Personalized Character Alphabet Book

IMG 0892 500x333 Personalized Character Alphabet Book


Little Brother is slightly character-obsessed.  He loves characters from various cartoons/movies, so I wanted to put that “passion” to good use by helping to reinforce letter names and sounds by creating a character alphabet book for him.  We don’t watch a ton of TV in our house (typically less than an hour a day, although it has been more in more trying seasons of our lives), but these characters are easily impressionable on Little Brother especially.  :)  I have been notoriously against “character” books in the past, but have found that it is beneficial to use the current interests of a child to guide his/her learning (which is why thematic units are great for young children)!

Alphabet Books have long been considered a valuable tool by educators and parents alike to expose young children to letters of the alphabet in a fun and engaging way.  Call me nit picky, but I have found that not all alphabet books are created equal.  One of my biggest pet peeves is when authors of alphabet books don’t use things that actually start with the letter sound that you are trying to teach your child (for example, using the word “chair” for the letter “c”…it starts with the digraph /ch/ and not the /k/ sound).  I prefer for the short vowel sounds to be used for vowels, but that isn’t always possible.  :)


Here are the characters included in our alphabet book:

A-  Angry Bird
B-  Batman
C-  Captain America
D- Donkey Kong
E-  Emmet (from The LEGO Movie)
F-  Flounder (from The Little Mermaid)
G-  Goofy
H-  Hulk
I-  Iron Man
J-  Junior Asparagus (from Veggie Tales)
K-  Kristoff (from Frozen)
L-  Lightning McQueen
M-  Mario
N-  Ninja Turtles
O-  Olaf  (from Frozen)
P-  Peter Pan
Q-  Queen Esther  (from Veggie Tales)
R-  Rafiki  (from The Lion King)
S-  Spiderman
T-  Toothless (from How to Train Your Dragon)
U-  Ursula (from The Little Mermaid)
V-  Vader (as in Darth Vader from Star Wars)
W-  Woody (from Toy Story)
X-  X-men
Y-  Yoda (from Star Wars)
Z-  Zazu (from The Lion King)


To make our alphabet book, I searched for images for each of the above characters and made them into a book using Shutterfly.  I do not have images or a template to share because that would be a violation of 26 different copyrights…but if you know what you are looking for, it won’t take long to find all of these photos.  :)


Character Alphabet Book Personalized Character Alphabet Book

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Ping Pong Alphabet Bounce

Ping Pong Alphabet Bounce 500x852 Ping Pong Alphabet Bounce

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This is a super-simple activity that Little Brother loved!  I used leftover ping pong balls from our hands-on blood demonstration and the plastic inserts that hold frozen quiche bites from a baby shower I helped with several months ago.  To keep from ping pong balls flying everywhere, I also used a shallow plastic tub to tame the bouncing.    


  IMG 0813 300x449 Ping Pong Alphabet Bounce 1.  I used 1″ circle labels to write the letters in each of the quiche trays.  There were a few extra spots, so I drew some shapes as a review.  :)   IMG 0816 300x449 Ping Pong Alphabet Bounce 2.  Let your little one bounce the ping pong ball into the plastic tub.   IMG 08271 500x333 Ping Pong Alphabet Bounce 3.  Have him/her identify the letter that it lands on.   IMG 0839 500x333 Ping Pong Alphabet Bounce    

Doesn’t get much easier than that!  Check out our other alphabet activities!


Follow Jenae {I Can Teach My Child!}’s board Alphabet Activities on Pinterest.

Books about Grandparents

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Our children are truly blessed with the world’s greatest grandparents.  Both my parents and my husband’s parents are simply crazy about their grandkids.  It brings us so much joy to see our parents love our children so intensely.  Since we live within a few miles of both sets of grandparents, they have a unique relationship that I hope our kiddos will treasure their entire lives.


With Grandparents Day coming up on September 7th, I thought I would share some books about grandparents!  These would be fun to read aloud to your child in preparation for seeing their grandparents or they would even make a great gift!


