Sister-Bug is three-and-a-half. She is in the thick of preschool games, most particularly learning the alphabet and numerals. It's a lot of work for her and different work for me. I think Brother-Bug was born knowing the alphabet. He could identify all the letters before he was two. Sister-Bug is different; she can hear a song and sing it back immediately, but the alphabet still eludes her sometimes. So we are working on it.
One letter a week.
Each week I print out a coloring page or two, maybe a dot-to-dot, maybe a simple worksheet, that focus around our Letter of the Week. She works on those while I help Brother-Bug with his spelling or knitting or math. These are simple fillers for her to do independently and buy me a little time.
We printed out the Flower Fairies Alphabet and we use our image to make a flash card. She helps me cut, glue, and “laminate” (with packing tape) each card. Now that we have several cards done, she's using the fairies in imagination games. “Hi! I'm the D Fairy!” Making simple flash cards like this is fun because you can choose any images to go with your child's interest.
We do an art project that creates that letter. Usually I squeeze glue onto the paper in the letter shape and she uses something like beans to make a tactile letter.
At the end of the week I give her a small ziplock bag and we go on a treasure hunt to fill that bag. Her fairy card and cloth letter go in. Her B-Bag had a blue button, a brown block, a bee, a bear, and so on. She loves unpacking the bag to show Papa-Bug all the alphabet things she found.
I mentioned a cloth letter. I saved it for last because it is our favorite project so far. I thought someone out there might want to make their own set.
We have been raiding scrap bins, looking for fabrics that have clearly identifiable, preschool friendly prints. Apples, Blue, Cherries… We make a large letter out of the appropriate fabric. Sister-Bug helps me with the whole process – learning ironing, sewing machine, and cutting skills as well as the alphabet.
To make your own alphabet, you will need: 26 different scraps – each about 4×6, felt, fusible web, thread, iron, sewing machine.
Like I said, we chose fabrics to illustrate the letter, but you don't have to do that. You could use old clothes, all denim, cool batiks…whatever you find.
1) Iron the web onto the fabric and then onto your felt.
I love teaching basic skills like ironing early on, helping my kids feel competent with adult tools as soon as they are old enough to be mostly safe. She feels super big here, using the iron on her own!
2) Mark your letter and cut it out. We are doing basic capital letters. You could do upper and lower case, d'Nealian, a favorite font… I'm thinking of making Sister-Bug the lower case letters for her birthday.
3) Zig-zag stitch around the edges.
4) Play and learn and enjoy.
The No-Sew VersionIf you don't have sewing machine skills, you could use Tacky glue instead of the fusible web. The web won't hold the felt and fabric together for long. But you can cut your fabric letter, tacky glue it to some felt, and then cut around the letter when the glue is dry.
These letters have been fun and really helping my tactile child get the letters under her fingers and into her head. We will be able to use them for some simple word games and spelling also. I'm so excited to see the full set laid out. We are only on E…21 to go!
Finally, a big thank you to all our friends and family who have dug into their fabric bins and helped us add to our alphabet stack. Because of your generosity, there are only a few letters we need to fill in. Thank you.