Theme Box
Designed to meet these objectives:
• Students will listen attentively and respond to instructions.
• Students will know the alphabet and identify letters.
• Students will recognize and produce sounds that correspond to letters.
• Students will form letters of the alphabet.
• Students will identify beginning sounds.
• Students will sort objects by various attributes.
• Students will build number sense.
• Students will count concrete objects.
• Students will help construct graphs and charts and interpret the data.
• Students will discriminate between natural and manufactured objects.
• Students will develop gross and fine motor skills.
Your new Alphabet Theme Box has everything you need for comprehensive, hands-on lessons that
span the curriculum. We’ve included a wide variety of props and manipulatives that help children explore the world of letters—and the sounds they make! Inside this guide, you’ll find ideas for dozens
of involving, alphabet-themed activities covering 10 cross-curricular learning areas—from math to dramatic play. We’ve even included a list of terrific children’s books to build up your classroom library.
The Alphabet Theme Box is a perfect way to capture children’s attention and boost essential skills!
What’s Included
•26 cookie cutters
• Modeling dough
• Uppercase & lowercase foam letters
• 104 beads and 4 laces
• Alphabet stamps and ink pad
• 26 beginning sound miniatures with storage tub
• 6 alphabet activity cards
• 4 write & wipe markers
• Storage tub
©2009 Lakeshore
(800) 428-4414
Ages 3+
Printed in China
• Use the markers and activity cards to set up a writing center.
• Invite students to sort the foam letters into three groups: letters formed from curves, letters formed
from straight lines, and letters formed from curves and straight lines.
• Encourage children to sequence some or all of the letters in alphabetical order.
• Help children identify the miniatures, emphasizing the beginning sound of each word. Match each miniature
with the letter that makes its beginning sound.
• Pass one of the miniatures around a small group of children. Have each child say the word, emphasizing the
beginning sound. Then, help them think of another word that begins with the same sound.
• Have children use the cookie cutters to cut letters from the modeling dough. Prompt them to trace the letters
with their fingers.
•Invite children to trace around the cookie cutters to make letter shapes. Then, have them cut out the letters
needed to spell their own names.
• Use the stamps and ink pad to stamp the alphabet on a piece of paper. Or, have children stamp out their
names or other familiar words.
• Working in pairs or small groups, have children take turns adding beads to a lace in alphabetical order.
• Have children stand or sit in a circle. The first child says, “My name is Dana and I have a doll.” The next child
might say, “My name is Ricky and I have a red wagon,” (or a rabbit, or anything else that begins with the
same sound as Ricky). If a child can’t think of anything that begins with the same sound as her name,
encourage other students to help her.
• Cut out large cardboard letters. Give one to each child and invite them to decorate their letters
with appropriate pictures or objects. For example, A could be decorated with cutouts of apples, B
with dried beans, C with cotton balls, and so on.
• Assign a different letter to each child. Help children write their letters on paper, and then have them draw
something that begins with that letter. Stretch yarn across the room and have children use clothespins to
hang their pictures in alphabetical order.
• Model how to roll out long “snakes” of modeling dough. Prompt children to form the snakes into letters.
•Set out paper and the ink pad. Challenge children to use the ink pad to make “fingerprint letters” by printing
their fingerprints in the outline of a letter. Then, they can use a pencil or crayon to “connect the dots” and finish the letters.
Sand & Water
• Use chalk to print letters on a chalkboard or pavement. Then, have children use a wet paintbrush
to trace the letters and watch them disappear!
• Pour a thin layer of sand into a tray. Encourage children to use their fingertips to print letters in the sand.
• Alligators, beetles, caterpillars, dogs—can children think of an animal for each letter of the alphabet? (Use X as an ending letter, as in fox or ox.) Brainstorm a list, and then talk about the similarities
and differences between the various animals on the list. How many of them can fly? Do any of them live in
water? Which ones have more than two legs?
• Take a nature walk and collect sticks and small stones. Then, use the materials to form letters. Which letters
can be made using only sticks?
• Set out the alphabet miniatures from this kit and help children sort them into two groups: living (in other
words, plants and animals) and nonliving. Which group is bigger? Challenge children to find other ways to
sort the items, such as large things/small things, and so on.
