Ruby has a love for the alphabet. She started asked “What’s that?”in regards to letters pretty young. I would answer and we would go about our day. I’m not really big on pushing academics but I am all about encouraging learning where ever her interests take us. I remember the day she found some letters she could identify on a curb. She squatted down calling out the letters. We probably spent a good 10 minutes looking at these letters with her naming them and me making their sounds and reading what it said. I realized this was something she loved and I should encourage the thing she loved. There are a million things you can do with the alphabet. I just worked in ideas here and there when she was asking about letters.
I printed out some letters and taped them to the dishwasher with packing tape. Ruby loved to find the matching alphabet magnet. We have the Eric Carle Alphabet Magnets and they have held up amazingly well over the past 33 months. This activity has been up a long time and I have been thinking about replacing it with something else.
PAINTED WALL ART
I found unfinished letters on Etsy and we slowly painted each letter as Ruby was interested. I waited for her to ask to paint them so it took us a while to get through the entire alphabet. We would talk about the letter and the sound it made as she painted each one. By the time she got around to painting the last 1/2 of the alphabet she already knew all of her letters and most of their sounds so we shifted into coming up with words that start with that sound. I think the final product looks awesome because each one is a unique Ruby creation. We like to look at the wall and sing the ABC song.
I found letters made out of cork at Michael’s in the dollar area. Here is a link to the cork letters, but we found them much cheaper. These can be broken if you step on them or if you are rough with them but if you have a gentle kiddo or an older kid, these can be a lot of fun. Ruby will spell words she knows and I also made her a few word cards and she will use them to spell words. She likes to try to spell her own words a lot. I bought several packs for this reason.
We started playing games. Ruby really likes The World of Eric Carle ABC Game Tin. She liked simply looking at the cards if we were not playing when she was younger. She would find the letters on the game board to match the cards.
APPS & SHOWS
We like technology over here. We watch TV. We listen to music. We have our favorite apps. When Ruby was really wanting lots of letter play, I found a few apps for her to enjoy. This app is Endless Alphabet and I must say it was a favorite for a long time. You learn new words, letters and their sounds as you spell words. Then it gives you the definition for the word. I like that the words are a little more unique. She was actually playing it tonight and she has been loving learning synonyms. She will tell me things like belch is another word for burp or she will ask what another word for fast is. There are several additional apps by the same company and we have loved each one. ABC Mouse is another favorite. Ruby probably loves the A-Z Mouse Videos most of all. Ruby was also a fan of Super Why when she was just learning letters and sounds. It combined her love of capes and letters.
I drew a giant letter with sidewalk chalk and Ruby dipped her feet in homemade sidewalk paint which is 1 cup cornstarch mixed with 1 cup water and some food coloring. She then got to walk in the letter. While she marched around we said the letter name and the sound and that she was using her feet to paint. Feet starts with F. What else starts with F? She loved this because they lasted a long time and she would ride her bike over it. She would drive her cars around it or just walk the letter tracing the shape.
PLAY DOUGH LETTERS
We rolled letters from play dough and stuck dry spaghetti noodles into the letter. I would talk about what parts made up the letters. (straight lines, curved lines, an oval) Then we could slide the O cereal on the pasta. It is a great fine motor activity. We did letters because that is what Ruby was interested in the most at the time.
We covered our fireplace with a magnet board long ago. It is held in place with industrial velcro. I rotate the activities on the board. One activity was to provide laminated word cards and magnet letters. I stashed the cards in a metal pail next to the magnet board held up by a command hook.
We have also put our Leap Frog Phonics Magnet Set on the magnet board as well. Ruby loved this because it sings the alphabet song and also when you push a letter in it sings a song with the letter sounds.
Trace and Learn the ABC’s by Adam Lluch has been a favorite. The letters in the book are sandpaper so they are a fun texture to trace. There are also life the flaps to see what starts with that letter. I paired that with a container of sandpaper letters I found on Etsy. This has led to lots of matching play and spelling of basic words.
Ruby got these awesome Melissa and Doug Word Puzzles as a hand me down and has had a lot of fun spelling the words and just playing with the letters. We also had this Melissa and Doug Alphabet Peg Puzzle until we passed all of our peg puzzles on to friends and moved up to multiple piece puzzles.
We love to read. Alphabet books are one category of books. They are not my most favorite to read, as I prefer a story but Ruby definitely has some favorites. She would spend lots of time looking over these on her own, finding interesting pictures and letters that she knew.
A is for Apple by Georgie Birkett – This book has letters to trace.
Alphabet City by Stephen T. Johnson
Alphablock by Christopher Franceschelli
Animalia by Graeme Base
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. – Now I could read this book or listen to the audio version every single day. This is one of my most favorite stories to read.
Creature ABC by Andrew Zuckerman – I absolutely LOVE the photos in this book. They are breathtaking.
Dinosaur A-Z by Roger Priddy
Eric Carle’s ABC by Eric Carle
Gone Wild by David McLimans
I Spy an Alphabet in Art by Lucy Micklethwait – This is a great introduction to art combined with the classic game I Spy.
Superhero ABC by Bob McLeod
The Alphabet, the solar system, the zoo/animals, maps and dinosaurs have been a few of the things Ruby has been really interested in. It is really fun to dive into those interests and watch her play shift to include her new interests.
The number one request to sing in the car is the ABC song, so she still loves it.
What are your little ones currently interested in?