I am so excited to start the Tot Labs Letter of the Week series! Today, I am sharing what was on our shelves for Letter A/Я! Be sure to download your own free printable pack at the end of this post!
Also, be sure to see what Amruta is up to this week over at Mumma Diaries! You'll love all of her creative ideas!
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Daily learning binder
One of the many aspects of our curriculum is a daily/weekly learning binder. We wanted to create a simple way to store specific types of activities that still contain a fun and educational aspect.
What I simply adore about this is that we can take this with us on the go and Y can sit quietly and work.
I have to admit I was a little bit hesitant to introduce something so new to us. Y's works are usually in trays. However, I feel that for works that are mostly based on printables, that it's unnecessary to take up so much shelf space at the cost of practical life or fine motor activities. I wasn't sure how he would react at this new presentation. My worries though were for nothing and he loved, loved, loved it!
For our learning binder, I included the following printables (available in English and Russian)
The English version:
I gave him pom poms to place on the objects that start with the letter we are learning about (Russian ja sound). This was very difficult for him, and that's okay especially as this is the first letter we are covering! This is a learning process for him and for me.
It's important to remember not to rush your children. Some of these works may be too difficult, too easy, or not interesting to your child depending on what they find interesting at the moment and what they need. That's okay. Make a mental note if a work doesn't go as you imagined, try to alter it, or return to it at a later time.
For us, I pointed to each object, emphasized the beginning sound, and that was it. Then we put pom poms on the objects that start with the letter we are studying this week. We will repeat all week, and then return to it at a later time to see if he can do it alone. No stress. No rushing. Just based on his own interest because at this point, he is interested!
Another fun work that Y could do was a letter maze! Again, we used pom poms for markers. You can also use a dry erase marker.
The English version:
Letter search and find
For some math, I added some apple shape matching!
Here are the materials that I recommend for setting up your own Daily or Weekly Learning Binder for Letter of the Week.
Apple colour matching
Y loved this one! I created baskets using printables in the Letter A printable pack. I simply laminated the front and back sides and used clear tape on the outside of the baskets to hold them together. I trimmed the edges to make sure they looked neat and that was it!
I kept the bin relatively simple as the focus was on searching for letters. I made the letters out of foam paper and rippled cardboard paper. The idea was for Y to find the letters and touch them. This is an idea similar to sandpaper letters - tracing the letters in this way is a fabulous pre-writing work!
Apple number recognition
A fun number matching work using our DIY sandpaper numbers, number cards and apple numbers from the Letter A printable pack!
Apple numbers version 2:
Y enjoyed matching the apple numbers in this one. A very simple, but fun way to work on number recognition! Here, I laminated both the mat and the cut out, coloured apples.
Y really enjoyed this number work so I ended up presenting it two ways. I printed it once more and this time, Y had to cut out the coloured apples and glue them onto the black and white mat.
Apple cut and paste
The idea here was to cut out the individual apples and paste them onto the letter mat included in the printable pack. Simple and fun!
Again, in English, the mat looks like this:
Or you can use the playdough mat:
Version 1: In the printable pack I created, you can find a set of pre-reading cards. You can do many things with these cards, one such idea is to simply to have your child lay them out and you say the name of each object, emphasizing the beginning sound/letter of the week.
Version 2: Make the cards into a book and read it often with your child. I included a cover and end page that you can laminate for extra durability. Use a hole puncher to make a hole in the papers and then bind together with yarn or the material of your choice.
Version 3: Letter basket with matching cards
English letter basket ideas:
Practical life: apple washing
Pre-writing: coloured sand tray
Upper and lower case sorting
Apple life cycle discussion
We talked about and explored an apple tree. My in laws have several in the backyard so this was a great activity for us!
There are several ways to use these printables. I created a set of cards with the steps of an apple tree life cycle as well as a control mat. You can have your kids place the cards in the correct order and discuss what they see. Use the mat for control of error, or place numbers on the back of the cards so that your kids can check their work independently.
Because Y is young, I set up the cards in the proper order and simply talked to him about what we were seeing. This only took a few minutes, but he found it interesting to see. Of course, it helps that he sees the apple trees in the backyard, and was able to see the fruit ripen, pick it, etc.
Alternatively, you can print the 'control mat' two times (once in black and white, once in color) and use it for a cut and paste work. This adds a bit of practical life -scissor skills and gluing - to this work.
Materials usedKids scissors
To compliment our apple life cycle activities, we went to the garden, and collected a few apples!
Make apple sauce (bake apples for half an hour then let cool. Puree with a 1/2 a teaspoon cinnamon and even some honey! It's delicious!)
Or make delicious baked apples!
Arts and crafts
Letter stamping with a pom pom
Red pom poms
This is just one of the many fabulous ideas you can find at Amruta's wonderful channel: Mumma Diaires! You can get your own free printable apple tree painting mat and many more on her blog!
Field trip suggestions