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Alphabet Fun! Help Kids Learn Letters!

Alphabet Fun! Help Kids Learn Letters!

We hear it all the time:  kids are like sponges.  They seem to absorb knowledge from their surroundings.  I think that young children learn best from playing too.  So here’s some fun ways you can help your little ones learn the letters of the alphabet.  My youngest isn’t even 2 years old yet and he knows a couple…that’s how easy it can be!  Surround kids with letters and let them soak them up! 

Learning Time!

  • Bathtub Letters:  For less than $10 you can buy a set of foam bathtub letters.  While kids are washing up let them play and make alphabet soup!  They get clean and learn at the same time! (This is how my oldest really learned his letters!)
  • Bathtub crayons or foam soap:  write your child’s name with bathtub crayons/soap.  These are usually the easiest/first letters they’ll recognize.
  • Play patty-cake:  use the first letter of your child’s name for the last line:  “And make it with a __ for {child’s name} and me!”  So simple, yet still exposing them to letters!
  • Salt trays:  Take a cookie sheet and sprinkle salt on it.  Help your little one use their finger to write a letter or even their whole name.  Even if they’re really young this can be a great tactile activity.
  • Shaving cream:  If you don’t want a big mess put a little shaving cream in a large plastic baggie (with a touch of paint if you want color) and seal it closed.  Let your child mix it up and then lay it on the table  and they can write letters and designs on the bag.
  • Finger paint:  There are so many ideas for finger paints to practice letters–shaving cream, pudding, honey, or you can make your own finger paints with water, cornstarch, and food coloring!  Use a cookie sheet again or right on the table if you don’t mind a little mess! Paper plates are another easy clean up alternative to use with finger paints.
  • Dough:  with playdough or cookie dough roll out a couple long sections and make a letter or two.  You can even make different edible doughs using things like peanut butter and powdered milk if you’re worried about really little kiddos eating it! Or make cut out cookies with letter-shaped cookie cutters! Yumm!
  • Letter Look-out: while driving in the car or out on a walk go on a letter look out where you hunt down the alphabet using the letters in signs and license plates around you. 
  • Refrigerator Magnets:  you know those little magnet letters for the fridge…well break out the trusty cookie sheet again, {who knew they had so many uses!} and your kids have their own magnet board and lots of fun with letters!  If you’re really creative you could even make your own letter magnets with sticker magnet sheets and printed off letters. Just stick the paper letters to the magnet sheet, cut them out and viola! {hmmm….maybe future post here!}  😉
  • Sing:  there’s more than just the ABC song we all learned.  You can sing the Banana-Nana Fo-fana song and expose your kids to letter sounds changing the common words/names they know.  Songs like Bingo  help reinforce letters too!  {And kids don’t know if you’re tone-deaf or not, so belt it out and have fun!}
  • DVD’s:  One of our favorite DVD’s that helped all my kids learn their letters and sounds is the Leap Frog Letter Factory.  Just half and hour but they go through all 26 letters and sounds and has a catchy tune to help learn.
  • Games: If your kids are into computer games try starfall.com, pbskids.org, or sesamestreet.org for lots of fun educational games.  Starfall is a free website and even used by some kindergartens as part of their curriculum.  Look for board games too that help reinforce reading skills.
  • Puzzles:  use alphabet puzzles for your preschooler or word-finds for your elementary school aged kids.
  • Doodle:  let your child doodle with washable markers and crayons and show them how to write their name. Beware: you may have to repeat this a lot!  My youngest is in the do-it-again phase and want’s me to fill his paper with T’s, the first letter in his name. But let me tell ya, he recognizes the letter “T” where ever he sees it now!
  • And no brainer but still must be listed: READ!  Whether you read at bedtime, naptime, during snack, first thing in the morning…at some time during your busy day take a little time to read to your child/children.  There’s usually free library story times in public libraries too.  Let your kids see youreading.  Order a kids magazine or something you can read together.  The time together is precious and helping them develop reading skills as well as a stronger bond with you.

    Cuddle up with a good book!

 

There’s something in this list for babies on up to school-aged children.  Try a variety of ideas to help them learn with all their senses.  The more exposure, the better they learn!  But don’t push… make sure that this is play, that it’s FUN and your little sponges will soak it all in!