Letters and Beginning Sounds

Learning letters is very important, but learning the corresponding beginning sound that goes with the letter is even more important! 

What does that mean? Instead of just saying “this is the letter A”, try saying, “this is the letter A,  A says “ah” like apple”

Connecting the sounds to the letters helps to prepare children for learning how to read. 

How can you help your child with letters and beginning sounds at home? Check out some of these activities below!  

*Please Note: It is recommended to print all of my printable activities on card stock or laminate them for better durability.

Beginning Letter Sounds Clip Wheels

These printable Beginning Letter Sounds Clip Wheels are a great way for your child to practice their beginning letter sounds.

Tell your child what the letter is for the wheel and what sound that letter makes. Example: This letter wheel is for the letter A, remember that A says “Ah”. Can you find all of the pictures that make the “Ah” sound?

Your student will then clip all of the pictures that start with the A sound with a clothespin. This is great for fine motor skills!

You can find these clip wheels here: Beginning Letter Sound Clip Wheels

Self Correcting A-Z Puzzle

These printable puzzles are a great way to practice beginning letter sounds along with uppercase and lowercase letter matching!

These puzzles are self correcting with the animal pictures. Your child will be able to find the correct letters based on the animal pictures.

Remember to talk about the animal and the corresponding letter sound. For example: Great job putting the bear puzzle together! Remember this is the letter B, B says “buh”, B is for bear.

You can find these animal puzzles here: Self Correcting A-Z Animal Puzzles

Beginning Letter Sounds Puzzles

Here is another printable puzzle! This one is a two piece puzzle, but I also have a version that is three pieces (picture piece, uppercase piece, lowercase piece).

This puzzle is a little more challenging since the picture is on one piece and the letters are on another.

Children will match the letter puzzle pieces to the beginning sound puzzle pieces. You will definitely want to check their work on this one to make sure they matched the letters correctly. If they had a few mixups, be sure to talk about them and tell them the sounds those letters make.

For example: Great try with this one, but the car picture does not go with the letter K. Do you remember what other letter makes the “kuh” sound? Great job, you are right, it is the letter C!

You can find this puzzle here: Build & Learn with Puzzles {Beginning Sounds}

Letter & Sound Matching

I originally created this printable activity to be used with connecting links, but it is also a great activity without them!

Children will match the uppercase and lowercase letters and then find all of the beginning sound pictures that go with that letter. I have included over 150 beginning sounds picture cards. These picture cards include both the short and long vowel sounds.

I would only do a few letters at a time so your child does not become overwhelmed.

You can find this beginning letter sound activity here: Beginning Sounds with Connecting Links

If you choose to use the connecting links, you can find them here: Learning Resources Connecting Links

Memory Match

Memory match games are always a huge hit with my students. Any type of memory match game has great benefits for your child!

Memory matching games:

  • improve attention, concentration, and focus
  • use critical thinking
  • improve visual recognition
  • require spotting similarities and differences
  • use short term memory

This Beginning Letter Sounds Memory Match game is a fun way to recognize the letters and learn their sounds.

You can find this printable memory match game here: Animal Alphabet Memory Match Game

Play-Doh Letters

Kids LOVE Play-Doh, so why not build some letters using it? Print these beginning letter sounds play-doh mats and then place them into page protectors. Your child can then roll Play-Doh to form letters. Talk about the sounds the letters make. Example: J is for Jellyfish. J says “juh”.

You can find these printable Beginning Letter Sounds Animal Mats here: Build & Learn with Play Dough {Animal Alphabet Mats}

Coloring Letters

Coloring is always an easy activity, and kids always seem to enjoy it. These Beginning Letter Sounds Coloring Animal Alphabet pages are a great time filler.

Before, during, or after, talk about the pictures and the sounds that the letters make. Example: C is for cat. C says “kuh”.

