Pre-school Theme Day
Letter “U” 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 “U says you, and U says uh, every letter makes a sound, U says you and uh”).
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 U Little u” 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 U day emphasize the sounds “you” and “uh” ).
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:
· Michael Rosen’s ABC, by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Bee Willey, The Millbrook Press, Inc., 1996 – Each letter has poem full of alliteration as well as wonderfully fun illustrations with lots to examine.
· The Turn-Around Upside-Down Alphabet Book, by Lisa Campbell Ernst, Simon & Schuster Books, 2004 – This is the most unique alphabet book I’ve seen. Each page has a square with a coloured letter in it and you turn the book to view the letter from different sides to see what each letter can look like.
LETTER U COLLAGE:
Materials: A copy of my Uu Worksheet old magazines, child-safe scissors, washable glue stick, damp facecloth for sticky fingers.
Step 1: Look through old magazines together with your child and together look for things that start with the letter U and the letter U as well since it is difficult to find a lot of U things.
Step 2: Help your child cut out the letter V pictures from the magazine to make a pile of pictures to glue on the Uu 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 U STICKER COLLAGE:
Materials: Coloured paper, stickers of things that start with the letter U (or of the letter U if you have 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.
Up (arrow) Stencils:
Materials: Construction paper (harder paper), a copy of my Uu Worksheet, paint and paintbrush, newspaper or plastic to cover work table, art smock or old clothes to wear when painting., craft knife (for adult use only)
Step 1: Cut the shape of an arrow out of the construction paper using a craft knife on a chopping board.
Step 2: Remind your child that the word “up” starts with the “uh” sound and show how the arrow you have cut out and the shape it makes in the construction paper is pointing up.
Step 3: Let your child choose the paint colour and then place both the construction paper arrow and the arrow “hole” on the worksheet.
Step 4: Show your child how to paint around the cut out arrow and in the hole of the arrow on the construction paper to make stencil pictures of the up arrow and then let him/her paint up arrows on the worksheet.
Step 5: Let the paint dry and then display or glue into your Family Theme Day Scrapbook.
Apparently there is a type of Jamaican citrus fruit called an ugli fruit. If you can find some of that (we couldn't) try it for a snack on this theme day.
Draw a “U” in some yogurt in a bowl or on a plate by using chocolate sauce or strawberry ice-cream syrup.
Celery U’s on a Bagel
Ingredients: Bagel cut in half, cream cheese, celery.
Step 1: Spread cream cheese on a sliced bagel.
Step 2: Chop a piece of celery width wise into small U’s.
Step 3: Place the U’s on top of the bagel and serve your open-faced sandwich.
Serve some udon noodles (a type of Japanese noodles) for dinner.
Udo is a type of Japanese vegetable similar to asparagus so if you cannot find udo try serving asparagus.
Pineapple Upside-down cake or cupcakes (we tried this one: http://familyfun.go.com/recipes/pineapple-upside-down-cupcakes-784734/).
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 Uu 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 T
Step 2: Have your child colour the Cut-out Uu Card.
Step 3: Help your child cut the letter Uu card out.
Step 4: Have your child apply glue to the back of the Uu card and glue it on the Alphabet Chart (or you can have your child use tape).
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 U 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 U.
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 U Day find things that start with U. 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 and 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.
U is for umbrella
Photo: C Wright
Letter “U” Collage
Letter “U” Sticker Collage
Up (Arrow) Stencil Picture
Up (Arrow) Stencils
Letter tracing in sugar