Exploring The Letter D : Dogs, Ducks, and Dinosaurs

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At the beginning of our letter exploration, we start by looking at the letter and tracing this letter with our fingers. During this time, I make the sound that that particular letter makes and LC repeats it back to me. At two years old, this is adorable to hear! We use an alphabet placemat for this portion. We then sing the ABC song, putting emphasis on the letter we will be learning about. Since the school year is quickly approaching and I’m not with LC all day anymore, we usually take about 2 to 3 days to get through each letter. You may find that that time frame is either too long, or too short, for your own little one, but it works for us.

The idea behind OUR letter units is to provide opportunities for hands on learning that allows LC to learn each of her letters, the sounds they make, and to make real world connections with these letters, while also touching on other concepts and subject areas. For example, when we were working on the letter A, we learned that the word “apple” starts with A. Rather than just leaving it at that, we took that opportunity to learn more about apples. How they grow, what colors they come in, the different ways we can use them, and so on. There is an opportunity to learn something new every single day and we fully plan on taking advantage of these opportunities. Here are our activity and projects ideas all about the letter D ! Check out our previous post: ” Exploring The Letter C : Cats, Crayons, and Colors “




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Dogs are a subject that we know all about in our house. We have four furry family members and LC loves helping us out with them. When she was a baby, the dogs would lay around her rocker, “protect” her, and help us take care of her. Athena, our only female dog, would become alert whenever LC would cry and she would whine at us until we got the baby in our arms. She could have been concerned, or she could have just been trying to get us to make the new smelly thing be quiet! Now that she is older, LC enjoys helping us care for her furry brothers and sister.

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Lyanna helps us with almost every aspect of their care. When she can’t participate, like when we brush the dog’s teeth, she’ll sit next to them and tell them that it’s all okay and that they are being good. Adorable! We’re trying to teach her to be a good care giver, but also that being a pet owner takes a lot of work and dedication. In her eyes, and ours, the dogs aren’t just pets. They are family and you take care of your family. For our exploration of the letter D, we wanted to touch on dogs because it was a subject that she is already familiar with and interested in.

This week, we have been learning everything that goes in to taking care of our dogs. During our research, we learned why it’s important to brush their fur, care for their teeth, good foods and bad foods, and all of their other basic needs. We have done A TON of activities that allow us to review the letter D, but also to review the information we learned about dogs. Here is a quick run down of a few activities we’ve done:

Doggie Coloring Sheets – By doing a quick search on Google, you can easily find coloring sheets of dogs. This is an easy activity to put together that has several benefits and allows you to touch on so much! While LC was coloring, we talked about the colors she was using, we counted the dogs, we pointed out their features, we attempted to write the letter D, we recalled the information we learned about dogs, and so on. She thinks that she is just coloring and talking to Mommy. In reality, she is learning to recall and discuss information, which is also improving her memory, and she is also improving her fine motor skills by holding and using a crayon. During this time, we are also going over other concepts like numbers, letters, and colors.

“What Our Dogs Need” Scavenger Hunt – After learning about all of the items a dog owner needs in order to properly care for their pet, we made a list to use for a scavenger hunt! We ran around the house and found all of our items. Dog bones, dog food, brushes, other toys, dog cages, treats, and so on. This activity is great for familiarizing children with text, following instructions, becoming more aware of their surroundings, and being active!

Constructing a D with Dog Toys

Caring For Our Dogs – LC has already been a great helper with our dogs, but this week, we made sure to focus on why these tasks are important. We talked about why we let the dogs outside, how much to feed them and why they each eat separate bowls, and how nice, but necessary, it is for them to be brushed.

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Our dogs know the drill. When LC gets in her highchair, they circle her and just wait for the food to drop! We’ve always told her not to feed the dogs, but we know how tempting it is for her. We’ve been talking about how certain foods can really upset a dog’s stomach and why we shouldn’t give them our food. I have a feeling that she’ll still be sneaking them chicken nuggets 🙂 .

Here is a list of the videos and books we’ve been using this week:

Cute Dogs and Adorable Babies

Teaching Kids To Greet Dogs

Understanding Your Dog

 

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We have also spent this week learning all about dinosaurs. Last week, I heard meows ALL DAY from the little one. This week, it’s ROAR! This child loved our dinosaur unit! We have been reading book after book, all about dinos. We’ve been reading one book in particular, ” That’s Not My Dinosaur “, over and over and over again. If you’ve never seen any of the Usborne Touchy Feely books by Finoa Watt, you’re missing out! LC loves these books and they are pretty durable, to an extent!

For this portion of our letter D unit, we’ve been reading books, watching videos, doing all sorts of projects and activities:

Coloring Dinosaurs – Coloring sheets

Dinosaur Train – Using our dino letters, we lined them up in alphabetical order, talked about the letters we are familiar with, the colors we saw, counted our dino friends, and grouped them based on their coloring.

Dinosaur Trail – We dipped our little dinosaurs’ feet into some colorful paint and creating their ” tracks ” on paper. We wrote the letter D onto the paper and had LC making dino tracks on the outline of this letter. Together, we counted the footprints we saw, talked about all of the colors, and traced our footprint D with our messy paint fingers!

Dino Dig – Another sensory bin project! We are big fans of sensory bins and if you have a little one, you should be too! Sensory play is so very important to a child’s development. Here is a fabulous post about sensory play from Amanda Morgan at Not Just Cute.

