Spell Your Name – Spelling Game

name actvities My house is full of kids who want to know how to spell everything. So far I am keeping up but as you may know, spelling is not one of my strengths. I struggle and because it’s such a struggle for me I try hard to make spelling enjoyable for my kids. I want them to associate spelling with fun not fear.  This is a super simple spelling game, my daughter loves it and she is learning how to spell all the names in our family. You don’t have to stick to names this could be used with any spelling words. How are you going to play?

Gather your materials. You will need some sentence strips, a marker, some masking tape, some dice ( I used two but you might need 3-4), and pom poms. Wearing a tutu is optional and fabulous.name spelling activity for kids

Start by writing out your family names on the sentence strips. If my son had been home I would have requested his aid for this. I am always trying to sneak in more writing since it’s something he ( and most kids) can use practice with. He wasn’t home so I did it myself.name game name plates

Next cover your dice in masking tape. I had to cut the tape in half lengthwise. I was going to use little labels but they didn’t stick to the dice at all!learn to spell your name

Add the letters in your names to the dice. Our little family has short names with the same letters popping up all over so we only needed 2 dice. You may need many. If one person has a much longer name you could use middle initials or even adding in middle or last names to the shorter ones to even things out. spelling name game

Get your pom poms and get ready to play.name game name recognition activity

Roll! name game roll a letterPlace a pom pom on a letter when you roll it. If you roll more than one letter in your name you must choose only one to cover with a pom pom. If you have two of the same letter like I do ( Allie) you can only cover one letter at a time.name game roll and win

She had three letters covered and two to go. name game counting too

Finally she spelled her dad’s name before I managed to roll all the letters in mine.roll and spell name game

We played with four players later and it was a blast! We even made my sister her very own name plate when she came for a visit and she joined in the play.

 

Alphabet Road – Letter Sorting

letter craftby Allison McDonald

Last week we played with our Alphabet Garden and a commenter asked how I could make it for children who loved cars and trucks. This is the letter sorting game that I came up with for cars and trucks. You could do it as a magnet activity like we did or put it all on a sheet of contact paper like our alphabet garden, whatever best fits your child. This activity is part of our Alphabet for Starters series that is focused on making playing with letters fun and dynamic. This can be adapted to any level. For children just beginning to notice letters they can simply put the letters on the road. Don’t worry about sorting into cases. For older children use the letters to spell. Write words with a missing letter and have your older child fill in the blank. Here is what we did for my daughter who is familiar with both upper and lowercase letters and enjoys sorting them.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some black construction paper, green construction paper ( scraps would work great), clear contact paper , pictures of cars and trucks ( mine come from wrapping paper) , self adhesive magnetic sheets, a white crayon, scissors, a marker and a cookie sheet from the dollar store.alphabet sorting with cars and trucks
  2. Start by making your cars and trucks. Cut the cars out.alphabet sorting for preschool with cars and trucks Add the letters. I didn’t do every letter in both upper and lowercase. I chose letters that my daughter has trouble with mixed in with some sure fire bets so she would be challenged but confident in her ability.alphabet uppercase and lowercase sorting with car theme
  3. Lay a large sheet of contact paper down sticky side up and lay the cars face down.alphabet letter sorting for preschool Place another sheet on top to sandwich the cars inside. Or laminate if you have access to a laminator. I am very jealous if you do. Nothing gets a teacher ( even a former teacher) more excited than laminating something. Cut into individual cars and trucks. alphabet for starters car theme
  4. Add the magnets. alphabet activity car lettersNow if you have a child who is well past the putting things in their mouth stage cut little squares and stick them on the back of the cars. If you want you could also lay the whole laminated car on the sticky back magnet sheet and then cut .alphabet magnet This will make it harder for the to peel any small piece off. Please always remember that all our activities are designed for children to do with a parent within arms reach and only if they are ready for the activity. You don’t have to make the pieces magnetic for the kids to have fun, it’s just a bonus.
  5. Make a simple road and some signs saying UPPERCASE ROAD and lowercase road . These give visual cues even for kids that aren’t reading independently . You can add magnets to these if you want too. Painter’s tape is a great choice if you are skipping the magnets but want these pieces to stay in place temporarily.car and truck alphabet activity
  6. Ready to play! This is what it would look like if I handed it to my 6 year old.alphabet game For my almost 3 year old it looked like this. She ended up sorting all the letters but I gave  them to her in bite size pieces so she wasn’t overwhelmed.alphabet game for kids
  7. She loves cars and trucks right now ( well really bulldozers are the best) so she was all into it. After the first few were put on she asked me for more. Remember to label what your child is doing and to sit back. If they ask for help be ready to support but don’t take over.alphabet game for preschool
  8. The trickiest part for her were letters like w and o.alphabet activity kids She thought for a long time before placing them down. She just kept piling them on. alphabet activity with cars and trucksAnd was insistent that she show it off at the end. I was impressed with how many magnets piled together still stayed in place.alphabet road activity

Alphabet Book

alphabeep

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 is on my must buy list. Edited for 2013 : My daughter also loved this book and had me read it twice at the library which is a glowing review.

