***A little business before we get into today’s fun activity: It occurs to me that if you are a current subscriber you might be receiving TWO email notifications when a post comes out. If this is the case, I apologize! I switched to a different mailing system and it appears there is no way to remove your email from the old system without you deciding to unsubscribe on your end. Feel free to unsubscribe to either notification in order to only receive one. To the rest of you about to read this post who are not subscribers yet: Go ahead and get on that by filling out the name and email form at the top of the page! Really fun stuff is coming up that I don’t want you to miss! Moving on…***
We are here in North Texas on an extended visit while my husband does a contract job, which means we get to stay with my husband’s parents. Their house is about seven times the size of our trailer and we are getting used to spreading out again. It’s fantastic (though I do, oddly enough, always miss our little trailer when we are not there).
We lived here at my in-laws’ house for about two years before we moved to West Texas and had to leave many possessions behind that wouldn’t fit in our trailer. I left a ton of my daughter’s toddler and preschool activities here knowing we would have no place for them, and now we are all having a great time rediscovering some of these older toys and projects.
I thought I would share this simple one with you today because she loved it when I made it and it was one of the first things she checked out when we got back into town. My one year old son (who wasn’t around when these were made) seems to also have taken an interest in them.
*Just so you know, this post does contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on the links and make a purchase, I will get a small commission. The opinions in this post are my own true opinions. Now that we got that out of the way, check this out!*
DIY Preschool Activity: Alphabet and motor skills builder!
It is so simple to do, though I will admit that when I did it, it took a good chunk of time. I can’t believe they have lasted so long, though! When you see how they were made, you will understand my surprise.
- Sticky-sided foam sheets
- Clothes pins
- String if you want to hang them (but they can be clipped to many different items).
Cut 52 small squares out of the foam and peel just the part of the sticky paper off the back that would be attached to the clothes pin. I used scissors to cut these but if you have one of those fancy paper cutters that does quick straight lines, this will probably go faster for you than it did for me).
Cut the alphabet letters out of more sticky foam (I penciled on a few of the more difficult letters to cut first and free-handed the easy ones). 26 upper case and 26 lower case letters.
Attach each letter to a square and then attach the upper case square to one side of a clothes pin and the corresponding lower case letter to the other side.
These things are still going strong more than a year later and the only thing holding them together is the “stick” of the sticky foam. That’s amazing to me, especially because she played with them a good bit before we left. I think they do actually sell sticky foam pre-cut letters but at the time I couldn’t find both upper and lower case. It was important to me as we introduced the alphabet that she be introduced to the concept of upper and lower case from the very beginning.
***I don’t regret that decision.***
These are great for working on fine motor skills as well as learning letters. They are also a great intro to phonics and pre-reading tool. A few activities to do with them:
- At first you can use them just to introduce the alphabet, but as the child grows, she can use them to build CVC words. I used to call out a letter and she would grab it and clip it to the string and see what word I might spell.
- You can pin to different places in the house and play “find the letter.” Letters can be discovered all day throughout the house and once found, can be thrown in a bucket or bag. At the end of the day they can check to see if the whole alphabet is in there. Then your child can pin them to their string in the right order.
- Because they have some texture, you can even play “guess the letter” and have them close their eyes, feel the letter and see if they can guess what it is.
- Read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom with your child (seriously such a great book. Click the picture of it below to order it if you don’t have it). You can make a tree out of cardboard and have your child pin the letters to the tree as they are mentioned in the book. He will have the book memorized in no time!
I am excited to see if these last long enough to use them with the boy! I might just have to bring them back to the trailer with me when it is time to go back and find a place for them because they have clearly proven their worth!
What kinds of activities do you/did you do with your children to introduce the alphabet? What are some of your favorite homemade educational toys?