Learning the ABCs sort of begins to encompass all of the preschool years, doesn’t it? It becomes such a focus! We want our little ones to grasp letter names and their sounds too. Luckily, there are so many wonderful ways we can practice these skills through fun and play.
As a seasoned Kindergarten teacher and Reading Specialist (turned homeschooling Mama) I want to share with you THE BEST way to teach children the letters of the alphabet. There is a very special order for introducing letters which allows reading to simply flow naturally for children.
It is super important that we introduce letters in this special order. We start with name letters, then progress through the alphabet letters in small groups beginning with s, a, t, i, p, n. We teach the letter names in lowercase and uppercase form, and the letter sounds. This allows us to move right into sound blending and reading words like: sat, pat, tin, pin, etc. This order is truly remarkable!
You can grab the free printable eBooklet that shares with you this letter order and a few activities to get you started right here: Grab the free Special Order for Teaching Letters eBooklet!
I have also made a video for you, sharing with you exactly how to introduce the letters in lowercase and uppercase form, as well as how to introduce sounds and sound blending. You can check that out right here:And just in case that video doesn’t work (it can be a bit glitchy sometimes when I upload it this way) I have it on YouTube as well which you can view below:
Alright! Now that we have the behind the scenes of teaching children the ABCs (which in fact, is not really teaching them their ABCs but in a completely different, and much more logical order) we are set to play!
Here are 5 fun ways to practice the ABCs with kids.
We love to play this game at home. We string some balloons up to the ceiling and add letters to the balloons. Sometimes we put the boys name letters, sometimes we use uppercase, sometimes lowercase. It is so easy to mix it up to make this activity perfect for your little one. My boys then get a tennis racket and get to swatting! I call out a letter and they swat it as quick as they can.
For older children, I would call out a word and they could swat the balloon that had the letter the word started with – or ended with. The options really our endless making this an ideal game for kiddos of multiple ages.
For this fun way to practice the ABCs we put painters tape on the ground in a maze shape. Then, I added my boys name letters and some diggers and trucks. The boys had a great time collecting the letters in the dump truck and building their names. This game would also work well with putting the whole alphabet in the maze and having your little one put the alphabet in order.
3. A Backwards Puzzle
The backs of our puzzle pieces are used far more than the fronts. I use the backs of puzzles for teaching my little ones so many things! We begin by putting the puzzle together and then flipping it over. On the back of the puzzle I can add anything I like: the alphabet, matching letters (uppercase and lowercase), sight words, word families – you name it.
If you have a playful, hands-on learner (and who doesn’t!) you are going to love this activity. When I am introducing letters to my little ones for the very first time I like to put them on the ground in painter’s tape. I always start with my child’s name letters. We leave them on the ground for the day (or a few days) and games seem to happen naturally with them. We might jump on certain letters as we head to bed, or sit on certain letters while we have a snack. My boys love paper airplanes, so we often play this game:
We throw a paper airplane and call out the letter that it lands on. We can try to form words, or think of a word that begins with that letter. Nice and simple, but full of fun and learning too.
A similar idea to the one above is popping letters of the alphabet on the stairs. This is such a great way to practice the letters throughout the day. Again, this is easily changed based on your little ones current skill level and interest. You could practice letter names, letter sounds, sight words, word families, names – anything goes.
I hope you find one of these ideas just right for you and your little ones. Practising the ABCs can be so much fun!
If you are wanting more step-by-step support, or a completely done for you package, be sure to check out my two programs:
Play into Kindergarten Readiness for 2-3 year olds:
One activity per day, ALL of these skills (and all core preschool skills) DONE!
And Kindergarten at Home for 4-5 year olds
One hour a day over 3 days, a total of 9 play-based activities per week, and the WHOLE kindergarten curriculum is covered!