Pre-school Theme Day
Letter “J” Day
To help my 3 year old son learn that the alphabet was more than just a song, we had letter days. Having them individually helped him to recognize that each letter is different just like each shape is different. After our theme day we’d review that letter for the week until the next theme day.
Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do and in what order.
The obvious choice for letter days is the “ABCD...” alphabet song - http://www.kididdles.com/lyrics/a004.html
Many different Children’s Music Recordings have other alphabet songs (like Sharon, Lois and Bram), check your children’s collections to see what you have on hand.
There are songs that emphasize the sound of each letter, too (One sounds like “Farmer in the Dell” but says “J says jah, J says jah, every letter makes a sound, J says jah”).
You can find many free colouring pages online by using your favourite search engine and typing in “Alphabet Coloring Pages ” (you can often find alphabet pages with favourite characters on them too like the Sesame Street Characters) or print out my “Big J Little j” Colouring Page.
While colouring the page, emphasize the shape by helping your child trace it with his/her finger and emphasize the sound (for Letter J day emphasize the sound “ja” ).
Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any alphabet books.
Go to the library with your child to find some alphabet books.
Go to the library on your own to find alphabet books to have already on hand for your theme day. Many libraries allow you to go online and search for titles based on subject (search for “alphabet” under “Children’s Books”). Reserve them if you can to save time.
Try to find some of these fun alphabet books:
· The A to Z Beastly Jamboree, by Robert Bender, Lodestar Books, 1996 – Each page of this alphabet book has a humorous picture of an animal doing an action that starts with the same letter.
· The Jazzy Alphabet, by Sherry Shahan and illustrated by Mary Thelen, Philomel Books, 2002 – This brightly illustrated book has jazzy fun while looking at each letter of the alphabet.
· Jeepers Creepers: A Monstrous ABC, by Laura Leuck and illustrated by David Parkins, Chronicle Books, 2003 – Twenty-six monsters, each with a name that starts with each letter of the alphabet, go to school and are surprised by what they see in their “Creepy Creatures ABC.”
· J is for Jamaica, by Benjamin Zephaniah and photographs by Prodeepta Das, Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2006 – With photographs from Jamaica and rhyming text this alphabet book looks at things unique to the island country like ackee fruit, cricket, Kingston etc..
· Journey Around New York from A to Z, by Martha and Heather Zschock, Commonwealth Editions, 2002 – This informative alphabet book offers a brief alliterative text in a framed picture and then under a larger one gives the reader some New York history.
· Jousting with Jesters: An ABC for the Younger Dragon, by Martin Springett, This fun alphabet book has a little dragon who grows with each page on a quest to find his flame and on his journey there are many things he must do (all beginning with each letter of the alphabet in fun phrases of alliteration). There are also many hidden things that start with each letter in the illustrations, making it a fun search and find book, as well.
Letter J Collage:
Materials: A copy of my Jj worksheet, old magazines, child-safe scissors, washable glue stick, damp facecloth for sticky fingers.
Step 1: Look through old magazines with your child and together look for things that start with the letter J.
Step 2: Help your child cut out the letter H pictures from the magazine to make a pile of pictures to glue on the Jj worksheet.
Step 3: Show your child how to glue the pictures onto the collage and then let him/her glue the pictures on the paper however he/she likes.
Step 4: When the collage is dry display (fridge, bulletin board, child’s door) or glue into Family Theme Scrapbook.
Letter J Sticker Collage:
Materials: Coloured paper, stickers of things that start with the letter J (or of the letter J if you can find some alphabet stickers).
Step 1: Have your child pick the colour of paper to use for the background
Step 2: Give your child the stickers and let him/her stick them to the coloured paper however he/she wants.
Jar Rim Stamps:
Materials: empty jars of different sizes, paints, paint brush, a copy of my Jj worksheet , cloth for messy fingers, art smock or old shirt to wear, newspaper or plastic to cover the work space .
Step 1: Have your child pick the colour(s) of paint he/she wants to use.
Step 2: Remind your child that the word jar starts with the “ja” sound.
Step 3: Let your child draw all over the Jj page with washable markers.
Step 4: Show your chid how to take a paint brush and coat the jar rim with paint and then press it on the worksheet to leave a circle.
Step 5: Let it dry and then display or glue in your Family Theme Day Scrapbook.