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For this sensory bin you will need:

A bin or large container

Dinosaur Figures

Sand

Rocks ( optional )

Brushes

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As you may have noticed, we used our dinosaur alphabet for almost every activity for this portion of our letter unit. We love these little guys! They are such a great manipulative for a ton of different activities. We’ve painted with them, played matching games, coloring sorting activities, and so on. We purchased ours from Walmart and they are made by Spark. You can find them here from Walmart’s website. I would highly recommend checking out this brand’s entire line of educational items. They are a great alternative to expensive learning tools and we love our Spark items!

Our video selections for this unit:

Dinosaur Facts and Fun Dinosaur Videos

I’m A Dinosaur 

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Any project involving chocolate is approved by us! This activity wasn’t planned at first, but during a trip to Michael’s, the dinosaur mold caught LC’s eyes. And then the colorful bags of candy melts ….. When I asked her if she’d like to make some dino chocolate for our letter work on D, her answer was obvious by her huge smile and enthusiastic squeal! We have recently started doing more and more cooking projects with Lyanna and I thought this would be an easy one for us to do together. Projects in the kitchen can be very beneficial for children as it provides an opportunity for them to refine their math skills and learn the importance of following directions. Cooking is another form of art, so creating in the kitchen allows kids to explore their talents and be hands on. This is also a great way for families to spend time together! Here are the supplies you will need and the simple steps to take to make your own chocolate dinos:

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We bought all of our supplies from Michael’s, but you can also find them on Amazon or by clicking the links below.

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Step 1: If this is your first time using your candy mold, be sure to wash it before use. Pour your bag of candy melts into a glass bowl.

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Step 2: Put 2-3 cups of water into a pot and bring to a slight boil. Place your glass bowl on top of your pot and let your chocolate begin to melt. Stir every minute or so to make sure all of your candy is melting. Once your candy is melted, remove your bowl by using kitchen towels, or oven mitts, and place on potholder.

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Step 3: Using or a spoon, or a piping bag, fill your mold with your melted candy. Shake your mold to make sure all of the candy is filling each detail in the mold. Place the mold in your freezer and let them sit for about 2 hours.

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Step 4: Once solid, pop out your candy and let them sit on a piece of parchment or wax paper to get to room temperature. ENJOY !

These are pretty big pieces of pure sugar, so I would recommend just sharing small pieces with one another. These would actually be great as cake or cupcake decorations!

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For the last portion of our letter D unit, we focused on ducks. We’ve learned an awful lot about these cute squeaky guys this week. Creating duck projects and activities is so easy. There are a million things you can do with this subject. We actually had to trim our list to keep us from spending 2 weeks on this letter! We’ve learned all about their homes, their families, habits, food preferences, and so much more! Here are a few of the activities we completed this week all about ducks and the letter D:

Button Sensory Play – We took a piece of colorful paper, drew a large letter D with a black marker, and lined this letter with our large and colorful buttons. To view this project, click here to see our full explanation and pictures from our ” Exploring The Letter B: Bugs, Buttons, and Bunnies ” unit.

Coloring Ducks – Coloring sheets

Duck Sorting – Using our large collection of rubber ducks, we sorted our ducks by their coloring and size. We also took our ducks and made the letter D with them, counted them, and used them as visuals while we sang ” Five Little Ducks “.

Bath Time Review – During LC’s bath time, she usually has a few ducks in their with her. We took this time to talk about the things we had learned about ducks. These ” review sessions ” are great for helping to improve memory by having children recall information. Discussing what you have learned is also a great way to cement this new knowledge. We also reviewed what the letter D sounds like and what other D items we had learned about.

Counting With Ducks – This counting game was so much fun! Anything involving water gets and keeps LC’s attention. We created this duck game as a fun way to use our ducks, improve our counting skills, incorporate text, and get some hands on sensory play time in.

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For this activity, you will need:

A large bucket or container

Water

Blue Liquid Watercolor ( or food dye )

Rubber Ducks ( 6 )

Dice

Paper

Crayons or Markers

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We started with an empty bucket and a blank chart to keep track and review our numbers. First, LC and I read over our chart and she was quick to point out the letter D where ever saw it. Proud moment! Next, we rolled our die. We counted the dots on our die. Whatever number we got, we would put that many ducks in their ” pond “. This was LC’s favorite part! We counted each duck to make sure that we put the correct number in and then we wrote this number on our paper. We also drew the dots beside the number to represent what we saw on the die. Yet another opportunity for her to practice counting!

This was a great activity and we will surely do a different version again, especially on hot days! If you don’t have a large container or bin to do this project in, you could just draw a small pond outside using sidewalk chalk, or you could even do this game in the tub during bath time! I’d leave out the blue dye and stick to just bubbles 🙂

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Our video selections:

Five Little Ducks

Coloring Ducks 

Duck Facts For Children 

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This concludes our letter D unit! School is back in full swing next week and I’m not looking forward to it one bit. We’ve had so much fun this summer and I’m really happy about how well LC has taken to our letter explorations. We hope that you have enjoyed our letter D unit and that our ideas have inspired you! Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog so that all of our latest posts get sent to you directly! Keep an eye out for our next letter exploration unit: ” Exploring The Letter E: Elmo, Elephants, and Eggs ”

Brittany XOXO

Need Some Inspiration? Check out our Etsy shop, LC DESIGNS, through the link below for handmade inspirational items. Canvas pieces, magnets, and more!

LC Designs

 

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