When it comes to learning to write and recognize letters, practice makes perfect. But, to most young learners, sitting down with a paper and pencil is about as exciting as watching paint dry. While a worksheet is great for occasional or more formal practice, there are many other ways to help your child learn to read and write his letters.
A more hands-on approach to learning stimulates sensory development and allows your child to learn through play. When your child is having fun, he is more likely to be engaged in the activity. As your child squeezes dough, squishes through shaving cream, and coats his little fingers in pudding paint, he is creating meaning and soaking in valuable information. So much learning happens through play and exploration.
Here are 8 FUN ways for your child to practice alphabet recognition and letter writing. Get your hands messy and your little one's mind ready to learn. Have fun! For even more fun ways to learn the alphabet, check out my post "The Everything ABC Post: 50 Fun Ways to Learn the Alphabet."
1. Salt/Sand Writing
Pour a small amount of salt or sand onto a cookie sheet or in a 13x9 pan. Children can write letters over and over again with no paper waste!
2. Finger Paint
Get those little fingers messy and encourage your child to finger paint his letters. Fill that easel with colorful As, Gs, and Ts!
3. Stamp Pads
Purchase a set of alphabet stamps, or simply let your child use his fingerprints to form the letters you are working on.
4. Pudding Paint
Even the most well-monitored children sometimes sneak a taste of whatever they are playing with. With pudding paint, the occasional taste isn't a problem! Use pudding the same way you would finger paint, and allow your child to create a tasty alphabet masterpiece.
Use playdough to form letters. Roll the dough into "snakes" and form the letters of the alphabet together. Another fun option is to use alphabet cookie cutters or alphabet dough stampers to form the letters. Need a recipe? Try my Kool-Aid Playdough or Essential Oil Playdough!
6. Sidewalk Chalk
Get outside and enjoy the sunshine while you practice letters with your child. The larger chalk is perfect for a toddler or preschooler's hand and with a driveway as a canvas, your child is free to make giant Es or the teeniest of h's.
7. Paint Daubbers
Paint daubbers are a fun tool to use to make letters. Kids love to "write" by making colorful dots. To add another layer of learning, encourage your child to create a pattern or talk about colors as he works.
8. Shaving Cream
Prepare for a messy table and a happy child! Playing with shaving cream is a unique sensory experience that allows your child to write with his finger, practicing over and over again. Because the medium is so fun to touch, your child will hardly notice how much practice he's getting as he plays!