Many families enjoy the great outdoors and going camping during the summer. You can easily put together a camping preschool theme in your own class, and you can use this building s’mores freebie as your first activity! Preschoolers will have fun building s’mores and learn about beginning sounds with this camping alphabet activity.
This post contains a free printable summer beginning sound activity. Be sure to grab it from the end of the post!
Camping Alphabet Activity with Beginning Sounds
Every preschooler loves a camping theme.
They get to learn about nature, forest animals, insects, the night sky, rivers, fishing, s’mores, and so much more! A camping theme in preschool is sure to get your students interested and excited to come to school. Trust me on this one.
Parents and teachers all know that when students are interested, they’re more engaged and they develop a love for learning. If you’re looking for an easy theme to engage preschoolers in learning this summer, then a camping theme is sure to do the trick!
You Might Also Like This Camping Activity
This might look like just a camping themed bingo game, but keep reading to see multiple crazy-creative ways to use this free printable.
Recognition of letters is a fundamental part of learning how to read. Without it, children struggle with learning letter sounds and recognizing words. Children who cannot recognize letters and name them with their sounds will have difficulty learning how to read.
Research has long supported the approach of teaching reading with letter recognition. The fact is that a beginning readers’ knowledge of the alphabet is a strong predictor of later reading success.
The National Early Literacy Panel (NELP) meta-analyzed 52 such studies that had connected alphabetic knowledge (including letter recognition and sounds generation) with the later decoding ability of 7,570 kids. They found a strong relationship between the two; the more letter names the kids knew, the greater their later success in decoding.
Research has also shown that learning letters and playing with letters frequently leads to an interest in their sounds and in reading. Many letter names share an auditory link with their sounds, thus effectively doing double duty as it helps bridge the gap between phonemic awareness and letter recognition to other phonics skills.
How to Teach Beginning Sounds
Summer is the perfect time to teach beginning sounds, because you’ve probably already spent the school year working hard on all the letter names, letter sounds, and other pre-literacy skills. So now your preschooler is really, really ready for the phonics piece that comes with beginning sound knowledge.
Beginning sounds is just one of many pre-literacy skills kids need to become good readers, and usually right around summertime is when they are really, really prepared to learn beginning sounds if they haven’t already.
Beginning Sounds Activities for Preschoolers To Fit Your Camping Theme
These s’mores beginning sound activities for preschoolers are too fun and make a great addition to your camping theme. There are two versions of this printable along with ideas to adapt these activities for preschoolers of all developmental levels.
- Building S’mores Beginning Sounds Printable
- Dry Erase Sleeves
- Dry Erase Markers
Print out the s’mores beginning sounds mats on heavy cardstock, then cut apart the mats and the cards. You can laminate them for extra durability and to prolong their usability.
Once you’re ready for your students to use them, arrange the mats in a stack on the table with a pile of chocolate cards and a pile of marshmallow cards.
You may also want to provide a dry erase sleeve and dry erase marker to use with the letter tracing mats.
How to Use These Building S’mores Mats
There are two versions of this activity. The first version is just a letter recognition and beginning sounds activity. In the second version, students will also practice writing by tracing the letters on the s’mores mat with a dry erase marker.
To use the first version of the activity, students will select a mat from the stack and identify the letter on it and say the sound. Then they will look for the chocolate card with the image that has that letter’s beginning sound and place it on the mat. Next they will repeat the above step with the marshmallow card.
With the second version of the activity, students will start the same way, but before looking for the picture cards with the correct beginning sound, they will practice writing by tracing the uppercase and lowercase letter. The letters on the second version are traceable letters, which means they feature a font that encourages correct letter formation!
This activity would go great in a sensory bin, too. Check out how we did this with our Valentine’s Day Sensory Bin with Beginning Sounds.
More Beginning Sound Printables for Preschoolers
If your kinder-bound little one needs more practice with beginning sounds activities than this camping alphabet activity, you might like to try some of these printable literacy centers. You can easily add any or all of these to your camping themed lesson plan.
Ways to Differentiate
My preschoolers loved this camping alphabet activity. In fact, I think I could turn any alphabet activity into one they would love if I made it all about s’mores! Who doesn’t love a s’more?!
But like all my printable activities, my favorites are the ones I can use in multiple ways. Here are some ideas on how you can use this single printable to meet the needs of multiple students in your classroom.
- To make this activity easier for early learners, focus on teaching a few letter sounds at a time. Place a small amount of mats and cards on the table with different sounds so your preschooler can really hear the difference. This will also help them not get too overwhelmed by so many cards.
- Use this activity to introduce new letters during circle time and make a s’more each day. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a camping themed “alphabet camp” during the summer, and every day you make a new s’more with your class? Imagine this in a camping themed classroom!
- Another fun camping themed activity is to pull out only the letter cards and picture cards needed to spell your preschooler’s name. Have them practice putting the letters in order, and make the connection that the letter sounds correspond with all sorts of pictures with the same sound, too.
Get Your S’mores Beginning Sounds Activity Here
Dreaming of a pretend campfire, sleeping bags, and strumming a guitar with your preschoolers? If you’re doing a camping theme in your classroom and you’re looking for the best ever camping alphabet activity (with beginning sounds), well, you know I have you covered.
Just fill out the form below and I’ll send you the printable!
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.