Part of my academic background is in Elementary Education. This means that along with my passion for craftiness, I have a passion for helping children learn. Put the two together and I'm in heaven, which is exactly what I did with this project.
Each finger puppet is made from 2 pieces of felt cut from the pattern found here and a letter (also felt) cut from the pattern found here.
Each letter is attached to the front piece of the the puppet body using fabric glue. Then, the two layers are hand stitched together using embroidery floss or doubled over thread. The right sides should be facing out when you stitch the front and back together. If you sew them together with the wrong sides facing out, then turn the finger puppets inside out, they will be too skinny for the letters.
I chose three colors of felt to alternate when making the letters. I then selected thread of the same three colors. However, I decided that it gave the finger puppets a more interesting look if the individual letter color did not match the thread on that finger puppet.
It also gave the whole set a more cohesive look to have a distinct pattern to the letter and thread color choices. The finger puppets with orange letters have turquoise stitching, those with turquoise letters have red stitching, and those with red letters have orange stitching.
Now that you know how to make them, here are some activities to do with your Alphabet Finger Puppets:
1. Blending (think phonics): Blending is all about putting together individual letter sounds to make words. So, make a word on your fingers using the Alphabet Finger Puppets. Then say the sounds individually (not the letter names) while giving the corresponding finger a quick wiggle. Then, either say the word or ask your child to tell you the word.
Example: Put on the "M", "A" and "T" Alphabet Finger Puppets. Say /m/ then /a/ then /t/ while gently wiggling the corresponding finger puppet. Then either say "mat" or ask your child to blend the sounds and tell you the word.
2. Segmenting (think phonics): Basically, this is the opposite of blending. So, make a word on your fingers using the Alphabet Finger Puppets. Say the word. Then, say the individual letter sounds, or if you have an older child, ask him or her to say the letter sounds while pointing to the corresponding letter.
Example: Put on the "C", "A" and "N" Alphabet Finger Puppets. Say "Can". Then say /c/ then /a/ then /n/ while gently wiggling the corresponding finger puppet, or ask your child to say the letter sounds in "can" while pointing to the corresponding letter.
3. Word Families: You can practice word families by making a word with the Alphabet Finger Puppets then changing out the first letter to make more words in that word family.
Example: Put on the "C", "A", and "T" finger puppets. Say "cat". Take off the "C" and put on the "B" in its place. Say "bat". Repeat for "fat," "hat," "mat," "pat," "rat," "sat," and "vat."
4. Letter find: Tell your child a word. Ask them to find the letter that word begins with.
Example: Say, "Horse. What letter do you think 'horse' starts with?" If your child chooses and incorrect letter say, "/h/ /h/ horse. What letter starts /h/ /h/ horse?"
5. Letter "Catch Phrase": Choose an Alphabet Finger Puppet and place it on your finger. Hold it up so your child can clearly see it. Think of a word that starts with that letter and begin describing it until you child guesses the word correctly (make sure not to say the word!).
Example: Put on the "P" Alphabet Finger Puppet. Say, "I am an animal that lives in cold places. I'm black and white. I love to swim. I have a beak and wings, but I can't fly." Keep going until your child yells out, "PENGUIN!"
If you have any other ideas for Alphabet Finger Puppet activities please post them in the comments section below.