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alphabet exploration

Growing Up

Alphabet Exploration: Dd

For this week in our Alphabet Exploration, we had some greater success in identifying words that begin with D.  In previous weeks all the letters were for Elmo and Ernie or Abbie.  This week, G really enjoyed some of the Dd activities and I think that made the letter/concepts stick a little bit more.

Monday: Dd is for duck.  There was a whole lot of quacking going on around here on Monday.  G made the connection between the letter d and duck pretty quickly on this day and we played a lot with her ducks throughout the day.  We also had a duck bubble bath at night and went on a duck hunt (similar to our bear hunt from the previous week).  G really enjoyed being a “hunter” again and was proud of her collection of ducks!

Tuesday: We took the day off because we were gone most of the day. We still took every opportunity to review what we talked about on Monday regarding ducks and the letter D.

Wednesday: Dd is for drum.  While G was sleeping, I threw together a craft-y drum, made from a popcorn tin, for her to play with when she woke up.  She loved the drum and was able to recognize that it began with the letter d.  We spent a LOT of time drumming throughout the week and this was a wonderful activity for her.

Thursday:  Dd is for dog.  We have some seriously annoying dogs in our neighborhood (sorry, dog lovers, but I have wanted to call Caesar Milan for a while now), so G has a very good concept of what a dog is.  So, today was a no-brainer.  I told G, “D is for dog.”  and she said, “I hear it,” referring to the dogs that bark like maniacs a few times a day.  We reinforced D is for dog by reading books about dogs and making dog sounds.

Friday: Dd is for Daddy!  This is one she absolutely loved and got right off the bat.  I almost didn’t need to show her anything to help her get this concept.  I told her D was for Daddy and she said it for the rest of the day.  I planned to take G on a special lunch with D but he was finishing up a major project at work that prevented him from being able to.  I still have that on the schedule for later, but she did not have any trouble making the connection between D and daddy because she loves her Dada SO much!

New Idea for Alphabet Instruction:  This week, we did a placemat activity (similar to what we did with Cc is for colors) with G for the letter D.  I laid out a couple of pieces of construction paper in front of G and taped them down, then drew a big D and a little d.  Then we found a d stamp out of our stamp collection and she stamped for the first time!  Oh, she loved it.  It was a wonderful way for her to work with D while I made dinner.

Growing Up

Alphabet Exploration: Cc

This alphabet thing is getting pretty interesting!  G is still wanting to say all the letters are for Elmo.  And Ernie.  And Abby!  She is really going to to love when we get to Ee week.  But I am still pressing on and trying to come up with new ideas to get her interested in the letters of the week.  I am not too discouraged, because this exercise is really just to give her some basic understanding of the letters of the alphabet.   Something has to be sinking in there, right?

So, for Cc week, we did:

Monday: Cc is for colors.  G loves to color so I made some construction paper placemats for her to color while I was preparing meals for her today.  I took three pieces of construction paper and taped them to our “table” and drew big Cs on two and a little c on one.  While she was coloring, we said C is for colors a bunch of times.  I also helped her to draw Cs with her hand in mine.  She loved this!

Tuesday: Cc is for car.  G has a couple of cars and we played with these, talking about the sounds they make and driving them around.  We also sang the song “I see red cars.” while we were driving around.

Wednesday: Cc is for cookie.  I had grand plans to make cookies with G all week, but never got around to it.  Instead we had cookies (store-bought) as a snack and she really enjoyed them.  We also talked about and read books with Cookie Monster from Sesame Street (although I really do not like his character because he does not speak proper English – I can’t bring myself to read what he says).

Thursday: Cc is for coat.  We were still on our unit for Winter, so this was a no brainer.  We read the book, Snowman, Snowman what do you see that talk

Friday: Cc is for Clifford the Big Red Dog.  W has a neat fabric book that was given to her by a dear friend.  We read this during our morning storytime with the girls and G picked up his name very quickly.  So we read the book and talked about, “C is for Clifford.”


