Letter Of The Week – Letter O Theme

I love the letter O and the owl O below is one of my favorite crafts we have ever made. There are some wonderful open ended activities below which are a perfect compliment to the more structured letter crafts. Remember adult directed crafts should be in the minority with open free creative activities making up the majority of your art time. Don’t miss the book suggestion either, it’s perfect for this week.Mix single letter activities with lots of whole alphabet ones like these  25 alphabet activities that we love.

{ Letter O Crafts}

Octopus OOlive OOwl O

{ Crafts & Activities That Start With O}

Ocean in a boxOcean muralPaper Bag Octopus  – Olympic Crafts Onion Prints - Orange PrintsOwl CraftOwl Puppet

{Alphabet Book}

O Is for Orca: An Alphabet Book by Andrea Helman is a book about the nature of the North West packaged in an alphabet book.  Each page is dedicated to one large photo and a animal, plant or other part of North West nature.  My son was reluctant at first wanting to read a Star Wars chapter book but only a page or two in he was asking not to skip any of the text and we were discussing the information about the sea animals and he was eager to make a nest in our apple trees for the spotted owls who we read were endangered. Many of the letters represent sea animals like sea stars, urchins and of course orcas. There are a lot of facts in this book and if I were reading it to my toddler I’d skip the paragraphs and go through the alphabet and each photo only. That is what I love about books like this you can adapt them so easily to your audience.

Funny Font Collage – Letter Recognition

learning to read Every day ( well most…)  I give my son a note or joke in his lunch box. One day I was rushed and my handwriting which is normally very clear was a mix of cursive and printing and he came home saying ” I couldn’t read it!” which frustrated him and immediately I knew what I wanted to do. My goal for this activity was two fold. I wanted my son to learn to recognize letters in various fonts as well as work on his fine motor skills. This is so simple that it can be done with children in various levels of letter recognition. As you will see my daughter who is 2 got in on the action too.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need paper with letter printed in different fonts. I used picmonkey.com to make a sheet of letters because I liked their non standard fonts better than the ones I had available on my word processing program. Either way print them out so the letters are big enough to cut out. You will also need a glue stick , paper, scissors and a pencil.
  2. Start by writing a letter on the paper. I had my son do his initials. Depending on your child’s letter recognition skills and ability to sit for a long activity use one or multiple letters. 
  3. Next cut out the letters – I cut them into strips and had my son cut some. He soon told me this would take FOREVER complete with a dramatic sigh so I grabbed a bunch and cut them for him. Now some may see this as me being a softy but let me explain the thinking behind this decision. If your child is frustrated or overwhelmed by part of the activity one thing they are not doing is learning. Break it down. Cutting the letters took some of the fine motor ( specifically scissor practice) out of the activity but it also gave my son back his spark of wanting to do the activity.  To me the end goal is well worth the adjustments.
  4. Start sorting. ” Is that and n? It is! Cool font Mom!” He sorted all of the letters first in piles then he laid them all out in a letter army taking time to say each letter. Some in stylized cursive fonts were very tricky .
  5. Next add glue to the written letters.
  6. Add them on.
  7. For younger children break it down even further. For my daughter I gave her just one letter, provided the letters for her and even made a few larger ones with some crayons . She knew just what to do!

For even older children try doing their name , printing the letters in various colors or painting the finished collages with watercolors after gluing.

 

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.

Letter Of The Week – M Theme

teach to readLetter of the week is a popular theme for daycare centers and preschools but more and more research points to making sure that you don’t focus only on one letter too extensively . So please remember to have a environment rich in print, choose a few of these projects NOT all and only ones that are or will be meaningful for your child or students.The trick is finding the right balance in your preschool activities,  learning in context is key. A great place to start is with the letters in your child’s name.

Letter M Crafts

letter m

Map M- Marshmallow M- Monster mMountain M

Crafts & Activities That Begin with M

Monster craft

MapMasks-   Matisse CollageMazeMemory Games- Mining Activities- Mitten Match

Monster Crafts- Moon Crafts - Moose CraftMouse PuppetMushroom Printing

Alphabet Books

Alligator Alphabet by Stella Blackstone and Stephanie Bauer. I was so excited to find this book because just this week my son started pointing out lower case letters in text. This book is a beautifully illustrated book with each letter represented on it’s own page. Pretty standard right? Wrong, although the text below the illustration had both upper and lower case letters, the main illustration is only the lower case letter. This is perfect for children like my son who are just starting to learn their lowercase letters.Alphabet Books

“A” Was Once An Apple Pie by Edward Lear and Suse MacDonald is an adaptation of the classic Edward Lear poem that had both my children transfixed. The bold bright colors kept my daughter who is 10 months old wide eyed the whole time and the playful way Suse MacDonald adapted the text had my son listening from A-Z as well. It was incredibly fun to read allowed tongue tying me at times which resulted in us all giggling hysterically in a heap. A book that can do that is a must have in my opinion.

Al Pha’s Bet by Amy Krouse Rosenthal is a rare find. An alphabet book that can keep a 5 year old who says alphabet books are for babies, completely engaged. The story follows Al who has bet himself that he can win a contest ordered by the King figure out an order for the brand new 26 letters that were just invented. In a string of adorable events and a little chance the alphabet as we know it is put together. My son thought it was hysterical that P was put in the line up after Al went pee. It’s a cute idea for a book and abstract enough to be a bit of a challenge for preschoolers but just the right level of interest for kids that think they know it all when it comes to the alphabet.