Five Ideas for Alphabet Fun!

Fall is almost here! School is about to start—or maybe has already started in your area. Time for morning wake-up calls, sleepy breakfasts, packed lunches, and loaded back packs. (Do you welcome the return to routine? Or would you keep summer’s carefree days a little longer if you could?)

In the back-to-school spirit, combine fun and learning with these five alphabet activities for kids and their parents, grandparents, or caregivers.

1) Spaghetti letters. Boil about one ounce of spaghetti noodles until soft, then place them in cool water. Help your child to pull a noodle out of the water and lay it on a sheet of waxed paper in the form of a letter. He’ll love the gooey feel of the noodles—just enough mess to make a kid happy! The sticky strands will quickly harden into brittle letter shapes. Make the whole alphabet, or just the letters of his name.

2) Cookie letters. Help your child roll bits of sugar cookie dough into long tubes or “snakes” that can be laid on a baking tray in the shape of letters. Then bake and eat! (You can purchase letter-shaped cookie cutters online, if you’d prefer to make cut-out cookies. In that case, help your child frost and decorate each letter.)

3) Monster letters. Cut letters from coarse sandpaper and allow your child to trace his finger along the rough surface, feeling the letters’ shapes. If he rubs cotton balls lightly across the letters, the sandpaper will grab strands, making the letters fuzzy. Transform them into “monster letters” by gluing on two or more wiggle eyes, available from craft stores. Each monster’s name is the letter name—a fun way to learn them! This is a great “tactile” activity, using the sense of touch. (Remember that cotton balls are available in several pastel colors as well as white.)

4) Body letters. Help your child try to form each letter of the alphabet, using her hands or body. Take photos of her best attempts. She’ll love the silly pictures that result! Then take this activity a step further by putting her “body letter” photos in alphabetical order in a small brag-book-style photo album with a cut-out of the actual letter on the opposite page. She’ll treasure an alphabet book in which she’s the star.

5) Pudding letters. Try this version of mess-less finger painting. Put three or four large spoonfuls of cold pudding in a gallon-size resealable bag. Squeeze out as much of the extra air as possible, then seal the bag tightly. Lay the bag flat on a table and let your child “draw” letters on the outside of the bag by pushing his finger down to the table, squishing the pudding aside. Kids love the feel of this activity. They also love eating the extra pudding!

These are five of the 100 activities in the bonus chapters of my book Raising a Verbal Child. You can have a ton of fun helping your child love to learn! In the process, you’ll raise a bright, confident communicator. Raising a Verbal Child is available for Kindle and Nook, and in paperback. Just follow the link on my website, www.dianemcloud.com.

© Diane McLoud 2013

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