Use puppets for their creative aspect. Let each child pick a puppet and encourage them to use the puppets to have a conversation. If you prefer to make your own paper puppets, you will find alphabet puppets in the Educatall club.
You will need 26 empty boxes (tissue boxes or other type of boxes). Identify each box with a different letter of the alphabet. Slide pictures of items that begin with the corresponding letter inside each box or, if you prefer, use tiny objects. You can present a few letters each morning and leave the boxes out for children to explore.
We have prepared a series of letters that you may use throughout this theme. (Open animated letters) Print and laminate the letters. Sit in a circle with your group and invite each child to pick a letter. They may take turns naming a word that begins with their letter (examples: A for apple, airplane, ant, etc.).
To introduce your theme, invite children to pick a letter and bring an object from home that begins with the corresponding letter. Throughout the theme, invite a different child to present his or her item each day.
Creating a writing corner is a must to foster pre-writing skills. Be sure to provide an area where children can explore a wide range of written material.
- Identify toy bins and storage spaces with pictograms with the words written underneath.
- Identify activity corners with posters containing both illustrations and words.
- Identify children’s personal belongings using a logo and their name.
- Create an environment that is rich in written material of all kinds (books, magazines, posters, word flashcards, etc.).
- Display your daily schedule and a variety of other tools such as a task chart, a conflict resolution chart, daycare rules, etc. at children’s level.
- Write children’s name on their drawings and display their artwork on a « wall of fame ».
- Display an illustrated alphabet.
- Write about your day on a bulletin board and add messages for parents.
- Delimit your reading corner with a mat decorated with letters.
(Open thematic poster-Writing) Print, laminate, and display where parents are sure to see it. Display letters of the alphabet throughout your daycare.
(Open educa-decorate-Writing) Print, cut out, and laminate. Decorate the walls of your daycare and hang decorations from the ceiling to set the mood for the theme.
(Open stickers-Writing) Print the illustrations on adhesive paper and use them to create an original sticker collection.
(Open educa-theme-Writing) Print, cut out, and laminate. Use the items to decorate the walls of your daycare to set the mood for the theme.
Set up a mailbox area. Every morning, children can check the mailbox to see if your thematic puppet has left a message, a challenge, or a picture for them.
(Open garland-Writing) Print and let children decorate the garland elements. Cut out the items and hang them within your daycare or near your daycare entrance.
(Open educa-decorate-Alphabet) Print, laminate, and cut out. Use the illustrations to decorate the walls of your daycare and set the mood for the theme.
Attach paperclips to pieces of fishing wire and hang them from the ceiling. Use them to hang letters from the ceiling. Write the name of each child and various objects in big letters and display the nametags throughout the daycare. Use uppercase letters for the first letter of a word and lowercase letters for the rest of the word. Children often have difficulty recognizing lowercase letters. (Open garland-Alphabet) Print and cut out the letters. Use the alphabet garland to decorate your daycare.
The pictures may be used as a memory game or to spark a conversation with the group. Use them to decorate the daycare or a specific thematic corner. (Open picture game-Writing) Print, laminate, and store in a “Ziploc” bag or in your thematic bins.
Activity sheets are provided for each theme. Print and follow instructions. (Open activity sheets-Writing)
Creating a homemade activity binder
Laminate several activity and writing sheets. Insert them in a binder along with dry-erase markers. Children can complete the sheets. When they are done, simply wipe away their work.
(Open educa-spots-Writing) Print for each child. Use bingo markers to add a touch of color inside the circles. If you don’t have bingo markers, simply have children set Cheerios or press stickers in the circles.
(Open stationery-Writing) Print. The stationery can be used to communicate with parents, in your writing area, or to identify your thematic bins.
(Open educa-nuudles-Writing) Print for each child. Have children color the sheet and use Magic nuudles to give it a three-dimensional look. Variation: You don’t have Magic Nuudles? Have children fill the spaces designed for Magic Nuudles with bingo markers or stickers. To order Magic Nuudles.
Use the cards to spark a conversation with your group or in your reading and writing area. They may also be used to identify your thematic bins. (Open word flashcards-Writing) (Open giant word flashcards-Writing) pencil, paper, notebook, letter, typewriter, books, reading, page, to draw, calligraphy, to scribble, Braille
Say a few words (start with two and increase the number per children’s capacities). Children must repeat the words they hear, in the same order. Ideally, choose words that belong to the same category.
