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Children learn best through play and meaningful experiences. Want to help your child learn to identify letters and letter sounds without flashcards? Read on for 13 ways to make learning letters fun! One key thing to remember is to start with letters that are most important to your child–the letters of their name. Read more about literacy skills for preschoolers. Have a toddler or preschooler and looking for a way to start introducing letters? Try the Magnetic Letter Board!
1. Create larger-than-life letters with masking tape (there are some awesome colors out there) on the floor in your child’s room. Every week, make a new letter out of tape on the floor. If your child is old enough, have him or her create the letter!
2. Use large foam letters or write letters on pieces of paper. Place the letters around one floor of your house. Give your child directions such as, “Hop to the letter M.” or “Walk backwards to the letter O.”
3. Build with letter blocks! Have blocks that don’t have letters on them? Don’t run out and buy new ones! You can use some of that colorful masking tape to build letters right on the blocks you already have. If you have a child already identifying letters and sounds, use letter blocks to begin building words such as their name!
4. Make letter builders. These are great manipulatives children can use to actually build letters! See how to do it and read some awesome letter building activities!
5. Letters, letters, everywhere! Get some foam letters for the bathtub and magnetic letters for the fridge. I love the LeapFrog Phonics Letters. This DIY Magna-Spell is the PERFECT way to teach your child to identify and spell their name! So easy and your child will love it!
6. Read a variety of letter books. Here are some awesome ones to get you started:
Dr. Seuss’s ABC
Alphabeep, A Zipping, Zooming ABC
Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom!
7. Create your own alphabet book! Take pictures of people in your family and everyday items in your child’s life. Take each picture and print it with the words “A is for Abigail.”, or whatever the picture may be of with the corresponding letter. I do this with the children in my class every year and do a little chant with the book. For each page, we say the letter, the name of the item twice and the sound the letter makes at the beginning of that word three times. Example, “A-Abigail, Abigail-aaa, aaa, aaa.”
8. Go on a letter search! Take a walk (or drive) to look for letters. When you’re just starting off, it’s helpful to give your child something to hold with the letter on it such as a paper they can cross of the letters on as they find it. Or, you can take your foam letters with you and give your child one letter at a time to find, letting them carry that letter until they find it and then giving them a new one! You can also go on letter searches in books or in your home. While reading a book, ask your child, “Can you find all the letter Bs on this page?”
9. Play dough! Build letters out of play dough or use play dough cookie cutters to create letters.
10. Create letters out of sandpaper. Cut out the letters and glue them onto a piece of cardboard or scrapbook paper. Children are very tactile learners and enjoy being able to trace letters–especially when it’s a new texture!
11. Put shaving cream, sand or flour on a tray and have your child write letters in it with their fingers. My students LOVE this activity!
12. Get a set of magnetic foam letters. These come with at least two uppercase and two lowercase letters of each letter. Play matching games where your child matches uppercase with uppercase, uppercase with lowercase and lowercase with lowercase.
13. Play letter basketball! Set up a trash basket on one side of the room and stand several feet away with your child. Write letters on paper, hold them upsidedown and let your child chose one. After they identify the letter, they can crumple it up and take a shot.
Has your child mastered letters? Then move Beyond ABC’s: 13 Beginning Reading Strategies!