Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Family Fill-In: Alphabet Week!

I'm stepping away from my Coffee Date Friday posts to return to a series I used to do each week and have been missing this summer: Friday Family Fill-In. Basically, these posts are a way for me to document what I've been doing with my kids throughout the week so that I can (1) Refer back to it as needed at a later date, (2) Preserve the memories of our weekday fun, and (3) Maybe help a Momma or two out who may be in a rut brainstorming fun activities to do with their own kiddos. 

For me, the primary reason I stay home with my kids is to try to maximize all the time we are lucky enough to spend together at this stage in our lives. As evidenced by all the "first day of school" photos plastered all over Facebook this week (which, don't get me wrong, I love seeing. Really! I really like seeing photos of my friends' and families' beautiful babies), these young years pass by way too quickly. So, I have made it my personal goal to try and fill these days, these weeks, these years with fun activities for my littles before they, too, head off for elementary school.

While we certainly have plenty of downtime during our day, I also try to include some fun and educational activities as part of our daily itinerary. Some days are more successful than others. Some weeks are more successful than others. But this week? This week was a good one. I think, in large part, it's because I entered the week knowing my hub would be on the other side of the country from early Sunday afternoon until late Friday night. That makes for a loooooong week. And so, to avoid Momma burnout, minimize preschooler whining, and reduce toddler meltdowns, I came into the week (a week forecasting lots of rain) with a plan. 

Knowing that Banks will be returning to preschool in a few weeks, I wanted to capitalize on the Back to School fun! So, we officially declared this week "Alphabet Week" in our household, with lots of fun (and alphabet-a-rific!) activities and snacks to boot! 

So, without further adieu, I present, our Alphabet Week:

Alphabet Flashcards:
A few different times this week, I pulled out these slide-and-see flashcards, which Banks received as a birthday gift from one of my best friends last year. This was a good way for me to see which letters were automatic for him and which tended to be mis-identified. Although I am not usually a flashcard kind of Momma, it was helpful for me to see which letters to really focus on during our activities. Nonetheless, the rest of the activities were purposefully made to be hands-on for my energetic little buddy, primarily because 3-year-old boys don't like to sit in any one place for an extended period of time, and because I know that multisensory learning tends to be the most successful approach to education at this age (i.e., a fancy way of saying less sitting, more action). Regardless, here are the cute flashcards in case anyone is in search of some good ones:

Alphabet Fishing:
I found a pack of magnetic letters in the dollar bin at Target a few months ago and snatched  them up, knowing they would come in handy once I got around to having "Alphabet Week." By pairing these letters with some magnetic fishing poles Banks received as part of a Christmas gift last year, Alphabet Fishing was born: I would simply tell Banks which letter to fish for. He then had to search out the array of letters (thus, good exercise for visual scanning) until he spotted his target. He loved it!

Alphabet Golf:
A while ago on Pinterest, I saw the idea to carve holes in a box for indoor golfing for a rainy day activity. I decided to take this idea a step further, adding detachable letters overtop the holes. I would call out a letter and my little buddy had to recognize the letter and then putt away, aiming for the correct letter hole. Thus, Alphabet Golf was born. Another big hit!

Color By Letter:
I'm sure most of us remember those Color-by-Number coloring pages from when we were little, right? Well, I just created my own, but used a Color-by-Letter code instead, in keeping with our Alphabet Week theme. For example, B is for Blue; so, every time Banks saw a letter B, he had to color it blue. Although he is not one to sit and color for long periods of time, he really enjoyed this activity.

Alphabet Reading:
Although most of the activities this week were geared toward preschool age, I tried to involve my little toddler whenever possible. The best way to do this, of course, was reading books related to the ABC's. My Raleigh loves nothing more than reading books, so she was happy to participate in this activity. 

Alphabet Target Practice:
This may have been my favorite activity from the week. Although I originally saw the water balloon/target practice idea on Pinterest, I modified it a bit, adding all 26 letters to the target. I would then yell out a target for Banks to hit, and bombs away! This was another activity Raleigh was happy to join in. 

