Helping your children learn their letters can seem like a daunting task. Where do you start? Should you go in order? How can you best help them learn? My advice? Keep it FUN!
Children learn through play, exploration, reading, and observation. Learning the alphabet doesn't have to mean memorizing flash cards or endless workbook pages. There are many fun and hands-on ways for children to learn their letters.
Here are a few ideas to help keep learning fun.
Books are a great way to help your children learn their letters. As you read and re-read the stories together, you can point out letters and their sounds.
A few of my favorites are:
● Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr.
● LMNO Peas by Keith Baker
● Click, Clack, Quackity-Quack: A Typing Adventure by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin
● Alphabet Adventure by Audrey Wood
2. Touch and Learn
Many kids learn through touch and experience. These hands-on ideas will engage their body and mind.
● Playdough letters — Help your child form the letters using playdough.
● Shaving cream letters — Squirt a small amount of shaving cream on a placemat or smooth surface. Spread the cream around to create a wonderfully fun and messy writing surface. Your children will be able to practice writing their letters using their fingers. Make a mistake? No problem! Wipe the cream and try again!
● Pipe cleaner letters — Create colorful and fuzzy letters using pipe cleaners. Help your child bend the pipe cleaners to form the letters you are working on.
3. Alphabet Art
Kids with a creative streak will enjoy these activities. Not only will they get great practice, but they'll have a piece of artwork when they're finished!
● Rainbow Writing — Have your child practice writing the letters using every color of the rainbow.
● Use alphabet stamps — Have your children stamp the letters in order, stamp the letters in their names, or practice simple sight words. The novelty of using rubber stamps and an ink pad will make the task fresh and interesting.
● Letter Collage — Give your children a stack of old magazines and task them with finding certain letters. Not only will they work on letter recognition, but they'll practice their fine motor skills as they cut and glue their findings!
4. Eat the Alphabet
Bring learning to the kitchen table with alphabet snacks!
● Pre-packaged Foods — Many companies have developed some great alphabet food. I've been able to find alphabet pasta, soup, cereal, and several varieties of crackers at my local grocery store.
● ABC Cookies — You can typically find a set of alphabet cookie cutters at most kitchen or home goods stores. Get your child involved in the whole process, and talk about the letters as you eat them!
● ABC Pancakes — Pour your pancake batter into a clean squeeze bottle, and easily create alphabet pancakes.
5. Active Alphabet
Move your body while stimulating your mind! These active options are great for kids who are always on the go.
● Become the Letters — Help your kids try to form the letters of the alphabet with their bodies! With teamwork, most of the letters are possible.
● Letter Hunt — Take a walk through your neighborhood or local grocery store, and see how many of the letters you can find.
● Sports Drills — As your child jump ropes, dribbles a basketball, or walks across a balance beam, work together to say the alphabet out loud. If your child makes a mistake, say, "Great job! You made it to the letter J. Let's see if you can make it further this time." Have them practice the skill until he/she can do it until you say "Z." This is a fun way to combine alphabet practice with gross motor development.
Have fun learning, playing with, observing, writing, reading about, touching, and exploring the alphabet with your child! Learning the ABCs is FUN!