Tuesday, April 23, 2013

LMNO Peas: Lesson Plan

Theme:  Alphabet

Read:  LMNO Peas by Keith Baker

Activity:  Write a letter of the alphabet on a piece of paper.  How big or small you write it is up to you. Give your child some frozen peas.  Show them how to place the peas on the letter like you are trying to write or recreate the letter with the peas.  For a younger child try writing a word on a piece of paper and encourage them to just put one pea on a letter. As they put the pea on the letter you can say something  like, "Look! You put the pea on the letter C."  Their name would be a great word to do or simple site words like I, me, bye, hi, etc. 

Supply List:  
  • book
  • frozen peas
  • paper
  • marker
  • Here is a link to some Pre-K sight words.  This website has sight words for older grades as well.  Remember when we talked about site words on this post
  • Don't forget to eat some frozen peas!  
  • You could do this activity with lots of different types of food!  Beans, corn, etc. 
  • Plant a pea plant!
  • Paint with frozen peas like they did on this blog.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Shiver Me Letters: Recap

This week we read Shiver Me Letters.  I love a good pirate book.  Maybe it's because I loved Peter Pan when I was growing up.  Maybe it's because it's tons of fun to talk with a good pirate voice.  Hmmmm maybe we will have to do a pirate themed month next year?  Well I tried reading the book with my daughter on Monday and she started screaming and pushed the book away.  Then she went and got a different book and handed it to me to read and signed please.  So smart and so sweet.  Can you believe she already knows what she likes/wants and she is only 12.5 months old!  We tried the book again today and she sat through half the alphabet before wanting to go play.  I say that is a success!  

If you have an older child this book is tons of fun.  The rhyming in the book is entertaining.  There is also a look and find aspect. As you read each line or "clue" have your child find the letters.  That is actually the inspiration for the egg hunt in the lesson plan this week. Your child gets to search for the letters of the alphabet just like the pirates do in the book!  You could even make it more pirate like by hiding the eggs and leaving clues to the next one in each egg.  Or you could make a treasure map that has the eggs on the map and they have to find them!  So many pirate and alphabet ideas! 

After we read the book we played with the eggs.  I dumped the eggs on the floor and said, "Oh No!  Help me get my eggs! Oh no!  Can you put them in?"  Then as she picked up different eggs I said the name of the letter on the egg.  

Here is what the eggs looked like.  I did both lower and uppercase so I could use  the eggs in the future.  You could  also use them to make words like I show above.

Today I took video of the beginning of the lesson so you can see what it looks like for us.  Remember, with kids you just have to go with the flow :)  Luckily you can't see me because I too was still in pjs. 

Here are the pictures from the rest of the lesson.

How did it go for you? What type of hunt did you do? Anyone else love a good pirate voice?  


Monday, April 15, 2013

Shiver Me Letters: Lesson Plan

Theme:  Alphabet
Read:  Shiver Me Letters:  A Pirates ABC by June Sobel
Activity:  Alphabet Easter egg hunt - This is an activity that was all over Pinterest this Spring.    There are many variations of this activity but this is how I imagine it.  Cut up a piece of paper into 26 small rectangles.  On each piece of paper write a different letter.  Place each piece of paper into a different Easter egg.  As your child finds each egg they need to tell you the name of the letter they found.  In the extension area below I have a list of adaptations/alternative ways to do this activity.  Just think about what you think your child can do and go from there.  Don't be afraid to try something that is a little high for them, they might surprise you!  Also, don't be discouraged if they have trouble.  I also list ways of making it easier.  The important thing is that you are exposing them to the alphabet.  
  • book
  • 26 Easter Eggs 
  • 1 piece of paper
  • scissors
  • 1 permanent marker
  • Adaptations/alternatives (roughly easiest to hardest)
    • Write the letters on the outside of the eggs.  As your child picks up an egg you say the letter name and sound.
    • Write the letters on the outside of the eggs.  As your child picks up an egg they say the letter name and/or sound.
    • The lesson I described above.
    • Put the eggs in alphabetical order after you find them all.
    • Find the letters in alphabetical order. So for example, if they find G but haven't found D yet they can't pick it up!
    • On the big part of the egg write the capital letter.  On the little part of the egg write the lower case letter.  Hide the egg halves and have them match up the lower case and upper case letters.
    • Here is an idea from a follower from I can Teach My Child, "For letter recognition, you could do a lowercase letter (on one side), and (3-5) random uppercase letters with one match on the other side."  They have to spin the uppercase side until they find the match to the lowercase letter on the other side. Love it!
    • Find site words and read them as explained on this blog.
    • Match antonyms as explained on this blog.
    • Match simple site words, compound words, contractions, etc. as explained on this blog.
    • Make word family eggs as explained on this blog.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom: Recap