For more Alphabet Books check out our list of 50 Alphabet Books We Love

This book review includes an affiliate link.

Alphabet Activity – Flower Garden

by Allison McDonald alphabet activityWe have been doing so many playdough and other sensory activities lately that it was about time to get back to a simple and playful alphabet activity. This alphabet activity is part of our Alphabet For Starters series. This series is all about playing with letters, discovering them without pressure. This alphabet garden is super simple but can be made more challenging with a few simple changes.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some contact paper ( rumor has it that the dollar store is carrying it now! ), some green construction paper, multi-color construction paper, scissor and a marker or two.letter flower garden
  2. Attach the contact paper to the wall sticky side out. She loves to “get stuck” on the wall . letter flower mural
  3. Next step is making some grass. Fold your green paper, and cut.letter garden grass
  4. Next cut some stems and flowers. I did tulips because they are easy to free hand cut.letter garden alphabet activity for toddlers
  5. Add letters to your flowers. Now here is where you can easily customize this activity. For my daughter I did plain old lowercase letters. You can do upper or a mix or write letters on the stems and have it turn into a match game.letter flowers for alphabet activities
  6. Set the pieces out and let your kiddo explore.letter flowers
  7. My daughter loves flowers and she got right into it. alphabet letter activityWe talked about the letters, the colors of the flowers and how the stems are different lengths. Don’t pressure young kids to do every letter. My daughter put a handful on while we played the first time and then I left it all set up and a few days letter she returned and added a few more. I will leave it up for a few more days and I am sure she will keep adding a few every day.letter flower alphabet The whole point is to play and discover letters. As she adds the letters to the wall she naturally says ” Look this is A,  it’s your letter Mama!” and we talk about it .flower letters for toddlers

If you are looking for a more traditional letter of the week approach we have many letter of the week ideas here. My son loved cutting and pasting so we made fun letter crafts when he was learning his letters. Find what works best for your child, what they enjoy and don’t forget to have fun!

 

Letter Recognition Activities For Kids

learn letters

Learning  letters is more than just being able to recognize them on a page and these playful activities are all fun ways to practice letter recognition. No matter your child’s ability you can use these activities for introducing or mastering letter recognition. A great place to start with the letters in your child’s first name. While I taught uppercase letters first as a teacher I really feel like the best way to teach is to do upper and lowercase concurrently. Try your hardest not to quiz or drill your child for facts and instead make it fun and meaningful.

Build With Letters
Font Collages
Magic Letters
Move & Groove Letter Game
Letter Snowman
Leaf Matching Puzzles
Letter Memory Game
Letter Monsters
Disappearing Letters
Sparkly Alphabet
Custom Letter Magnets
Gardening For Letters
Letter Sorting Tree

Alphabet Activity – Christmas Tree Alphabet

alphabet christmas tree alphabet for starters no time for flash cardsI thought I was done with Christmas crafts ( I have a few more ready to post)  but when I found these little checkers pieces I knew just what I wanted to do with them. It’s a fun, easy Alphabet For Starters activity but can be adapted for older kids as well. Alphabet for Starters is our series of fun and playful ideas for teaching children the alphabet. See the end of the post for ideas of how to play with this alphabet activity in a more structured way .

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 2 sheets of construction paper ( any color and green) , glue, velcro dots, star sticker,  checkers pieces ( these are from the dollar store checkers games) , marker, scissors and possibly contact paper * see below for my explanation of why.alphabet christmas tree craft for toddlers
  2. Start by cutting your green paper into a Christmas tree. alphabet letter tree activity
  3. Glue to the other paper , add the star and add velcro dots. ** If you are making this for a class or for kids that might be anything but really careful I would laminate or cover with contact paper before adding the dots so that the velcro doesn’t simple rip the paper when it’s pulled.  I made sure my kids only gently placed the letters and prayed it didn’t rip. I was lucky. alphabet christmas  letter activity
  4. Write the alphabet on the checkers pieces. alphabet craft
  5. Add the other half of the velcro dots on the checkers pieces.
  6. Let all the velcro set for at least 30 minutes. We practiced cutting alphabet christmas tree craft cuttingand did puzzles while we waited.  alphabet christmas tree craft puzzle
  7. Add some garland and lights ( aka some silver sharpie) . alphabet letter tree craft for kids
  8. Add the letters! alphabet christmas tree letter recognitionMost children will narrate as they go especially if they are used to you labeling letters for them. My daughter searched for letters in her own name and those of her family. alphabet christmas tree letter activity for kids26 letters are a lot of r a 2 year old so I asked her to choose some to give to mommy to add. Of course she grabbed some labeling each before handing them to me. Then finished it herself.alphabet xmas tree
  9. Later that afternoon when we showed her brother what we did while he was at school he took each off and added them in alphabetical order . He can also spell words with it and my favorite is to fill in the blanks. alphabet christmas tree craft for kids