Helping your children learn their ABCs can seem daunting. Where do you begin? What should you do? My advice as a mother of four and former kindergarten teacher is to keep it FUN! Children learn through play, exploration, reading, and observation. Learning the alphabet doesn't have to involve memorizing flash cards or completing endless workbook pages. There are so many ways to talk about, play with, and observe letters.
In keeping with the alphabet theme, I've compiled an ABC list of creative, hands-on, and engaging ways for your child to learn his or her letters. Have fun learning, playing with, observing, writing,touching, and exploring the alphabet with your child! Learning the ABCs is fun!
A is for Art! Working on M? Make a project with macaroni. Learning about F? Glue feathers to a cardstock F. From coloring and painting to creating a collage, there are so many creative options to help your child learn his letters while creating a masterpiece.
B is for Books! (Of course!) There are so many fantastic alphabet books! For a list of my favorites, check out my 50 Fun Ways to Learn the Alphabet post.
C is for Chenille Stems! Bend these fun and fuzzy sticks into each of the letters.
D is for Dinner! Get your child into the kitchen with you and talk, talk, talk about the letters the ingredients you are cooking with start with. Show your child your cookbook or online recipe. Let her see the letters and words that surround you in the kitchen.
E is for Environmental Print! Help your child notice and become more aware of the print that exists in his environment. Look for signs, packaging, etc.
F is for Food! Search your local grocery store for alphabet products. I've been able to find pasta, soup, cereal, crackers, and cookies at my local market.
G is for Gooey! Messy learning is my favorite! Let your child paint the letters with pudding, draw them in a pile of shaving cream, or paint them with some homemade dirt paint.
H is for Hunt! A letter hunt, that is! Print off a sheet of paper with each letter of the alphabet printed on it. On a drive or a trip to the store, have your child see if he can find each letter and cross it off as he goes. (This is a great behavior management tool as well!)
I is for I-Spy! Play a game of alphabet I-Spy with your child. Whether you are at home, at the store, or driving down the road, call out, "I Spy a B!" and see if your child can find it.
J is for Jump-Rope. As your child jumps rope, sing the alphabet song. Challenge your child to see if she can make it to the letter M or the letter R, etc. Not only will she get some great alphabet practice, she'll be keeping her body healthy. Active learning is always a great choice.
K is for Kindergarten Readiness! Looking for a ready-made activity that is easy to implement? Check out a kindergarten readiness workbook. These types of workbooks are typically loaded with alphabet worksheets, providing lots of opportunities to practice.
L is for Light — of the flashlight variety! Let your child form the letters on the wall of a dark room using a flashlight. This is sure to be a favorite activity — and your child won't even realize that he is learning while he plays.
M is for Music! Sing songs about the alphabet. Make songs up or search for letter-related songs on the Internet.
N is for Nature Walk! Take every opportunity to take learning outdoors. Take a walk with your child and explore the world around her while talking about what you see. "Isn't that a beautiful tree? Do you know what tree starts with? T!" While you are walking you can draw in the dirt, read signs, make letters with sticks...the possibilities are endless.
O is for Order! Give your child a set of alphabet flashcards. Challenge him to put them in alphabetical order.
P is for Playdough! Your child can form the letters of the alphabet with playdough.
Q is for Q-Tip Writing! Let your child practice writing the letters by using a cotton swab and a small amount of paint. Simply dip and dab. It's great fine motor practice as well.
R is for Rainbow Letters! Have your child practice writing each letter in all the colors of the rainbow.
S is for Salt Writing! Pour a small amount of salt in a shallow pan or baking dish. Have your child practice making the letters with his finger in the salt.
T is for Tracing! Find a workbook or printables that allow your child to trace the letters of the alphabet. This is a great first step when working towards writing the letters independently.
U is for USA! Pull out a map of the United States. Point out your state and ask your child what letter it starts with. Let your child study the map and help her to recognize the letters she sees.
V is for Video! There are some wonderful DVDs out there that support the learning of the alphabet. Check your local library, scan Netflix, or do a quick Internet search to find one that matches your child's interests and needs.
W is for Wooden Blocks! Pull those ABC blocks out of the cupboard and let your child build and explore with them. He'll become more aware of the letters as he plays. As he learns more letters, watch his face for those sweet moments of recognition. It's priceless!
X is for Excitement! Make sure to show a lot of enthusiasm when your child learns a new letter. Celebrate her successes and praise her attempts. Your enthusiasm can be contagious!
Y is for Yoga — or at least bending your body! Have your kids move their bodies to form as many letters as they can. They may need to use you or a buddy to form a few of the letters. This is a fun way to learn when your kids are antsy or need a quick wiggle break!
Z is for the Zoo! Visit your local zoo and as you visit each animal, talk about what letter of the alphabet it starts with.