You can download this freebie right below:

Books about Letters

Reading books about letters with your child is another great way to help them with their beginning letter sounds. There are tons of books that work on the alphabet and letter sounds, I bet you even have a few at your home already!

If you don’t, I really love the book A is for Apple. I really like this book because it is interactive with flaps and pictures but also tracks to trace the letters.

Letters in Names

The last letter related topic I am going to talk about is letters in names! It is important that your child learns the letters that make up their name. I wouldn’t even focus on the sounds the letters make when doing these activities, because that might get confusing for your child.

When teaching beginning sounds, I usually start with only the short vowel sounds. For example: A is for apple. After students master the short vowels I then move to long vowel sounds. For Example: A is for acorn.

If you want to talk about the sounds the letters make in your child’s name that is fine, but it is not necessary if you are just focusing on them learning their name and spelling their name.

Some fun ways to practice learning and spelling names include:

These are just a few ways to practice learning the letters in a name.

You can find my FREE editable and printable name practice mat here: Trace & Learn Name Practice Mat

Digital Beginning Sounds Activities

Other Resources I love for Letters & Beginning Sounds:

Melissa and Doug ABC Picture Boards

Melissa and Doug Alphabet Wooden Lacing Cards

Melissa and Doug Self Correcting Letter Puzzle

Learning Resources Alphabet Soup Sorters

Learning Resources Alphabet Acorns Activity Set

Learning Resources Goodie Games ABC Cookies

These are just a few ways to practice learning letters and beginning sounds! Be sure to follow me on Instagram @tayloredtoteach so you don’t miss out on any information from our #letsgetreadyforkinder Kindergarten Readiness Week! This information will be on my Instagram highlights titled “Kinder”. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions!

Check out my How to Get your Child Ready for Kindergarten Blog Post to get a FREE Kindergarten Readiness Checklist!

Please supervise your child while they are completing learning activities.

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

DIY Picture Puzzles

Does your child love puzzles? Do you have any printed photos lying around? What about craft sticks? Learn how to make your own DIY picture puzzles below!

You will need:

How to make your puzzle:

1. Flip your picture over and see how many craft sticks you will need.

2. Trace the craft sticks so you will know where you will need to cut strips. I left a very small space between each line.

3. Cut out the strips

4. Attach the strips to the craft sticks with hot glue or double sided tape. I used hot glue.

Tada! Your puzzle is complete! My daughter is loving these easy and fun DIY picture puzzles, I hope your child loves them too!

Thank you to the Instagram page @missjaneofalltrades for this awesome idea!

Last Minute DIY Father’s Day Handprint Card

Do you need a last minute card for the special dad, father figure, or grandfather in your kids’ life? Check out this adorable, quick and easy editable Father’s day craft.

You can download the “Best Daddy Hands Down” freebie below.

You will need:

1. Download my Best Daddy Hands Down Craft

2. Make sure you have the most recent version of Adobe and also make sure you download the free personal use fonts:

3. Edit the PDF! You can change the name from Daddy to whatever you would like: Grandpa, Papa, Dad, etc and you can change the children’s names at the bottom to your own children’s names.

4. Print your customized PDF on cardstock

5. Add handprints! I use Crayola washable paint because it is non toxic and my kids make a mess!

I hope you enjoy this quick and easy last minute Father’s Day card!

You may also like my Hooked on Daddy Handprint Craft

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Get Ready for Kindergarten Learning Binder

Is your little one hopefully starting Kindergarten in the fall? Do you feel like you need to do some things to get them ready after checking out my How to Get your Child Ready for Kindergarten post?

Check out my DIY Get Ready for Kindergarten Learning Binder! It has a variety of hands on learning activities that will prepare your child for Kindergarten. This binder is reusable, you can do these activities over and over, and they are FUN!

How to create your own “Get Ready for Kindergarten Learning Binder”

Step 1: Download your Get Ready for Kindergarten {BUNDLE} and purchase the following materials to create your own binder:

Step 2: Print your Get Ready for Kindergarten {BUNDLE} on card stock. I printed most of the activities double sided. This will depend on the thickness of your card stock.