(Open word flashcards-Writing) (Open giant word flashcards-Writing) Print and laminate the word flashcards. Children take turns picking a word and presenting it to the group (ex. Braille). As a group, discuss each item.
(Open word flashcards-Writing) (Open giant word flashcards-Writing) Print the word flashcards and encourage children to use them to reproduce words using scrabble tiles. Manipulating the small wooden or plastic tiles will help them develop their fine motor skills. What’s more, they will slowly begin to recognize the letters that make up different words.
(Open word flashcards-Writing) (Open giant word flashcards-Writing) Print two copies of several different word flashcards. On a large piece of cardboard, stick one copy of each flashcard vertically to create a word column. Cut the second copy of each word flashcard so you have the word on one side and the illustration on the other side. Attach Velcro behind each part as well as to the right of the uncut flashcards (on the cardboard). Arrange the cut flashcards on the table and encourage children to look at your flashcard board to identify a matching word and illustration. When they succeed, they may stick them next to the corresponding flashcard, on your board. This exercise will help children associate words with pictures.
Singing the alphabet
Sing the alphabet in a variety of ways: faster, slower, backwards, etc. You can also pause and let children continue singing alone.
Point to a letter and explore it through singing exercises.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
This is my spot-Writing
(Open game-This is my spot-Alphabet) Print two copies. Laminate and cut out the cards. Glue one copy of each card on the table using adhesive paper. Drop the other copies in a bag. Children take turns picking a card to determine their spot at the table for the day. You may also use the cards to determine naptime spots or for your task train.
I know where to sit
Label your chairs using the first letter of each child’s name. At snack time or lunch time, children must find a chair with the first letter of their name on it.
(Open writing path) Print, laminate, and deposit the illustrations on the floor to create a path leading to various locations within the daycare. The path can lead to areas children visit regularly throughout the day such as the bathroom and the cloakroom. It may also be used to delimit various workshops.
(Open perpetual calendar-Special Day-Writing) Children pretend to be at school. They take turns being the teacher. Prepare activity booklets they can complete. Organize the daycare so it resembles a classroom. Include desks, chairs, a table and a chair facing the others for the teacher, chalk, a bell, notebooks, pencils, backpacks…You are a teacher for the day. Plan your day like a normal school day with schoolwork, drawing, a craft, a song, recess, lunch, the bus ride home, etc. Use accessories which can often be found in a classroom such as activity sheets or the letters of the alphabet. At the end of the day, present children with diplomas for various challenges they have succeeded. (Open diploma-I know the alphabet) (Open diploma-I can write my name)
Suggested creative workshops-Writing
- Print and laminate a series of flashcards (Open word flashcards-Alphabet) Set the word flashcards in the centre of a parachute or blanket. Have children hold the edges and, when you give the signal, raise it to send the words flying in the air. With your group, read the word flashcards that have fallen on the floor.
- Organize a workshop where children become illustrators. Provide stamps, stamp pads, envelopes, stickers, boxes, wrapping paper, rulers, pens, pencils, cardboard, etc.
- Set up old computer keyboards or typewriters and invite children to pretend they are reporters.
- Encourage children to find toys that have letters on them. Together, name the different letters.
- Provide pens, pencils, notebooks, stationery, alphabet stencils, and envelopes. Have children write a special letter they can mail to your daycare (or to their parents).
- Give each child a piece of black construction paper. Have children glue alphabet pasta all over it. Variation: You may also simply use colored pasta to form letters. To prepare colored pasta, mix 1 pint of dry pasta with 2 tablespoons of food coloring and 3 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol. Mix well and set the pasta out to dry in a single layer.
- Have children pick a picture out of a coloring book or out of an old storybook. Remove the text if necessary. With your group, arrange the pictures in a row and invent a story to accompany them. Write their story under the pictures.
- Provide Alpha Bits cereal and invite children to use the letters to create words.
Ideas involving letters printed on paper
- Use the letters to create an alphabet book with your group. Search for items that begin with each letter in catalogues and cut them out. Glue one letter with a series of pictures on each page of your book.
