We did 4 school days for this unit over the course of 2 weeks, with some other fun learning activities mixed in. I centered each day around 4 books: Henny Penny, The Little Red Hen, The Little House, and The Three Little Pigs. Three of those are classic stories, which I covered in this blog post in more detail.
I’m going to share about our Letter H unit divided up by the type of learning activity, as opposed to by book. I hope it makes sense!
|H is for Healing and Help. We read stories of Jesus healing people and talked about how our help comes from God and we can rest in him.
Reminder that these peg dolls are for sale on my Etsy shop!
For more detail on our Bible focus by Letter Unit please see our Bible A-Z stories page
|Books used for school days:
ALL of these have wonderful audiobook versions!
*Books from The Peaceful Preschool curriculum
Other H is for House books for just general reading and exploration:
We learned a new song & movement game called “The Tree Song” from our Games Children Sing and Play book. I picked this because you sing through each of the four seasons and we had been reading a lot of seasons books lately PLUS The Little House book (via The Peaceful Preschool curriculum) also celebrates the four seasons quite beautifully.
You can listen to the song here and also look up videos of “The Tree Song” on YouTube to copy the movements!
I’m dividing up the learning activities in this post by category or type of activity.
|Act out the Henny Penny story in sequence. The repetition used in this story is so great for memory recall & story sequencing. I think it helps to have the animals or something similar for storytelling, BUT don’t spend lots of money for just one story: you could also print out some animal pictures and put them on popsicle sticks and hold them up as you tell the story. Or get crafty & create your own sock or finger puppets!|
|What’s Missing? Henny Penny game: who did the fox eat? I set up this tunnel from our train track set, called it the fox’s cave, then had my kids close their eyes while I hid one of the birds in the cave and then asked them to open their eyes and tell me who the fox ate. A really simple setup for a game that enhances object + word identification and skill using visual clues for association & identification. You could even hide them in order that the animals appear in the story to enhance the recall of the plot sequencing.|
||The Three Little Pigs is a perfect H is for House story! We read the book and How A House is Built by Gail Gibbons, and then I set up an invitation to build houses out of straw, sticks, and brick.
This also served as an invitation to retell the story as we went house by house and huffed and puffed to blow the houses down!
|Storytelling for The Little Red Hen.We read through the story together one time with no aids. Then, the second time through I brought all the storytelling aids out: hen, cat, dog, & mouse, and then a divided tray with wheat seeds (it’s actually pearled barley), wheat plant (a grass plume from our yard), flour, and bread.
The other book pictured is is Alain Gree’s book The Farm which has this awesome page called “The story of bread” that helps reinforce the story of the little red hen making cake from wheat seeds.
We also love listening to and singing along with Heather Forest’s version of this tale (from Sing Me Story).
|Sensory play and scooping & pouring.
After baking bread (see below) the kids just played with all the wheat seeds, plants, flour, bread, and bread dough. The kitchen floor was an insane mess when it was over, but they were so engaged and loving it. They were scooping and pouring and smashing to their hearts’ content all morning.
|The kids made their own bread!! I use the master recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day — it’s literally impossible to get bad bread even if you have zero baking skills! It’s SO EASY. It’s a no-knead dough with only 4 ingredients and take two seconds to prep. The kids can mash the dough and form it in to ANY SHAPE and it will bake perfect and delicious.|
|Wheat learning: wheat seeds (it’s actually pearled barley), wheat plant (a grass plume from our yard), flour, and bread.
I gave my son a tray of the wheat seeds to practice forming the letter H. I love love love our tray for sensory letter writing — it’s deep so it doesn’t spill out easily and small so they form the letters in a reasonable size.
Book pictured: Food Anatomy (all of the bread pages in this book were also super fun to look at!)
|Salt tray. We do this with every letter. I always demonstrate first with our sandpaper letters.|
|Form the letter H using sticks & bricks like you are constructing a house (paired with The Three Little Pigs)|
|3-Part Card Game:
Harold the Helicopter needs a Letter H item landing pad!
