Hiii Friends! Happy Sunday! It’s the final day of Letter D week, and usually on Sundays, K’s day is full with fun Daddy time and we don’t do much structured play, it’s a free for all!! Today K and Daddy are having a blast on a huge excavator playing in the backyard!
Anyways, first things first. I just want to leave a small disclaimer here. My intention with these activities is simply to make sure I’m spending some special time with K everyday. I know he’s learning no matter what we do, BUT, I have no idea what or how he’s learning. I have my bachelors in Health Sciences, so aside from my motherly instinct, I have 0 formal training in education. I’m not going to pretend to have any idea how he’s processing or what’s happening in that beautiful little head of his. I just know what works, that he’s having fun and we are spending quality time together, on purpose. So, fair warning in case that’s what you’re looking for.
Anyhoo, I’m feeling a lot better after my sassy day yesterday. Sometimes I feel like I just have to be grumpy for a day or so, just get it out of my system. Feeling more like myself today, and I’m ready to talk about the letter D!
So the first thing we typically do on Monday morning, over coffee and yogurt, is talk about our letter for the week. K really loves to watch Blippi in the mornings while he wakes up with his yogurt and milk, and I don’t dare get in the way of that. That boy loves Blippi. Blippi is a damn genius. So, once he starts getting ants in his pants, I suggest a dot sheet. For D week, I made D is for Duck sheets!
So fun. Those PDF’s will be available for download at the end of this post! So, for these dot sheets, we often use our do-a-dot markers. They’re basically bingo markers, but for kids! (AND THEY ARE NOT WASHABLE- YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED) So, if you don’t want to buy these dot markers, there’s a zillion other ways to play with these sheets.
- Use little cereal/pompoms/paper circles and have your little place a cherrio/Pom in the circles. Makes the sheet reusable.
- Fill in the circles with markers or crayons!
- Use fun stickers, or dot stickers (also fun) to fill the circles.
- Finger paint and make “dots” in each circle.
- Tape up some contact paper, put the printable behind it and stick pompoms or cut up paper to the sticky contact paper (WE LOVE CONTACT PAPER. I use it at least once a week. You can find it at the dollar store, or on Amazon! There’s something about a sticky wall. We often leave ours up for a few days, I usually find random things stuck to it. Presents from my people.)
So, then I wanted to see if K is actually retaining any of this. Sometimes he knows the letter, or he repeats D is for DINO! Sometimes I get a blind stare or he answers my question with any number of wrong words, like “pineapple, or rocket ship” super good try buddy. So, what I’m getting at, is he may be too young to be learning the actual letter, and that’s a-okay by me, I know he’s learning a lot. He’s learning patience, fine motor, and gross motor. He’s learning routine, independent play and how to be bored. So, when I prepared this next activity, that’s where my head was.
So, I wrote A, B, C, D on some extra large lima beans, in different colors, just 4 of each. Then I wrote, in the corresponding colors, A, B, C, D on the inside of some paper cupcake liners. And he totally got what I wanted him to do with very little prompting. BUT when I asked him what the letters were, they were all “D”. So, we just talked about colors and sorting, made silly fart noises and sang the Doc Mcstuffins song. He played with this activity a couple of times this week! At one point I pulled the beans out again and we played with them in some playdoh. Super fun. (Beans are a huge choking hazard, and they turn into mush, so their extra dangerous. Please, with any of these activities, always supervise and keep out of their reach!)
Then, we painted some toilet paper rolls. Real talk here, I have an obsession with collecting this kind of stuff, nothing is garbage anymore! I organized K’s “stuff” last week in his new room. (honestly, it’s like 90% my stuff. Those HUGE boxes of markers/colored pencils/crayons existed long before K was even thought about. The amount of paper I have hidden in this house from V, is really embarrassing. I went through a short phase where I spent an ungodly amount of money on scrapbook supplies. Then I made like 2 cute scrapbooks, and 10 years later, my kid is using this expensive ass paper as cutting practice. #killinit.)
Anyways. We painted TP rolls, (I’ve got those coming out my ears too), and we let them dry over night. The next morning, we cut them up to make “beads” and then I gave him some yarn and we…I made a super fun necklace, that K doesn’t care about. at all. Not even a little. sometimes activities don’t work, he will get down with painting weird stuff though. Sometimes I give him things from the recycling bin to paint. Genius right? (and free.)
I’m just now realizing that this necklace activity had nothing to do with the letter D. I have no idea where I was going with that one. Must be why he hated it.
One morning, K was being extra grumpy pants, and I had to get breakfast going and pack V’s lunch while J was still asleep. So, I grabbed a disposable aluminum cookie sheet (I LOVE THESE, another thing I use constantly, and they’re basically impossible to ruin, we’ve been using the same 4-5 of them for a year for this kind of stuff) and I quickly drew a “Dd” with shaving cream, and he played with that shaving cream for like 45 minutes. which, as I’m sure you know, is basically like 7 years in toddler time. Do this. Immediately. K smelled like after shave for a few hours. It was cute.
