Mistake #1: Too many worksheets
If you are looking to teach your child the letters of the alphabet, you may think worksheets are the way to go. A simple Google or Pinterest search and you'll be flooded with free preschool worksheets to teach letters. I mean, worksheets are how many of us learned as kids, so it has to be good right?
Typically worksheets are not developmentally appropriate for preschoolers. For one, worksheets don't do much teaching. They are much better used as a way for kids to show what they already know. It's hard to do much new learning with worksheets. Also, worksheets tend to be boring and can feel like too much pressure for some young learners. Imagine having your mom sitting right next to you watching your every move as you type up a report for work Yeah, no thanks.
Many early childhood experts suggest banning worksheets altogether in the preschool years. While we wouldn't go that far, as there are some kids who like them, this mistake is at the top of the list because moreover parents overuse worksheets and kill the fun of learning.
Mistake #2: Not enough hands-on learning
Okay, so I am telling you to avoid a lot of worksheets. You may be thinking....so what am I supposed to do to teach my child the alphabet?!
There are lots of things you can try! Plus, they will surely make learning more fun and enjoyable for your kids!
Go for hands-on activities
Try magnetic letters, bathtub letters, alphabet puzzles, and alphabet books! These hands-on activities are more enjoyable for kids, and they tend to learn things faster when they enjoy the process. And if you want no prep, play-based hands-on activities for teaching the alphabet, we have these in My Pre-K Boxes! The Treasure Island Game from The Pirate Box, the Storm Race Game from The Weather Box, and the Zoo Race Game from The Zoo Box are just a few examples from our many wonderful boxes. Get one each month when you subscribe to My Pre-K Box, so they get to practice and play it regularly, till they master the alphabet!
Incorporate sensory play into letter practice
Sensory activities help a lot in a child's brain development. Good thing that common supplies for such activities can be found at home! You can simply fill a container with rice or dried beans, add in some letters, and have your child hunt for them! Or stamp letters in playdough. Then write letters in shaving cream! Yes, these may be a bit messy, but they're fun and kids love them so much!
Did you know that each monthly My Pre-K Box has a sensory activity included? Yes, it's true! Take a look at some of our exciting sensory play activities!
Dust Writing Activity from The Leprechaun Box
Bird Seed Finger Writing from The Pet Box
Do fine motor activities
Strengthen little fingers with activities like Do-a-Dot marker pages and arts and crafts! And if you want fun crafts + learning activities to teach the alphabet, we have FREE craftivities in My Pre-K Box too! Check out our Print & Go Letter the Leopard craftivity and the Print & Go Lowercase Letter craft pack!
Teach the alphabet while having fun with crafts to develop fine motor skills!
My Pre-K Boxes also contain an arts and crafts activity to help develop the fine motor skills and creativity of preschoolers. Take a look at some of our amusing crafts at My Pre-K Box!
If you are already subscribed to My Pre-K Box and want an extra of our crafts for your child's friends, cousins, or siblings, we offer duplicates of the crafts! Or subscribe to our Craft Lovers Upgrade and get additional thematic crafts in your monthly My Pre-K Box!
Have you tried songs to teach the alphabet? I bet all of us did - we all started singing the ABCs when they were little babies! As they grow into little kids, incorporating music is still an awesome way for them to learn!
Mistake #3: Focusing on a letter of the week
There is no shortage of "letter of the week" programs available. They often use the same activities each week with a different letter. The problem with this approach is that children don't learn the alphabet in alphabetical order. One week your child might already know the letter or have a ton of background knowledge about it. You're really wasting your time by spending a lot of time working on that letter. Other times a week of lessons all about one letter may not be enough, and it gets boring--for both you and your little learner! It's much better to mix up both your approach and the letters.
Mistake #4: Pushing handwriting too early
This one is similar to the worksheet! I can't tell you how many parents are concerned that their 3 and 4-year-olds are not yet writing their letters or is forming letters incorrectly.
The truth is, most preschoolers are not yet ready to do traditional handwriting pages or practice. When we try to push handwriting too soon, everyone is left frustrated and burnt out. That is the exact opposite of what early learning should be all about! Learn more about encouraging correct pencil grip to preschoolers here.
What to do instead of handwriting worksheets?
Instead, focus on pre-writing skills. Do loads of work to get their fine motor skills developed. Sensory dough, tweezers, coloring, Do-A-Dot markers, painting, ripping paper, and using scissors are all wonderful, easy ways to build those skills!
As your child develops, you can start to work on pre-writing strokes. Practice making straight lines, curvy lines, circles, and zig zags. You are building the foundation for later learning the proper techniques to form letters.
Mistake #5: Too much pressure
Does this sound familiar?
You spent all evening scouring the internet for cute ideas to do with your preschooler. You went out and purchased extra craft supplies. You got everything ready. Then when you suggested it to your child, it completely flopped. They were completely uninterested. Or they took it in a totally different direction (and one that you did not find nearly as cute as that picture on Instagram!)
While this can feel frustrating, we encourage you to let it go and back off. One of the most important things with early learning is for your child to enjoy the process. So focus on that--the enjoyment of the process, and not on how cute the product may (or may not) look.
Where can I find hands-on resources for early learning?
Wouldn't it be nice to find a playful approach to learning? Something that doesn't require any prep and has lots of flexibility? Something that clearly explains to the parent what to do (and what not to do)?
Early childhood educator and preschool mom-made, My Pre-K Box takes the stress out and puts the fun back in preschool learning at home! Your preschooler will be so excited to see his/her package each month on their front door!
Inside My Pre-K Box, you'll find...
- a unique fun kid-friendly theme
- an easy to understand grownup guide
- 2+ hands-on math games
- 2+ engaging literacy activities
- hands-on sensory play
- cute learning tools
- a fun thematic craft
It's super easy and so much fun! Whether you are a homeschooling family or looking for extra activities to give your child a boost, My Pre-K Box makes things easy on you!
My Pre-K Box is the best educational subscription delivering fun-filled preschool learning to your front door!
Everything you need to explore, learn,
laugh, create, and play!