This week we read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  To be honest my daughter wasn't very into the book this week.  Anything with a bit of a story is too much for her attention span these days.  Instead of expecting her to sit and read the book with me I let her get down and play when she was done but I kept reading.  She liked hearing me read and started dancing everytime I read the line, "chicka chicka boom boom will there be enough room."  It was a great adaptation for a one year old.  She was still able to hear the story but didn't have to look at the pages as she heard me read it.  I should have read it as she played with the alphabet sensory table.  Next time :)

Then we followed the lesson plan and did an alphabet sensory table.  We FINALLY had beautiful weather here in Virginia so I decided to take the sensory table outside and make it a water table!  

I started off by letting her explore the water on its own.

Next I added some foam letters that I got from World Market at Christmas time.  I've seen these at Walmart and other stores too.  

As she pulled each letter out I sang the song I mentioned in last week's post. She loved it and danced along to the song.  

Happy and dancing :)

We also had a lot of fun just playing in the water and exploring the water toys (all Dollar Tree finds).

Maybe she will learn her letters by eating them???

She ended the alphabet sensory table by throwing the letters onto the deck.  

We also started focusing on one letter a day (like I mentioned in the lesson plan).  Doing a letter a day is much more appropriate for her than all the letters at once.  I put in a bowl the foam A, an a written on construction paper, an artificial apple, an actual apple, an angel, a photo of her friend Alison, a picture of an ant, and a picture of an apple.  They were all things I had on hand.  As she pulled each thing out I labeled it and focused on the a sound.  My husband was home from work when we did this and we had a ton of fun trying to come up with A words to use in our conversation.  We would describe what she was doing with A words and use them as he and I talked.  Afterwards we called her Aunt Amy because it was A day and Amy starts with A!  We thought it would be a fun addition :)

What type of sensory tub did you do?  Anyone start a letter a day sensory tub?  


Monday, April 8, 2013

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom: Lesson Plan

Theme:  Letters
Read:  Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.
Activity:  Time to create an alphabet sensory tub!  Get your sensory tub, some sensory materials (like beans, rice, corn kernels, dry pasta, etc.), and your letters.  Letter magnets, foam letters, letter puzzles, or simply writing all the letters of the alphabet on individual pieces of paper would work.  Hide all the letters in the sensory tub and have your child find the letters.  As they find each letter either have them say the letter name and sound.  If they are able to have them name something that starts with that letter.  If that is too high have them just say the letter name or sound.  For very young children (like my daughter) you should say the letter name and sound as they pull out each letter. 

  • book
  • bag of mixed beans or other sensory material
  • measuring cups or other random spoons/scoops from around the house
  • foam letters or puzzle pieces or letters written on paper
  • container to hold it all in that doesn't have any holes in it


  • Make a different letter sensory tub/discovery box each day!  This week I'm going to start making a different discovery box each day for my daughter.  We will work our way through the alphabet.  We will start with A.  I will put in a box letter a foam letter A, magnet letter A, puzzle piece letter A, an apple, an airplane, an ape, and any other things I can find around the house that start with the letter A.    Then the next day I will do the same thing but with the letter B and so on.  As she discovers each thing in the box I will tell her what it is and model how to play with it.  I will also focus on the letter sound.  
  • Check out The Activity Mom blog and No Time for Flashcards for whole units on the alphabet.
  • Check out my pinterest board for even more ideas!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A to Z: Recap

I decided to start the alphabet unit with A to Z by Sandra Boynton because it is such a simple alphabet book and a good starting point.  Plus, if you have older children there are some fabulous animals and adjectives in this book that you can expand on.  

