Eat the Alphabet

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What better way to conclude an almost-kindergartner’s summer alphabet lessons than to eat your way through it? Each day for 26 days at snack time, I gave Travis a food starting with a letter, in alphabetical order. He had to make that letter first, then – yum – gobble it up! Without further ado, Travis nibbled his way through:

A for apples

Eat Alph A

B for banana slices

Eat Alph B

C for cereal

Eat Alph C

D for dates

Eat Alph D

E for eggplant

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F for Fritos

Eat Alph F

G for grapes

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H for Hippies (chickpea puffs)

Eat Alph H.JPG

I for ice cream cone

Eat Alph I

J for jelly

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K for kiwi

Eat Alph K.JPG

L for licorice

Eat Alph L

M for marshmallows

Eat Alph M

N for nuts

Eat Alph N

O for Oreo cookies

Eat Alph O.JPG

P for pretzels

Eat Alph P

Q for quesadilla

Eat Alph Q

R for raspberries

Eat Alph R

S for Sour Patch kids

Eat Alph S.JPG

T for Twizzlers

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U for Utz chips

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V for veggie stix

Eat Alph V

W for watermelon

Eat Alph W

X for two x-ed bell pepper stix

Eat Alph X

Y for yams

Eat Alph Y

and Z for zucchini!

Eat Alph Z

Alphabet Dictionary

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As with playing Letter Detective, here’s an activity you can do with your child over the course 26 days. We ended up taking a short-cut (read on for why!) but Travis really enjoyed the process.

To start, I made a “book” with a printed letter of the alphabet glued onto colorful construction paper for each page. Hole punch these and tie together with yarn.

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Each day, Travis drew something beginning with the assigned letter on its page. Then we went through stacks of fun stickers and added anything that started with that letter.

“A” received an apple drawing, as well as apple and alligator stickers on the first day.

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He was so excited to get a second chance to comb through the sticker packs on day #2, and found bananas, bunnies, and buses for “B”.

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Plus drew a “bagel”!

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After a few days of focusing only on one letter per day, I realized Travis was frustrated finding stickers he couldn’t use yet. So instead, I laid out all the printable pages for him, and a whole pack of stickers, and made it a free-for-all.

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Well wouldn’t you know he loved it! “Thanks for buying all these stickers!” he declared, happily stickering all over, occasionally asking me where one belonged.

Alphabet Dictionary (5)

Based on the sticker themes in our set, we had some letters that received lots (S for stars, T for trains) and some with relatively few.

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We got a little creative; our E page was covered in “emotions” from emoticon stickers.

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Another idea is to supplement with pictures cut out of magazines. One way or another, Travis was very proud of his “dictionary.”

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It was a great phonetic addition to the tracing and modeling we’ve done throughout the summer.

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I would say this boy is kindergarten ready!

Letter Detective

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For 26 days, Travis has been playing detective. Letter detective that is!

For the assignment (a neat suggestion from his summer pre-k to kindergarten workbook), I purchased a small glass jar with a lid and set aside a collection of pennies.

Each day, he was tasked with finding one letter of the alphabet. Every time he notices it, a penny goes in the jar. Fair game includes magazines we read, food labels, street signs around town, and more.

When we started with A, he needed lots of prompting, but over the course of the day he spotted 8 As.

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8 pennies in the jar!

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Truth be told, it was hard for Travis to find the letter of the day as we drove; his recognition isn’t fast enough to keep up with the speed of a car. But at-home materials proved more fruitful, and the goal is to count up the pennies at the end and perhaps earn a small reward!

 

Stick Letters

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I recently made sure to collect a variety of sticks: some long, some short, some very straight, and some slightly curved. Because I knew Travis and I had stick letters in our future!

The following day, I dumped out the bag of sticks on the floor and told him we’d be going through the alphabet.

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Now, this was a real test for Travis as we prep for kindergarten, because I knew it would require patience to work through all 26 in one sitting, plus he had no guidelines to follow for the letters. I am thrilled to report our summer work is paying off; he was fascinated and focused the whole time.

Part of the fascination is that we turned it into a challenge: which letters would take the fewest sticks, and which the most?

