A child’s academic success may very well begin with learning the ABCs. As years of studies have concluded, “The cognitive skills children demonstrate at kindergarten entry can potentially shape their early school experience.” (Sameroff and Haith, 1996)
Recognizing and naming all upper- and lowercase letters of the alphabet is an expectation of kindergarten, as stated in the Common Core Reading Standards. So becoming familiar with the alphabet will give your child a strong start in kindergarten.
Here are a few parent-tested ideas for alphabet fun for preschoolers and kindergartners:
Alphabet Games: Learning Through Play
- Interactive activities such as Evan-Moor’s online flashcards engage children in playing games with letters. Use this link to access free online activities: The Alphabet.
- Apps such as Dora’s ABCs are a favorite with young children.
- This alphabet scavenger hunt is a clever idea to get children active and practicing matching letters to objects!
Engaging, Multisensory Activities
Hands-on activities and arts and crafts provide valuable practice of fine motor skills and help young children visualize letter shapes.
- Your child can color this ABC animal book and use it as a starting point to learn how letters correspond to sounds.
- Use magnetic letters on the fridge, magnetic board, or magnetic cookie sheet to encourage children to play with letters.
- Make letter shapes with Playdough.
- Use alphabet-shaped pasta to make Alphabet Soup with your child.
- This blog provides examples of alphabet crafts for each letter.
- Trace letters in sand, uncooked rice, or table salt in a cookie tray with sides or other container. Here’s an example from the Learn with Play at Home blog.
Songs and Chants
How many of us still rely on the ABC song to recall the order of letters in the alphabet? Songs and chants are a memorable way to learn and remember the alphabet!
- YouTube videos provide a variety of ABC songs, such as this “Super Why” ABC song.
Books to Read
Reading alphabet books is a great way to teach alphabetic awareness. Here are just a few favorite titles:
- Alphabet Rescue by Audrey Wood
- Brian Wildsmith’s Amazing Animal Alphabet Book by Brian Wildsmith
- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr., and John Archambault
- Dr. Suess’s ABC by Dr. Seuss
- The Hidden Alphabet by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
- Writing letters strengthens children’s visual discrimination of letters.
- These printable pages show how to write the letters of the alphabet in traditional or modern style. (from Jumbo Fun with the Alphabet)
- Children will also enjoy writing their name, family names, and pet names.
For more ideas on kindergarten readiness, see this parent blog: 5 Tips to Help Your Child Get Ready for Kindergarten or these Evan-Moor resources:
Please share your ideas for helping children learn the alphabet!
Theresa Wooler has more than 10 years’ experience in K–6 classrooms as a parent volunteer and homeschool educator, has taught high school English, and is currently involved in education through Evan-Moor’s marketing communications team.