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Toddler Talk: The Alphabet Tree

This fun and engaging letter recognition and word-building activity only requires paper, alphabet stamps and a wee bit of wall space. It can be done easily with one child, or with a group, and any kiddo working on letters, words or reading will be able to learn, explore and have fun. It is kid tested and preschool teacher approved!

If you haven't read Leo Lionni's book The Alphabet Tree, you should. It is a very sweet story about a tree, with many leaves, filled with letters. With the help of a cute bug, the letters come together to make words, and the words come together to build sentences. It is one of those stories that preschool teachers or stay-at-home-parents love because it is enjoyable to read and gets kids excited about learning.

As a connection to The Alphabet Tree I set out this open-ended activity for my preschoolers to enjoy. Follow these steps, and your kids can enjoy it, too:

1. Create Your Tray

Our tray has a variety of paper leaves (small and large), a set of capital letter stamps, a washable ink pad, and a copy of The Alphabet Tree.

2. Make Your Tree

We made a construction paper tree to hang on our wall. We taped a bunch of pieces of paper together, drew our tree, cut it out and hung it up. Pretty simple!

3. Learn!

I left this activity out for two weeks, and the kids were able to use it off and on as part of our daily center time. Many came back to it day after day, and enjoyed coming up with new words. Some kids simply enjoyed using the stamps and finding their favorite letters. Others took it further and began to write words that could go together to build a sentence! What is wonderful about this activity is that it invites kids to explore, build and create. They can use it over and over, at their level, and take from it what they are ready for. At home you could put up the tree and leave the tray out on a shelf, or small table, for kids to come use for several weeks. No matter how they use it, they will be learning about the alphabet and having fun!

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