Fun and Easy Alphabet Activity with Plastic Easter Eggs

The teacher in me just could not put the Easter eggs away without turning them into a fun matching game for my girls. It took me five minutes to prepare by using only a Sharpie and a pile of plastic Easter eggs, and my girls loved it.

I chose to write one upper case and one lower case letter on both the top half and bottom half of each egg. My girls are just learning their lowercase letters, and I was worried that doing only an uppercase and lowercase match might be too difficult. When both types of letters are on both halves, younger kids can match capital letters but will still have the exposure to the lowercase letters. Here are three different ways I turned the A egg to show the options for matching that your kids will have if you write both types of letters on each half of the egg:

All you have to do is turn each half of the egg to show either the upper or lower case letter to change the way your child is matching.

You can also sneak in some color identification (ask for a specific color of egg) and fine motor skill development (through opening and closing the eggs) with this activity. 

After I labeled some eggs (I only did letters A through M to keep the number of eggs from overwhelming my young kids), I took them apart and dumped them on the ground with my girls. I then modeled for them how to choose one egg half, look at its color and letter, find a match and put the two halves together. I put down a basket for them to use to hold the completed eggs.

I plan on making eggs with letters N through Z in a few days, and I hope to pull out both sets occasionally for a quick and easy alphabet practice.

For more toddler alphabet activities, see https://livinginthedeepend.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/five-minute-alphabet-activity-for-toddlers/.

ABC I Spy Bottle

ABC I Spy 3

I made two of these ABC I Spy bottles for my toddlers this week, and they love them! It’s an easy way to give your child an additional exposure to the alphabet to help with letter recognition. You can also use it to help with color recognition, and it takes about 10 minutes and less than $10 to make.

I saw a different version of an I Spy bottle on Pinterest a few months ago with little trinkets in it from a blog called, “Meet the Dubiens” (http://www.meetthedubiens.com/2010/11/i-spy-bottles.html), and I thought adapting the idea would be a fun way to sneak in a learning opportunity for my twins.

All you need is 2-3 cups of a filler (I used a large bag of rice to make 3 bottles, but oatmeal, sand, salt, quinoa, or any small particle filler that is in your pantry), a Voss brand water bottle from the water section at your grocery store (or any other clear plastic container with a tight-fitting lid) and a set of alphabet magnets, alphabet beads or alphabet foam stickers. You might also want a funnel or a piece of paper you can roll to help get the filler into the bottle.

Materials for ABC I Spy Bottle

Peel the labels off of the bottle, and empty out the water. (For costing more than $1 a bottle, I couldn’t tell the Voss water tasted any different than other water…sorry, Voss). Then put the bottle upside down on a towel for a minute to get out as much moisture as possible so the rice or filler won’t stick to the side of the bottle.

Then alternate adding a letter and some rice. A funnel or piece of paper rolled into a cone can be helpful to keep the rice from getting everywhere, but if you don’t mind a mess you can use your hands. Putting rice between each letter seemed to keep the magnets on my letters from sticking to one another as much.

Choose the letters you’d like to put in carefully. I used only capital letters because my girls are still learning their alphabet, but you can use a mix of capital and lowercase or only lowercase, too. (I was hoping to make sure my girls’ bottles each had the letters for their names, but my set of letters used to be in my first grade classroom, and quite a few were missing).

Continue alternating the filler and the letters until you have about an inch gap from the top of the filler to the bottom of where the lid sits. A bigger gap seemed to make it easier to shake around. Then put the lid on and see what you think.

I found that about 15 of my larger, magnetic letters filled the bottle without making it too crowded, but it took me several attempts of shaking and taking out letters before I found the right balance.  Smaller alphabet beads or foam stickers will take up much less room, so you might be able to get the whole alphabet in the bottle.

Once you get the filler to letter ratio just right so that your child can easily shake the bottle and uncover a new letter, close the lid tightly.  You can glue the lid down if you think your child might be able to open it. I chose to keep mine unglued so I can change it out in the future with different letters or objects.

Then ask your child to see what letters he or she can find. Show him or her how to turn and shake the bottle to find the hidden letters. You can turn it into a little scavenger hunt by asking your child to find either a specific letter or a letter that is a specific color.

We’ve taken ours in the car and will keep them in the diaper bag for restaurants and other places where a busy activity might come in handy. It’s not completely quiet when you shake and turn it, so beware if you pull it out at church or somewhere quiet.

Happy I Spy-ing!

Five Minute Alphabet Activity for Toddlers

I always love finding a quick and easy learning activity to do with my munchkins.  Maybe it satisfies the teacher part of my brain or gives us something different to mix up our daily routine.  Either way, here is a very quick and easy activity I did with my girls last week. It focuses on capital letter recognition, color recognition and alphabetical order. Kids will be active during the activity, too, so it’s great for a snowy morning when you’re stuck inside. 

All you need is scissors, 13 pages of some kind of colored paper and a marker.

I then cut the pages into half sheets so I’d have 26 half sheets.  I tried to mix the colors in so I’d have a big assortment of colors that my girls would recognize, but you could do this with plain white paper, too.

I sat on the floor with my girls while I wrote a large capital letter on each page.  I talked about the shape and name of each letter while I wrote. (I think my almost two year olds only listened to one letter each before running away with a paper with a letter on it.)

For older kids who know all 26 capital letters, you can do lower case letters only or could write the pair of lower and upper case letters.  

We then laid all of the letters in a long line across the floor in alphabetical order.  I said each letter name when I put it down, and if one was missing, I’d send the munchkins to look for it and help me put it in the right place.

I then showed the girls how to sing the alphabet and hop from one letter to the next as they sang the song. I had them hop behind me, then I carried each child and helped her hop on to the correct letter while we sang the song. They really loved this!

I then had them try.

You can see the letters got a little mixed up and layered, but the girls still had fun. 

I did a littler scavenger hunt for them at the end.  I first asked each one to find me a specific letter. If they didn’t get the correct one, I helped them find the correct one and then pointed out the differences in the two letters so they’d have a little better understanding. We specifically practiced E and F last time.

We also did a color sort at the end, stacking all the blue letters, then the red, etc.  

I made sure to pick up the letters pretty soon after the girls lost interest so I’d have them to use again in the future.  They’ve asked for their alphabet two different days now!  I think I’ve had to replace two or three letters, but it was fast and easy.

Even if your toddlers or older kids only play for a few minutes, at least you didn’t spend much time creating an activity.  And it’s a pretty easy way to help them learn the alphabet song and at least one new letter every time!