Some of the activities I come up with on the fly turn out to be the best ones! The activities that take a while to set up and are more intricate, like making TP roll necklaces, those are the kinds he doesn’t care about. Keep it simple.
Next we’ve got a letter D scramble sheet, PDF below! These are fun. Again, you can use just about anything for these. We used our Do-A-Dot Markers this week. But we could have used mini dinos, paint, markers, stickers, cereals, animal crackers! You could play with an eye dropper or a medicine syringe and drop colored water onto the sheet (inside an aluminum pan!) I assume all kiddos are like this, but K LOVES to play with household items. So, look around your house and use what you have! (or come to my house and take some of these markers! I’m not even playing with you, I probably have about 200 markers. Ehm, K has 200 markers.)
Next, we made a D is for DINO hat! I can’t remember where I found this to give credit at the moment, I’ll look into that. Anyways, we used 3 pieces of construction paper. I don’t know why I didn’t take pictures of this, because you should all definitely do this with your littles. Huge Hit, he wore it all week. To the grocery store, while at a pottery painting play date. (I’m getting so side tracked writing today!) So, It’s difficult to explain without pictures, so looks like we are making another d is for Dino hat so I can take pictures! To be continued.
I pulled out all the letter D books I could find from our collection, and when we went to the library to play with friends, we picked out a bunch of letter D books. Dinos in tractors, Ducks going potty, where do diggerssleep at night, Ducks in the Truck, DIG. You get the idea. So, I tried to make sure we read at least 1 “d” book each day. And we did. We read Dinosin tractors ev.er.y.day. multiple times a day. Sometimes Momma read it to K, sometimes K read it to J, sometimes K read it to himself. We haven’t even touched the other books. K is obsessed. I’m for sure going to have to order him one for his book shelf. Dinos driving tractors? Forget about it.
We painted with duplos. Super easy and he was into this for a while! We have quite a bit of super abstract art hanging on the fridge this week! Side note on this, rinse the paint off of the blocks immediately. Not that it was hard, this washable paint is the best, but I was not super excited to get paint out of those little crevasses.
Theres a few activities that I have in my arsenal that are guaranteed winners, and we always return to. This is one of them. I put his puzzle pieces in his sensory bins. This time we used some packing peanuts that I’ve added to my hoarder stash. Amazon doesn’t use packing peanuts, I wonder where these came from. Not important. As K says, “packing peanuts awesome”. So, we used, you guessed it, a D is for Dino puzzle this time, and I buried all the pieces. As he played with the packing peanuts, he found each piece, and put his puzzle together. Usually, then he’ll bury the pieces all by himself and do it over again. winner winner.
The next day we played with another sensory bin, his colored rice! I’ll post about that another time. I printed cards with pictures of things starting with D, buried them in his favorite rice, and taped up some sticky contact paper. He found each card in the rice, and stuck it to the wall as we talked about what the pictures were, counted them and such. (Those are not real bugs, btw. just a very effective distraction to the toddler. The week of Halloween, we played with toy cockroaches and bats in his rice sensory bin, and these little guys must have gotten left behind. I’d for sure burn my house down if I found a bug that big in it. Nope nope nope. )
After he lost interest in the cards, I was still enjoying my hot afternoon coffee, so I grabbed his mini dinosaurs and tossed them in his rice, along with a kitchen spoon and a metal bowl. I told him to save his Dinos, with only his spoons. I was trying to help him work with his left hand, but he’s much more comfortable with his right, so he wasn’t having my suggestion. Then I handed him another spoon, one for both hands, and that worked! He scooped and poured for quite a while. The metal bowl is important. Maybe not for all kids, but my kiddo LOVES the sound. So he drops stuff in the bowl and it clangs nice and loud and he loves it!
A lot of my friends worry about doing rice because the rice obviously goes everywhere but, in my house, the cleanup-time to play-time ratio makes this a #winner 100%. K has gotten A LOT better, but sometimes he gets wet and wild and that rice does end up everywhere. When he first started with the rice bins I opened up an entire sheet and put that on the floor. It makes clean up a breeze for the times that I look over and he’s dumped out all the rice out and is rolling in it like a pig, or better yet, when he pours it all over his head, down his shirt, and in his pants. this happens far too often.
He has a small toy broom and dust pan, and he knows we clean up together after rice. If he’s helpful, he gets what we call a helpful treat (a tictac) AND he gets to use the handheld vacuum to clean up the rice that escapes the sheet.. he’s awesome.
What do you think? What fun activities have you tried with your littles? If you try any of these, take pictures and please tag me! I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with. Here’s the PDF’s, Let me know if you have any problems. I’ll find a better way to post these, but for now, here ya go! As always, thanks for being here, and have a super rest of your weekend!