Grocery Store Letter Hunt:
There is very little I enjoy less than going to the grocery store. I have not been shy to write about my lack of enthusiasm for all things cooking; so, the grocery store is sort of a devil incarnate for me. But. Admittedly, this week's grocery stop was a lot more enjoyable for my dynamic duo and me. I quickly created this Alphabet Hunt board using a spare piece of foam board I had laying around and grabbed a packet of stickers out of my kid craft stock. So, while I was busy crossing items off my grocery list on Aisle 5, Banks was busy searching for letters on all the products that lined the shelves, which he was then able to cover with a sticker once identified. And Raleigh was just happy to get her hands on a few stickers for awhile. Win-win. 

Alphabet Yogurt:
Completing all these fun alphabet activities throughout the week had us hungry for some delicious snacks! Enter yogurt alphabet bits, which were easily created by covering a small tray with parchment paper, cutting a small hole in the corner of a Go-Gurt (aka yogurt tube), writing out the ABC's, and then freezing them during naptime. This meant, once my kids woke up from their naps, they had an educational, nutritious, and delicious snack a'-waitin'.

Totally Tubular ABCs:
If you know my hub and me, it should come as no surprise that we have quite the competitive son on our hands. Ev-e-ry-thing is a competition to Banks. Ev-e-ry-thing. So, adapting this Pinterest activity to one that was alphabetic in nature was a no-brainer. Simply tape plastic cups to the end of a table, use Dry Erase markers to write different letters on each cup (Dry Erase is key so that you can erase and write new letters after each round), and hand the ever-competitive child a toilet paper roll and a ping pong ball. Then, identify the lettered cup you want him to aim for and watch his competitive spirit take over as he tries to sink his shot. 

Initial Painting:
My little Picassos really had fun completing this crafty activity. I taped off each of their initials on a piece of cardstock and then let them paint away. After the paint dried, I peeled off the tape, and voila! Initial art. 

ABC Pancakes:
Every time my hub travels overnight for work, I make breakfast for dinner at least one night, knowing full well that cooking up some eggs, bacon, and biscuits is not only quick and easy but will also always be consumed in its entirety without a single complaint from either of my eaters. This week, I did, in fact, plan for breakfast for dinner one night but decided to shake things up with some ABC pancakes. Bon appetit! 

Letter Shaping with Playdoh:
Now this was an idea I stole straight from Pinterest with no need for modifying to suit our Alphabet Week theme. I simply wrote letters on a piece of cardstock and then encouraged Banks to create the letter by filling it in with Playdoh. He was so proud of his work, and we did this activity, with pages of different letters, for quite some time. Success!

I hope you enjoyed hearing about our Alphabet Week. I know the kids and I had a fun time with our themed activities and foods. Although it took a little advance brainstorming, it was a lot of fun to see how excited Banks got every time I told him it was time for a fun, new  alphabet activity. 

I'm thinking for our next themed week, I'll gear the activities/theme more towards the toddler-age group so that Raleigh can join in on more of the activities, with Banks being able to take on more of the "teacher" role at times. 

So. I'll be back sometime in the next few weeks with another fun, Friday Family Fill-In. 

For now, though, C U later (Too much? Okay. Sorry for the cheesy pun.). Have a great weekend!


  1. You are such an incredible mama. :)

    1. Thanks, Jess. You have no idea how much that means.

  2. Hey Lindsay, thanks for the congratulations! I didn't realize you were a part of the blog world...I will have to start following. It's good to see things are well with you and your kids are so cute!

    1. Awesome! And thank you so much. I can't wait to follow along and hear about all things Baby S. :)

  3. Um, can you open a school that I can send my hypothetical kids to? I'm so impressed!

    1. Thank you so, so much, Stephanie! And yes, your hypothetical kids definitely have reserved spots in my hypothetical school. I even promise to give them hypothetical A's.