Picture Books

the song and dance man Books about Grandparents

The Song and Dance Man by Karen Ackerman

This beloved classic is about a grandpa who used to be a song and dance man back in the “good old days, the song and dance days.”  He takes his three grandchildren into the attic and digs out his old costumes and tap shoes.  Then he puts on a show, which delights his grandchildren.  I absolutely love this book because it opens up a discussion on past experiences that grandparents (and even parents) have had in their lifetimes.  Each one of us have lived a unique and exciting life in one way or another…this book is a great introduction to talking about those experiences with our children and grandchildren!



The Hello Goodbye Window Books about Grandparents

The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster

Not only is this book a Caldecott winner, it is a precious book about the relationship between grandparents and a grandchild. The little girl (also the narrator of the story) leaves her Mom and Dad and runs over to her grandparents house.  But before she walks in the door, she passes by the “hello, goodbye window”.  Through this window, she sees the amazing things that await her in the kitchen of her grandparent’s house.  The illustrations in the book are eclectic and almost child-like, which only adds to the appeal of the book (in my opinion).



How to babysit a grandpa Books about Grandparents

How to Babysit a Grandpa by Jean Reagan

Our boys gave this book to their grandpa for Father’s Day.  It is an adorable “how to” book from a child’s point of view…a manual of sorts for how to babysit a grandpa.  The illustrations are humorous and this reversed story makes our boys laugh every time they read it.  This book is perfect for 3-4 years and up…old enough that they can understand the humor but young enough that they are still in that egocentric stage of development.  :)

How to Babysit a Grandma Books about Grandparents

How to Babysit a Grandma by Jean Reagan



Here Comes Grandma Books about GrandparentsHere Comes Grandma by Janet Lord

 This book is written in short and simple sentences with the repetitive phrase “Here comes grandma!”, making it perfect for beginning readers.  It details all of the things the grandma would do to see her grandchild:  walk a long way, pedal her bicycle, leap on a horse, drive in a car, hop on a train, ski down the mountain, sail in a hot air balloon, swim in the ocean, and fly in a plane.  When she finally arrives, she whirls and twirls, laughs, sings, and hugs.  This is a great book to read aloud before grandma comes to visit, especially if she lives far away!



Hugs on the Wind Books about Grandparents

Hugs on the Wind by Marsha Arnold and Vernise Pelzel

 This sweet story is about a cottontail rabbit who misses his grandfather who lives far away.  He asks his mother what she thinks his grandfather misses the most about him.  He decides to give him hugs across the wind , his smiles up in the clouds, tells jokes through the river, and blows kisses through the moon.  This is a perfect book to read whenever your children are unable to see their grandparents due to distance



What Grandmas Do Best Books about GrandparentsWhat Grandpas Do Best Books about Grandparents

What Grandmas Do Best / What Grandpas Do Best by Laura Numeroff

 This two-in-one book (from the author of the popular If You Give a Mouse a Cookie books) is perfect for grandparents.  Half of the book is about what grandmas do best (play hide-and-seek, take you for walks, paint, go on picnics, take naps with you…)  and then you flip it over and the other half is about what grandpas do best.  The text is exactly the same for both books, but the illustrations show the grandparents doing these things in different ways (for example:  one page says “make you a hat” and the grandma is shown knitting a hat while the grandpa is making paper hats out of newspaper).  I actually think this is brilliant because it shows that the same activity can be new and different depending on who you are doing it with!  Each of the pages features a different personified animal pair.



Where is Coco Going Books about Grandparents

Where is Coco Going? by Sloane Tanen

This is an interesting book.  The illustrations look like actual photographs taken using three dimensional miniature sets.  Throughout the book, Coco (a yellow chick) is traveling…in a taxi, on a train, on a skateboard, etc.  We don’t find out where Coco is going until the very last page:  To Grandma’s house!  This might be a cute book to read to a toddler or young preschooler prior to traveling to Grandma’s.  Older kids might also be intrigued by the photographs.




I Love you grandma Books about Grandparents I Love You, Grandma by Jillian Marker

This sweet book is about a young bear cub and his grandma.  His grandma teaches him to use his nose, claws, and tongue to find food.  Each time she teaches him something new, the bear cub looks up and tells her, “I Love You, Grandma”.  This would be a sweet book to give grandparents, along with the I Love You, Grandpa book.