Step 3: Put your printed activity sheets into the page protectors. This will make them reusable. You can use dry erase markers to complete the learning activities once they are in the page protectors.

Step 4: Let the learning begin! Make sure to always supervise your child while they are completing these activities and using the learning materials.

PLEASE NOTE: You do not need to purchase and use my learning materials. You can create your own reusable learning binder with whatever learning resources you would like!

Check out some of the resources included in the Get Ready for Kindergarten Learning Bundle below:

Name Tracing Mat

Prewriting Shapes

Tracing & Cutting

Letter Formation

Number Formation

Building Uppercase Letters

Building Lowercase Letters

Building Numbers

Identifying Colors

Identifying Shapes

BONUS FILE: A-Z Alphabet Animal Puzzle

Please supervise your child while they are completing learning activities.

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Hooked on Daddy Father’s Day Handprint Craft

Are you looking for a cute Father’s Day handprint craft? Try out this cute “Hooked on Daddy” handprint craft. This is FREE, EDITABLE, and ADORABLE!

You will need:

1. Download my Hooked on Daddy Handprint Craft

2. Make sure you have the most recent version of Adobe and also make sure you download the free personal use font KBCameraShy

3. Edit the PDF! You can change the name from Daddy to whatever you would like: Grandpa, Papa, Dad, etc and you can change the children’s names at the bottom to your own children’s names. I have two versions of this with one name box and two name boxes.

4. Print your customized PDF on card stock

5. Add handprints! I use crayola washable paint because it is non toxic and my kids make a mess!

6. When the handprints are dry, you can add eyes and mouths with crayons or makers. You can also add water to the bottom. I used crayons to add little blue waves when everything was dry.

I hope you enjoy this adorable Father’s Day keepsake!

You may also like my Best Daddy Hands Down Craft

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

How to Get Your Child Ready for Kindergarten

Is your little one getting ready to start Kindergarten? Are you wondering what you could be doing to help prepare them? Check out these ten kindergarten readiness skills below to find out how to get your child ready for Kindergarten! Don’t forget to download your FREE kindergarten readiness checklist.

How to Get Your Child Ready for Kindergarten

1. READ:

Read to your child! Teach them how to hold a book and how to turn the pages. Run your fingers under the words as you read to help them learn that words go from left to right and top to bottom. I have included some great books to get ready for kindergarten in the resources below.

Reading Resources I Love:

First Little Readers

Bob Books Beginning Readers

Dr. Seuss’s ABC

Chicka Chikca Boom Boom

2. DRAW:

Have your child work on drawing prewriting shapes. Have them draw a person with body parts. Drawing helps children get ready to write letters and words while strengthening little hand muscles.

Drawing Resources I Love:

Crayola Washable Crayons

Prewriting Shapes Practice

3. WRITE:

Focus on having your child write their name. Use my editable name tracing mat to have them practice. After working on their name, have them practice tracing other letters and numbers. You can let your child write in shaving cream and finger paint or salt, sugar, or sand in a tray to make it more exciting and to introduce them to different textures.

Writing Resources I Love:

Trace & Learn {Name Practice}

A is for Apple Book

Trace & Lean Letter & Number Formation Bundle

4. LETTERS & SOUNDS:

Help your child recognize letters of the alphabet through play. Build letters with snap cubes, trace letters with markers or crayons, and read books about the letters of the alphabet. Some other fun ideas you could try are magnetic letters on the fridge or a cookie tray, or foam letters in the bath tub. Make sure to talk about the sounds that letter makes. Example. A is for alligator. Learning beginning letter sounds and connecting sounds to letters is VERY important and prepares children for learning how to read!