- Trace the letters of the alphabet using Magic Nuudles, pieces of string, modeling dough snakes, drinking straws, Wikki Stix, etc.
- Have children trace printed and laminated letters using a dry-erase marker.
- Encourage children to trace letters in sand, flour, couscous, etc.
- Ask children to color, paint, or decorate printed block letters. You could also use wooden letters.
- Disguised letters. Encourage children to integrate letters in their drawings. For example, if they turn a C, it can represent an igloo.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
Physical activity and gross motor skills can help children develop skills they need to read and write such as turning pages, holding a pencil the correct way, tracing letters, etc. To help children develop the necessary skills, encourage them to practice cutting, drawing, lacing, manipulating modeling dough, etc. Here are a few additional ideas:
Invite children to use a rolling pin to flatten a ball of modeling dough to help develop small muscles around their wrists. Next, have them press their fingers in the dough to see their fingerprints appear.
Encourage children to move their fingers in a variety of ways.
Invite children to use small mini-putt pencils, waxed crayons, chalk, etc.
Encourage children to use their finger to write letters in finger paint, whipped cream, pudding, etc.
Use chalk to write letters on a board. Have children erase the lines using a paintbrush dipped in water.
Have children use tweezers to pick up tiny objects.
Have children hang drawings or pictures on a clothesline. You can also use this activity to develop language skills by inviting your group to use the pictures to invent a story.
Use a baster to create a drawing using paint or to shoot pompoms on a table.
Encourage children to draw horizontal and vertical lines, circles, crosses, spirals, zigzags, waves, etc.
Ask children to use their body to represent different letters.
Use alphabet beads to create original necklaces.
Strengthen children’s shoulders by organizing wheelbarrow races, having them crawl around the daycare or yard, inviting them to walk like different types of animals, perform arm rotations, etc.
Moving with letters
Recreate traditional games such as Twister or hopscotch. Use letters instead of colors and numbers.
You will need a kiddie pool for this activity. Add magnetic letters and make simple fishing rods using old broomsticks, string, and magnets. Invite children to fish the letters out of your letter pond.
(Open bowling-Alphabet) Print and use the stickers to create games. Press them on empty plastic bottles to create alphabet bowling pins. Arrange the bottles on a table and invite children to make them fall using a tennis ball. Give each child three chances.
(Open large stickers-Alphabet) Print and use the stickers to create games. Press them on empty metal cans and use them to build a pyramid. Children will enjoy trying to make your pyramid fall using a frisbee.
(Open playing cards-Writing) Print and laminate. Give each child the same number of cards. They can take turns hiding them throughout the daycare. Each child then tries to find as many cards as possible.
Modeling dough activity placemats-Writing
(Open modeling dough activity placemats-Writing) Print and laminate. Let children pick a placemat and provide modeling dough. Encourage them to use the dough to fill or reproduce the shapes that are on their placemat.
(Open letters of the alphabet) Print and cut out the letters. Hide them throughout your daycare. When you give the signal, children must walk around the daycare and collect all the letters they find. The child who finds the most letters wins.
(Open letters of the alphabet) Print and laminate. Set the cards on the table. Write the letters of the alphabet on 26 clothespins and set them in an opaque bag. Children pick a clothespin and attach it to the card with the corresponding letter.
(Open letters of the alphabet) Print and laminate. Pick a card and invite children to use their finger to trace the letter in flour or sugar poured in a platter or in flattened modeling dough. They could also use chalk, poster paint and a paintbrush, finger paint, Wikki Stix, etc.
(Open association game-Alphabet) Print, laminate, and cut out. Set the grid in front of a child. Have him pick a letter and deposit it in the correct spot on the grid.
The letters in my name
(Open mini alphabet letters) Determine a course that children must complete. Go through the course once with them. Then, pick a letter out of a bag and show it to your group. The children who have this letter in their name must complete the course again.
My body in motion
Each child uses his/her body to represent a letter. The other children must try to guess which letter it is.
Hop, hop, hop
Glue letters on the floor. Children take turns singing the alphabet and jumping on the corresponding letters.
Children search for toys or items that have letters on them. When they find one, encourage them to show it to you. Together, identify the letters or the words.
