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Letter A Tot School

This was our first week we used our new tot school focus of phonics and letter construction. It wasn't a huge shift from what we did the first time through the alphabet, but there were some subtle changes that I hope to expand over time. Our first tray in our Letter A Tot School unit was a sandpaper letter/salt tray. 

Henry is 34 months.

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This was the first time I used the sandpaper letters and the salt but this is going to become a permanent feature each week. Henry and the co-op kids all seemed to have some interest in the sandpaper letter -- but not as much as the salt. I'm hoping over time the sensory aspect of the salt will lose its appeal and they will be more interested in using the tray how it was intended.

Letter A tot school trays! To teach phonics and introduce the letter A here are some tot school tray ideas for older toddlers.

Ideally, they would trace the letter, while saying its sound. Then, write the letter in the salt. Henry did trace the letter quite a bit, but never did it in the salt. However, he has an iPad app that he used to dislike because it makes you trace the letter to unlock the game -- well, this week I noticed for the first time he was able to unlock the letter a! So, something must have been sticking. 

The second tray was a letter a sight{ish} word game. I made two cards with letter a words written in lower case, then the kids had to use scrabble pieces to match the letters and spell the words. The first card {shown} was apple. The other was the name/picture of one of the little boys in our co-op whose name start's with A. 

The final tray was a set of 3-part cards that we used the first time with the letter A. On this particular set, I left one set of cards together so it was a little easier to match. It was probably a little too easy for the kids and Henry but this time I also included the words, which were more of a challenge. 

Other Trays

Letter A sensory bin: I'm keeping these since they provide a good opportunity to learn vocabulary and to identify words that start with each letter. 

Bead Name Game: For purposes of this picture, I used a "Henry" sheet, but this week I used a sheet with the little boy with the A name. But to protect the boy's identity I'm not going to show that exact sheet. The idea was to fill in the circles of the boy's name with the glass beads. This was a hit -- especially with the boy! 

Apple Color Sorting: On this tray I got to use one of my many apple trays! I included three different colored barrels and a bunch of small apples. The children could then sort the colors. This was a big hit for Henry, who is very into color sorting right now. 

Letter A font matching: This was another repeat from the first time we did the letter A. The point was to match the green and black A's that looked a like. I saw one girl using this during the co-op, but otherwise it was completely ignored all week. 

*Sorry for the lack of pictures of Henry. Henry has decided the camera is the most awesome thing ever all of a sudden and if its out all he does is make cheezy faces at the camera then look at the pictures. So, in order to try to not interrupt his work, I've been leaving it out of tot school. Sometimes I will catch a few moments on my phone -- see all of those on Instagram


Love the name/gem page! Very cute. I would have thought the matching of the A's would be a good idea. Thanks for letting me know it wasn't a hit.
Unknown said…
You have such great ideas! Did you make the apple sorting cards?
I didn't make the images, but I found them online, made them smaller and cut them out.
If you want them, let me know I can easily email you a pdf!
Such a fun collection of activities!! I love your glass apple dishes:)
Nathalie said…
I want them please such a brilliant method! My email is:
Anonymous said…
Did you make the letter tile cards (apple)? I see you have them for D as well (donut and something else!) - didn't know if you had them for all the letters of the alphabet. I'd be really interested in those cards! They'd be great for 2 of my boys right now. If you made them and are willing to email them my email is

Thank you so much.

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