Today I am sharing the simple letter of the week ‘program’ I took both my son and daughter through and plan to take the next one through. Not only was it effective it’s easy to do and FREE!
I spent a good long while looking in to all the fun letter of the week programs out there. So many blogging moms have really invested a lot of time and energy into their work. It makes complete sense that they ought to charge a good penny for their labor of love.
However, when I was in the market for a letter of the week program, I did not have a single penny to spend. I know there are a few people out there who say they ‘don’t have any money’ but in fact they just don’t have money they want to spend… there is still money in the bank.
Well I was the one who didn’t have ANY money in the bank. We were going through some tough times and as a stay at home mom, the income was extremely limited. So when I say I didn’t have any money, I mean actually, literally zero, zip, nada.
So while I loved the idea of all the colorful and fun letter of the week programs these moms were selling, I just couldn’t afford it. I thought to myself, why can’t I just make my own letter of the week program? I mean, I know the ABCs. I’ll just pull together some activities and things and we will focus on one letter each week. Easy!
Below is just a broke mom’s plan to teach the alphabet to her children week by week. That’s really all it is. There are no lesson plans, I did not include shapes or colors, or any other preschool subject. This is the ABC’s week by week, pure and simple.
DIY Letter of the Week Activites
First, I’ll start by saying that I just started at the beginning with the letter A and worked my way down to Z. Really, you can do it in any order but alphabetically just made sense to me. I also started this ‘program’ when my child knew the entire alphabet song.
1. Make an ABC book
This was really fun and there are so many different ways to do this! You can personalize it any which way you want! For my son, I printed out the uppercase and lowercase letters and had him decorate each letter based on the sound it made. So for the letter H, he decorated his letter with his handprint. For the letter S, he chose to decorate with Spider-Man stickers. You can get a glimpse of what his looked like in my day in the life video here.
For my daughter, I kept it super simple, as I had just had a baby and was not in the mood. Ha! I just printed out ABC dot pages and had her dot them, color the dots, or place little circle stickers on them. For my next daughter, I plan to make an ABC book out of her hand prints! It’s a little more elaborate but she’s the last and I want to make it super special. You see, there are so many options here! Just do a simple search on Pinterest and pick your favorite!
2. Letter games
So if you read my post on beginning reader games, you will know how much I love index cards. Those games started from this letter of the week program. I also explained the general idea in my post on how to teach your child to read without a curriculum. Essentially, you just need a stack of index cards to play. Write the alphabet (upper and lowercase together) one letter per card. Have your child sing the alphabet as you hold up the corresponding letters. Once they recognize the letters, jumble them up and have them call out the letters out of order.
You can vary up how these games are played in so many ways. You can have a set of cards with uppercase only and then another with lowercase. Then have your child match the letters. You can make doubles of the uppercase letters (or the lowercase) and do a memory game with them. You can lay all the cards out on the floor and play I Spy… the sky is the limit here. And all you need are index cards! My kids loved these games!
3. Activity sheets/coloring pages
Y’all, there are so many free printables out there right now, it’s insane. There are some wonderful ladies out there putting together some really awesome, free content and all you need to do is share your email. (In fact I would love to be able to offer you something like this, but I just don’t know what – so if you have any suggestions, please send them my way!) There are plenty of options for you on Pinterest! The only problem you will have is deciding which printables to choose!
I tried a few things and while some worked for us, others didn’t. If my kid didn’t enjoy the sheet, I’d find something else. No big deal. So do yourself a Pinterest search for alphabet activities and take your pick! My only piece of advice would be to just stick to two or three sheets at most. With so many options out there, it’s easy to want to do them all! But remember that your child is the one completing them and while they may be fun, they are tools for learning and it’s still work for your child.
Here are the specific one’s we consistently printed:
- I Spy Beginning Sounds Coloring Sheet from Fun Early Learning
- Alphabet Do a Dot Pages from Easy Peasy Learners (these were what I used for my daughter’s ABC book)
- Alphabet Letter Find from 123 Homeschool for Me
- Color by Letters from Itsy Bitsy Fun
You will notice that each of these websites have all sorts of letter worksheets. Don’t get overwhelmed! I personally recommend the worksheets from 123 Homeschool for Me. I have quite a few of her free printables in various subjects and use them often. For example her skip counting mazes and maps.
4. YouTube videos
It wasn’t until midway through doing this program with my oldest, that I found the educational benefit of YouTube. This was mostly due to the fact that we did not have a smart TV until that time and never watched YouTube before then. Being able to get YouTube on our TV was a game changer!
Now I know there are parent’s out there who are totally against YouTube for education and if that’s you, that’s totally fine. Like I said, I got on just fine with the first 3 activities with my son before I introduced YouTube so you can totally skip this activity.
I will say that I am pretty strict about our use of YouTube. (Even though I am a YouTuber, I have boundaries that even I myself follow) In regards to my children, we use it purely for educational purposes. I am always there to supervise and we spend no more than 10 minutes a day watching. What is great about the channels I found is that their ABC ‘shows’ are mostly less than 5 minutes! So I use YouTube purely for supplemental, educational fun.
My favorite ABC YouTube ‘shows’
So with all that said, I have 4 main ABC ‘shows’ I play. One for each day we do school. On Monday, when I introduce the letter of the week, I’ll usually introduce it with a song.
ABC Mouse has short, fun songs for each letter of the entire alphabet. At the beginning of the week, I’ll play the song once or twice and then that’s it!
On Tuesday’s I have the kids practice letter recognition with a game.
The Singing Walrus has this neat ‘find the letter’ show for each letter of the alphabet. The kid’s have 20 seconds to find the letter of the week, hidden in the image on the screen. They love to see how fast they can find them!
On Thursday’s (we don’t school on Wednesday’s) they practice letter sounds with a fun game.
Super Simple ABC does this really fun ‘turn and learn’ show. This show is where a picture that begins with the letter of the week, is hidden behind a sort of puzzle. The pieces of the puzzle are slowly turned over as the child tries to guess what the picture is before the last piece is turned.
Friday’s are when I let my kid’s watch more of a ‘show’ than do an activity.
Super Simple TV created this series called Captain Seasalt and the ABC Pirates. It’s a fun little show (the longest episode is 9 minutes, 28 seconds, where Captain Seasalt and his pirate friends hunt for treasure on Letter A, B, C and so on…. Island. It ties together letter recognition and sound in a fun and simple way and my kids have enjoyed every episode!
Each of these channels have saved these shows to a playlist that you can add to your own saved playlists. Just tap the plus button over the playlist and it will save to your library for easy access!
5. General games with household items
Finally, I just made it a priority to point out letters in real life around the house and while we were out and about. We would identify letters in the grocery store, I’d ask what letter they thought the word ‘beans’ starts with during dinner… and of course, we read. A lot! Alphabet books, story books, any book will do!
There’s so many ways to tie in the alphabet to everyday life. Just get creative!
As you can see, this is a simple DIY letter of the week program that doesn’t cost a thing. With just a stack of index cards, Pinterest at the ready and your YouTube library, you can pull together a letter of the week program that will be fun, engaging, and most importantly, solve the task of teaching your child the alphabet week by week.