested.
  5. As she chose letters she naturally named them or asked what they were called. At this point she knows all her uppercase letters but will still ask me sometimes. Usually I say some outlandish thing like ” It’s Mama!” and she will say ” No you Mama, dis is W! ” I only do that if I know it won’t confuse her. She giggles and it’s a game where she gets to be the smarty know it all which for a toddler that gets bossed around by pretty much everyone including a smarty know it all brother it’s a nice feeling to have.
  6. Picking up the googly eyes off the flat table is tricky and I placed them like that on purpose, it forced her to really use those fine motor skills to pick them up and place them on the monster. I loved that she put one in the inside of the Q!
  7. At one point she asked me to do it so instead of just packing up or doing the craft myself as per her request , I grabbed a few letters and said ” Which monster do you want to put the P on? ” That was enough for her to keep going. Don’t push it if they are done though. I could tell she wasn’t done just wanted to tackle it together.
  8. Once your monster ( or monsters) are done you can simply cut them out and display or sandwich them with another piece of contact paper.
  9. Display. I love that one of her monsters spells out rad , a word I use way more than I should !

Alphabet Photo Magnets – Alphabet For Starters

Alphabet for Starters is our series of playful activities and crafts to introduce letters to children in fun ways. These magnets are not just pictures with corresponding letters they are photos from a real life experience, with memories and meaning attached to them. This is what sets them apart from a batch of flash cards you can pick up anywhere. Even better is that all of the photos were taken by my son and I fit in some learning on the go for him too.You can do this with any theme or event so long as it’s meaningful and engaging for your child.

  1. Gather your materials. Before you head out to take photos make a small notebook with paper ( ours are old business cards) and write out or have your older child write out the alphabet. This was strategic on my part since my son struggles a little with writing especially writing small and the business cards forced him to write small.
  2. Next play tourist in your own city . My son played photographer and checked off the letters as he took the photos. Do not worry about trying to get every letter of the alphabet that isn’t the goal . The goal is to make meaningful and deep connections so focus on the letters with good and memorable experiences with them. 
  3. After you get home it’s time to edit , crop and add the text to the photos. I love picmonkey.com . Upload and edit each photo , add the text then save to your computer.
  4. I then made a collage on picmonkey with the photos and printed it out.
  5. To turn these photos into magnets you will need a few more things . Adhesive magnet sheets, contact paper and sharp scissors.
  6. After cutting all the photos out place them face down on one sheet of contact paper. Add a second sheet over and press.
  7. Cut out. I should say that  you can skip using contact paper to “laminate” the photos but it will make them last so much longer if you do.
  8. Peel the backing off the adhesive magnet sheets and place the photos on face up.
  9. Trim.Pop them on the washer , fridge or a cookie sheet and invite your little one to play. My daughter immediately told me what each one was and grabbed the M is for Map magnet and told me in a super excited 2 year old way that that was HER and she was reading the map! In the days that followed she has recounted stories while playing with them which is a really exciting step in early literacy. My son plays with her as well reminding her of bits and pieces of our trip to the zoo in the process. toddler alphabet activity

 

Pound & Learn Alphabet – Alphabet For Starters

fine motor and alphabet learningThis simple fine motor and alphabet activity for kids is the 9th post in our Alphabet For Starters series, it’s our series of simple activities to play and introduce the alphabet to little learners.  My son loved this when we did a even simpler version many years ago and still loved it this time. As you will see my daughter liked pushing in the tees a lot more than hammering them and that’s fine.  She played with the letters, got lots of fine motor skill development and most importantly she had fun. Things rarely turn out as you imagined with kids. Roll with it.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some Styrofoam, golf tees , a toy hammer , some markers and some painters tape if you are doing it outside to keep it from blowing away.
  2. Start by writing out the letters. Choose a few or a lot.fine motor activity
  3. Add the tees
  4. Time to hammer! She started off interested in the hammer but …hammering fine motor
  5. Soon she was all about pushing them in with her fingers.
  6. And exploring the styrofoam . I think this is what she liked best!
  7. After her brother came home we dug the pushed in tees out , re set them and let him pound away.

Books

Alfie’s ABC by Shirley Hughes is a sweet alphabetic look at a little boy and his family’s life. The illustrations of the cherubic children are what sells this book and my 2 year old loved them. Alfie has a little sister and my daughter immediately proclaimed that the baby sister was her and the brother was her big brother. The letters are presented with both upper and lowercase and are prominent enough that for children unable to sit for all the text to simply thumb through and explore letters.

Apple Pie ABC by Alison Murray is a really cute alphabet book and story about a dog and an apple pie. You can imagine what the dog wants to do with the apple pie. The way the author / illustrator weaves an alphabet book out of a simple story about a dog wanting to eat a fresh baked pie is awesome. I really like this book for 4 and 5 year olds because there are some really great words and they can anticipate what is going to happen. My son loved it. The vintage inspired illustrations were my favorite, I wanted to frame each page.

Letter Of The Week – Letter L Theme

We are almost half way through the alphabet with our Letter of The Week theme series. These theme posts are meant to bring together upper and lowercase letter crafts, crafts and projects that begin with the letter and whole alphabet books and activities. Why do this? To make it easier for you to find what you need for every letter.

{Letter L Crafts}

Ladder L- Leaf L -Lighthouse l Love L

{Crafts & Activities That Start With L}

lantern craft

Ladybug CraftLadybug Math- Lanterns- LeavesLego MeasuringLeopard Craft- Lightning BugsLove Bugs

{ Alphabet Books }

 

The Alphabet from A to Y With Bonus Letter Z! by Steve Martin was introduced to me by Rebecca when she sent it in for this post . When I saw it at the library I grabbed it and so glad I did. It’s a fun book with silly rhymes for each letter and I was surprised that my son sat all the way through it. It’s a pretty long alphabet book for a toddler. I liked the details in the illustrations even if the sometimes gross humor was not my favorite, but kids will love it !

Alphabeep!: A Zipping, Zooming ABC by Debora Pearson is a great book for older toddlers and preschoolers. The transportation themed book uses rhymes and colorful illustrations to go from A to Z. The text was a bit long for my young toddler but I shortened it and he was able to enjoy the book , children 2 and up will love it just the way it is! This ison my must buy list.

{ Whole Alphabet Activities}

Alphabet Sensory Tub - Car AlphabetFamily Letters