Eating the Alphabet

For all of you children's book savants out there, Eating the Alphabet is actually a picture book by Lois Ehlert about fruits and vegetables that begin with each letter of the alphabet. Although, I do own copy of the book and have read it to my children on several occasions, this post actually has nothing to do with fruits and vegetables starting with letters of the alphabet and everything to do with a snack that involves eating the alphabet.

My children are snackers (is that a word?) by nature and would rather snack all day than be tied to three main meals. Which is a little curious because after 32 years of training, I am fully engrained in three larger meals and rarely fit in snacks between them. Maybe that's because I'm always so crazy busy that I never have time for snacking, so when I eat a meal I have to eat a larger portion because I'm famished? Who knows?

What I do know is that I'm always on the lookout for snack-foods and the healthier the better, but educational snacks are always on my radar too. So you can imagine my delight when I was looking in the snack aisle of the grocery store (for something other than goldfish) and came across Scrabble Jr. Cheez-its.

Okay, so they're not the healthiest, but with an alphabet letter printed onto each cheese cracker square, they definitely fit into the educational category. And as an added bonus you won't have to tell your kids to stop playing with their food; you'll actually encourage it! My four year old son and two year old daughter really enjoyed "playing" with this snack.

First, I poured out some of the cheesy crackers onto a paper plate.

Next, I had my son find the letters of the alphabet in order to practice sequencing the alphabet. He knows all of the letters of the alphabet and actually scored really well on his end of Pre-K testing, but still has to sing the alphabet song sometimes to get the sequence right.

Each time, he had to re-sing the song, I made him point to the letters in the song as he sang them. After he finished putting them all in order we sang and pointed to the letters again. We also sing and point to the alphabet often at the beginning of kindergarten when we are completing alphabet puzzles and putting letters tiles or foam letters in the correct alphabet sequence.

These alphabet crackers are also great for practicing spelling. There is actually a Scrabble Jr. board on the back of the Cheez-It box that could be used for children who are able to spell words. My four-year old son isn't even close to the independent spelling stage, but I did pull down a couple sight words off the pantry door so that he could practice matching the cracker letters to build the sight words.

This part of the activity not only gave him practice spelling the word, but it was also an exercise in matching lower and uppercase letters (something else we do in the beginning of kindergarten).

My four-year old son also knows many letter sounds, so I thought that next time we pull this snack out, we could try to sound out and spell simple three letter words such as 'cat' or 'dog' using beginning, middle and ending sounds. But that could very easily lead into a whole other post. Let's keep it simple for now. Munching the alphabet can be lots of fun and maybe a little learning will soak into those little brains too!