Letters & Sounds Resources I Love:

Clip & Learn {Beginning Letter Sound Wheels}

Build & Learn with Connecting Links {Beginning Letter Sounds}

Build & Learn with Puzzles {A-Z Alphabet Animal Puzzles ~ Self Correcting}

Playdoh Shape and Learn Letters & Language

Build & Learn with Snap Cubes {Uppercase Letters}

Build & Learn with Snap Cubes {Lowercase Letters

Foam Letters

Jumbo Magnetic Letters

5. NUMBERS & COUNTING:

Count throughout the day. Count the blocks as you play with them. Count the blueberries as you put them in a bowl. Point out numbers you see around the house and outside. Work on counting up to 20 (counting to 100 is expected by the end of Kindergarten). Work on recognizing numbers 1-10 (1-20 is expected by the end of Kindergarten). 

Numbers & Counting Resources I Love:

Build & Learn with Snap Cubes {Numbers 1-10}

Play Doh Shape and Learn Numbers & Counting

Build & Learn with Puzzles {Number Correspondence Counters 1-20}

6. SHAPES & COLORS: Find objects of specific shapes and colors around the house or neighborhood. Sort toys by color or shape, play shape or color games, complete shape or color puzzles, etc. 

Shapes & Colors Resources I Love:

Melissa & Doug Shape Sorting Cube

Search & Learn {Color Identification}

Search & Learn {Shape Identification}

Play Doh Shape & Learn Colors & Shapes

7. CUT:

Have your child use child safe scissors to practice cutting paper. Cutting Play Doh is also fun for children. Always supervise your child when they are using scissors. 

Cutting Skills Resources I Love:

Child Safe Scissors

8. FOLLOW DIRECTIONS:

Help your child get ready to follow directions at school by giving two step directions. Example: Please push your chair in and put your plate in the sink. You can also play the game Simon Says. Example: Simon says jump up and down and shout Yippee!

9. SOCIAL SKILLS:

Give your children opportunities to interact with other children their age. Teach your child how to express their feelings and how to be a good friend.

10. FINE MOTOR SKILLS:

Use different writing utensils such as crayons or scented makers to make writing fun. Have your child use snap cubes to create letters and numbers. Play with Play Doh, do lacing or threading activities, and put puzzles together to work on motor skills through play. 

Fine Motor Skills Resources I Love:

Personalized Name Puzzle

Learning Resources Snap Cubes

Melissa and Doug Alphabet Lacing

Melissa and Doug Self Correcting Alphabet Puzzle

Check out my Get Ready for Kindergarten Learning Bundle. This bundle contains 10 printable kindergarten prep learning activities along with a bonus activity to help your child get ready for kindergarten. I hope that this helps with preparing for kindergarten!

You may also be interested in my DIY Get Ready for Kindergarten Learning Binder!

Not into printable resources? Check out my Get Ready for Kindergarten {Digital BUNDLE}

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links

Build and Learn with Snap Cubes

Building with snap cubes is a great way to encourage learning through play! In this post, you will find a few examples of some fun hands on learning activities using snap cubes from Learning Resources. These snap cubes are easy to put together as well as easy to take apart. They are a great manipulative for little hands to work on motor skills.

Check out some of the fun learning activities with snap cubes below!

Build Uppercase Letters

This resource is a great way for students to work on letter recognition, motor skills, counting, and even patterns!

Students love to build the letters with the snap cubes. You can let students build with whichever color they want, or you could have them create certain patterns with given colors.

These mats are to scale. The Learning Resources snap cubes fit perfectly onto each letter. You can place these letter mats in sheet protectors to make them more durable and reusable.

You can find Build & Learn with Snap Cubes {Uppercase Letters} here.

Build Lowercase Letters

These lowercase letter mats are just like the uppercase letter mats. It is important for children to be able to recognize both uppercase and lowercase letters.

You can find Build & Learn with Snap Cubes {Lowercase Letters} here.

