Alphabet kitchen for toddler play

I recently bought a set of large foam alphabet and number shapes from Target which I have planned to use for for my grandson’s bath time play but they sat in a bag in the kitchen for a week when I realized, they didn’t just have to be for the bath tub.

So I let my grandson sit down and help me open up the package and take them all out. He sat for quite awhile taking the foam shapes out of the plastic container then putting them back into the container and then he lost interest in them…

Which was fine, because it was nap time.  So while my grandson was sleeping, I decided to set up an alphabet invitation to play in the kitchen…

When my grandson got up later, he found an entire alphabet kitchen just waiting for him to explore. To make the foam shapes stick, I simply dipped them in some water and they easily stuck to just about every smooth surface in the room…

He found shapes on the refrigerator…

And on the doors…

And on the drawers and cabinets…

And on the dishwasher…

But he spent most of his time playing with the letters that grandpa had stopped by and stuck to the big glass windows of the patio doors…

As my grandson played, he would sometimes knock all the letters and numbers off to the floor. At other times, he would try to stick the shapes back on the door or cabinet…

And sometimes, he would bring me a letter or number and I would be able to say, “Thank you for the number 2!”  or “You found that on the refrigerator, are there any more on the refrigerator?”…

In other words, part of my grandson’s play experience invited the opportunity to expand vocabulary and introduce numbers and part of my grandson’s play led to stretching, reaching, bending, sticking, and interacting with me…

And because we needed a little water to stick the foam shapes around the room, we had a slight bit of water play going on too!

Now, I will put the letters up next to the bathtub (well maybe)…

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By | July 23rd, 2012|Categories: Infant and Toddler|Tags: , , , , |10 Comments

Exploring upper and lowercase letters with my preschoolers

This is a simple way I use to introduce upper and lower case letters with my students…

On a large flip chart, I print a letter in the upper left hand corner of my chart.  Underneath the letter, I print a few words that start with that letter. And on the right hand side of the chart, I print the capital and lower case letter in various places throughout the page…

I introduce the letter and run through the words that start with the letter. Then I invite each child to take a turn to come up and circle the letter.  When we first started this, I would say, “Would you like to see if you can find a letter F?”  I did not distinguish between upper or lower case.  When each child found the letter, I invited him or her to circle it with a highlighter and then I would say, “Hurray, you found a (upper) or (lower case) letter Ff!”  As you can see – there was no wrong answer.

After repeating this process with several letters each week, I have now changed the question to : “Can you find an upper letter E?”  or “Can you find a lower case letter e?”  Notice that there are no other letters on the board but the letter Ee.

The children LOVE to take a turn to circle a letter.  I make sure they all feel good about their decision of which letter they choose to circle and we talk about the upper versus the lower case letter each time…

I don’t mix in other letters at this time.  This is not a test to see if they can distinguish a letter F from a letter E.  This is simply a way to reinforce recognition of the letter we are talking about that day and a chance to explore upper and lower case form…

Now can you find the letter Ff?

Well done!

By | October 18th, 2011|Categories: Around the Classroom|Tags: , , , |14 Comments

Celebrating the ABC’s of Teaching Preschool and You!

This post is to celebrate the 20,000 members who have joined Teach Preschool on Facebook and the wonderful bloggers who share their amazing ideas and insights each day.  As a special thank you to each of you who care for and educate our youngest learners, the bloggers and I have put together  “The ABC’s of Teaching Preschoolers”. Be sure to visit my fellow bloggers and check out the fun and insightful tips they have prepared especially for you.

There are three parts to this celebration…

Part one: The ABC’s of Teaching Preschool

The ABC’s of Teaching Preschool is being brought to you by the amazing bloggers whose ideas I regularly share on my Facebook page. In trying to pull all of this together, I put out a request to the bloggers asking them to write an article on teaching preschoolers.  I asked the bloggers to celebrate you – and they came through for me with a bang!! I can’t tell you how thankful I am for their support.

Each blogger chose one letter of the alphabet to focus on and has written something just for this celebration. A few of the letters are even used more than once because I had such a great response to my call for writers.

Take the time to visit each of these blogs and you will discover the ABC’s of Teaching Preschoolers and some wonderful bloggers too.

See the Linky below this post too as a link to each letter will be shared as the blog articles go live!

