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.

 

Alphabet Apple Tree

Alphabet For StartersLearning the alphabet comes in many forms. Our Alphabet For Starters series is all about playing with letters in a creative environment and this letter activity was a huge hit! There are lots of ways of changing it around for different levels too so don’t miss my notes after the tutorial if you want to do this with children who aren’t just starting out with letters. This may seem like a simple letter activity and it is but it’s sneaky too.  Little fingers have to peel the apples off giving their fine motor skills some serious work.

  1. Gather your materials. This picture is incomplete because I shifted my plan part way through and so glad I did, the final result was a blast! You will need some craft paper or paper bag, brown paint, paint brush, marker, scissors, contact paper, and green, yellow and red paper . A basket is not a must but if you have one grab it. alphabet for starters
  2. Start by cutting a truck from craft paper or a paper bag. I taped it down because my daughter is exuberant with paint ( you’ll see)  and this helps keep it all in one place. alphabet for starters
  3. Paint with a brush…alphabet for starters
  4. Or your hands. alphabet for starters You really don’t need to have your child(ren) help make the tree but when kids help make the activity there is a deeper connection to the learning.
  5. While that is drying and you are done washing the gallons of paint off your toddler make some apples from red and yellow paper.
  6. Add letters.alphabet for starters
  7. Once it’s dry tape the trunk to the wall . Add tape to the back of green paper and add it to the tree.
  8. Cover the top of the tree with contact paper sticky side OUT.
  9. Add the apples.
  10. Make sure that you are leaving a corner of the apple off to peel off.
  11. Basket in hand and ready to pick her apples!
  12. Go!
  13. She really had a great time and got excited to announce which apples she was picking. As always she chose the first letter of her name first followed by the mine, her brother’s and her dad’s. It’s exciting to see that she connects letters to people meanings outside of the immediate activity. As soon as we were done she bolted from the playroom full basket in hand to show her dad all her letter apples. I would have taken a shot of his but he was sorting laundry and well my literal dirty laundry has no place on the internet .

How to take it to the next step :

  • Have a chart of lowercase letters and have your child peel off the uppercase apples to match the lowercase letters.
  • Use sight words instead of letters. Call out the sight word and have your child find , peel and pop them in the basket.

Alphabet Book

“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.

 

Alphabet For Starters – Easy Touch and Feel Alphabet

alphabet for starters no time for flash cards

Make your own touch and feel letters for your littlest learner easily and without breaking the bank. These frugal and educational letters let beginners explore letters through their senses.  Alphabet For Starters is our series of simple activities for children just beginning to explore and learn letters. A great rule of thumb for when to start is when your child starts pointing out letters on shirts, in books or boxes. If they haven’t yet but this they might enjoy it,  try these activities and see if they are interested. If they are engaged  jump in and explore some more,  if they aren’t don’t push. We want letters to be fun, playful and interesting and if we push them on kids that aren’t ready we set up everyone for frustrating experience.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some construction paper , double stick tape ( or glue if you have time to let it dry), scissors, a marker, some materials that have various textures.  We used felt, some sticky back sparkly foam and regular sticky back  foam. I also used some emery boards but they didn’t stick to the double stick tape, and I was going to use some contact paper for sticky but forgot….  The main thing to remember is to have a handful of different textures.
  2. Start by choosing a few letters . I limit the letters only because I want my daughter who is almost 2 to explore them without being overwhelmed.  There is no way she’d go through and explore each at this stage so I only made a handful. If you want to make all 26 letters go for it just follow your child as they explore .
  3. To make the letters I started by cutting some construction paper in two and writing a letter on it. alphabet for starters no time for flash cards
  4. Add double stick tape or glue and stick the felt on. The foam has a self adhesive back so it’s even easier to use. alphabet for starters no time for flash cards
  5. After adding the textured material I cut the letters out .
  6. Added more double stick tape.
  7. And popped it on another sheet of construction paper so they are a little sturdier.
  8. Time to play!  She intuitively started tracing the letters. As she did I narrated a little ” That M is sparkly!” ” Does it feel nice on your finger?”
  9. She loved the squishy foam.
  10. Use descriptive words like, soft, smooth, squishy and of course label the letters as you play.
  11. The sparkly foam made a really scratchy sound and she loved it!alphabet for beginners

For her 6 letters was just the perfect amount. We’ll play with these letters again soon , and slowly switch in new letters as she is ready. Follow your child’s cues if they aren’t able to verbally tell you when they are past the prime learning zone. Once they are visibly less engaged, move on to something new.

