For preschoolers, every day comes with learning or driving home a new skill. As adults, it is often taken for granted how interesting it can be to teach children task that we see as simple – such as identifying colors and writing their name. However, if you had to explain to someone what “red” was, how would you go about it?
As such, preschool teachers and parents have to get a little creative when they are teaching young children concepts such as learning the alphabet. In this article, we are going to take a look at some activities that can be used to help preschool-aged children learn their alphabet.
Make a Game with an Alphabet Mat or Poster
Ideally, you want to teach your preschoolers to read and write. This is an end goal of children learning their letters. However, you can’t run before you can walk and the same goes for learning the alphabet. So, first, you need to make sure your preschoolers can recognize letters.
For this, you can quickly turn things into a game whether you are working with a single child or a full classroom. All you really need is an alphabet mat or poster – for a larger group of children a mat might work better.
The main idea behind this activity is to call out a letter and see if the children can find and identify it. If you want to take this activity a step further, you should ask the children the sound of the letter they just identified. This will help them to learn to associate the sounds that the letters make along with what the letters are.
Play “I Spy”
This is a particularly good activity for parents of preschoolers. Once a child starts to get a handle on their letters, you should see if they can point them out unprompted. After all, there are signs and writing everywhere, so you might as well incorporate it into your children’s lessons.
A fun idea is to focus on letters that are important to the child. For example, have them look for places where they see the first letter of their name. This way, you can teach them their letters and get them started on learning to spell their name!
In addition, this can be a fun pastime. One of the best times to do this activity is during a road trip. After all, you are surrounded by license plates and road signs, so you aren’t short of letters anywhere you look. You can even change this game up once they start learning to spell. For instance, at that point, instead of saying “can you point out the letter ‘M’?”, you might ask, “can you point out the first letter in the word ‘mom’?”.
Another fun game to play is bingo! To modify this game, you would switch the numbers that usually populate a bingo board with letters. However, since you are playing with preschoolers learning their letters, you will want to simplify the board a little bit.
By this, we mean simplify the multiple conditions on the board. When you play bingo traditionally, the numbers are usually called out with a precondition coordinating with the “bingo” tagline. In the traditional game, for example, the numbers wouldn’t just be called out as “23” and any 23 on the board could be marked. Instead, they are called out as something like “B23” and only a 23 in the B column would count.
When you create an alphabet version for preschoolers, try taking away the concept of columns. Rather, if you were to call out “B”, allow the children playing to mark any instance of “B” showing up on the board. This way, they are only focused on recognizing new letters rather than trying to learn superfluous rules at the same time.
Once children get a little more comfortable with their alphabet, you can always switch up the rules to stay on their skill level. Instead of simply calling out the letter “B”, for example, you could call out “lowercase B” or “uppercase B”.
Sort Your ABCs
Once a child starts to get their bearings on what each letter is. For example, if they can identify a letter by name, the next step is to make sure they can sort the letters into alphabetical order, words, and – eventually – sentences.
Simply making preschoolers write out letters and words, though, can get boring. Of course, using books to trace letters and words does work but it is rarely an activity that they enjoy, so the lesson can take longer to sink in.
An activity they might enjoy more is to use alphabet stickers or magnets. With these, you can instruct the preschooler to put the letters in a certain order. In addition, though, it gives children a chance to rearrange letters on their own as well and do one of small children’s favorite thing to do when they learn about something new – experiment.