Alphabet Activities and Games + Name and Word Recognition Games

1. Reading Game – I Spy the color/letter….

I’ve learned that kids love interactive shows like Dora, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Jake and the Neverland Pirates….the list goes on! They also LOVE a good game of “I Spy.” Why not incorporate that into reading?

Tools:

  • Book
  • Colorful Alphabet letters (We use Melissa and Doug‘s See and Spell letters)
  • Colorful plastic shot glasses (For more color recognition and a bit of extra fun!)
  • Magnifying glass (We bought these from ToysRUs but you can find these at Amazon as well)

We didn’t have a purple shot glass to match J’s purple letter “o” so we used this opportunity to learn a bit of basic color theory.

Red + Blue = PURPLE!

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Here J is matching the colorful glasses with each of the colored letters.

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What’s this? We’ve already spotted a letter from our name! “S”!

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J having a closer look at the text to spot any other letters from his name.

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Here he is matching the blue sky in the illustrations with his blue “j” and blue plastic glass.

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Brown Bear, Brown Bear was the perfect book to do this activity!

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2. Alphabet Rock SMASH

This is revisiting an old post. These are easy and fun for the kids to make and it’s even more fun when they smash them! WARNING: This is a messy activity!!

Here is the link to the post.

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Josh wanted to spell “rocket”

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3. I Spy

I walk the kids to our local shops every week to get some miscellaneous grocery items. Sometimes it can become a bit of a struggle as they tend to get restless and don’t want to sit quietly in their prams as I get our shopping done. So I thought I’d give them a little (educational) task!

I wrote two letters down in upper and lower cases and asked the kids to spot anything that would start with “A” and “B”. Yes, they’re too young to know, but I’d point them out to them and reinforce their letter recognition and word association by showing them the letter and the item we spot.

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Let me just say there are A LOT more “Bs” in this world than “As”! No pun intended!

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4. I Spy – Part II (Name Recognition)

Again, I used index cards and spelled out the kids’ names. Initially, I had the idea of them tallying the letters as we go. Every time we see something that starts with the letter “J” we’d make a tally with the crayon. Then I thought maybe using stickers may be more age appropriate and more fun for my kids. Plus, I had heaps of St Patrick’s Day stickers leftover!

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Josh is doing well spotting the letter “J” in “juice”!

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5. Name Recognition – Homemade Sand Excavation

I got my pre-made homemade sand (see previous post via link for recipe) out and split it into two trays. I hid two sets of the kids’ names (Melissa and Doug wooden letters) and kept one set out so they can visually spell out their names and to match the letters they find.

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Some sifting tools for their excavation!

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Warning! Sand flying! Be prepared for some mess especially with littlies! And don’t worry. Just sweep or vacuum later! You can always top up your sand later with more materials.

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Found our last letter!

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Homemade Dinosaur Bones – fun activity for little paleontologists

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I wanted to do more dinosaur related activities with the kids and I was inspired by this page out of J’s book to make some dinosaur bones

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I decided to make the bones out of modeling clay.

You can make these bones out of salt dough which is:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup water

You will have to bake it for 3 hours at 325 degrees F.

Since I’d rather save on gas / electricity, I opted for air dry modeling clay instead πŸ™‚

I let the bones dry for at least 48 hours so they are rock hard. As you can guess, the skull took a bit longer as it was pretty thick (thick skull ha ha ha) πŸ™‚

I made some rib bones, spine Β segments, a hip bone, and humerus or femur bones…

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Once they dry, I decided to add this to my homemade sand to do a little excavation and sensory play!

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I also added some colorful beans to add to the texture. The kids loved seeing the extra colors in the sand.

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Every discovered bone was met with excitement and wonder.

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Then we asked our miniature dinosaur friends to join the fun!

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Mr giraffe decided to join in as well

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Then we buried some gold coins like pirates…

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Homemade Sand – natural ingredients and safe for tots!

