When I first made the decision to home school, I was very excited and wanted to jump right in, but I hadn’t done much research along the lines of what to teach preschoolers, or where to start. Where to start? My oldest wasn’t going to be preschool age for a year and a half, so I knew I had time to look into what a preschool curriculum might entail, but I wanted to get in the habit of doing “educational” type things with him on a regular basis.
I was a little nervous about my over all teaching capabilities, but figured I could probably handle the ABCs. Introducing the alphabet seemed like a good idea, so I started with a few letters. My husband and I were able to pique Lincoln’s curiosity by hanging the letters of his name up on the wall in his bedroom. When he began to recognize those, we showed him that there were even more letters than just the ones in his name. This led to coloring pictures of the letters, and singing the alphabet song.
Our most successful approach to teaching the alphabet was probably teaming up with a friend of mine whose son is Lincoln’s age. She and I created a structured playdate for the kids called Letter Day. Once a week we got together and took turns planning an hour’s worth of activities around each letter of the alphabet. Some of my favorite activities were flying paper airplanes on a string for A Day, cooking chocolate chip cookies for C Day, packing a pizza picnic to eat at the park for P Day, and making yaks out of yellow yarn for Y Day. Letter Day was a great opportunity for the kids to have fun learning in a social setting. And because my friend and I have different teaching styles, we learned new things from each other that helped us both to be better teachers.
Although it took a little over a year to go through every letter, at age three Lincoln now knows all of them. He became aware of the alphabet because we spent time pointing out letters and making their sounds each day. These and other activities helped him develop a curiosity about words, which is where we are now.
Where we are now feels like a long way from where we started. One of the most helpful things I’ve gained over the last year is a list of resources. These resources gave me some great ideas for Letter Day and other alphabet activities, but I think they will continue to be useful as we’re heading into the preschool years. Below I’ve listed some of my go-to ABC resources. They are the first places I go when I need an idea.
Internet- The internet is an awesome resource, and I found most of the ideas I used for Letter Days online. Also, when all else fails, do a Google search. Some of my favorite websites are:
Media- There is lots of educational media out there in TV shows, movies, and music. Here are some that I really like.
-Letter Factory and Talking Words Factory DVDs from Leapfrog
-Sesame Street, I found lots of the alphabet clips on YouTube (C is for cookie is a good one), and a Sesame Street ABC soundtrack at the library.
Books- Some of our favorite alphabet books are:
-Shiver Me Letters: A Pirate’s ABCs by June Sobel,
-Dr. Seuss’s ABCs by Dr. Seuss,
-I Spy Little Letters by Jean Marzollo,
-A to Z by Sandra Boynton,
-Book of Mormon ABCs by Val Chadwick Bagley
-Hungry Monster ABC: An Alphabet Book by Susan Heyboer O’Keefe
Story Time- Our local library does story time several times a week. Each week they spotlight a different letter and all the activities/songs/stories focus on that letter. Check your library and see what programs they have to offer.
*If you are interested in Letter Days, you can see the blog posts for each letter here.
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