Letters of the Alphabet Toddler Activity

We began getting familiar with the letters of the alphabet when my daughter was 2 (she is now 3). And that is exactly what it is-getting familiar!!!! In my opinion there is no right or wrong time to introduce literacy to children, the earlier the better! While they may not recite the letters, or even associate upper case letters with lower case letters, the idea is to let the visual opportuniy be available to them. That way they will start becoming familiar with the formation of the letters and with the sound and pronounciation too, thereby paving the way for reading later on.

When we do our activities I say the letter and I do the sound a few times. I like her to repeat after me, but even if she doesnt its ok. When we move on to the next letter, we revise the old ones that are up on our wall. Id like to again add that even if she doesnt repeat it, I am quite satisfied that she is receiving the visual and oral stimuli.

I have introduced mixed media to my little one, it provides the sensory stimulation, I allow her to get messy and feel and experience each items unique attributes. We are using poster paints, acrylic pva, finger paints, do-a-dot paints, watercolours, oil pastels, wax crayons, glitter, stickers, appliques and embelishments, stamp markers and much much more as we go along.

We used wax twisters and embellishments.

We used do-a-dot paint bottles

We used oil pastels for the letter Cc and do-a-dot paint, stamp markers and stickers for Dd

We used poster paints, a peg and pompom

Using a glue stick and some glitter

Using heart stickers to paste on top of the big hearts and circles for the small hearts

For our letter Hh we are using multi coloured dot stickers for a good fine motor workout

Some foam stampers and poster paints for the letter Ii

All our letter of the alphabet printables can be found at Kim Lifeovercs.

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Flowers and Paint Stamping

We had quite a few flowers remaining after our dyed flowers experiment, so we decided to get creative with some flower and paint stamping. 

I offered my little girl 3 colors of paint and 3 flowers to stamp to her hearts delight.

We used poster paints from Woolworths. And the same white sprays we used in our dye experiment. 

It started out neat…

And turned into a beautiful mess…

Dyed Flowers Experiment

Bright white sprays in 4 different colours of water

The purpose of this experiment is to show how water moves through the parts of a plant. We know that water from the ground is absorbed by the roots of a plant, moving up the stem and then into the flower/petals. By colouring the water we aim to show how the water travels along a continuous column until it reaches the flowering part of the plant. Water is necessary to keep a plant rigid and alive.

What you will need for your dyed flowers experiment

You will need:

  • Fresh white flowers (preferrably carnations, chrysanthumums or sprays)
  • Food colouring
  • Water
  • Scissors
  • 4 vases or tumblers

Method:

  • Fill each glass 3/4 full of water
  • Colour the water nice and dark
  • Trim the stems at an angle and place them in the water.

Please note:

It is necessary that your flowers are freshly cut and not wilted as this will cause obstruction to the column of water that needs to rise up the stem and may interfere with the results.

If possible cut your stem under water to prevent air from entering the stem.

We used sprays in pure white that hadn’t bloomed yet.

You can expect to start noticing results within 1-2 days. For older kids it might be a good idea to keep a diary documenting any changes daily. You can also keep a control (flower placed in plain uncolored water so that you have something to compare the coloured flowers to

Some points of interest to pose:

  • Which color was visible first?
  • Did the control bloom first or at the same time as the colored flowers?
  • Do you think if you used colored vinegar or colored soft drink the results would be different? (You can even test this out is a different experiment)

    Immediately after placing our flowers in colored water their petals are bright white

    18 hours later a tinge of colour can be seen in the petals already

    3 days later our sprays are looked half full of colour

    Giant Perler Bead Fine Motor Activity

    Giant Perler Beads and Design Plate

    I absolutely love the creativity sparked from Perler Beads. We bought some pretty designs for my older kids. Although i found the beads to be too little in size for my toddler until i came accross what i refer to as Giant Perler Beads available from Dischem, smaller bead sets for older kids available at PerlerBeads.co.za

    I chose the heart design specifically because i assumed my toddler wouldn’t necessarily want to fill the design plate according to the pattern card that is underneath. Toddlers are rather random little characters. The other patterns were: puppy, kitty and pony and i thought that they would deserve some conformity to the pattern guide.

    So anyway we went with the heart.

