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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Make a Play Mat! Build Letter Knowledge!

My Little Reader has been really into Tonka's Chuck Trucks lately. They have a Chuck Truck show on Netflix, which is the driving the force behind this current obsession of his. 

I needed to keep him busy one day while we had a repair guy at the house and so I whipped out some big paper and some art supplies and we made a play mat together for his trucks and cars. 

I decided to give the activity an "Alphabet City" theme so we could work in some letter-knowledge practice as well! He loved it!

You don't need any fancy supplies to make this. Basically just some big paper and some crayons (see above). If you don't have a roll of large craft paper, the plain side of some wrapping paper might work as well. 

We rolled two lengths of paper out side by side to get the size we wanted, and then used the tape to attach the two pieces together on the back. Then we got to drawing!

Besides the alphabet stickers, we used whatever other stickers we had in our sticker box that might work for our Alphabet City. You could probably think of some cool ideas for your Alphabet City with a lot of those miscellaneous craft supplies in your art cabinet at home!

I just free-handed the road shape. My son told me what directions he wanted the road to go, then I drew it that way as best I could.
My son and I worked together to draw a variety of features on our mat: shops, library, pond, gas station, etc. Be creative, and let your child come up with the ideas as much as possible. My son was struggling to think up some ideas, so I drew some generic buildings and then pointed to each and asked, "What should this one be?" That helped kick-start his ideas. 

We named and labeled our buildings and locations as we went. We tried to cover as many letters of the alphabet as we could with our names and labels. I would say the name of a place to My Little Reader and then he would figure out the first letter(s) and find it on our sticker sheet. Then I would write-in the rest of the name next to the sticker (see photos above). 

The fun doesn't stop when you're done drawing!

This activity kept My Little Reader busy for hours. Literally. Try it!

Other alphabet play mat ideas your little one might enjoy making and then using with their toys:
- Alphabet Zoo
- Alphabet Kingdom (I'm thinking fairy and princess theme)
- Alphabet Jungle
- Alphabet School
- Alphabet Circus

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