Our Alphabet Adventures- A Month of Preschool Experiences, Food, and Fun Inspired by the Letter A

by - Monday, August 10, 2020

Kid looking at Abstract Art

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.

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? Is it getting us through the slog of quarntine? Oh hell yes. We have a great time!

We are kicking off our second round of alphabet adventures this month! I think the perfect time to start is when your kid is between 3 and 4. It instantly associates something they are just learning (the alphabet) with adventure and fun. I don't worry much about whether they hit every quantitative mark, but if I can send them off to school knowing that learning and trying new things are FUN, I will have done my job right.

A Foods

Apples- You can do tons of apple recipes- pies, pancakes, you can just warm them up with cinnamon and it will be a hit! It can be fun to see just how many apple recipes you can do in the month. 

Need some apple inspiration? We have a whole post about apple recipes! 

Other A Food Inspiration: 
 - Asparagus (we love it in stir fry) - Artichokes - Avocados - Apricots

Art inspired by A

Abstract Art- You may think that abstraction is a tough concept for kids to understand, but it is actually harder for adults! Representation is a system just like reading, so they lose the freedom to really embrace abstract art as they also learn how to read. That's why most kids all draw their houses the same way or put their sun in the corner of a paper; they are just mimicking conventions, which is the same skill central to reading! Enjoy this time where their brains can work in a totally different way. 

I break it down to this with my students- A representational picture is a picture of a thing (like a window onto a tree, cat, etc). Abstract art looks like itself. It's not of anything. We went to our local art museum and talked about what we saw in the art (a lot of "How do you think they made this?" or talk about the elements of art like color, line, and shape), read The Noisy Paintbox, and made our own Abstract Paintings. 

You can set a fun challenge to get abstract art- Ask them to just cover the paper with color or cover a paper in shapes before you paint it. 

Want a whole other type of abstract art? Start with some process art! We did spraying the snow, but you could also do spraying a sheet. 

More A Art Inspiration: 

Art (not a big art person, it's the perfect month to try!) - Artists (teach your favorite to your kid) - Ai Weiwei - Ghada Amer - Diane Arbus - Assemblage (this is a fun one- glue a bunch of cardboard together! Louise Nevelson makes great inspiration for this)

Adventures inspired by A 


Airplanes- We went to my oldest son's favorite place in the world- The Airplane Museum! Actually, it's the Museum of Flight, so we got to learn about Astronauts too. So basically the best kick off these alphabet adventures could have. If you are also parenting an airplane fan, you could go to the airport or watch airplanes at a picnic nearby. 

Action- Since it was January, we celebrated a day of volunteering and action on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Every year, we have participated in planting trees, taking action to help the environment and add more green space to neighborhoods. You could also take action by participating in activism, going to a rally, cleaning up your neighborhood, helping at a food bank, or writing a letter to help solve a problem. It will make cool memories for them and start habits worth keeping up for the rest of their lives. 

Other A Words we Used this Month: 

Alligator - Antelope - Activist - ABBA (oh heck yeah we listened to ABBA) - Adventure - Aliens - Anchor - Aquarium - Armadillo - Acorns

Our Favorite A Books

These are some of our favorite books about A words that we tied in this month. These are all Amazon links (so I take a tiny cut), but please buy them for your local booksellers (or get them from the library if it is open where you are). As a last resort, Amazon has a Used button- you can always get these books secondhand. But seriously, check out other options like Thriftbooks first. Amazon is solidly terrible for everyone. 

We are going to do the whole alphabet, so stick with us for lots of fun! You can do all your own things for every month, but just having a plan makes me feel more creative and sane while coming up with fun stuff to do. The more we help our kids focus on experiences instead of stuff, the better off the world will be! 

Alphabet Adventures- Food, Fun, and Experiences Inspired by the Letter A

List of Words that Begin with the Letter A

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