Creating hands-on activities based on children’s books is a great way to introduce or reinforce important concepts.
Using activities inspired by children’s books also allows kids to practice retelling stories, reinforces concepts of print and the alphabet– in fun and playful ways.
One of my favorite Leo Lionni books is The Alphabet Tree. I love the illustrations, as well as all the opportunities for supporting early literacy skills such as letter identification. Your kids will have a blast with this simple activity based on the alphabet book!
- Green craft foam
- Brown craft foam
- Black permanent marker
Cut out 26 leaves out of the green foam. Using the permanent marker, write one letter on each leaf. I chose to write the lowercase letters for this activity.
Cut out a tree trunk and branches from the brown foam. I kept it very simple, but this could be done in many different ways.
Build the Tree
Once everything is cut out, it’s time to set up The Alphabet Tree activity! Grab a bowl of water and some paintbrushes. Choose a glass surface. We used the sliding glass door that leads to our back porch, but I think a mirror would be a lot of fun, too!
Place a towel down on the floor, and invite the children to “build” their tree on a window or glass door. The kids used the brushes to paint water on the back of the foam. The water allowed the foam to stick to our glass door, and the children were able to rearrange the pieces as they wanted.
Once the tree was put together, it was time to add the letter leaves. As the boys added the letters, we talked about the letter names and letter sounds. We also had fun thinking of words that started with the appropriate letters. The boys searched for the letters in their names first, and then found other favorite letters along the way.
Once our alphabet tree was assembled, the kids enjoyed taking everything down and putting it back up again. The letter leaves were rearranged many times. This went on for over an hour the first day. The tree has been out for many days, with the children adding to it and removing it many times.
Would your children enjoy this alphabet tree activity?
BIO: Mary Catherine is mama to an elementary-aged son and pre-k teacher to many. She writes about fun and meaningful early learning activities at Fun-A-Day. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. If you liked this activity, be sure to check out Teaching Children About Letters and Turkey Numbers.
Follow my Alphabet Pinterest Board for even more ideas!