Lately my three year old twin daughters are all about learning their names and the alphabet. Here is a roundup of 12 of my favorite creative ways to explore the alphabet with children through art, sensory experiences, cooking, games, gross motor development and pretend play.
Lately I am loving all the uses of liquid watercolors I am seeing with kids' projects. The vibrant colors are gorgeous and I knew we needed to get our hands on some liquid watercolors and start experimenting! My three year old daughters spent over an hour painting about 20 beautiful watercolors each one unique. We decided to take some of our watercolors and create a beautiful Homemade Alphabet Chart for our playroom.
We love homemade playdough! It is fun to create and the possibilities for play opportunities are endless! After surprising our children with our upcoming Disney World Vacation our kids have become inspired by all things Disney. I decided to use some of the Disney World Park attractions and movies to create some Disney Inspired Playdoughs. So much fun to create (even my husband got in on the action!) and even more fun to play with. Best part? They all start with our simple Homemade Playdough Recipe.
Every morning my children run down the stairs excited to use our Countdown to Disney Chart! It was incredibly easy to create and helps us look forward to our first trip to Disney World! Yay!
YOU WILL NEED:
large piece of cardboard
large white paper ( I cut a piece from our butcher paper roll)
red and yellow construction paper
red and black markers
Cover a large piece of cardboard with white paper. Fold the paper over the cardboard and secure with packing tape.
I wrote "Countdown to Disney" in red at the top. Using red and yellow construction paper I cut small Mickey Mouse shaped heads and labeled them from 1-18 alternating red and yellow. Next I used velcro dots attaching one side to the back of the Mickey head and the other side to the chart.
I was incredibly lucky to not only receive my Masters in Education from a graduate school (Bank Street) that understands the importance of block building as an integral part of the social studies curriculum, but also train at the school (City and Country) that was founded by Caroline Pratt who invented the unit blocks we use today. In the early 1900s Pratt understood the importance of open-ended materials as the center of a child's education. Pratt developed the unit blocks for use at City and Country School but never marketed them under her name and therefore you will find unit blocks through a variety of companies, but the basic ideals remain the same. This post will serve as an Introduction to Block Building with Children including the areas of development block building supports, the basic shapes, the stages of block building, the ideal environment for block building, managing a block building environment and accessories that will aid the block building experience.
Like many children my kids have dreamed about a Disney World Vacation since they saw a commercial with the castle lit up at night and all the amazing themed rides. My husband and I are so excited to be taking our children on their first Disney World Vacation! A huge thank you to Disney World for providing our family with complimentary tickets! As soon as we started secretly planning the trip I knew I wanted to tell our children in a special, memorable way.
I kept the reveal very simple as I knew if I did anything too over the top my kids would become overwhelmed. I covered a recycled cardboard box with simple white paper and labeled it "Open Me! Surprise Inside!" I added cute black Mickey Mouse ears where a dot would be.
Our easy to make Coconut Chicken Fingers are a great alternative to the processed ones found in the supermarket. Having your children help in the kitchen is a great way to get them comfortable with different types of foods. I love the slight sweetness that the coconut adds to this recipe.
No matter how many times I try to get myself off magazine lists we receive a stack each week. I feel guilty tossing them into our recycling bin. There are so many gorgeous colors and patterns hiding in the magazine pages perfect for simple collages!
If you have never made homemade playdough here is your chance. Trust me, it is so easy to make and a fun activity to do with your children. All of my playdough activities start with the same recipe. With a few simple additions (colors, glitter and/or props) playdough is a wonderful learning tool. Today we are making Playdough Ice Cream. Let's get started!
This is a simple game that aids shape recognition, 1-1 correspondence, counting, reading and verbal skills and fine motor development. Play is the best way to learn!
YOU WILL NEED:
craft rhinestone shapes with varying shapes
small container or bin (I used a pie tin)
Homegrown Friends Treasure Hunt Sheet (printer friendly copy here)
NOTE: if fine motor activities are challenging for your child I suggest purchasing larger rhinestones to help promote success.
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AREAS OF DEVELOPMENT:
Early reading skills
Fine motor development
Prior to beginning print out enough copies of the Treasure Hunt Shape Game Sheet for each child. Each child will receive a small container with sand and rhinestones hidden inside. (An alternative would be to hide the rhinestones in an outdoor sandbox). Introduce the activity by giving each child a bin and a sheet. Explain that hidden inside the sand are different shapes.
The children need to look for the shapes that are on the sheet and find the right number. When they find one of the rhinestone shapes they can place it on the corresponding shape on the paper. Follow your child's lead. If she wants to complete the whole activity that is wonderful. If she decides not to or wants to explore the sand in a different way that is okay. Always respect where your child is in the moment.
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Have a little pirate in your life? Check out our other Pirate Theme Activities.