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.  

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