With my son starting Kindergarten this year my 3 year old daughter was feeling a little left out and wanted to go to school, too. So, I have been attempting mini-preschool classes with her during the day. My main goal right now, besides having fun and crafts, is to teach her how to spell and write her name. We practice every day, but she is still getting confused on the letters. I remember in my son’s preschool class they had these wood pieces that they could create any letter from and my son seemed to pick up learning his name quickly. I am not handy with wood working tools, but I have some foam handy and decided to have a go at creating some of my own pieces so we can practice letters and letter recognition and eventually her name. These were pretty easy to put together. Once I figured out a font that would work (which I will save you the time looking for one and tell you below), it only took the time to cut out the pieces (10 or so minutes). Gotta love easy and productive projects! The best part is that the kiddos actually pull the “Learning Letters” Kit out all the time to “play”, even with friends over. I must have done something right, right?
What You Need:
- Foam sheets or alternative (i.e. stiff paper, wood ,etc) – I figured foam is a little tougher and forgiving than paper
- Printer/Word program
Step 1: Use a Word/Writing program to print out the letters “U, D, E”. In Word, I used the font Tahoma and inserted the text via Word Art (Insert> select Word Art > select font of choice > type letter). I made my letters large (each letter was 3/4 a sheet or around 7 inches tall), but the system my son used to use was around 3 inches tall. So, you determine what size you would like.
Step 2: Cut each letter out. Cut the short pieces off, and separate the curve from the D (see the picture below). Take one of the short pieces from the E and cut that off of the top of the U on each side. That should give you a short curve on the bottom. If you put 2 of them together on a long piece, it should give you a perfect capitol letter B. Sorry, for this confusing part. The U was the only letter I could find that gave a perfect curve that would make a B, P R, etc. A normal B in type has two different sized curves.
Step 3: Use each paper piece as a tracer and cut all your needed pieces out of foam. I laid the paper on top of the foam and cut it directly (there was no tracing it out on the foam with a marker). Cut enough pieces, so each uppercase letter can be made. We are starting with uppercase and once she gets those down, I will add more pieces for the lowercase and I may eventually make these all smaller.
We ended up with 4 – long straight pieces, 3 – short pieces, 2 – large curves and 2 – short curves
Step 4: Have fun making letters and learning! For teaching my daughter her name, I have her create the letter with these pieces and then write the letter on a sheet of paper.
We use another foam piece or a full sheet of paper to create our letters on. It seems to give them a “space”/an area they know the letter needs to fit into. Eventually, I’m going to draw 2 solid lines with a dotted line in between them (like a sheet of paper).
P.S. I do not know what else to call these, so if anyone has an actual name for these, please let me know!