My daughters and I had a fun time practicing our letters and making words using simple things that you probably already have at home. The great thing about this game was that it worked for all three age levels of my girls - toddler, preschooler, & elementary aged. Read below for how I changed it up for each age level.
We started by collecting plastic bottle caps from things we were getting ready to recycle (milk jugs, juice, gatorade, water, etc.). I wrote a letter on each cap with permanent marker, relating to the words we were working on. (In this case I used letters from the names of the people in our family.)
**In these pictures, you will also see baby food jar lids, but we found out that they don't work as well because they sink.**
We filled up a bucket of water and put the letters in. A towel under the bucket and on the table is really good for this project. The girls used a slotted spoon to fish out and play with the lettered bottle caps at their own level:
My toddler just had fun trying to grab the letters. If your toddler is ready, you could have them grab certain colors or draw shapes instead of letters on the bottle caps.
My preschooler worked on makings words from word cards and identifying letters. She is really into writing the names of the people in our family right now so I used this to practice the spelling. I wrote the names of all the members of our family on 3 X 5 cards for her to use. She would spell each name, using the word card as a guide. (I learned the hard way that the word cards should be laminated. It was one of those, "Uh, duh Laura" moments.)
My elementary aged daughter made up words with 4 letters or more from the letters in the bucket. She could make any word that she wanted, but had to spell it correctly. (Kind of like that text twist game on yahoo, is anyone else out there addicted to it too?)
It was a really fun and easy project that is great for hot summer days!