Growing Up

Alphabet Exploration: Bb

This week was interesting in the alphabet department.  G was so on A is for…Abby, angel, apple, etc.  That apparently Bb is for…Abby, angel, apple, etc.  Oh, and Bb is for Elmo and Zoe, too.  After the first day of this week, I could not get her to make the connection between B and the words of the day.  We will just keep trying, but I have some new ideas for future weeks.

Here is what we did for this week:

Monday: Bb is for bear.  Boy do we have a bountiful collection of bears around here.  G has one for every two months she has been alive, at least.  We know because as part of today’s exploration we did a bear hunt.  We spent a lot of time with G’s bears and read Brown Bear, Brown Bear as well as Polar Bear, Polar Bear and Are you My Mommy? (featuring a polar bear looking for his mommy).

Tuesday: Bb is for butterfly.  We have a small butterfly toy that G loves, so this was next to her alphabet exploration flannel board in the morning and we read The Very Hungry Caterpillar during the day.  I planned on doing a craft, but life intervened.

Wednesday: Bb is for baby.  We used one of G’s baby dolls as well as her own little sister as our object of the day.  We talked a lot of babies and said B is for baby many times.  She just kept saying B is for Elmo and Zoe.  What shall we do?

Thursday: Bb is for brownie.  To be honest, I was a little late on getting around to our alphabet exploration today, so we threw in a kitchen activity late in the day, making Brownies in a Snowstorm.

Friday: Bb is for basketball.  G has a toy basketball and we are major basketball fans (go Mavs!) around here, so this was a no brainer.  G was born the day before the Mavs won the championship in 2011 and we told her while she was still in my tummy that she could not come on a game day – she complied then and, as a result, is a Mavs fan today.  When basketball games are on, she says, “Go Mavs!” right along with us.  We talked about bouncing a ball and passing a ball (throwing) with D and watched the Mavs game the next day.

New idea for teaching the letters to G: Manipulating the letters.  While I was making breakfast, I gave G the felt letters to play with and talk about.  She enjoyed looking at them and  moving them around her high chair tray.   While she played with them, I told her which one was big B and which one was little b.

Growing Up

Bear Hunting in the Wild

As part of our ongoing Alphabet Exploration of the letter B, our word for the day was bear.  We have an abundance of bears around here, so we decided to go on a bear hunt before bed.  I find the best time of day for bear hunting to be before bed.  So, while D got G cleaned up after dinner, I went upstairs and hid the bears in plain sight.  Then I gathered together a bunch of books about bears.

When G came up with D, I told her we were going to go bear hunting.  She had no idea what it was, but she was game.

I told her that I would give her clues to where she could find each bear and then D would help her find the bears.  After each clue was given, she ran off with D and found the bear almost immediately.  She did not need much help from him and she came back beaming each time.

When she came back we had a little celebration and said: “B is for bear.”  Then we placed our trophies in a row so we could count them. Off she went again and again to find the next bear based on the new clue.

When she had hunted the last bear, she came back and we counted the bears one last time and celebrated the successful day on the range!

Then we read every bear book we could find (including Brown Bear, Brown Bear and Polar Bear, Polar Bear).  We also played with one of her toys (a bear carousel).

In addition to an exploration of the alphabet, what did all this fun teach our little one?

  1. Counting skills – we counted each time a bear was caught.
  2. Listening to instructions – she quickly found out that she would not be able to get another bear until she listened to the clues.
  3. Prepositions – the clues included descriptive phrases like “on top of, “by,” “next to,” and “beside”
  4. the geography of our house – everything from Dad’s side of the bed to mom’s office were included.
  5. Abstract thinking – one of the clues was, “The bear is next to where W sleeps.”  This required her to locate in her mind where her sister sleeps and then go find it.


This was so successful!  G mentioned hunting each time she saw her bears for the rest of the week and fancies herself a hunter!  Such fun! We are going to do it in future weeks for ducks and piggies.  It is time the populations of those were thinned out!