The ABC’s of Teaching Preschool

 A is for Alphabet   is for Brain Development is for Creativity  
 C is for Color  D is for Dance  is for Experiment
  is for Fun with Food   F is for Freeplay is for Glue 
 is for Helping Hands  is for Imaginative Play  J is for Joy
 is for Kids get Crafty
 is for Library  L is for Literacy 
 is for  Memory   is for Music  N is for Night Light
 O is for Outdoors   O is for Outdoor Kitchen  P is for Play
 Q is for Quiet Play  R is for Relaxation  S is for Sensory
 T is for Transition Tips  U is for Up, up, up!  U is for Understanding
 U is for Umbrella
 V is for Vehicles  W is for Word Families
 X is for the X-Factor  Y is for Yabbies!  Z is for Zoom!

And a late but great entry: F is for Fish!

 A Special Note to Preschool Bloggers:  If you are a preschool blogger and a friend of Teach Preschool on Facebook and you did not get a request from me to join us – please accept my apology. I put out one announcement which I am sure didn’t get to everyone so don’t feel left out and know that you are invited to join me too! Make sure you add your link below!

Part 2: Teach Preschool Super Stars

I am awarding this button to those of you who have a blog that I have shared a link on Facebook or my blog to. Feel free to place this button on your blog because I think you are a Teach Preschool Super Star!

Part 3: Celebration Give-Aways
I have three give-aways to share with you all this week. The first one begins September 1st so be sure to check back and see the goodies I have to share!


Linky Note:  When adding your linky be sure to title it with a title such as P is for Preschool.  Use the letter you have selected first! Thanks!

Note to email subscribers: You won’t be able to see all the additional links share on the blog by email so you will want to stop on by the blog today because they are terrific!

By | August 31st, 2011|Categories: Around the Classroom|Tags: , , , , , |52 Comments

Aluminum foil alphabet game in preschool

You just can’t end a day of exploring aluminum foil without playing a little game…

After doing a little foil texture painting and foil tearing and gluing, we played a little foil alphabet ball game. Wy started by scrunching a sheet of foil into a ball…

Next Wy tossed the aluminum foil on the alphabet carpet which I recently purchased for my circle time area from Target. But you could make your own letter cards and spread them out on the floor…

Each time the foil landed on a letter, Wy and I would shout out the name of the letter, “Hooray for the Letter J!”  We also looked for the letter “W” in Wy’s name and tried tossing the foil ball on the letter…

“Hooray for the letter W!”

By | August 21st, 2011|Categories: Games|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

A daily review of the letters of the alphabet in preschool

As part of our morning greeting, we take a few short minutes to review the letters of the alphabet.

When we review the letters of the alphabet, we sometimes sing the traditional alphabet song. Using the alphabet song helps the children remember the order of the letters. As an adult, I still use the alphabet song to remember the order of the letters.

But most of the time we say the letters of the alphabet out loud together as the teacher points to each letter on the chart. For “saying the letters,” we slow the pace down a little bit and say each letter a bit more distinctly…

I also use both sets of eyes (yes I have two sets) when saying the letters with the children.  One set of eyes is on the chart so I can point to each letter and the other set is on the children so I can see if their eyes are on the chart too. I want the children to not only say each letter but I want them to see the symbols as we go along.

As we say the letters out loud together, I have a few tricks I switch out to keep the children’s attention. Some days…

  • I will slow way down…
  • I will speed up and go super zoom fast…
  • I will whisper the letters…
  • I will stop all together, turn my head around real fast and give everyone the “big goofy stare”, then we keep going…
  • I will skip a letter and see if anyone notices…
  • I will start to go backwards on the letter chart and see if anyone notices…
  • I will say the name of the letter, the sound of the letter, and a word that starts with the letter – For example: “B sounds like “ba” for Bat!”  I don’t use this approach until later in the school year….
  • I will sing the alphabet song “Greg and Steve” style like they do in “ABC Rock…

Ultimately, I want the children to look at the letters with me as we say them out loud. I never make this a long drawn out battle because we are going to do this everyday and those who I might not catch today, I will work on catching tomorrow.

One thing I noticed in some of my observations is that it is easy to focus on the children who speak up and look up and overlook the children who do not tend to look up and speak up.  That is what those other set of eyeballs are for. When leading students, use your “second set of eyeballs” to evaluate learning, participation, and responsiveness then make the adjustment to help keep the process fun and to help each child be a successful participant.

E is for elbow in preschool

I have already shared how we integrate the letter of the week with a tactile experience but I wanted to take a minute to elaborate on what we did for the letter E.

Trying to find something that the children could glue on the letter E that started with the sound of the letter E was a challenge. We could have went with eggshells but with so many allergies, we opted for elbow macaroni 🙂 .

