Pre-school Theme Days
Letter “X” 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 “the “ABCDEFG...” alphabet song that most of us learned in school- http://www.kididdles.com/lyrics/a004.html
Many different Children’s Music Recordings have other alphabet songs (like Sharon, Lois and Bram’s “Alphabet Medley” from their Travellin’ Tunes album), check your children’s collections to see what you have on hand.
There are songs that emphasize the sound of each letter, too (The one that we know sounds like “Farmer in the Dell” but goes “X says ex, and X says zzzz, every letter makes a sound, X says ex and zzzz).
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 X Little x” Coloring Page.
While coloring the page emphasize the shape by helping your child trace it with his/her finger and emphasize the sound (for Letter X day emphasize the sound ex and zzzz).
Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any alphabet books.
Go to the library with your child to find some alphabet books on.
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.
Here are some more alphabet books to read if you can find them:
· Alphabet Adventure, by Audrey Wood and illustrated by Bruce Wood, The Blue Sky Press, 2001—The little letters are the characters in this story. As they prepare to go to a school to help a boy little letter “I” loses it’s dot.
· Dr. Seuss’s ABC, by Dr. Seuss, Random House, 1963—This classic rhyming alphabet book is full of Dr. Suess’s whimsical drawings and creatures.
LETTER X COLLAGE:
Materials: A copy of my Xx 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 X (which may be a challenge so try looking for the Letter X instead).
Step 2: Help your child cut out the letter X pictures from the magazine to make a pile of pictures to glue on the Xx 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 X STICKER COLLAGE:
Materials: Coloured paper, stickers of things that start with the letter X if you can find any (we couldn’t) or instead use stickers of the letter X.
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.
“X” MARKS THE SPOT POTATO STAMPS:
Materials: A small potato (and a knife for adult use only), some tempura or acrylic paint, waxed paper, a copy of my Xx worksheet, scrap paper, newspaper or plastic to cover the table, an art smock or old clothes to wear.
Step 1: Adult step only - Cut the potato in half and carve an “X” in the potato.
Step 2: Remind your child of the “X” sounds.
Step 3: Put some paint on the waxed paper and show your child how to dip the potato stamp in the paint and then press it on the scrap paper to get rid of excess paint.
Step 4: Stamp the potato on the Xx worksheet.
Step 5: Let it dry and then display or glue in your Family Theme Day Scrapbook.
If you are feeling ambitious in the morning make some X pancakes. Put the batter in a re-sealable bag and then snipe the corner to draw a letter X with the batter on the hot griddle or skillet.
I discovered that xigua is Chinese for watermelon so you could serve that for a Letter X snack.
I also discovered something called Xavier Soup (A cream soup or consommé thickened with arrowroot or rice flour and garnished with diced chicken) so we had cream of chicken soup as a substitute.
“X” Marks the Spot Mini Pizzas:
Ingredients: English muffins, pizza sauce (or tomato sauce with dried Italian seasoning and garlic powder added), mozzarella cheese, pepperoni sticks cut into small coins (or for a veggie version use red, orange or yellow pepper).
Step 1: Cut the muffins in half and lay them on a cookie sheet to toast under a broiler for 2 minutes (or put in a toaster).
Step 2: Spread pizza (or tomato) sauce on the toasted muffin halves.
Step 3: Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the sauce.
Step 4: Arrange the pepperoni coins (or diced pepper) in an “X” shape.
Step 5: Cook in oven until the cheese has melted about 5 to 10 minutes.
I discovered something called Xavier steak which is basically a cooked steak with asparagus placed in an “X” formation on top and cheese sprinkled over that.DESSERT:
“X” Marks the Spot Cup Cakes: Make your child’s favourite flavour of cupcakes and then strip the top with an “X” in icing.
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 Xx 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 W
Step 2: Have your child colour the Cut-out Xx Card.
Step 3: Help your child cut the letter Xx card out.
Step 4: Have your child apply glue to the back of the Xx 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 X 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 X( which might be a challenge) or signs that have the Letter X in them.
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 X Day find things that start with X (which might be a challenge) or signs that have the Letter X in them. 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.
Play X’s and O’s for this theme day!
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 an alphabet theme.
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.
X is for xylophone
Photo: C Wright
Letter “X” Collage
Letter “X” Sticker Collage
“X” Marks the Spot Potato Stamps
Letter tracing in sugar
Play X’s and O’s for Letter X Day