For my one year old I was just hoping she would sit still long enough to read all the letters and maybe just maybe the animals and adjectives.  The alphabet is a little too high of a skill for her right now but exposing her to letters now will help her later.  If you have an older child you could have them act out the things the animals in the book were doing and discuss what some of the words mean. There are also a ton of interesting animals that may be new to your child.  You could look those animals up online to see what they look like in real life.  You could compare the illustrations in the book to the real life animals.  Why not make your own ABC book of the real animals.  If your child is even older then they could look at the real pictures to come up with their own illustrations.  See tons of possibilities from a simple alphabet book!

Since I write the lesson plans for preschool age so that more people can complete them, I knew I would have to adapt the lesson plan for this week a bunch.  Letter recognition is way above a one year old's abilities.  My goals for this activity were have fun (always a goal), expose her to letters, and practice fine motor skills like holding chalk, drawing with chalk, using a hand brush, etc. 

I started off by writing the letters A B and C in different sizes.  I decided to only write those three letters in order to keep it simple.  

First I put out the box of sidewalk chalk and let her explore the sidewalk chalk.  

She had fun trying to make marks with them.  That is before she tried to eat them.  

Next I gave her a wet sponge and showed her how to "clean up" the letters.  While she did this I said the letter name and their sound

Because she wasn't very interested in the sponge I gave her the brush to try out but she wasn't very interested in it either.

The grass was more interesting.  

So we had fun checking out the grass.  I even wrote the word grass right by it.  She picked some of it and we talked about how it was green and called grass.

Then we played with the chalk more and I sang the alphabet song.  I also sang a song that one of her toys plays that goes like this, "B says ba, B says ba, every letter makes a sound, B says ba."  She LOVES that toy and LOVES the letter songs.  As I sang the song for different letters (G for grass, c for chalk, c for her name, M for Mommy, etc) sat there dancing and drawing and smiling.  It was so cute.  (Here is a link to a newer version of this toy)  

dancing and smiling
By then she was all done with the chalk so she practiced walking down the driveway and then found some of her walking toys that I had hidden in the garage because I couldn't handle them in the house anymore.  They are some walking toys that she doesn't know how to turn so she walks with it until she runs into something then bangs it repeatedly against the wall, table, chair, etc. and screams and signs help until I help her move it and then the banging and screaming starts again 30 seconds later when she runs into something else.  At least outside she didn't have as many things that she could run into.  We spent over an hour outside playing with chalk, walking with her toys, and exploring the yard.  As she explored new things I said the name of the object, the letter it starts with, and the sound it makes.  It is such a simple way to expose her to letters and sounds while she plays.  

Even though the lesson plan was a bit high for her she still was exposed to letters and sounds which will help her as she learns and grows in the future.  Exposure to new things is so important with young children.  Most importantly we had fun learning through play!

How did it go for you?  What did your children use to find the letters?  A spray bottle?  A sponge?  Anyone have their child trace the letters with a paintbrush?  Do share!


ps,  On a personal note:  Happy Birthday to my sweet girl who turned one over the weekend but didn't really get to enjoy it because she was sick.  We are hopefully going to do a make-up birthday party and cake smash this coming weekend.  

Monday, April 1, 2013

Spring Recap

The theme for this past month was Spring.  Here is a recap of all the books we read and things we did!

First we got all of our supplies together by following the supply list.

