Tot School Wk 1 – Letter A

After my last update where she recognised Letter A in a walk around the park, she had subsequently recognised “X” and “B”, “E”, “R” and pronounced them accurately. Her favourite letter to utter is still “O”. She would spot “O” around us, such as, on T-shirt wordings, on books, on signs outside and say out loud, “O! O!”. She’s always so excited to tell me the letter that she knows.

However, I noticed that she still confuses “A” with “E” sometimes and says it as “E”. Hence, I decided it’s time to start her on some alphabet and words craft activities. We could have more fun learning and have some mother-child bonding time.

Her Learning 

Up until now, I had always just been reading books to her and showing her story videos or YouTube videos on alphabet and numbers. She watched story videos on iPad at first and has now progressed to the big television, watching scholastic story videos, LeapFrog Letter Factory or YouTube videos directly on our smart TV. The screen is bigger so it’s better for her eyesight. She had been getting too much screen time lately when I’m busy with the photo projects and I felt somewhat guilty. So it’s really time to do more craft activities with her and limit her watching.

If you are interested, the YouTube channels she watches are “Dave and Ava”, “Baby Bus”, “Super Simple Songs” and sometimes, “Chu Chu TV Surprise Eggs”. She loves “Eggs” a lot so I’ll show it to her sometimes but for the majority of the time, she watches the cute nursery rhymes songs, alphabet and number songs for learning. “Baby Bus” even have Chinese songs and I’ll play it for her once in a while. 

Before Starting, Materials Needed: 

  • I gathered ideas on Letter A activities from the web, saving pictures for our reference.
  • A4 size thick paper (at least 120gsm): White and Coloured. These are for colouring and pasting on.
  • Colouring materials for the toddler: (Erasable for less mess) Crayons, Markers, Paints, Finger Paints, Do-A-Dot Markers, Brushes, Art Palette 
  • Printer (optional), Can always draw out the Letters ourselves.
  • A file to hold our activities. Using a Ring Binder file with A4 sheet protectors and dividers.
  • A4 clear file/pocket file to hold printed sheets/scrap papers for the lesson.
  • Glue Sticks / Craft Glue 
  • Scissors 
  • Black Marker pen
  • A notebook to note down ideas for craft, plan and observations/outcomes
  • Post-it Notes to paste on the notebook for planning purpose.

Tot School Wk 1 (Wk 41) – Letter A

I began with not much materials on hand as it was a sudden decision. I saw how well she took to scribbling and painting in our home art lesson and decided to start on Tuesday morning. Fortunately, I had several art materials and papers bought since the time I did Tot School with Dar. It had been stored in a cabinet for so long! He didn’t use much of them since he went to childcare quite soon after a few weeks of Tot School in 2009-2010. He also disliked getting his hand dirty that time or doing craft with me. 

Plan for Letter Learning:

  • Instead of doing one letter per week, I’m stretching it out to several weeks (We have a lot of time!)
  • I’m doing as many “Words that begin with A” for her exposure instead of just focusing on Letter A and its short vowel sound.
  • When I feel that she has enough, I would switch to another letter. After a round of alphabet, we would come back to Letter A again to continue more words exposure or do more thematic activities.

Day 1

Letter A is for Alligator 

We started with the common Letter A is for Alligator Activity. The craft idea is from She has the entire Letter of the Week crafts! I would be using some of her ideas and ideas sourced all over the Internet. I made the outline of the Letter A myself though and didn’t use hers. 

*Scroll Right on the little arrow in the Instagram pic for behind-the-scene picture of her doing the activity

Outcome: Due to this activity, she recognised “A for Alligator” in an alphabet book that we were reading as a side-activity and always want to take this paper out or point to it when she sees an alligator drawing/picture or hear me say “alligator”.

Letter A is for Apple (Activity #1)

I found this worksheet (download here) while searching for Letter A Activities. As I had Do-A-Dot markers from long time ago, it was apt to use this with Ling to start her first “Do-A-Dot” activity. She didn’t know how to stamp down the marker at first so I had to guide her.

Most of the colouring is guided as she kept stamping “out of the lines”. She also didn’t enjoy stamping only 1 colour, making light minimum marks only. I guess she still prefers playing with different colours and scribbling (when using different colours and doing free expression, she could keep at it for an hour!).

*Scroll Right on the little arrow in the Instagram pic for behind-the-scene picture of her doing the activity

Day 2

Letter A is for Apple (Activity #2)

Sometimes ideas just spring out of my mind in our daily life. I let her eat apples occasionally in the evening as snack but that morning, she happened to be peering into my fridge when I opened it and discovered the small cherry apples I pack for Dar’s snack. Thus, I cut it for her and let her eat it during breakfast. Then, an idea struck me to use the apple peels to do a craft work since the juice always stains things. *Scroll Right on the little arrow in the Instagram pic for behind-the-scene pictures of her doing the activity

  1. Circle Outline: I asked her to draw one circle using a red crayon as she is able to draw recently. She moved two rounds. It looked too lonely, so I decided to let her draw one more. She overlapped the second one. 
  2. Body Staining: I like it that she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty and is game to try anything I throw to her. I showed her how to rub the peels on to the paper and she helped moved the peels around to stain the body.
  3. I took out our finger paints and she was excited again. She just loves new materials to play with. I pressed her fingers into the paint and held her finger to dab the green leaves and the brown stalk, showing her how to “colour with fingers”. 

Spontaneous Activity – < Finger Paint ArtWork >

She wanted to play some more so I took out the rest of the tubs of yellow and red and let her play with four colours for the next 25 minutes she painted with her index finger or swiped across the paper. Read the post on “ArtTimeWithMe” for the details (next post coming up).

Day 3

Letter A is for Apple / Apple Tree (Activity #3)

We did small letter a on the third day after reading these books which I borrowed from the library, to introduce her to “Apple” and “Apple Trees”.

Letter a for apple craft:

  1. First, I drew a letter a, freehand. You can also print it out from various websites or use Photoshop to do an outline of a letter.
  2. I let her colour the “a” with red crayon. She was resistant as she prefer scribbling everywhere (still new to the idea of colouring). Hence, I gave her red marker and guided her hand to write the letter a or helped her scribble more. She “coloured” according to where I pointed on the paper. Sometimes, she still goes everywhere. 
  3. I drew a stalk, leaf and five black seeds. She coloured the stalk and leaf too with some scribbles.
  4. Cut out the “a” and let her glue and paste onto a piece of coloured paper (use at least 120gsm). 
  5. She loves pasting and enjoyed putting on the glue and tapping down. I said, “tap tap tap!” and made loud banging sounds and she found it funny.
  6. I asked her to paste the stalk and leaf, directing her to the point to press down. She followed my instructions. 
  7. I’m also surprised by the way she carefully pasted little black seed in a circle way according to my instructions and the reference picture I showed her. (see third pic). However, the UHU glue kept sticking to her fingers so she had a hard time pressing it down firmly. Once she lifted off her finger, the seed came up again. I had to help her press it down. One of the seeds is thus misaligned but it’s alright as it’s her own work. We shouldn’t try to make it perfect.

When the picture was completed, she kept pointing to my reference picture on the phone and comparing with her picture, laughing at the “duplicate”. Somehow “things in two” always makes her smile or laugh.

She would also keep saying loudly, “A! A! A!” while pointing to the phone reference pic and her picture. 

My objective of getting her to recognise the Letter A and a and pronouncing it accurately is met!

A Happy and Satisfied Ling with her Craftwork

Thus, our first week of Tot School went successfully well! I’m encouraged to do more. Look out for more of our home learning activities in our Instagram, @ourbabyoflove or on the blog.

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