Other Picture Books We Haven’t Reviewed (but look great)

Just Grandpa and Me Books about Grandparents

Just Grandpa and Me by Mercer Mayer

Just Grandma and Me Books about Grandparents

Just Grandma and Me by Mercer Mayer

Grandpas Are For Finding Worms 300x300 Books about Grandparents

Grandpas Are for Finding Worms by Harriet Ziefert

Grandmas are for Giving Tickles 300x300 Books about Grandparents

Grandmas Are For Giving Tickles by Harriet Ziefert



Board Books

I Already Know I love you Books about Grandparents I Already Know I Love You by Billy Crystal

 We gave this precious board book to my dad for Father’s Day.  It is written by Billy Crystal after he found out he was going to be a grandpa for the first time.  The book is written about all the things he will do with his granddaughter once she arrives.  It is definitely a tear-jerker and would be a precious way to tell your father/father-in-law that you are expecting!  :)


Grandma and Me 300x348 Books about Grandparents

Grandma and Me by Karen Katz



Grandpa and Me Books about Grandparents

Grandpa and Me by Karen Katz



in grandmas arms Books about Grandparents

 In Grandma’s Arms by Jayne C. Shelton


Grandma Loves You Books about Grandparents

 Grandma Loves You by P.K. Hallinan



Grandpa Loves Me Books about Grandparents

Grandpa Loves Me! by Marianne Richmond



Grandma Loves Me Books about Grandparents

Grandma Loves Me by Marianne Richmond



 Do you have a favorite book about grandparents???



Feed the Alphabet Monster

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I love being able to repurpose things that would otherwise end up in the trash.  And if you have children in your house, chances are the two items needed for this activity are plentiful:  bottle caps (from milk and other drinks) and a baby wipes container!   I shared this bottle cap sorting activity a few years ago and recently found a stash of bottle caps leftover as I was cleaning out a closet.  I decided to make this Feed the Alphabet Monster activity to help Little Brother practice identifying lowercase letters.        

The title of the post was inspired by Toddler Approved’s Feed the LEGO Monsters post.  :)


Here’s what you’ll need:  a plastic baby wipes container, bottle caps, and 1″ stickers.        


IMG 9176 500x333 Feed the Alphabet Monster     IMG 9178 300x450 Feed the Alphabet Monster  These 1″ labels are perfect for the tops of bottle caps!  Just peel and stick!    
IMG 9180 500x333 Feed the Alphabet Monster  1.  Write letters (either capital or lowercase) on the stickers.      
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    IMG 9462 300x456 Feed the Alphabet Monster 2.  Have your child place “feed” the caps to the monster one at a time while saying each letter.  
  IMG 9471 300x450 Feed the Alphabet Monster       IMG 9468 300x445 Feed the Alphabet Monster         IMG 9478 500x333 Feed the Alphabet Monster I love that this activity can be easily packaged and stored in the wipes container!     
    Check out more ways to recycle and browse our Alphabet Activities Pinterest Board:  
Follow Jenae {I Can Teach My Child!}’s board Alphabet Activities on Pinterest.

X-Ray Playdough

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We are having a blast learning about the human body!  As we have been learning about the various systems, the boys were especially intrigued with the skeletal system.  We came up with this fun and interactive way to learn about the body system responsible for supporting our bodies, giving us our shape, and protecting our major organs!


We can feel our bones, but we can’t see them unless we are looking at a special picture called an X-Ray.  In this activity, the Q-Tips act as bones to create our own X-Ray pictures!  This would also be a great activity when learning about the letter X.


Here’s what you’ll need:  black play dough (you can make your own with black food coloring), Q-Tips, Skulls (laminated), and outlet covers.  


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1.  Gather your black playdough or make your own.



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2.  Print off the skulls and laminate them.  Use a hot glue gun to attach them to the outlet covers.  (Note:  If you think the skull might scare your child, feel free to use a cotton ball or even a picture of his/her face).  



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3.  Cut your Q-Tips into various lengths.

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4.  Let your child get started playing!  Show him/her some photographs of the skeletal system and try to reproduce the major bones using the Q-Tips and play dough!

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This was Little Brother’s skeleton!

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Big Brother and I created this skeleton together!




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Be sure to check out more fun ways to learn about the human body!