Looking to help your little one recognize the letters of the alphabet? Adding four essential toys to your playroom may help you! In fact, it may be things you already have.
To learn the names of the letters, your child has to see and hear it many times. The first two items on the list are materials that help add more exposure to the letters. By preparing the environment, you are increasing opportunities for your child to see letters in their everyday environment.
The ideas mentioned don’t take a lot of planning or work. They are easy to set up and play.
Recognizing the letters of the Alphabet
Alphabet Line and (Nerf gun)
Ways to use it:
Hang the alphabet line mid-height on the wall.
- ABC Song- If the child is young, hold them up and sing the ABC song while pointing to each letter as you say it. If they are older, they can point to each letter as they sing independently or with you. Sing the song slowly enough to clearly hear each letter individually.
- Tracing- Let them trace a letter with their finger (pre-writing skill). If they are young, you can trace the letter with your finger while verbalizing what you are doing.
- Target Game- I created a game with a Nerf gun for my youngest when he was little. Boys especially will like this game. Using a Nerf gun, he would try to shoot the letters. Since he was so little (only 1), and not speaking, I would announce what letter he hit or missed. I would say things like, “Wow, you hit the ‘Y’ “, or “You almost got the ‘X’! ” Sometimes I would point to a letter and say, “Try to get the ‘S’ “. If your child is older, you can give them target letters. They can score points for every letter they hit!
Just like the alphabet line, the poster is another way to introduce letters into the environment. Both the alphabet line and the poster show the letters in alphabetical order, promoting understanding of the sequential order of the alphabet. But, what I like about the poster is it’s size. Smaller than an alphabet line, it can be seen easier all at once, versus turning and moving your head to see the whole alphabet line. It may not seem like much of a difference, but I like having them both so that they can view the alphabet different ways. The poster also helps facilitate different uses. I would also recommend having the poster in a different room than the alphabet line.
- Find the letter: Sing the alphabet, then ask the child if s/he can find a certain letter. If they are having trouble, you can say something like, “I see it. It’s right there” and show them.
- What’s missing?: Put a post it note over a letter. Ask your child what letter is hiding. Start at the beginning of the alphabet, slowly sing the alphabet song, pointing to each letter, and stop at the covered letter. If your child is familiar with the ABC song, they may know what comes next based on the song lyrics. If they guess a letter, say something such as, “Let’s see” with an excited look on your face. Happily uncover the letter and cheer if the are correct. If they are incorrect, you may something such as, “Good try. It was a “V”, that V tried to trick us!”
These are just some starting points! If your child starts to take an activity in a different direction, that is wonderful! Follow his or her lead, you’ve inspired them and their minds are busy creating ideas just as they should.
I love that these things are inexpensive and easy! Remember it’s more about how you interact with your child than the toy itself!
If you have a local teacher store they will often have the alphabet line and poster, I’ve seen them at dollar stores, office supply stores, and sometimes craft stores like JoAnn Fabrics. If you are interested in purchasing any of the materials mentioned, I found an alphabet line and poster on Amazon.com. I looked for the Nerf gun on Amazon and I did not like anything they offered.
*These are affiliate links. If you make a purchase from Amazon, I receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.
What Amazon has to offer:
This one is actually really cute. I have not seen this one personally, but from the pictures it appears to have the Dr. Suess pictures and words from the book Dr. Suess’s ABC.
This poster looks great! You could probably find one much cheaper at a local store. But if online shopping is for you, this one looks good!
The book that goes with the Dr. Suess alphabet line (board book)
Hardcover version (for older kids)