I never know how well something will turn out until I see it in action. This is when I observe understanding as well as whether or not the children are engaged in the process.

I was delighted to discover that the children loved this experience. I think the “elbows” were such a big hit simply because the children love the feel of them.

Because the “elbows” could be mistakenly called macaroni, we reinforced the word elbow by asking the children to show us their elbows while they played. The children were very quick on the draw and held up their elbows for us to see. We talked about how the macaroni is bent just like our elbows can bend.

At another table, we set out a basket filled with elbows for the children to scoop and pour. This center was a very big hit too!

Each of the children would start off by scooping up a full cup of elbows but then they used their hands to manipulate and play with the elbows. I loved how intrigued they were by the texture of the elbows as it glided on the table or flowed through their fingers.

Adding a tactile and sensory experience to the letter of the week does a wonderful job of keeping children engaged and reinforcing the sound of the letter. For “C is for cotton” you could let the children then play with the cotton! The challenge is to find objects that work well for every letter. I am still working on this for the rest of the alphabet.

Tactile letters (a to e) in preschool

To integrate the letter of the week with a sensory experience the children glue or paint something on each letter.

Presenting the Letter A!

A is for Ant!

A tactile experience is integrated to reinforce the sound of the letter as well as the shape of the letter…


Presenting the Letter B!

B is for bubble wrap!



We try to make sure that the objects we use to glue to each letter actually start with the sound of that letter so the children can recall the sound along with the letter and the object.


Presenting the Letter C!

C is for cotton!


Each class puts their own spin on the process. Some use paint and others use a more tactile approach…

 Presenting the Letter D!

D is for dot!


Trying to find simple objects that actually start with the sound of each letter can be a challenge on some letters…


Presenting the Letter E!



E is for elbow! (elbow macaroni)


I like this one too – C is for Cardboard from Preschool Daze!

The Alphabet Tree and activity for preschool

Today the children explored letters with alphabet stamps and a book titled “The Alphabet Tree” by Leo Lionni

This really was a very simple activity that included paper leaves, alphabet stamps, and ink pads. The teacher read the book to the children first and used this activity as a way to extend the concepts from the book into another learning opportunity.

Many of the children stamped the letters of their name on leaves. It is so interesting that the most important word for them is always their name!  Other children chose random letters and their focus was more on the stamping experience rather than trying to stamp a word.

Later the children will cut out their leaves and glue it to their own alphabet tree but for today – they took their time talking, stamping, and exploring all the different letters of the alphabet.

By | September 28th, 2010|Categories: Children's Books|Tags: , , |2 Comments

Can your preschooler say “a, a, a”?

The mailbox brought me a little package several months ago and inside was the Amazing Alphabet Action CD and Book written by Esther Kehl.  Along with the book was a little note from Vanessa Kerr who asked me take a listen and see what I thought. Vanessa indicated in her little note that her child had really loved the material and that it made a big difference is his ability to say and sound out all the letters.

I had intended to take a look at it much sooner, but instead, I set it aside on my desk and forgot all about it for awhile. I am not really that into giving reviews. I think it is because I think every product has value or something good to offer. But every once in awhile, something does catch my attention that I like to share.

On one particular afternoon, my 15 month old nephew was over and after we had played with just about every toy and toddler-safe object in the house, Wy climbed up in my lap to take a little break. As we sat in the chair together, I remembered the little flip chart and CD so I popped in the CD to take a listen.

A lively little song that repeated the short sound of the letter A started off first. To my surprise, Wy began saying the sound too – “a, a, a.”  After a few short minutes, the letter B sound began to play and Wy began making the sound “b, b, b.”  I was really getting a kick out of it.

I let the CD continue to play and Wy stayed interested and repeated the sounds until we hit about the letter E and then he decided it was time to get up and do something else.

The next time Wy came over, I played the CD again while he played and once again he walked around mimicking the sounds on the CD.  I then took out the bright and colorful little flip chart but Wy decided he rather run around and dance to the tunes on the CD.

The flip chart and the CD are quite wonderful. Simple in design, bright and colorful, and easy to whip out and enjoy. Wy really is a bit too young but since he is learning to talk, the cute songs with their fun sounds were appealing to him. I will tuck the flip chart away for when Wy seems more ready. In the meantime, we will enjoy playing the CD and listen to Wy make all those wonderful sounds while he plays.

Oh, and my new friend Vanessa started her own blog. She loves Amazing Action Alphabet so much, she is planning to post activities she has made up to go along with the program. If you want to learn more about this program or check out Vanessa’s ideas – just visit Our School Time Adventures!