Alphabet Books For Beginners

LMNO Peas by Keith Barker is such a cute alphabet book. The only characters are tiny little peas which just happen to be one of my daughter’s favorites foods right now so this was a hit by the letter B. What makes this book such a great pic for beginners is that it’s filled with big colorful letters. The text is a simple listing of jobs and roles for each letter of the alphabet with the peas dressed up as all these things among the huge fun letters. My favorite pea is the one dressed as Elvis , how could you not love a book with a pea dressed as The King? More important than it’s sense of humor is how well my daughter sat and flipped through the pages with me, exclaiming loudly when we got to a letter she knew and still happily engaged when it was one she didn’t.

Alphabet Under Construction by Denise Fleming is a wonderful example of what an alphabet book should be. Perfect for toddlers and preschoolers learning their first letters, the text is short , the letters are front and center and the illustrations are fun and interesting. My son loves this book, I grabbed it at the library after remembering how much my Pre K class loved it too.Many alphabet books are too long to read entirety at circle time or in one shot with a toddler but this my 19 month old will sit through Z every time. {This review is from when my son was 19 months old in 2008. His love of this book was really a jumping off point for his love of letters in general. I wish I could say I taught him his letters but really reading this one particular book over and over at his request probably did the trick. }

Chicka Chicka ABC by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault  is a fantastic board book and shorter version of the longer book. My kids love this book and it’s the perfect amount of text for a toddler, the illustrations by Lois Ehlert are so bright and bold that even very young babies will respond to it. The text is so melodic I don’t know many who can read it without adding a sing song voice to the reading. I love this book.  A must have for all bookshelves.

Need more alphabet books?  Here are a bunch!

Letter Of The Week – K Theme

Letter of The Week is one of our most popular series. If you want to know more about my approach to letter of the week and how I have used it in my classes and home I explain it all here. We believe in playing with letters, playing with books and playing with language in it’s many forms. Kids learn best through hands on experiences so expose them to the world of letters through their world of play. Our eBook has a whole alphabet full of crafts as well as some exclusive never seen on the site!

Letter K Crafts

Key KKing K - Kite K

 K Activities

Kandinsky Inspired Project - Knight’s Shield –   Lock & Key Match

Letter Activities For The Whole Alphabet

Fun with Alphabet Beads  - Post Office Letter Sorting Sandpaper Letter Tracing

 

Jar Lid Letter Game

baby food jar lid letter match

When my son started eating solids I made all his food… you can guess that is not the case with my daughter as I have this many baby food jar lids waiting to be made into something. I am just happy we made something useful and fun with them since they can’t be recycled like the jars can. This took me 5 minutes to make and $1 for the foam letter stickers. Frugal, Educational, Earth Friendly-ish ( foam letters are probably not eh?) and fun! Oh and super simple for the uncrafty or crazy busy .Oh and if your child is not ready for letters yet do colors, if they are way past letters try sight words. This idea can be adapted to any ability.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some foam letter stickers and  many jar lids (or milk jug caps would work too). You may want to do the whole alphabet but I didn’t bother letters work in all different combinations and you don’t need the whole alphabet each time you do activities with letters. You may also want a wet cloth to wipe any lids that didn’t get washed as well as you’d hoped.
  2. Peel and stick letters into the insides of the lids.
  3. Add them for each lid.
  4. Play. For beginners play with the letters facing up saying only “Can you find…” giving hints using the color and what letters it’s next to.
  5. For more experienced kids play face down. My 4.5 year old needed more help than I thought he would, not naming the letters but understanding he needed to remember where letters were. He also had a hard time flipping the lids with Grandma’s gloves Batman gloves on.
  6. Yay a match!

Alphabet Books

Quilt Alphabetby Lesa Cline- Ransome is a really pretty alphabet book that makes me think of autumn afternoons, my husband’s grandma ( she quilts) and crave caramel apples even though it’s not a strictly autumn book. Every page is devoted to a letter and the short poem that accompanies it never tells readers exactly what the letter represents, instead readers must figure it out. It’s not too hard though because the stunning illustrations in bright warm colors wonderfully give it away for every letter. My kids both liked it although my son was hoping that S would be for Superman explaining that he grew up on a farm in Kansas.

A Was an Apple Pie by Eitienne Deslessert takes the classic nursery rhyme and adds odd dinosaurish aardvarky  creatures to it. I personally thought the creatures were odd to the point of distraction but my son gobbled up this book and loved the creatures . Yet another reason I don’t just read the books themselves , just cause I think something is odd doesn’t mean kids will. I really like the text to this because it’s simplicity is as brilliant as how it uses both all the upper and lowercase letters of the alphabet easily. Also because it’s such an old rhyme there are words we don’t often see in children’s contemporary literature and offers some new additions to your child’s vocabulary too.

“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.