    Set up as an activity tray for my toddler

    This is the design plate with blunt spikes to hold the allocated beads. This particular one is for the smaller Perler Beads

    Basically the design plate is made up of little blunt spikes on top of which u place the beads. It is necessary to fill the entire plate with beads. However for older kids who want to create smaller different patterns(which can be googled for some very interesting designs and ideas) it would be necessary to make sure that all the beads are adjacent to each other-the reason for this is that the final step is to infact iron over the design. This causes the beads to melt on contact with the heat from the iron and join to the adjacent bead thereby forming a single unit. If however there are any gaps the bead will not have anything to stick to.

    Randomly placing beads on the heart shaped design plate

    So basically once your little ones design is complete, turn on your iron, place the ironing sheet(or some wax or baking paper) over to cover the entire plate and rub the warm iron over. You may want to gently lift the baking paper to peek underneath and see that the beads have infact joined each other. If they haven’t then turn up the heat and stroke over with the iron again. Repeating the step until the entire design is one unit.

    This is how the beads look once they start melting. I may have added too much heat to the lower part of this as you can see they have melted a bit too much

    It is now safe to lift the design off the plate so that u can iron the other side. Remeber to again place the ironing sheet over the design otherwise the beads will end up melting and sticking to the iron. 
    We have kept our designs to use as suncatchers(by threading a string through and hanging it in an area that gets a good amount of sun, u can put them outside too) and other designs saved as little creations in the girls trinket boxes. You can also thread them onto a string so the girls could wear them as necklaces.

    Completed Perler Bead Mermaid design

    Purchased in themed sets or available as a bucket of beads which can be used creatively or by following designs that can be found on the internet

    Yellow Tinker Tray and Playdough Invitation to Play

    Yellow Tinker Tray and Playdough

    After learning a particular concept like colours, shapes, animals etc i like to reinforce my tots knowledge and understanding by setting up trays that combine a number of learnt concepts into one. Today we focussed on the colour yellow, the square, rectangle and circle shapes and of course our little duck which she is all too familiar with but since its yellow i thought it gave me the opportunity to question her about its colour.

    The playdough (like playdough always is) was a fun fine motor exercise. The suction beads also offered a good workout on the little hand muscles and the rectangular links worked great for some hand eye coordination. We are paving the way for some handwriting to come.

    Tiny little finger muscles getting a workout

    Sealife and Playdough Invitation to Play

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    Sea animals, seashells and pebbles cpupled with playdough make the perfect invitation to play

    I love the vibrance and educational benefit that Invitation trays offer toddlers. It gives them a constructive opportunity to explore, create and play.

    ♡It is a wonderful tool to build their imagination.
    ♡Playdough offers a great fine motor workout for their tiny fingers
    ♡They are given the opportunity to explore new ‘little’ worlds through themed trays (like the seaworld one above)
    ♡Great vocabulary builders (i love the opportunity to talk to my little tot about sealife and introduce her to new sea animals like the octopus, seahorse and turtle)
    ♡Builds concentration span

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    Homemade playdough recipe can be found under search item ‘playdough’.

    Flower Planter Sensory Activity

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    I set up this sensory planter for my toddler today. I placed the big flower water sprinkler into a pot plant filled with riversand. I then invited her to come and plant the other little flowers. I am sure you can tell that we are trying to soak up as much of summer as we can before winter sets in. I am now going to attach the waterhose to the flower sprinkler for some fun in the sun.

    Playdough and Straw invitation to play

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    Homemade playdough and coloured straws cut into shorter bits

    This is a wonderful fine motor activity for tots and offers them an invitation to explore.
    I used coloured straws cut up into quarters and a single ball of our Homemade Playdough layed out on a tray. She got busy sticking the straws into the playdough.

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    Playdough and straws in action

    The first time i set out this activity for her i found that it didnt hold her attention long enough. She merely poked the straws into the dough and set off to play with something else.
    I took it as possibly just an off beat day for her, so i set out the activity again for her a few weeks later and it held her attention a lot longer.

    Playtime expected: 10-20minutes

    DIY Chalk Paint

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    Today we made chalkpaint. I didnt have the usual ingredients for it so we made a compromised version:
    2 parts water
    1 part cornflour
    Foodcolour (Although i added more conflour about a tablespoon extra because i found it too runny)
    This paint is super awesome if filled in squeeze bottles like in the picture above. Offers a good amount of hand-muscle work and is loads of fun too.

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    When using it on your sidewalk it will turn white when dry. You need to only spray some water to clean up.