Chick Pea has really been enjoying a weekly craft day that allows us to work on letters and sounds. It’s a great way to not only teach kids the letters and their sounds, but also give them a chance to work on their fine motor skills by placing the animal parts onto the paper. She’s also very proud of the them, and loves to look at them displayed on the wall.
So far, we’ve made it through “I for Iguana”, and the quality seems to be improving every week. The excitement builds up every week because she now knows which letter is coming next and which animal she’s going to be constructing.
Here’s a list of animals you can use, but feel free to come up with your own creative ways to go through the letters with different animals or a different set of objects altogether. TIP–spend 10 or 15 minutes after bed time the night before you plan on doing the craft to prepare everything, cut out the shapes you’ll be using, etc.
- Unicorn/Umbrella Fish
- Vampire Bat
You’ll need some newspaper, magazines, catalogs, coupons (any other print material you don’t mind cutting up) and some art supplies (construction paper, glue, scissors, markers, etc.) This one can be worked on over time – so it may take your child a while to complete the whole book. Part of the book can be created while you’re working on letter recognition and the other part can be completed when you work on letter sounds – so there will be two parts to this activity. Some of you may choose to do both pages at the same time – it’s up to you!
Part 1 – Page 1 for each letter
- Have your child hunt for and cut out several (up to 20) versions of the same letter (capital and lower case/big and small fonts) from different print material. You want these to look different so that your child learns to identify specific letters no matter the font or size.
- Label one piece of construction paper with the target letter at the top. Then your child can glue these letters onto the paper in any way they like as long as they are readable. Although it looks best when the letters are all mixed up and spaced out to cover the whole page, by all means give them creative freedom.
Part 2 – Page 2 for each letter
- Have your child hunt for and cut out pictures that begin with the target sound from the various print materials. Review the pictures your child found and discuss whether they’d be good or not to use for that letter.
- Your child can then glue the chosen pictures onto another price of construction paper. You can label each picture with a marker (have him/her dictate the names of the pictures to you or help them out). These picture serve to reinforce letter-sound correspondence and build their vocabulary.
- Repeat Part 1 and Part 2 for every letter in the alphabet.
- You can put the pages together several ways: punching holes and tying it together or using rings, staple it, have it bound at an office supply store, etc. I do recommend that you get the pages laminated if possible. This book will be a great addition to your child’s library and is a lot of fun to make!
Over the weekend we were visiting some friends who have a three year old, and we were talking about activities parents can do with kids his age to prepare them to be successful readers. One of the ideas we came up with was to go on a walk or hike with a digital camera. The mission/game in this activity is to get the child to take as many photos as they can of things that begin with a certain sound (phoneme). The game can be played a different way for more advanced kids, who you can ask to take photos of things that begin with a certain letter.
In the first game we’re working on phonemic awareness, so if we’re trying to find things that start with the /f/ sound, a phone booth is a great photo. In the second game we’re working on phonics (connecting sounds with letters), so the phone booth becomes tricky. It would be a great photo if we’re looking for things that begin with the letter “p”, but not if we’re looking for things that begin with the letter “f”.
You can even make this a math activity by having the kids count the photos, add the correct and incorrect answers together, subtract incorrect from correct, etc.