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For preschoolers and toddlers
Letters and words are all around a preschool child. Teaching them about the alphabet is easy when you use your environment. Be creative and open your child’s eyes to alphabet letters every day. Before long, they will recognize words and gain other pre-reading skills.
Words – Different sounds of the letters – For all vowels and consonants like C and G, point out the different sounds they can make: gem and giant, golf and gum.
Food – Pick a letter and find all the food in the house starting with that letter. Find items starting with two or three different letters, make letter labels, and have your child sort them. Check out the labels on packaged food for more letter clues.
Activity – Name your child’s favorite activities by their starting letter. For example, going to the park is a “letter P” activity, riding a scooter is a “letter S” activity. For fun, put some office labels with the appropriate letter on you and your child as you do them.
Books – Help your child notice the capital letters in the title of their books. Read a few books with the capital letter A in them one day, letter B the next, letter C, and so on.
Animal/insect – Talk about and notice animals or insects and what alphabet letter their names begin with. “Dog starts with D – what other animals or insects start with letter D? Duck, dolphin, deer…”
Coloring pages – There are so many wonderful printable coloring pages on the internet. Have your child pick some of their favorites, then label them with letters. You can also find various coloring pages just focused on alphabet letters.
Family names – Print the first names everyone your immediate family and extended family on several pieces of paper. Leave a large space below each name for your child to copy the names. We have easy to use lists of boy names and girl names that you can use.
Have a letter of the week – Choose a letter of the alphabet for each week of the year. You don’t even have to go in alphabetical order. Do several random things that match that letter (draw a picture, dig a hole in the dirt, and drop dimes on a desk). Point out things you usually do that start with that letter (S is for school, E is for eat). You can use many other ideas from this list for your activities.
Careers – Talk about careers or roles that start with a certain letter. M is for mail carrier, Mom, musician; F is for firefighter, farmer, fisherman.
Holidays/months/seasons – When a new month starts, show your child the name of the month on the calendar. Tell them the name several times, let them get close to touch the name, and have them sound it out to you. Repeat this every day to make it stick. Do the same for different seasons of the year and holidays.
Make flashcards/dominoes – Use index cards and markers or crayons to make easy flash cards or dominoes. Let your child use the flash cards in free play or recognition games with you. Make dominoes by putting two alphabet letters on side of the card and matching them in a line (or in a game of dominoes).
Toys – Pick a letter and brainstorm all the names of toys starting with that letter. “Do you have a baseball bat? A ball? Where’s your stuffed bunny?”
Games – Gather your household games together and ask your child, “Do we have any games that start with the letter F?” Play simple games like “Hide and Seek” or “Tag” and remind them what letter that starts with. Before you start and as you play, have them repeat the words to you and sound them out carefully.
Household items – Go on a scavenger hunt with a list of the alphabet letters. Try to get one or two for each letter. If you can’t find something to represent one of the letters (such as Q and X), help your child think of other things or actions that start with that letter. Or, find something in your house with a printed word with that letter in it.