Twenty Six Letters | My Alphabet Project Part 2

So, quite a while ago I was full of enthusiasm and posted my Alphabet Project Part 1 (A-Z of a Successful Classroom). I was feeling inspired this week and have come up with a little collection of my own photography showcasing 25 different ways to help your toddler, pre-schooler or class of children to start learning the alphabet. The more hands on - the better I say!

It has really amazed me that my 18-month-old is actually recognising some letters. She seems to find letters in the most random places, and knows M for her name, A for our dog Archer and C for car, and a few more. Young children often learn letters incidentally in their environments, so why not run with it? We have been trying to introduce a few other letters around the home, such as magnetic letters on the fridge, her name hanging in her bedroom and alphabet sticky letters in the bath.

My advice is to start with the letter of your child's name, followed by M for Mum and D for Dad... and enjoy the alphabet journey! There is some debate amongst educators as to whether to teach lower case or upper case letter first. I would suggest start with lower case as when children begin reading it makes sounding out words happen naturally, however capital letters are everywhere and children should learn those also (as you can see from my photos I have a bit of a mixture).

All photographs taken by teacher types - collage created and edited using Pic Monkey

Here's a run down of what you see in the photo collage above.

A - Sand
B - Play dough
C - Sticky foam bath letters
D - Pipe cleaners
E - Pop sticks
F - Blocks
G - Typing on the computer
H - Gem stones (only suitable for over 3's)
I - Pebbles (capitals painted on one side and lower case on the other)
J - Drawing and Writing (use a variety of interesting and different writing materials)
K - Worksheets (for school aged children)
L - Stickers
M - Train Carriages
N - Twigs/Sticks
O - Alphabet Books
P - Flash cards (these beauties are by Eric Carle)
Q - Shaving cream (what a sensory joy!)
R - Treasure basket (filled with objects starting with R)
S - Magazine cut out letters
T - Bottle top lids
U - Sandpaper texture letters
V - Glue and salt
W - Alphabet Puzzles
X - Food cut into letter shapes. YUM!
Y & Z - Magnet Letters

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While you're thinking and feeling all alphabety-inspired like me, here are some of my other favourite links and ideas...
  • The measured mom has a fantastic resource of printable block letters with several suggestions of what to fill them with (eg buttons for the letter b). I love this idea!
  • Blog author of Tot Schooling wrote a guest post for teach mama and shared her awesome alphabet project. Take a photo of your little one holding, wearing or showing various items that start with each letter of the alphabet. I don't want to pinch her collage of images - so please click the link and have a look!
  • Modern Parents Messy Kids created this AH-mazing ABC photo book... I was so inspired I have one of these in the works too. I love LOVE LOVE it! PS Remember ages ago when I posted about home made books? I have since then created our own family photo board book using a website called Artisan State and I absolutely could not recommend them highly enough. The sturdy pages would be perfect to create one of these alphabet books. 
  • I haven't featured my dear friend Sarah Tamblyn Designs for a while - but her Alphabet Print is perfect to finish off today's epic post. What a beautiful addition to a nursery, bedroom or play space. Shop here


Finally here are some great alphabet videos on You Tube (click the image to view).

Sparkabilities - ABC Song
Jolly Phonics A-Z
Sesame Street Alphabet
Peppa Pig's Alphabet

Be sure to immerse your little people/person in a print rich environment, whether it be at school or home. And most importantly - make learning the ABCs fun, inviting and exciting based on play and sensory experiences.

L A U R E N :)

PS I am sooooo glad I got this post finished by the end of the month :)


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A Peek Inside Our Home | Beautiful Play Spaces

Exciting news! (Well for me anyway). I have been waiting since before my little one was born to have new flooring installed in our main living area (cream carpet where our toddler eats was definitely not working out for us). This month we finally got around to it, so I was keen to re vamp little miss' play area.

IKEA Expedit shelves are my best friend. We have a 4x4 in our little one's bedroom (click here for one of my very first posts, our little girl's Bird Themed Nursery). Another 4x4 unit is in our main living area for miscellaneous trinkets and storage (this is also where I keep craft supplies & sensory play materials out of reach). Pictured below you'll see a 2x4 unit for toys, also in the main living area. I played around with endless combinations of baskets, buckets, books and toys to come up with a layout that will work well for Little Miss.

I invite my readers to have a peek inside the home of teacher types...

Bottom shelf alternating green tubs from Howards Storage World and cane baskets from IKEA

Bottom shelf cane baskets from IKEA

Alternate shelves - cane baskets from IKEA

Alternate shelves - green tubs from Howards Storage World

Bottom shelf green tubs from Howards Storage World + cane baskets from IKEA for extra storage
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To complete her little play corner, I found the most amazing play mat! Eco Viva specialise in practical, non toxic, safe and waterproof play mats (suitable for the home or Early Childhood Setting). There are so many gorgeous designs to choose from, and I love that they are double sided. We couldn't go past the one with roads for fun play times with cars (anything with wheels seems to be of interest at the moment). Pictured is the small 'Bumpa Mat' which measures 135 x 105 cm. Large 'Bumpa Mats' are 240 x 140 cm.

This is the layout I decided to go with - green tubs from Howards Storage World along the bottom shelf

The other side of the Eco Viva Bumpa Play mat.
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When you're setting up your indoor play area here are some key things to consider

  • De-clutter. Try not to overwhelm your little person with too many choices. Think about a toy rotation system or a toy swap with some other mummy friends.
  • Variety. Think construction, imaginative play, wooden toys, puzzles, stacking, books, musical instruments...
  • Storage. Baskets, tubs, containers, labels? What works best for you? As your tot grows, consider fun labels with pictures so that everything has a place and pack up time is easier. Another great suggestion (possibly more suitable for the Early Childhood Setting) is to take photographs of the equipment, and place this photo on the shelf where it goes.
  • "Away before play" is a handy little rhyme to encourage your little one to pack up one thing before getting out another.
  • Ease & Independence. Consider the items that you want your little person to be able to reach. Think about their size and weight, perhaps place heavier blocks on the bottom shelf and lighter toys on the top shelf.
  • Comfort (if you don't have carpet, a play mat is a must)

Thank you Eco Viva for the gorgeous Bumpa Mat! We love it! Little Miss 18 Months was so interested in the bike (like her Granddad rides) and the traffic lights "stop", "go"! We've been getting out the little toy cars and having a lovely play time.

Lauren

Disclaimer: I received the Eco Viva Bumpa Mat at a discounted price in exchange for featuring it on my blog. My writing is my honest opinion :)
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