Pre-school Theme Day
Letter “M” 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 of song 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 “M says mmm, M says mmma, every letter makes a sound, M says mmm”).
You can find many free colouring pages online by using your favourite search engine and typing in “Alphabet Coloring Pages ” or print out my “Big M Little m” 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 M day emphasize the sound “mmm” ).
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 ABC Mystery, story and pictures by Doug Cushman, , Harper Collins Publishers, 1993 – Inspector McGroom searches for the missing art in this alphabet book that tells a story.
· Marimba! Animales from A to Z, by Pat Mora and illustrated by Doug Cushman, Clarion Books, 2006 – In this book the animals (alphabetical of course) in a zoo party while the zoo keepers sleep. What makes this rhyming book different is that the animals are given their Spanish names making this a language book as well as an alphabet book.
· Maze Ways: A to Z, by Roxie Munro, Sterling, 2007 – This is a great interactive book. Each page has a picture in the shape of a letter and it gives search and find directions for each puzzle. We had lots of fun with this book.
· M is for Meow: A Cat Alphabet, written by Helen L. Wilbur and illustrated by Robert Papp, Sleeping Bear Press, 2007 – Gorgeous paintings adorn this book that looks at cats. Each letter has a rhyming verse and includes on the side additional information about the history of cats.
· M is for Music, by Kathleen Krull and illustrated by Stacy Innerst, Harcourt, Inc.- These unique illustrations using paintings words look at all sorts of musical things from songs, to bands, instruments to musical language.
· Museum ABC, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Little, Brown and Company, 2002 – Using art from the New York museum, each alphabetical page offers four distinct pictures to represent on alphabetical item like “A is for apple” and “B is for boat.”
· On Market Street, Pictures by Anita Lobel and words by Arnold Lobel, Green willow Books, 1981 – The illustrations are unique in this book as they are people made up of different objects (like A for apples has a body full of apples) which makes this a fun book to look through when learning the alphabet.
LETTER M COLLAGE:
Materials: A copy of my Mm 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 M as well as the Letter M itself.
Step 2: Help your child cut out the letter L pictures from the magazine to make a pile of pictures to glue on the Mm 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 M STICKER COLLAGE:
Materials: Coloured paper, stickers of things that start with the letter M (or of the letter M from 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.
Materials: A copy of my Mm worksheet , marshmallows (mini or large or both), paint, waxed paper, scrap piece of paper, newspaper or plastic to spread over work table, old clothes or an art smock to protect clothes from the paint.
Step 1: Remind your child that the word marshmallow starts with the “mmm” sound. Tell your child that he/she can eat some marshmallows AFTER the craft is finished.
Step 2: Put some paint (let your child choose the colour/colours) on the waxed paper.
Step 3: Show your child how to dip the marshmallow in the paint and then remove excess paint by stamping on a scrap piece of paper.
Step 4: Show your child how to stamp the paint dipped marshmallow on the Mm worksheet to leave a marshmallow print.
Step 5: Let your child dip and stamp.
Step 6: Let it dry and then display or glue in your Family Theme Day Scrapbook.
Materials: A copy of my Mm worksheet , glue-stick, a piece of coloured paper, dried macaroni noodles, white glue, newspaper or plastic to spread over work table, damp cloth for sticky fingers.
Step 1: Remind your child that the word macaroni starts with the “mmm” sound.
Step 2: Glue (using a glue stick) the Mm worksheet to a piece of coloured paper or harder construction paper to make it more sturdy.
Step 3: Show your child how to put white glue on the Mm worksheet .
Step 4: Show your child how to press the macaroni in the glue and then let him/her arrange the macaroni on the page however he/she likes.
Step 4: Let it dry and then display.
OTHER: Let your child decorate, colour or draw on a Mm worksheet using markers!
Marmalade on toast is an easy Letter M snack.
Bake some homemade muffins together.
For a fruity Letter M snack serve up some mandarin oranges (fresh or from a can) or mango.
A slice of mozzarella cheese is another Letter M snack.
Serve a glass of milk along with your Letter M snack.
For a special treat give your child some marshmallows as a sweet snack (perhaps before using them as stamps in the above craft).
Make some whole wheat macaroni for lunch and mix in some tomato sauce or cream cheese and parmesan.
Spread some mustard on a sandwich at lunch time.
Make some pasta with marinara sauce for a quick Letter M meal. For an extra Letter M add some meatballs.
Anything with mushrooms in it would also work for this theme day (if your child likes them or is willing to try).
Mashed potatoes would make a perfect Letter M side at dinner time.
Make a homemade milk shake for a dinner time treat.
For a sweet end to Letter M day serve some chocolate mousse or marble cake or mud pie.
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 Mm Card, 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 L
Step 2: Have your child colour the Cut-out Mm Card.
Step 3: Help your child cut the letter Mm card out.
Step 4: Have your child apply glue to the back of the Mm 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 M 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 chid 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 M.
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 M Day find things that start with M. 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.
M is for mountains
Photo: C Wright
Letter “M” Collage
Letter “M” Sticker Collage
Letter tracing in sugar
M is for Meerkat
M is for Monster Truck
Photo: C Wright
Photo: C Wright