I'm back for the second week of the Prize Picnic at ABC's and 123's. Have you checked them out yet? You should, because there are some great ideas here for those of us with young children. Learning is fun!
For this post, I am sharing some of my favorite letter/ABC activities. I have to say that my favorite letter "activity" deals with the letter M. When my oldest was about 2, he started pointing out all of the M's he found around the house. After delighting in seeing him learning, I was curious to know how he figured this out. Then I heard him say, "Look Mommy, M, like the M&M's!" Oh the power of candy. Let it never be said that chocolate isn't brain food...
In all seriousness, one of my favorite M activities is one many people probably already know about: M&M graphing. I use two worksheets, one sorting mat and one graphing sheet. For younger children, I would color the M&M's on the mat and on the bottom of the graph so they could match their candies without having to read the color words. Use either a generous handful of M&M's from the big bag, or give them a small snack size bag of their own. Kids love sorting and graphing their candies.
I know this is a math-related idea, but you can tie in letter name and sound recognition so easily. One of my favorite ways to help kids remember the sound M makes, is to remind them of the sound they make when they eat a yummy M&M (mmm....). Perfect.
Another fun activity I used over and over when I taught kindergarten was sound sorting. Did anyone else grow up using the letter books in kindergarten? I used the black and white sound worksheets to create picture cards for this game. (You could just as easily use clip art or web images.) I colored and laminated the pictures, and wrote the target letter on the back of the pictures, to help keep them organized. (All of the pictures would have an M on the back, even if they didn't start with an M, because they went with the M game. Make sense? Or, if you wanted to make it self-correcting, you could write the correct beginning sound only on the back of the cards that started with the target letter.) Inside the file folder, I placed the target letter on on side, and left the other side blank. Then the children could name the pictures and sort them by their sound. After sorting, I would have them say all of the pictures that began with the target letter, just to reinforce the beginning sound.
In keeping with the alphabet theme, I have so many alphabet books that I love, so I'll just choose a few that I particularly enjoy.
* Animalia by Graeme Base
* Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel (This is hilarious!)
* the alphabet tree by Leo Lionni (so great to explain what letters do)
* Tomorrow's Alphabet by George Shannon
* of course, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr.
I hope you enjoyed this little letter journey. Now go and read a great book to a deserving kiddo!