Go for a walk in your neighbourhood with your group. Help children notice the different signs you see. When you return, print the logos that you saw. The next time you go for a walk, give each child one logo. They must spot their during your walk.
You will need a large plastic tablecloth. Using a marker, write the 26 letters of the alphabet on it (large letters). Children must throw a bean bag on a letter. Encourage them to name the letter and find a word which begins with the letter.
Fill a small swimming pool or large container with magnetic letters. Make your own fishing rods by adding a piece of metal to the end of string tied to broomsticks. Children will love fishing for letters. Invite older children to fish for the letters in their name.
Use a small stick to trace letters or words in sand. You can also do the same thing using chalk on asphalt.
From A to Z
(Open mini alphabet letters) Print and laminate. Hide the letters throughout the backyard and in the sandbox. Invite children to search for the letters.
(Open mini alphabet letters) Give each child a letter, making sure to hand out two copies of each one. When you give the signal, children must find the child who is holding the same letter.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Use alphabet stickers to create silly faces. Simply draw a face outline for each child and invite them to use the stickers to represent the eyes, the nose, the mouth, etc.
Give each child a magnifying glass and have them search for letters within your daycare (on posters, toys, etc.). If you prefer, hide foam letters throughout your daycare and have your group search for them. Just for fun, you can provide butterfly nets they can use to “capture” and carry the letters they find.
Have children use magnetic letters to write words that you have written on pieces of cardboard.
Pick a word before starting to read a story. Children must clap their hands every time they hear the word.
I know my ABCs
Record several different words using a tape recorder (examples: apple, telephone, etc.). Be sure to insist on the beginning sound of each word. Encourage children to identify the first letter of each word using the pictures from the picture game.
I am a student
Offer chalkboards, chalk, etc. Let children try to write the letters of the alphabet. Provide models.
Set up a library corner. Pile books on a table. Add a chair for the librarian, pens, a ruler, index cards, date stamps and stamp pads for return dates, bags, etc. Children can pretend to borrow library books and then sit in a corner to read.
Provide a variety of pens, pencils, notebooks, stationery, stencils, and envelopes. Encourage children to prepare a special letter and mail it to them or to their parents.
(Open counting cards-Writing) Print and laminate. Prepare a series of wooden clothespins on which you can paint or draw numbers 1 to 9. Children count the items on each card and place the corresponding clothespin on the correct number.
Roll and color-3D-Writing
(Open roll and color-3D-Writing) Print for each child. This game can be enjoyed individually or as a group. Children take turns rolling the die and coloring a part containing the number it lands on.
My coloring chart-Alphabet
(Open coloring chart-Alphabet) Print for each child. Every time a child recognizes a new letter, have him or her color the corresponding box.
Have each child draw something for one or more of his peers. When they are done, they can add their artwork to your mailbox. At the end of the theme, have a “mailman” distribute the mail. If you prefer, pick a drawing out of your mailbox and invite the child who drew it to present it to the group. This activity can be done throughout the week or on a continuous basis.
(Open educa-duo-Alphabet) Print and laminate for durable, eco-friendly use. Children must draw a line between items that go together.
(Open educ-math-Alphabet) Print and laminate for durable, eco-friendly use. Children must count the objects in each rectangle and circle the correct number.
Educ-same and different-Alphabet
(Open educ-same and different-Alphabet) Print and laminate for durable, eco-friendly use. Children must circle the illustration that is different in each row.
(Open educ-pattern-Alphabet) Print and laminate. Children must use the cards to complete the patterns by gluing them in the correct squares using Velcro or adhesive putty.
Open association game-Alphabet
(Open association game-Alphabet) Print, laminate, and cut out. Set the grid in front of a child. Have him pick a letter and deposit it in the correct spot on the grid.
(Open bingo-Alphabet) Print, laminate, and cut out the pieces. Play bingo with the letters of the alphabet.
(Open letters of the alphabet) Print, cut out, and laminate the letters. Let children play with the letters and use them to invent silly words.
(Open puzzles-Alphabet) Print, laminate, and cut out the pieces. Let children complete the puzzles.
(Open educ-pairs-Writing) Print. Children must color identical pictures using the same color or draw a line between them. For durable, eco-friendly use, laminate for use with a dry-erase marker.