Build Numbers

These mats are great for children to work on number recognition, 1-10. These mats are just like the uppercase and lowercase mats, except for the fact that they are building numbers instead of letters.

You can find Build & Learn with Snap Cubes {Numbers 1-10} here.

Build Sight Words

Building sight words with snap cubes is a TON of fun! Try it out with your students or your child at home with my Build & Learn with Snap Cubes FREEBIE.

You can find my Build & Learn with Snap Cubes FREEBIE {Sight Words ~ Fry’s First 25} here!

These snap cube sight word cards are meant to be used as guided templates. The snap cube sight word cards are not to scale like the letter and number mats.

Build and Learn activities are great ways to get children excited about learning! These hands on activities require critical thinking, provide motor skills practice, and are just plain fun!

You may also love my Build and Learn with Pattern Blocks Post! Check it out by clicking the image below:

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

Build and Learn with Pattern Blocks

If you couldn’t tell, I am all about making learning as fun as possible. I love build and learn activities because I always find that children learn better through hands on learning.

This post is all about different learning activities with pattern blocks. Students love to use my pattern blocks from Learning Resources.

Read below to check out some fun learning ideas!

Build Uppercase Letters


This resource is a great way for students to work on letter recognition and beginning letter sounds. 

Students love to use the pattern blocks to fill in the letters. This resource is differentiated with two different mats. The first mat has the pattern block template for students to cover with designated pattern blocks. It also has a section for students to circle the picture that begins with the designated letter to work on beginning letter sounds. The second mat is blank for students to fill with their own selection of pattern blocks and then specify how many of each block that they used.

You can place these letter mats in sheet protectors to make them reusable!

You can find Build & Learn with Pattern Blocks {Uppercase Letters} here.

Build Lowercase Letters


These lowercase letters have differentiated mats just like the uppercase letters do. The only difference, aside from being lowercase instead of uppercase, is that the pictures for the beginning sounds are different. I wanted to make sure students had different pictures for both uppercase and lowercase letters so they were exposed to more examples of words beginning with each letter.

You can find Build & Learn with Pattern Blocks {Lowercase Letters} here.

Build Numbers

These mats are great for students to work on number recognition, 1-10, as well as number correspondence. There are two differentiated mats for this product. The first mat has the pattern block template for students to cover with designated pattern blocks. There is also a section for students to circle the gum ball machine with the same number of gum balls as the number they are building. This helps to work on number correspondence. The second mat is blank for students to fill with their own selection of pattern blocks and then specify how many of each block that they used.

You can find Build & Learn with Pattern Blocks {Numbers 1-10} here.

Build Sight Words

I am always searching for new ways to practice sight words. Students love to build sight words while playing with pattern blocks. This is a great activity to try at home, or to use in literacy centers at school.

These pattern block sight word cards are meant to be used as guided templates. The pattern block sight word cards are not to scale like the letter and number mats.

All of these Build and Learn activities are great ways to get children excited about learning! These hands on activities are engaging and provide great motor skills practice for young learners!

You may also love my Build and Learn with Snap Cubes post! Check it out by clicking the image below:

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

DIY Peloton Setup

Before having kids, I used to go to the gym regularly. After having my first child, I started to try at home workouts, but couldn’t find something that met my needs.

After having my second child, a few family members were raving about Peloton and cycling. I had only tried cycling once in college and didn’t see what the hype was all about.

I tried a Peloton cycle class out a few weeks later, and decided that cycling would be a great fit for me! You can get a great workout in in just as little as 15-20 minutes. I could squeeze in a workout before my kids woke up, during nap time, or after bedtime. The only problem was that an actual Peloton bike was WAY out of my price range. To purchase a Peloton bike package, you need to also purchase a $39.99/month Peloton Membership to access the unlimited content. This comes out to about to about $3,000 dollars for the first year. After the initial year, the cost is $479.88/year for the Peloton Membership. My husband did a lot of research online, and we were able to purchase our own DIY bike package and purchase the $12.99/month Peloton App Subscription for about $700 dollars for the first year. After the initial year, the cost is $155.88/year for the Peloton App Subscription. We don’t have all of the bells and whistles of owning an ACTUAL Peloton bike, but this works for us and saved us a lot of money… about $2,500 worth of savings!

