Your child is in preschool, and you have recurring nightmares that she’s the only one in class who doesn’t know her alphabet letters. Relax. It’ll be okay. It’s true that a child who recognizes letters makes an easier connection with letters and sounds, but you can entice her to learn the letter P with music, stories and engaging activities. She’ll have so much fun that she’ll never suspect you actually have a hidden motive.
Children respond to sensory activities. She’ll light up when you squirt shaving cream or spread flour on her table and tell her to write the letter P in it with her finger. Talk about the sound as she writes Ps. “Make a P for potato.” Cut upper and lower case cardboard Ps and cover them with textures such as sandpaper, felt and fuzzy fabrics; your child can trace the shapes with her finger. Draw a P on her back and let her draw a P on your back. Mix in other letters she knows and play a “guess the letter” game.
Your child will be listening carefully for Ps with this activity. Glue a large letter P onto a craft stick. Read a nursery rhyme or a story such as “The Three Little Pigs” that contains lots of P words. She raises her letter P in the air every time she hears a word that makes the P sound. This helps her understand the connection between the letter P and the sound it makes in words. If you want to hear her giggle, read “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.”
Paste a lower and an upper case P on a large sheet of pink or purple art paper. Help your child find and cut out pictures of items that begin with the sound the letter P makes: puppy, policeman, pepper and peach. Glue them on the art paper. She can also add real “P" objects, such as a pencil, a penny or a pretzel.
Have fun with the song “Pop Goes the Weasel.” Enlist a family member or one of your preschooler’s friends. Write the word POP on a sheet of construction paper. Your child sits on the floor, holding the sign. The other child walks around her in a circle. Sing the lyrics, “All around the mulberry bush, the monkey chased the weasel. The monkey thought it all in fun. Pop goes the weasel.” Every time you say “pop,” your child pops up in the air holding her sign. Substitute lyrics for “the monkey thought it all in fun.” Say “the monkey stopped to scratch his head.” The circling child stops to scratch his head. Substitute different lyrics each time to add a fun factor.
Music and Rhythm
What child doesn’t love to bang on an instrument? Use a tambourine, a maraca or a homemade bongo drum. Make up silly sentences that include lots of P words. Each time you say a P word, you and your child repeat it two times as you play the beat on your instruments. For example, “I saw a panda – panda, panda – who liked to play – play, play – in the park – park, park – with a parrot – parrot, parrot.”