Hello, hello! It’s Brooke from Blissful Roots. How are you all? Finally settling into your school routines? My twins just finished their third week of school, and my preschooler began Thursday, so we’re definitely into the school routine at our house. I do have to say it’s a bit strange not having a little one around all day (although that will be changing in about six weeks when baby boy number four arrives). I miss doing fun and simple educational ABC activities with my youngest. We still do things here and there, but with school and other activities keeping us busy, we don’t have a lot of free time to do some of the activities we used to.
And considering baby number four hasn’t even been born yet, it will be a while before I need to pull out my ABC activities again. But before I put them away for too long, I thought it would be fun to share them with you. Some of these activities date back to my first grade teaching days, and some are ones I’ve discovered recently in this technology-filled world of ours. My boys always loved doing these at home before their preschool years. We only have ever done one year of preschool with our boys because I love doing things like this at home for FREE! I promise if you do just one of these a day (along with reading) with your three-year-old, he/she will be more than ready preschool, and much more. So, let’s get started.
This is a great activity for reviewing learned letters. Choose a letter to focus on for the activity (I usually start with the letters in my boys’ names) and gather a bunch of that letter, plus some others. The letters can be magnetic, stickers, cut outs, stamps, print outs, whatever letters you can round up. Put several of the focused letter (in this case Aa) in the group, and a few other random letters as well (as shown in the picture above).
Then, help your child identify all the uppercase and lower case of the focused letter, and have him/her move those letters to a designated spot (in this case, it’s inside the string). So simple, but great for distinguishing between letters and their appearances!
What kid doesn’t love a good game of matching? My boys love it, and they always beat me! Well, why not turn the traditional game into a learning experience? You can use as many or as few matches as you’d like. For younger kids, maybe just focus on four or five letters, but to make the game last longer you can make multiple matches of each letter (three sets of Tt, Rr, Bb, Ff, etc…). And I’m sure you know the rules. Turn all the cards face down, then take turns turning two cards over at a time. If you get a match of and upper and lowercase, then go again. If not, it’s the other player’s turn. The person with the most matches wins!
For my matching game, I just cut white squares of card stock and attached some alphabet stickers. You could easily write, or print out your own letters as well.
ENDLESS ALPHABET APP
My boys find many games to play on the iPad or iPhones that aren’t super educational, but this one is. And guess what? They ALL love it! My sister introduced me to this game. She’d heard about it at a teacher inservice class she had. It’s called Endless Alphabet. I would give you a link, but I couldn’t find it in the App Store on my desktop. It is available for your iPhone, or iPad. Just search for Endless Alphabet when you’re in the App Store on your phone, and it should come up.
I love this game because it’s a great way to learn some new vocabulary, but it also teaches the letters and sounds. As you can see, you’re given a word, and the letters to spell the word are scrambled around the page. You child will tap and drag each letter into the correct position. As the letter is being put into place, you hear the letter’s name, and then it makes the letter’s sound as you drag it into place. The sounds are so fun! My four-year-old repeats the sounds right along with the voice on the game. I LOVE it! And there’s a fun little clip at the end to demonstrate the meaning of the word. I’m usually not one to push a ton of apps, but this one is a keeper!
MAGAZINE AND/OR WORD SEARCH LETTER HUNT
I’m sure you’ve all done this one before, but it’s a good one. Find some of your old kid-friendly magazines and have a letter hunt on the pages. Choose a letter to focus on, and then have your child find and circle that letter on the page as many times as he/she can find. It’s nice to have pages with some big text, small text, and labeling. It makes the letter hunt much more manageable for little ones. Newspapers work as well, as long as you’re not just using the tiny print pages.
You can do the same activity with a word search. I discovered this one when my four-year-old wanted to do word searches just like my twins. It was so hard for him to find words, but he was a pro at finding letters! We would always look for the letter ‘L’ for his name, but then as he learned more letters, I could give him any letter to find, and he’d do it!
LETTERS IN THE SALT
Have you ever done this with your kids before? I learned this one when I was teaching. It was a great hands on, tactile activity for some of my students who really struggled with learning their letters. The best way to do this activity is to pour some salt in a small cookie tray or cake pan (easy to find at the dollar store). The salt doesn’t need to be deep, but should cover the bottom of the pan. The edges keep the salt from spilling out, and then when one letter is written, you can gently shake the salt in the tray to have a clean slate for the next letter. I have nothing against using the old traditional paper and pencil technique, but the salt is a lot more appealing to everyone (I love to do it!) and it makes practicing fun. BTW, this is also a great way to get your older kids to practice their spelling words!
So, those are five of our favorite ABC activities to do at home. What are some of your favorites? I’m interested to see what will change by the time my baby is three or four. Who knows what kind of activities I’ll be doing with him then. Hopefully a lot of the same old ones, and of course some new ones as well.
I love being here with you every month, and am grateful to Mariel for letting me do so. As always, come and visit me at Blissful Roots anytime! I have a lot of great fall ideas to share this month. I have a healthy harvest applesauce muffin recipe, a September Pinterest board overflowing with apple recipes, activities, and more, and a fun printable caterpillar hunting party invitation. This is the perfect time of year to find Monarch caterpillars, and it amazes me every year to watch their miraculous transformation.
See you in October- Halloween ideas!!
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Recipes, please!! (& great family ideas too.)
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