Read below to see what we ended up with for our DIY Peloton setup!

Must Have Items

The Bike

We went with an Cyclace Indoor Exercise Bike. The bike has a smooth ride, an adjustable seat, an adjustable multi-grip handlebar, iPad holder, and caged pedal protection. This bike had good reviews and we have loved it so far.

Another popular model we saw when researching was the Sunny Indoor Cycling Bike.

Cadence Sensor

If you ride with Peloton, you will need to know your cadence, or speed. We got this Wahoo RPM Cycling Speed and Cadence Sensor so we could follow along with our Peloton instructors on the app. It is very easy to use, but you do need to download the app and use it on your phone. You will need to watch the Peloton app on a different device. We use our Fire TV Stick and use the Peloton app on our tv.

Peloton App

We use the Peloton app and we love it! It is really easy to use and a great price at only $12.99 per month. You can filter the workouts by length, difficulty, and even song genre!

Not only does the app have cycling workouts, but it has a ton of other great workout categories such as strength, yoga, cardio, meditation, running, stretching, and more!

Optional Items

Mat


We decided to get an exercise bike mat to put underneath our bike. The mat protects our floor and also keeps our bike in place.

Seat Cover

I highly recommend getting some type of seat cover! This Gel Bike Seat Cover of course is optional, but I think it makes the ride much more comfortable.

Heart Rate Monitor

The Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor is optional, but if you chose to get this one, you will be able to see your heart rate and your cadence on the same screen using the Wahoo app.

Apple Watch

If you have an Apple watch, you can link it to the Peloton app! It will track your heart rate for you and it will also log your exercise. This is obviously OPTIONAL, but if you already have an Apple watch , you do not need to get any type of heart rate monitor since you can sync your watch right up to your Peloton app!

UPDATE

I did not know this before, but with the updated Peloton app, you can hook your Wahoo Cadence and Heart Rate Monitor directly to the app! I do not have to use the Wahoo App anymore, and can stream the Peloton ride from my phone and see my cadence and heart rate all on the same screen. I no longer have to use my TV and Phone for the workouts.

Cons

There are a few cons to not having the actual Peloton bike.

  1. One User/Username: Since we do not have an actual Peloton bike, we can only have one username for the Peloton app.
  2. Resistance: You need to guesstimate the resistance since this particular bike does not tell you a specific number when you adjust the resistance knob.
  3. Caged Pedals: This bike comes with caged pedals. This was not a con to me, but if you would like to have shoes that clip in for a ride, this may be a con for you.
  4. Live rankings: Since you are not on an actual Peloton bike, you will not be able to see how you stack up against others during a live class. This was not a dealbreaker for me, but it may be for you.

We LOVE our DIY Peloton set up! We saved a ton of money and I love the convenience of having a bike at home to hop onto at anytime for a quick workout.

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Easy DIY Mother’s Day Craft

Mother’s Day is this weekend! Do you need a last minute gift idea? Try out this easy DIY Mother’s Day craft. All you will need is a canvas (or paper), paint, and your child’s foot!

To make these footprint flowers, I usually put paint on a paper plate and spread it around so I can easily stamp my child’s foot in the paint.

Depending on the age of your child, have them step on the plate, or you will need to stamp each foot for them.

Now comes the tricky part, getting their footprints on the canvas or paper! Start from the heel and roll their foot onto the paper or canvas from heel to toe.

Do this for each foot to create your foot flowers!

When the foot flowers are dry, paint on a stem and leaves to the bottom of your foot flowers.

I personally love keepsake hand or footprint art from my children. Try this out for a quick and easy Mother’s Day gift!