Play Dough Plates

Skills:  alphabet knowledge; small motor skills

Write letters on clear plastic plates, plastic placemats, sheet protectors, or leftover laminating film with a permanent marker.  Make play dough from the recipe below.  Children roll play dough and place it on top to make the letter.  Can they make objects that begin with that sound?
Homemade Play Dough
2 cups flour
2 cups
2 TB cream of tartar
2 TB vegetable oil
2 cups water
Food coloring

Mix ingredients together in a pan until smooth.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture forms a ball and sticks to the spoon.  Cool and knead.  Store in zip baggie.


Sign Language Letters

Skills:  alphabet knowledge; small motor skills; print connections

Sing and Signs – Teach children signs for letters as they are introduced.  Use this song to the tune of “Where Is Thumbkin?” to reinforce the concept.
                  Where is A?          Where is A?  (Children repeat.)
                  Here I am!            (Hold up the manual sign for A.)
                  Here I am!            (Children repeat and copy sign.)
                  What do you say A?What do you say A?
/a/ /a/ /a/            /a/ /a/ /a/


Letter Box – Here’s another song you can use to teach children manual signs for letters.  It goes to the tune of “Polly Wolly Doodle.”
I wish I had a letter box         
To put my A in.
I’d take it out and go 
            (Hold up sign for a.)
/a/ /a/ /a/
And put it back again.              
            (Put hand back in box.)
Continue singing other letters and making signs for the letters as you sing.

Sign and Spell – Use sign language to spell children’s names and other words.

Dismissal – Tell the children to watch your hand.  As you make the sign that their name begins with, they may be dismissed to line up, go to centers, wash hands, etc.

•You can download this book with the letter signs just click here.

Hint!  Remind children when they make the signs to make strong letters instead of wimpy letters.  Making strong letters will help build small muscles.

Invisible Letters and Words
Write letters and words with a white crayon.  Let children “wash over’ the crayon marks with water colors or water soluble markers.


Letter Exercising

Skills:  alphabet knowledge; motor skills; phonological awareness

All right couch potatoes!  Time to exercise bodies and brains with these movement activities!

Lettercise – Put your hands in the air and say a letter, touch your waist and make the sound, and then touch the ground and say a word that begins with that sound.  For example:

                  “a”              Hands in the air.
                  /a/              Hands on waist.
                  ant              Touch the ground.
                  “b”              Hands in air.
                  /b/              Hands on waist.
                  bear            Touch the ground.

Letter Punch – Say letters, and then punch hand over opposite side of the body as you make the sound.

                  “a”              /a/             
Punch right hand to the left.
                  “b”              /b/             
Punch left hand to the right.     

Karate Chop– Spread feet wide and alternate chopping your right and left hand as you say the letters and make the sounds.

Patty Cake– Students will need a partner for this activity.  Facing their partner, they clap hands and then tap right hands as they say a letter.  Clap hands and then tap left hands as they make the sound.

March, Jump, Dance – March as you sing the traditional “Alphabet Song.”  Jump, tip toe, or make other movements as you say letters. 

•Do the “disco” by putting one hand on your hip and the index finger from the other hand in the air.  Move your hand top to bottom across your body as you sing letters.

Letter “Sense”

Here are some kinesthetic ways to put letters and words in the brain.

Lotty Dotty
Use a marker to make dotted letters.  Put a drop of glue on top of each dot.  Children trace over the dots of glue with their finger as they make the sound.  Next, have children place a sheet of paper on top, rub over with a crayon, and then connect the dots.

Plastic  Needlepoint
This plastic material that looks like screen can be purchased at most craft stores.  Place a piece of paper on top and then write letters with a crayon.  Press firmly for best results.
•Sandpaper can be used in a similar way.
Pretzel ABC’s
Give children pretzel sticks and pretzel twists.  Have them nibble the pretzels to make letters.
•Letter shaped cereal can be used for identifying letters, making words, and eating!

Letter Pasta
Purchase pasta/macaroni in the shape of alphabet letters.  Separate the pasta into four plastic bags.  Add a tablespoon of rubbing alcohol and a large squirt of food coloring to each bag.  Shake.  Dry on wax paper.  Mix the colors together to get a rainbow of letters.  Children can “find” letters with a magnifying glass.  Or, give them tweezers to pick out letters.
•Glue letters to make words.

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