Alphabet Adventures - A Month of Adventures and Fun Inspired by the Letter D

by - Friday, May 18, 2018

Ever since my son turned three, we have chosen a Letter of the Month. We do all sorts of activities, listen to music, eat food, pick colors, all around the letter we pick. I thought it might be fun, but it has turned out to be my best parenting idea ever. Here's why:

1. It keeps our daily focus on what we DO not what we HAVE. I am trying to raise minimalist kids by putting my energy into experiences, not things, because toys are just going to be a burden of waste for them as adults. 

2. It reinforces letters and sounds without banging them over the head. We are playing with words in a game-like way, that I hope will help with literacy when it's more developmentally appropriate.

3.  It keeps me from getting bored. Stay at home parenting can be an exercise in stamina when you do the same monotonous tasks every single day. It is way too easy to get complacent, let your boredom take over, spend hours on screen time, etc. I feel like this motivates me to stay creative.

4. It's really fun. Can I sell anything as exciting if it starts with the letter of the month? Do we make chores and errands into adventures? Oh hell yes. We have a great time!

DInosaur Toys for  Alphabet Adventures

This month, we were all about the letter D! At our house, that meant we were all about dinosaurs. My kids freaking love dinosaurs. I try not to reflect too much about why these long dead things have such deep appeal to them, but we had a blast this month! These are my best ideas from it:

D Foods

A Cut Dragonfruit

D month was not as fun for food as other months. We did use it as an opportunity to try dragonfruit, which we all loved looking at but we definitely did not finish it. 

QFC Top Pot Doughnuts

The other amazing D food? Doughnuts, of course! We sometimes get a Top Pot doughnut at the end of our grocery trips (trust me, we all deserve it).

Other D foods I thought of were Dates, Dumplings (so many options for this!) Dirt (chocolate cookies and pudding mixed together, or Durian (if your little one is REALLY brave, because this fruit smells terrible). 

Activities Inspired by D

Burke Museum Dino Days

Dino Days.  The Burke Museum does Dino Days, where you can dig for fossils (or make your own), look at dinosaur bones, draw dinosaurs, and more! You can even earn a paleontologist hat! Obviously, it doesn't get much better than dinosaurs for D month. 

Darth Vader Birthday Candle

Celebrating Dad. This month was their dad's birthday, so we threw him a little party (specifically, a Mario Kart party where adults got to act like kids and kids thought their controllers did something) and did all kinds of fun "Dad" stuff to celebrate him. I try to do birthday tie-ins however I can, because I LOVE birthday celebrations. 

Downhill Sledding with Dad  Alphabet Adventures

Downhill Sledding. This month, we started a new tradition- Super Bowl Sled Day! We took advantage of everyone else being busy with some fancy sports event and headed to one of the best sledding spots up in the mountains. We were one of maybe 5 families there that day, and we had a total blast. My husband's genius idea is definitely getting repeated from here on. 

Drawings of Our Day with Toddlers

Our Day. I get a lot of questions about when it is, what we do now, etc. so I made a schedule of our day that the Bub could decorate and add to as he wanted. It worked CRAZY well! I was shocked! But seeing it drawn out really helped it click, and we added more color and ideas as the month went on. 

Daniel Tiger Live with Toddlers  Alphabet Adventures

Daniel Tiger Live. Our boys got tickets from their Grandma as a gift, so we went to see Daniel Tiger Live. Not exactly Broadway (and some really weird costumes), but they loved it! 

Dump Trucks. We have an active construction site in our backyard (also known as a gravel pit), but this month, we took our dump trucking to the next level. We spent an afternoon moving the snow around. We also had an amazing (and pretty cold) day at the beach, moving the sand around happily while I actually had a conversation with another adult. It was a miracle! But my phone was dead, so it remains undocumented. 

Delivery Truck Game with Toddlers Alphabet Adventures

Delivery Truck. Delivery Truck is a magical game where my kids sit in the crib, and I deliver every soft toy, pillow, and blanket to them. I also get to clean the whole room while I am at it. This particular day was special, because it was "Night Delivery Truck" so every so often they told me it was time to stop making deliveries and lay down! 

Dance Party Inspired by the Letter D Alphabet Adventures

Dance Party. We have these all the time, but this month, it was totally on theme. If you are at a loss and out of ideas, turning on a good dance jam and moving around never hurts. 10 minutes of cardio for you, 10 minutes of getting energy out for them! Plus, I love seeing my kids' dance moves. 

Making with D

Dinosaur Preschool Art Project

The bub did my favorite project from D month at school- more dinosaurs! These dinosaurs were cut out of butcher paper and stapled together, and then the kids painted them. This poor stegosaurus has been drug around our house over and over, but I love the paint job he got, and he is just too cute to me. 
Toddler Drawing of a Face

Toddler Drawing of a Car

Drawing. Our 3 year old is just getting to the magical age where he is really into figurative drawing (and it actually looks like what he says it is). You are looking at a face and a car on its side. We have a bin of crayons sitting at ready, and we draw almost everyday? He is so into it that it can be pretty fun, and if I just slipped it in after meals, he would go for it. 

Using Food Dye on the Snow Art Projects for Preschoolers

Dye. We had one really good snow in February, so we filled cleaner bottles with food coloring and cold water, and got out there and sprayed the snow. If I did it again, I would have dug up another bottle so we had a few more colors going on, but he was tickled to just get to use the spray bottle.

D-Inspired Books

This month, all of our books are all about dinosaurs. We read our all time favorite Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs, How Dinosaurs Say I Love You, Little Kids' First Big Book of Dinosaurs (this turned out to be a big winner), Dinosaurs Bite, The Atlas of Dinosaurs, and the Bernstein Bears' Dinosaur Dig.

The Dot Inspired Art Project

I also tried doing an art project based on one of my favorite books- The Dot. We read the book, and then we tried painting our own dots (I drew the dots and then he painted with gouache). The paints were too diluted, so it's not the greatest final product, but I liked building the connection between the themes in the book and my kid's own making. 

Toddler Playing in the Dirt

More D Ideas

Need more inspiration? Here are some more words I had written down for D, but never really got to nail:

Donkey, Dirt, Ducks (Wish we had gone and fed them), Deer, Drums, Dog, Dolphin, Doll, Dominoes, Dress, Dandelion, Daisy, Drink, Doodle, Door

How To Come Up with Your Letter and Ideas

1. Look at your Schedule- I do not recommend going  in alphabetical order. Instead, pick each letter based on what is already on the schedule for the month. We are doing M for the month we go to Disneyworld. We did B for the month we went home for a baptism. And we did P the month we dove into potty training. Think what you want to be doing, and tie it in.

2. Think about what is local to you. If you are in a region with intense seasons, think about what is great to do in the time of year you are in. Have concerts in the summer where you live? Pick M for music or B for band.

3. Every so often, pick a hard one. Pick those letters worth LOTS of points on Scrabble, or you will get to them all at the end and it will be miserable. Just saying.

Alphabet Adventures Activities for Kids Inspired by the Letter D

Want more inspiration for alphabet adventures? Awesome! First, go follow us on facebook, where we document our adventures and experiments almost every day. You can also check out the Green Families page, which has tons of ideas for raising minimalist kids, throwing green celebrations, and being good stewards for the holidays. 

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