• Distribute the foam letters to children. Make sure children can identify the letters they are holding.
Then, slowly sing the “Alphabet Song,” urging each child to stand up when she hears her letter in
the song.
• Give children shakers or rattles. Recite the alphabet together, and have children shake their instruments
once for each letter.
•Sing these lyrics to the tune of “Old MacDonald”:
The alphabet has 26 letters—let’s sing about the letter A.
The alphabet has 26 letters—let’s sing about the letter A.
With an /a/, /a/ here, and an /a/, /a/ there!
Here an /a/, there an /a/, everywhere an /a/, /a/!
That is the sound of the letter A: /a/, /a/, /a/, /a/, /a/!
Repeat for other letters and their sounds.
Active Play
• Have children work in small groups to try to form letters of the alphabet with their bodies. Which
letters are easy to make? Which ones are difficult?
• Use sidewalk chalk to write giant letters on the playground. Have children walk along the lines to trace the
alphabet with their feet. Can they identify the letters they are walking on?
• Have an alphabet relay. Prompt children to stand in a line. Place the cookie cutters in a bowl or bucket and
set it at a distance from the head of the line. Then, call out a letter and have the first child run to the bowl,
find the letter, and bring it back. Continue until everyone has found a letter.
• Distribute foam letters to a circle of children. Then, give commands such as, “Z, R, and P, put your hands on
your heads,” or, “D and G, change places,” or, “If your letter is in your name, sit down.” Be sure to give some
commands that apply to all players, such as, “Give your letter to the person on your left,” or, “If your letter is
part of the alphabet, hop on one foot!”
• How many letters are in the alphabet? Count them and find out! If A is number one, which letter is
number two? Which letter is number ten? What number is W?
• Invite children to take turns stamping various letters on a large sheet of paper. Keep going until the
page is filled with letters. Then, have them find and circle one letter, such as “D.” How many can they find?
• Have each child string letter beads onto a lace to spell his name. Count the beads in each name and keep
track with a tally chart. Then, help children interpret the data. How many children have five-letter names?
How many letters are in the longest name in class? How many letters are in the shortest name?
• Create a bar graph on chart paper to show common letters in students’ names. Write several letters across
the bottom of the graph, such as E, J, R, S, and T. Have students place stickers in the columns above each
letter that is in their names. Compare the number of stickers in each column. Which letter is the most
common in children’s names?
Dramatic Play
• Create a play store in your classroom. Invite children to
shop for items that begin with specific letters.
• A, My Name Is Alice
by Jane Bayer
• Play alphabet charades. Ask a child to think of an animal,
and then tell the class the beginning letter of that animal’s name. Can
classmates guess what animal she is pretending to be?
• The Accidental Zucchini:
An Unexpected Alphabet
by Max Grover
• Set up a housekeeping area and encourage children to pretend to
be an alphabet family. For example, the “C” family lives in a house
with couches, coffee tables, and a cat. They eat coconuts, cake, and
cantaloupe, and they like to go camping in their car.
• Albert’s Alphabet
by Leslie Tryon
• Provide rakes, buckets, straw hats, and other props for a pretend
“Alphabet Farm.” Prompt children to raise apples, bananas, carrots,
ducks, eggs, and so on.
• Arf! Beg! Catch!: Dogs from
A to Z
by Henry Horenstein
• The Alphabet Game
by Trina Schart Hyman
• Black and White Rabbit’s ABC
by Alan Baker
• Buy or make sugar cookie dough and roll out a thin sheet.
Help children use the cookie cutters to cut out a cookie alphabet. When the cookies have baked and cooled, invite each
child to decorate a letter with icing and sprinkles. Then, eat the alphabet from A to Z!
• Thaw frozen bread dough and give each child a small amount. Have
them roll it into “snakes,” and then form letters. Brush the top of each
letter with egg white thinned with water. Then, sprinkle with coarse
salt and bake as directed to make letter pretzels.
• Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
by Bill Martin, Jr., and John Archambault
• Eating the Alphabet: Fruits &
Vegetables from A to Z
by Lois Ehlert
• Farm Alphabet Book
by Jane Miller
• The Furry Animal Alphabet Book
by Jerry Pallotta