Basically, I had one kid fly Harold and then I would describe his landing pad: “Harold needs to land on an animal, with feathers…” and so on. They say the name of what I’m guessing and land him and keep the card.
3-Part Cards via Treehouse Schoolhouse
|Spell out Henny Penny book-related words using our movable alphabet. These are a free printable from my F is for Farm unit (you can get the full PDF here). We also looked at the hens, roosters, ducks, geese, and turkeys in our lovely Farm Anatomy book.|
|Stamp It! Write It! Poke It! via Simply Learning|
|House Poem (you can get this little card in PDF form here) — simply read the poem and have your child build their house with felt shapes. You could also cut construction paper or do cardboard if you have no felt!|
|I found free paint sample sheets at our hardware store and made this numeral-to-quantity matching game: matching the numeral to the number of windows on a house. You could also make this activity with construction paper or cardboard.|
|In the Henny Penny story an acorn falls from the tree to hit Henny Penny in the head. We counted out acorns on to our number cards. These number cards are from The Peaceful Preschool curriculum and we use them every week.|
|House building game — we rolled a 12-sided die and you had to add that number of blocks to your house (or tower).|
FINE MOTOR SKILLS
|H is for Hammering a House!
We pretended to be carpenters and hammered a house: I placed our Letter H printable from The Peaceful Preschool on to a foam board and then had the kids hammer golf tees in to a letter H.
|Blow pigs off the table with a straw (we used pigs from our Pass the Pigs game since they are little and light).
Paired with The Three Little Pigs
Blowing through a straw helps strengthen the mouth muscles needed for proper speech. Plus, it’s fun!
|Practical life & fine motor skill activity: dust pan to clean up acorns.
In the Henny Penny story an acorn falls from the tree to hit Henny Penny in the head.
|In the Henny Penny story an acorn falls from the tree to hit Henny Penny in the head.
We threaded oak leaves (oak trees make acorns!) in to our stick loom for a fun fall-themed nature study + fine motor skill handcraft activity. We had been using our stick looms a lot so it was fun to loosely connect it to Henny Penny on the day we read it.
|The Little House watercolor scene with The Peaceful Preschool.
I pointed out to my son that this page in The Little House is mostly black & since he LOVES painting with black he asked to try painting it. He doesn’t really do this much (paint a specific scene from a book), but was so happy to try.
|We built houses in a wide variety of ways all week: Duplos, blocks, tangrams, Lincoln logs, etc.|
NATURE STUDY & PLAY
|We have a little play house on the camp property where we live and did a lot of role playing here (The Three Little Pigs was a favorite) this week.|
||H is for Home nature study:
We explored a cave (bat home) at an Indiana State Park near us.
||H is for Home nature study: beaver hut & dam.
We have active beavers on our lake and decided to take an evening family canoe ride to get up close to the dam and inspect it further. My husband got out of the canoe for a bit with each kid so they could go see the pond behind the dam. Our little stuffed animal beaver even hitched a ride on the canoe with us (sitting next to me in this shot)!
|At home we read A House in the Woods a billion times and my son constructed his own beaver dam & hut in a blue rice (“water”) sensory bin. We also used Nature Anatomy (pages 150-151 for beavers).|
I’ve been trying to incorporate more letter review on our “off” days: it’s really easy to do in a low-prep way where we can still enjoy some learning without it feel like it is a school day.
|Item + Letter matching review while reviewing letter sounds.
We had multiple items for each letter available in a basket and I asked my son to match the item to the beginning letter while we went through the sounds each letter makes.
|Uppercase & lowercase letter matching with paint sample sheets that look like houses.|
|Puzzles for letter review: I grabbed this alphabet sequence puzzle set from the Target Dollar Spot earlier this summer and it’s been a good one for letter review!
Learning Resources has this similar puzzle.
POETRY TEA TIME
|For poetry tea time on this Little Red Hen day, we read two fun hen poems: “The Little Black Hen” from Now We Are Six and “The Clucking Hen” from A Child’s Book of Poems. And, we had some snacks-that-come-from wheat!
I do not always make poetry tea time themed with our school days but it’s fun when it works out! Most days lately we read Shel Silverstein!