Growing Up

Alphabet Exploration: Aa

I am so excited to be introducing our little one to the letters of the alphabet.  We are just working on recognition of the letters at this point, but doing it by stating, “Aa is for  ____” and “Bb is for ____”, and so on. For our first week of Alphabet Exploration we did:

Monday: Aa is for Abby (as in Abby Caddaby).  G has a little Abby doll one of the grandparents got her and she loves it and sleeps with it every night.  So after she was asleep on Sunday night I confiscated it from her crib and took it downstairs to set next to the alphabet flannel board I made.  When G woke up, I got her dressed in her Abby slippers (she calls them Abby shoes) and took her downstairs to show her Abby.  We talked about big A and little a and pointed to each letter.  Then I gave her Abby to play with while I made her breakfast.  Periodically throughout the day, we went back to the flannel board and pointed to and talked about each letter and said A is for Abby over and over.  By the end of the day, she had it pretty settled that A was for Abby.

Tuesday: Aa is for Angel.  Since we still had our Christmas decorations out, I placed one of the decorative angels that had caught G’s eye during the holidays and placed it next to the alphabet flannel board.  We pointed out big A and little a again and talked about the letter A throughout the day.  When I would ask: “A is for?”  She would immediately say Abby and angel.  This was going great.  We had also done an angel craft which was still visible to Grace, so she pointed those out often throughout the day.  We talked about what angels are and made sure the Bible story we read to her that night included an angel.

Wednesday: Aa is for Apple.  G is kind of obsessed with applesauce at the moment, so I knew this one was a no brainer.  I placed an apple toy next to the alphabet flannel board and we did as we had done on the days before.  It is a first thing in the morning thing now.  I hope she will soon be excited to see what is next to the board as we go downstairs in the mornings.  She played with the apple toy while I made breakfast and constantly asked for applesauce.  I told her we were going to make some later in the day so she was VERY excited when we made it at snack time.  After she got up from her nap, we checked on the apple sauce and it was ready, so we chilled it for dinner.  It was so good, she had two bowls.

Thursday: Aa is for Alligator.  We have a small Fisher Price block with an alligator in it, so this was the toy for the day.  When G came down, I gave it to her to play with while I made breakfast.  After breakfast, we worked on snapping like an alligator, by stretching our arms out in front and opening wide and clapping.  This gave her great joy and her face lit up!

Friday: Aa is for Airplane.  I placed G’s airplane toy next to the flannel board and she was excited to find it there in the morning.  It had been a little while since she had played with it.  After breakfast we stuck our arms out and pretended to be airplanes, came in for landings and took off again.  We talked about where we would go on an airplane (Texas, of course) and who we would see when we got there.


Growing Up

Alphabet Exploration

During our recent hiatus from One Year Old Preschool for G in order to have our new little one and get settled into being parents of two children, G has become absolutely fascinated with the Alphabet.  She simply loves the ABC’s!  She has gone from saying “A, B, C” to saying almost the entire alphabet in a matter of a couple of months.  In order to sort out some of her basic misconceptions about the alphabet and give her a basic introduction to the letters, I decided to start thinking about how to introduce the alphabet to her.

I had seen a bunch of tips on teaching the alphabet to toddlers, but most of the tips we for children a bit older.  So I did some brainstorming and came up with some simple ideas for introducing the letters.  The result is what I am calling Alphabet Exploration.

What is Alphabet Exploration?

It is a VERY basic introduction to the alphabet for children 18 months old and up.  It is simply getting them used to what the letters look like and talking about the sounds they make.

What will it look like?

We will spend a week on each letter, starting with A and going through to Z.  Each day when G comes down for breakfast there will be a flannel board (I made my own) with the letter of the week in uppercase and lowercase in felt.  Next to the board (or hopefully on a shelf someday) will be something that G easily recognizes (mostly toys).  We will stop by the board and talk about the letter of the week and say, “A is for ____.”

Otherwise it will be something different each day.  There will be activities, crafts, conversations, and books to reinforce the letter of the week.  The alphabet will not be a constant discussion, but more an integrated teaching opportunity we take as our day takes us places.  That said, I will try to be intentional about the toys of the day and the activities we do as part of our exploration.  I have a basic plan of what to use in teaching G by taking my cues from her.  Her vocabulary and understanding of concepts will inform how much or how little I push the letters on her.


Sound like fun?  Want to join us in our exploration or have some ideas that will help me teach my little one?  I would love to hear from you!