(Open educ-trace-Writing) Print for each child. Children must trace each line using a crayon of the corresponding color and then color the object at the end of the line using the same color.
(Open educa-symmetry-Writing) Print. Children must color the picture on the right to make it look exactly like the one on the left (color version).
Color by number-Writing
(Open color by number-Writing) Print for each child. Children must use the color code to complete the picture.
Prepare cookie dough. Using cookie cutters, make letter-shaped cookies. Enjoy.
Give each child a few Graham crackers and a Ziploc bag filled with icing. Cut one corner off the bottom of each child’s bag and show them how they can squeeze icing onto their crackers to write letters.
Prepare Jell-O in a cookie sheet instead of in individual bowls. Once it is set, use letter-shaped cookie cutters to cut the preparation.
Cook small alphabet pasta. Let children manipulate the letters. Offer Alpha Bits cereal as a snack or dessert too.
Give children carrot or celery sticks and encourage them to use them to represent letters.
ARTS & CRAFTS
(Open educa-decorate-Writing) Print and cut out. Glue the items on a hat or headband.
Crumpled paper writing
(Open models-Writing) Print one letter per child. Children must crumple tiny pieces of torn tissue paper and use the paper balls to fill the letters.
Sculpt letters in modeling dough or salt dough and leave them out to dry. Let children paint them.
Variation: You may also use Magic Nuudles.
Hang a long paper banner on the wall of your daycare. Write the 26 letters of the alphabet on your banner. Provide many magazines and catalogues. Have children cut out words and letters and glue them on the banner, under the correct letter.
Use letter-shaped sponges to paint. You may purchase them or make your own simply by cutting sponges into letter shapes.
(Open mobile-letters) Print, trace the number 8 figure on cardboard, and cut out. Cut out the letters and insert different lengths of string in the holes at the top of each letter. Hang them from the number 8 figure. Add three pieces of string in the holes shown on the figure 8 to hang your mobile from the ceiling.
(Open letters-black and white) Print the letters and cut them out. Children can decorate them as they wish. Glue them on Popsicle sticks or drinking straws to create letter puppets. Children will use their imagination and bring the letters to life.
For this craft, use foam letters. With a hole-punch, make a hole at the top of each letter. Give each child a string, long enough to create a necklace they can wear. Have them thread letters on their string. Children could also work together to make one large necklace and take turns wearing it during the theme.
String of words
(Open models-Writing) Print and let children decorate the items. Cut them out and use them to create a garland that you may hang in your daycare.
(Open mandalas-Writing) Print for each child. Children color the mandalas as they see fit.
(Open puppets-Writing) Print the various models on cardboard. Ask children to cut them out and decorate them with arts & crafts materials. Glue a Popsicle stick behind each one to turn them into puppets.
(Open models-Writing) Print the models and use them for various activities and projects throughout the theme.
(Open stencils-Writing) Print and cut out the stencils. Children can use them to trace or paint elements related to the theme.
Cut a few potatoes in half. Carve a different letter out of each half and show children how they can press them in poster paint and then on paper to make prints.
(Open coloring pages theme-Writing) Print for each child.
DIFFERENT WAYS TO USE THE COLORING PAGES
Identical coloring pages-Writing
Print the same coloring page for each child and an additional copy for your model. Color only certain parts of your picture. Present the model to your group and ask them to color their picture to make it look exactly like yours.
Print and laminate several coloring pages and arrange them in a binder with a few dry-erase markers. Leave everything on a table for children to explore.
Play musical drawing with your group. Give each child a coloring page. Have children sit around a table. When the music starts, they must pass the coloring pages around the table. Every time the music stops, they must color the picture in front of them until the music starts again.
Give each child a picture to color. When they are done, cut each picture into pieces to create unique puzzles.
Complete the drawing-Writing
(Open complete the drawing-Writing) Print for each child. Have them draw the missing elements.
(Open creative coloring-Alphabet) Print for each child. Children must fill the book with all the letters of the alphabet they are familiar with.
SONGS & RHYMES
(Open Songs & rhymes-I’m a little alphabet)
I’m a little alphabet
A to Z
You learn my letters
And then you’re set
Put them all together
Sing the letters
And dance with me
The educatall team