Monday, January 7, 2013

The ABCs of Thrifty Teaching Tools: A-E

The ABCs of Series by Kid Bloggers
A - E

You don't need to spend a lot of money to teach children. Young children learn using their five senses and movement. You can make many teaching tools yourself, use inexpensive items that you already have, or find free resources available on the internet. This is a 5 part series of Thrifty Teaching Tools.

A –

FREE Printables from 3 Dinosaurs
Items for Activities, Alphabet Box or Blocked Letter: Apples, airplanes, aliens, acorns, alligators, ants, anteater, armadillo, ape, apron.

DIY Alphabet Boxes

hands on as we grow

Apples—Read books about Johnny Appleseed. Have children place apples on a large chart sorting by color: red, green and yellow. Count and pattern apples. Let children peel the apples with an apple peeler which produces a very long peel. The children love to turn the wheel and watch with pride and amazement as a very long peel is accomplished. Ask the children to put their peels in a row according to length. The following recipe smells delicious and can be cooked in an electric skillet. 

Apple Crisp (already tripled for a classroom)

1 1/2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
3/4 cup flour
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 cup butter
6 pounds apples (about 15)
6 tablespoons sugar

Melt butter in electric skillet. Add oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and a dash of salt. Peel, core and slice fruit to make approximately 15 cups. Mix with other ingredients. Cover and stir occasionally. Save some for the principal and custodian because the heavenly aroma will float down the hall.


Items for Activities, Alphabet Box or Blocked Letter: Bubble wrap, books, buttons, beans, balls, balloons, butterflies, bats, bees, bunnies, beenie babies, block, bear, baker, broccoli. 

The Adventures of a Cardboard Box video shows the creativity and magic of a young child playing with a simple box:

  • Beans: Glue in shape of first name - you may need to print child's name then have them place glue on each letter and cover with beans
  • Bird Feeder: Children enjoy making bird feeders and suet
  • Baby food jars – smelling jars
  • Breath – deep mantras to relax and focus
  • Build with Blocks
  • Butterfly Fun Facts
  • Boxes
  • Beenie Babies: toss, sort, pattern, learn beginning sounds, match sound with letter card
  • Books: Read every day books of Repetition, Rhythm and Rhyme
  • Bob Books Free Printables
  • Blanket: Make a reading space with a blanket
  • Baby food jars for sensory or discovery jars
Rainbow Bubble Snakes

Bananas are inexpensive and nutritious. Slice down the middle and fill with peanut butter. Cut into pieces and freeze. The children will love having something frozen in their mouth.          Banana Splits
Ask parents to contribute and let children make their own banana split. Offer toppings of Marchino cherries, whipped topping, nuts, M&M’s, chocolate and caramel sauce. 
C -            Items for Activities, Alphabet Box or Blocked letter: Chalk, coffee filters, cotton balls, cups, cereal, cars, cookie cutters, candy, cupcakes, cowboys, candy canes, corn, cookies, carrots, cook, clown, counting games.
  • Cat in the Hat – Great book for rhyming words and learning the short a vowel sound (at, cat, hat, mat, bat, fat, sat)
  • Communicate – ask for help for supplies, emails, notes home, signature notes
  • Car races: make tracks or maze out of duck tape or blocks
  • Computers – see lists on my right sidebar for FREE resources
  • Chalk outline body, trace over letters, hopscotch
  • Curiosity: Encourage a child's natural curiosity and you will prevent behavior problems
  • Consequences: The Good , the Bad and the Ugly
  • Creativity:Why Craft? Why Art?
  • Counselor: Invite the school counselor to give her talk on Being a Friend, Bullying, Say ‘no’ to drugs

Mommy with Selective Memory
D           Items for Activities, Alphabet Box or Block Letter: dice, dry erase markers, doilies, dog, dinosaurs, dump trucks, dirt, ducks, daisies, daffodils, Dr. Seuss, dominoes, dragons, dragonflies, drawings, duck tape, donkey, dolphin.      
Growing a Jeweled Rose

Dirt Pudding
1 (14 oz) bag Oreo cookies
2 (3 ½ ounce) packages vanilla instant pudding
3 cups milk
1 cup powdered sugar
1 (8ounce) package cream cheese, softened
¼ cup butter, softened
1 (12 ounce) container cool whip
Gummy worms
Break up cookies and put half on the bottom of a clean clay flower pot or child’s sand bucket. Save other half for topping. Mix pudding and milk together, set aside. Mix sugar, cream cheese and butter. Add sugar mixture to pudding. Fold in cool whip. Pour onto cookies. Top with remaining cookies (or make more layers). Poke gummy worms into mixture. Refrigerate for at least a half hour when possible. Serve with gardening trowel or a child’s plastic shovel.
E -             Items for Activities, Alphabet Box or Block Letter: Eggs, egg shells, elephants, erasers, elastic, Easter, Eye Spy game, easel, eagle, eel.      
Upcycle Egg Cartons to Building Blocks
  • Exercise: Count by 10s to 100 as you do different exercises
  • Explore: Go on a nature walk
  • Explain
  • Experiment: Steve Spangler Science on Pinterest
  • Environmental Print – As my daughter approached a store with her son, he yelled, “K-r-o-g-e-r! That spells Grocery Store!” He is learning the concept that the letter symbols form words. Environmental print is everywhere. Words are on cereal boxes, buildings, transportation signs, billboards, newspaper comics, game instructions, grocery lists, bubble bath, toys. Run your finger under words as you say them. This will teach children that reading is from top to bottom and from left to right.

Would you like a glimpse into Kindergarten? See Kindergarten: Tattle-Tales, Tools, Tactics, Triumphs and Tasty Treats for Teachers and Parents. Would you like to help your preschooler prepare for kindergarten? Read a mom's dilemmas with a teacher's advice and child development explanations in The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble and Motivated to Learn. These bestsellers make great gifts and are also available on Barnes & Noble and Kobo. The eBooks are only $3.99.

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  1. I love all you have in here great resources.

    1. Thank you so much Cassie. Love your free printables on 3 Dinosaurs. Thank you for letting me link to them.

  2. What a fun post! I love your recipes!

    1. Thank you and your ABC Series is wonderful. This is such a wonderful way to find resources.

  3. Wow Susan! Your series has so many useful activities for each letter. I can't wait to see the rest of your series :)

    1. Thank you so much for visiting my blog Amie. Love your blog.

  4. What a wonderful source!I love the recipes,too :)

  5. Wow!! Thank you for sharing this post with the After School Link up. It's a wonderful resource and I found a great new blog. I have two that will go to kindergarten this fall and we're trying hard to be ready for everything it brings.