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I found a great recipe for homemade sand on How Stuff Works

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups dried used coffee grounds (sun or oven dried)
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour (I used wheat for darker color)
  • 1/2 cup salt

I found it quite difficult to drink that much coffee at such a short amount of time so for my batch, I had less coffee. Maybe about 2 cups. Since this is reusable sand (if you don’t get it dirty or wet), I figure I can always add more dried coffee later on. I just couldn’t wait πŸ™‚

Make sure the used coffee grinds are completely dry before you add it into your mix. It may get moldy and/or clump up with the rest of the sand mix.

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I’ve added some colorful beans to add to the texture for the kids to play with.

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Simply store it in an airtight container or cover with plastic wrap for later usage!

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Homemade Fizzling Easter DINOSAUR and Bird Eggs!

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As some of our readers already know, our kids are big dinosaur fans. They both love the excavation kits they have at kids toy shops. J has been super obsessed with eggs lately. I guess if you think about it. It’s pretty magical to a child. Such a pretty, fragile, yet sturdy thing can possibly hatch into a little creature such as a bird, lizard, or FLYING REPTILE! Not to mention it’s quite nice as breakfast πŸ˜€

To make the fizzling dinosaur / bird eggs, I used the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup bicarb aka baking soda (keep it handy in case you need more)
  • 1/4 cup corn meal (to add grainy texture. Some site suggest instant coffee but I didn’t want my eggs to look brown)
  • 1 tsp dish detergent (make EXTRA bubbles)
  • 1 tbsp conditioner (I had apple scented ones yum)
  • water (if necessary)
  • food coloring (gel if you want it to have a marble affect)
  • small dinosaur and/or bird figurines

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After you mix all (not food coloring and the figurine!) the ingredients together in a large bowl, see how you like the texture. You don’t want it too crumbly or it will be hard to mold and hold the shape. You will need to add a touch of water if that’s the case. If it’s too wet, then add more baking soda and corn meal.

Then I take a small handful out of the mixing bowl and into a smaller bowl to create one egg. I flatten it slightly and add a drop of each color I wanted. I used colors similar to the creature I’m placing inside the egg. Then i start mixed each color separately and then together. Get ready to have rainbow colored hands! Wear a glove if you prefer.

MAKE SURE you wash your hands and dry then between each egg so there’s no color transference!

If you don’t have gel coloring, normal food coloring works too but it will be a more even color instead of marble. I tried that with one of the eggs and that’s what happened.

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After I’m happy with the coloring of my egg shells, I flatten out my dough like a fat, oval pancake and place my creature in the middle long ways (think egg shape). I can’t remember which dinosaur this is…

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Then I fold and mold the dough around my creature. This one below is a kookaburra πŸ™‚

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Keep molding and molding making sure it’s completely covered and nothing is poking out. Add a bit more dough from your main stash if you need to. Shape it like an egg with your hands. Place your completed eggs on a baking sheet and place it in a dry spot to harden overnight. My perfect location had been above the fridge for many projects. It’s also a good spot to hide from my little gnomes with their gnome-heights.

If your dough is a little more damp, it will take a little longer to dry. Just have a feel.

Tada! Aren’t they pretty?? The pastel colors are very Easter-esque!

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Easter Egg Hunt!

Here comes the fun part with the kiddies!

While my husband distracts the gnomes, I went and hid the eggs in the family room (pretty easy locations for little tots). As it can get a bit powdery, you may want to keep the eggs off furniture that is hard to clean off of.

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After finding their eggs, they brought it out onto the balcony where I had a plastic tray and some tools ready for them to excavate!

The eggs are pretty easy to break open and they loved feeling the sandy texture. We use spray bottles filled with vinegar to make them EXPLODE!

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Watch the colorful foam grow!

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In the end, we dumped the foamy mixture down our kitchen sink. Acted as a drain cleaner!

Bonus πŸ˜‰

Then N surprised me and found the book in which the little dinosaur figurines came from and was pointing at the baby dinos hatching from eggs!

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