During week one we read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.  We sat outside to read the book and took a couple of nature walks.  Our plans got delayed by an unexpected snow storm but we turned it into a winter nature walk!  We finally got to go on our outing to the grocery store and then tried some of the foods that the caterpillar ate in the story.  (Lesson Plan / Recap)

In week two we read Who's in the Garden by Phillis Gershator and Baby Loves Spring by Karen Katz.  We made beautiful tissue paper art. While my daughter wasn't able to help a ton she did enjoy playing with the finished project.  Plus, they really brighten up the playroom.  Later we played in our new Spring sensory bin.  We had a ton of fun playing with "egg shakers" otherwise known as Easter eggs filled with popcorn kernels or rice.  (Lesson Plan / Recap)

Week three we read Planting a rainbow by Lois Ehlert.  We took the book with us on an outing to a local garden center.  There we found seeds, bulbs, saplings, flowers, and more.  We had tons of fun exploring the garden center and especially shaking seed packets like maracas!  (Lesson Plan / Recap)

Week four we read Split Splat by Amy Gibson.  We found materials from around the house that we could use to make rain sounds.  Did you know plastic necklaces in stainless steel pans sound like rain? We also used recycled materials and extra Easter eggs to make our own musical instruments! Check out the recap for directions on how to make formula can drums and egg shakers. (Lesson Plan / Recap)

BONUS:  You asked, I'm responding with my big brainstorm of plant/outdoor/Spring related activities!
  • Add dump trucks and rocks to your dirt sensory tub that I suggested in this lesson plan. The dump trucks can carry dirt, rocks, sticks, toys, whatever around the sensory tub. Can your kids make a road and mountains using the dump truck?  What are dump trucks used for in real life? 
  • Use the rocks mentioned above to make letters in the dirt.  
  • Read the book Rocket Learns to Read.  Go around and write in dirt, mud, with leaves, etc. like Rocket does in the book. (I LOVE this book.  It is a great addition to any home library)
  • Add fake flowers to your dirt sensory tub.  Plant the flowers, look at the colors, count them, "water" them, etc.  Remember to review the parts of a plant as you play with them like I mentioned in this lesson plan.
  • Add different color containers to outdoor play.  Have your child put dirt in the blue bucket, red bucket, etc. 
  • Add different size containers to outdoor play.  Put them in order from smallest to biggest, biggest to smallest.  
  • Collect things from around the yard or a park.  Help your child describe the attributes of the objects.  Are they big, little, hard, soft, green, brown, dirty, clean, smelly, etc.  Help your child come up with ways of categorizing the objects they found based on their attributes.  This is a GREAT beginning math and science and activity.  Plus it works on their vocabulary!
  • Play house outside.  Make a "meal" out of mud pies and leaves.  Would you like a side of flowers? A big leaf or a rock makes an excellent plate. A stick can be a fork.  Pretend play is a great way to work on vocabulary, imagination, and social skills.
  • Add props to the dirt play.  Dinosaurs, trucks, dolls, a shoe box for a house, are all great examples.  
  • Have a bunch of left over Easter eggs?  Bring them outside and use them in the dirt.
  • Bring toy food outside or print out pictures or hey bring out real food.  Plant the food in the dirt then harvest it, clean it, and eat it.
  • Add plant labels to the dirt.  Even if you don't actually plant something you can pretend that you did and label your garden.  A piece of paper, crayons, tape, and a popsicle stick or straw are all you need to make super cute plant markers.  This way they can add art to the outdoors.
  • Make a sculpture out of things you find outdoors.  Try to do it without using glue or tape.  String, grass, and long leaves are great ways to hold things together.
  • Have your kids wash your deck or porch (Thanks Amanda for posting this idea on the Facebook page!)
  • Create a car wash outside for all their toy cars.  Your kids will sterilize their toys and have fun at the same time!   
  • Go to a local berry farm and pick berries (you will need to wait for summer for this but it is lots of fun!)
  • Make hand prints, foot prints, elbow prints, etc. in the dirt.  Bring out a measuring tape and measure your prints.  Who has the biggest hand prints?  How has the smallest?  Have fun getting dirty!
  • Check out my kids outdoor Pinterest board
  • Don't forget all the extension activities I mentioned in each lesson plan!

What was your favorite book this month?  Which activity was your favorite?  Our favorite books were Who's in the Garden and Baby Loves Spring.  Both were a big hit.  Activity wise the trip to the garden center was our favorite activity.  Which of the bonus activities do you think you will try?  If you have any questions or what a more detailed explanation about any of the ideas just leave a comment on this post.  Let me know how they go!