He started confidently with 3 sticks for A. But then B really gives him pause; I pointed out that to make curves, we needed more sticks, but they had to be short ones. That meant a total of 6 sticks for B!

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He began working his way through the alphabet and this was a great way for me to notice which ones gave him pause. At first he boldly clustered the lines of E together. I helped him see one went at the middle, one at the top, and one at the bottom.

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M and N were a little tricky. We focused on a vocalizing an “up down up down” pattern to help him get there.

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Could he turn P into an R by adding only 1 stick? He could, no help required!

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Curvy S needed so many sticks.

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But the winner for the most sticks was the curviest – Q, requiring a total of 8.

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Meanwhile, he aced the ones that used only 2 sticks: L, T, and V.

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We loved everything about this activity, from the nature walk to collect the sticks, to the feeling of accomplishment, to the fun of making each letter.

Y and Z!

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Travis’s 3-D models for the last two letters of the alphabet were so simple I decided to combine them into one post. First he traced the penultimate and final letter, and then made the following.

Upper case Y from three crayons:

Y and Z (3)

Lower case y from two socks; make sure to use 1 long and 1 short:

Y and Z (2)

Note: This was the first time he really noticed you need three strokes to form Y but only two to make y.

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Upper case Z from three strips of paper; be sure to fold or cut all three so they are the same size:

Ziti Z (1)

This was definitely good practice to think about Z spatially, with no line to trace. He had to think hard about which direction the zigs and zags should go.

Ziti Z (2)

Finally, lower case z from pasta… ziti of course!

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Again, he thought carefully about the directions of each line, and was finally able to line up the ziti pieces correctly. Someone is feeling just about kindergarten ready!

X X-ing

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Travis traced X today (we’re so near the end of the alphabet!) and then crossed (x’d) two items to make big X and little x.

For the first, he stood up tall and crossed his arms. No x-ing here!

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Next, I gave him two carrot sticks (stix?) and he crossed them into a little x.

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Short and sweet today!

Wonderful W

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Ok, we didn’t make W with any materials that begin with the letter, but Travis had good fun tracing and crafting this letter-of-the-day.

He loved discovering that double-u actually is more of a double-v. As he traced, we said, “down, up, down, up,” which served as a good reminder once the tracing line was removed.

This verbal cue also helped once we set out to make 3-D versions of the letter.

First up was markers! He positioned them as two v’s (down, up, down up) and so was able to see how the four markers should come together.

Wonderful W (1)

Next, we used two pairs of pants, as we did a few weeks back for the letter M.

Wonderful W (3)

Again thinking about “down, up, down up”, he was able to position them correctly.

Wonderful W (4)

Violet V

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Here are two very quick ways to form a V after your child traces the letter.

After tracing upper case V, I simply asked Travis to form one with his hands.

Violet V (1)

Easy! Plus you can give a quick lesson on how this V can mean victory or peace.

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Next he traced lower case v using a violet crayon. I handed him a second crayon in a close shade of purple, and asked him to make them into a v. Voila!

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“U Pick” U

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After some easy tracing of letter U, I gave Travis a little spin on making our three-D versions today: “u pick” the material from our craft bin!

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This led to some excitement, since he feels important whenever he’s allowed to dig through the materials in here. First he fashioned a very straightforward U from yarn.

U Pick (1)Next he decided he wanted to try dowels! I knew these would be too rigid, but wanted him to figure it out for himself. So the package of dowels was opened and fiddled with, but then discarded.

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Aha! He discovered that pipe cleaners were a bit bendier. In no time at all, we had lower case u as well.

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Tie a T

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Travis loves the letter T; because it’s the first letter of his name, it’s the one he’s most familiar with and gives him no trouble. So he was able to trace it this morning and then was interested to see what we would make it out of.

First we found a two twigs in the yard. I asked him to think which part of the T needed to be the longer twig and which shorter.

“I know,” he announced, and formed the letter in moments.

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Two ties for lower case t were a bit tougher, only because they had to be folded. But with some folding help, he tackled this one, too.

Twig T (2)