Serve some jelly or jam on toast or crackers for a Letter J snack.
For something different snack on some beef jerky for this theme day.
Any type of Juice would be the perfect drink for this theme day.
For a sweet treat try some ju-jube candies.
If you can find some make a sandwich with Jarlsberg cheese.
Make some Japanese cuisine (a stir-fry or noodle soup, or sushi-maki rolls from the grocery deil would be the easiest) or go to a restaurant for a treat for a Letter “J” dinner.
Make some jambalaya (search your cookbooks or look online for a recipe).
Make some jerk chicken using jerk seasoning for some spicy poultry.
Make some Jello in the afternoon for a jiggly J dessert.
Materials: A copy of my Alphabet Chart (from Letter A day displayed on your fridge or on a bulletin board), a copy of the Cut-out JjCard, markers or crayons, child-safe scissors, glue-stick, face cloth for sticky fingers.
· Step 1: Lead your child to the Alphabet Chart on your fridge, bulletin board or taped to a wall and review the Letters A to I
· Step 2: Have your child colour the Cut-out Jj Card.
· Step 3: Help your child cut the letter Jj card out.
· Step 4: Have your child apply glue to the back of the Jj card and glue it on the Alphabet Chart (or you can have your child use tape) in the appropriate spot.
· Step 5: Review what letter it is and what sound it is throughout the week by pointing to the chart.
Fill a pie plate with sand, sugar or salt and teach your child how to trace the letter J in the sand. When you are finished tracing dump the sand in a re-sealable bag to use on another day.
Review the entire alphabet by using a set of flash cards (found at book stores, educational stores, even craft stores) or make your own by writing each letter on an individual index card.
There are many different websites that offer games for preschoolers. You can find them by looking up your child’s favourite television characters. Here are two from the Sesame Street website:
Big Bird’s Letters is a simple game because it only involves your child pressing any letter on the keyboard and then the letter appears along with a picture that starts with that letter:
Letters to Big Bird is another alphabet game to play together. In this game Big Bird literally receives a letter in his mail box and your child has to click on something on his shelf that starts with that letter:
Play “I Spy With My Little Eye” only trying to find things that start with the letter J.
This is similar to “I Spy” in that you walk around your neighbourhood and try to find things that start with different letters of the alphabet. For Letter I Day find things that start with J. You can also do this while in a car or bus etc..
If you have an alphabet puzzle this theme day is the perfect time to play with it together.
Play with any other educational toys that focus on the alphabet.
Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library before hand or the Video Store) to find your child’s favourite shows with a focus on teaching the alphabet.
Try to find these titles:
· Blue’s Room: Alphabet Power, Viacom International Inc., 2005 – This DVD has two episodes of blue’s Room and two of Blue’s Clues. The first two shows deal with the alphabet and the last two more with writing and reading.
· Pocket Snails: Letter Adventure, Soaring Star Productions, 2004 – These two simple shows are about three snails who live in a little boy’s pocket who help him learn the alphabet by taking photos of them in Letter Land. One show highlights the Upper Case letters and the other is identical except it showcases the Lower Case letter. There is no focus on the phonetic sounds of the alphabet in these shows but the repetition makes it a good show to reinforce letter recognition.
· Rock n’ Learn: Alphabet Exercise, Rock ‘N Learn, Inc., 2005 – this show has a song for every letter of the alphabet that also incorporates movement like S for Spin and T for Twist.
· Sesame Street: All-Start Alphabet – There’s So Much to See Between A and Z!, Sesame Workshop, 2005 – This fun DVD has capital A and Z interviewing people at a mall about the alphabet while also highlighting each letter with individual skits from the show Sesame Street. Adults might enjoy it because it includes segments with Sheryl Crow, Norah Jones, and the Dixie Chicks to name a few of the celebrities featured.
· Sesame Street: Learning About Letters, Children’s Television Workshop, 1986 – This is a great video using classic clips (that I remember as a child) throughout as Big Bird and friends search for things that start with each letter of the alphabet.
· Sharon, Lois & Bram ABC’s: Alphabet sing & dance-along, elephant Records, 2003 – this one reviews the alphabet using different songs about things that start with different letters.
J is for jellyfish
Letter “J” Collage
Photo: C Wright
Letter “J” Sticker Collage
Jar Rim Stamps
Letter tracing in sugar
J is for Joshua Tree
Photo: C Wright