Teaching letters to preschoolers is important. If you can’t afford fancy programs to teach your little one, no worries. There are plenty of ways to learn letters at home for free as long as you already have some basic materials. Here are 7 fun and easy activities you can do today to teach your child letter recognition. These activities work, and even better, they’re fun! Read on, and enjoy.
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1 Find sticks and other items outside to make letters
You’d be hard pressed to find a three to five year old who doesn't enjoy exploring the outdoors. If your little one is a collector of sticks, rocks, and more, then this letter recognition activity is a natural fit. It’ll teach them what letters look like and the shapes that form them.
Supplies needed: whatever Mother Nature has provided!
Instructions: Explore your yard, local park, etc. and search for twigs, leaves, and more. Lay them out and see what letters you can make out of the natural shapes. Some of the items may already look like letters, and others you can combine to form letters, both uppercase and lowercase.
2 Create your own flashcards
There’s no need to spend money on flashcards when you can make them very easily at home. Flashcards will help trigger your child’s memory when it comes to letters, and they’re known as one of the best letter recognition activities because they’re effective!
Supplies needed: paper, scissors, and a writing utensil
Instructions: Cut up cardstock, construction paper, or whatever other kind of paper you have into 26 playing card-size pieces. On each piece, write a capital letter on one side and its lowercase counterpart on the other side. Test your tot at least once a day and eventually, they’ll remember the letters and even fly through the deck faster as time goes by.
3 A good old-fashioned memory match game
This letter recognition activity will be similar to the flashcards above, but you’ll need to create paper squares or rectangles with a letter on only one side. This matching game is educational and loads of fun for any proud preschooler.
Supplies needed: Paper and a writing utensil
Instructions: Cut 52 squares of paper that are all ideally the same size. On 26 of them, you’ll write one capital letter of the alphabet starting from A-Z. On the other 26, you’ll write all of the lowercase letters of the alphabet. Keep in mind that it may be easier to have the uppercase cards and lowercase cards be a different color. Lay the cards face-down and take turns flipping over squares, trying to match the capital letter to its matching lowercase letter. You may want to draw little pictures to make the game more interesting and intriguing to your easily-distracted juvenile.
4 Mold your own Play-doh letters
Rolling Play-doh or clay into snakes is a favorite pastime of many tots. Turn those slithery serpents into letters for a new activity that channels their creative side as well.
Supplies needed: Play-doh or other type of moldable product
Instructions: Break out the Play-doh, roll into long pieces, and form those pieces into letters. Consider keeping a “snake head” on your serpent to keep this learning activity fun and entertaining.
5 Have a letter scavenger hunt
Scavenger hunts are always a good time, especially when your toddler gets to actively run around and look for something. This letter scavenger hunt is perfect for a rainy day, encouraging your child to move around and learn in the most fun way possible!
Supplies needed: Any kind of letter toys you have around the house (blocks, foam), or paper and crayons.
Instructions: You may already have some singular letter toys around the house, like blocks, or you may need to simply make some letters with paper, markers, etc. Hide multiple letters of your choice around the house and have your child seek them out. When they find one, have them yell what the letter is out loud. This is such a fun game that when it’s over, your little learner will likely want you to hide them all again.
6 Tracing Letters
If your child isn’t a pro at scribbling letters quite yet, this activity will help them learn the motion. And you likely already have the very simple materials at home.
Supplies needed: Paper and any kind of writing utensil (crayons, markers, pens, etc.)
Instructions: Using your writing utensil of choice, write down letters on a piece of paper. Have your little learner trace the letters with their finger. Then when they’re beginning to get the hang of it, let them trace or color with a crayon, pen, etc. You may want to create larger letters at first and then go smaller as they get used to the motion.
7 Letter Hopscotch
This isn’t your ordinary hopscotch game. Instead of numbers you’ll use letters, and your youngling will have fun leaping like an alphabet antelope again and again.
Supplies needed: Sidewalk chalk
Instructions: Create a hopscotch pattern as long as you’d like and fill it in with random letters. Shout out different letters you’d like your child to hop to, whether they’re right next to each other, or even more fun, a few blocks away. This activity can be ever-changing with traditional hopscotch patterns, circles, swirls, or whatever you and your kid’s mind can come up with. Always keep them guessing and things will always be interesting.
The seven activities listed above are just a few ways that answer the burning question of how to teach your child letters.
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