Food Storage & Other Adventures in Motherhood

Teaching Your Child the Alphabet

by heather

Last week I attended a parent meeting for my son’s preschool. The topic was on reinforcing the alphabet, because repetition at home leads to retention. I thought I would share some of the suggestions and activities that they shared, plus a few others that I have found effective.

Helping Your Child to Learn

  • Make it fun. Be enthusiastic. If they’re having fun they won’t notice that they’re learning.
  • Be creative. Learning can be very cheap. It’s not about the money you spend on your child, it’s about the time.
  • Give continual positive reinforcement.
  • Be patient.
  • Incorporate learning into the things you are doing anyway. Point out letters on signs or packaging. Quiz them about letters in the words they are using.
  • Talk about the shape and sound of letters to reinforce recognition.
  • Mix it up. Add variety.
  • Make sure you are having fun. If you are frustrated, it’s not fun for anyone involved.


  • Write letters in pudding. I give them a cheap plastic plate or cutting mat and about 1/4 cup of pudding to spread out and draw in. We have done this many times as an after school snack. (Make sure their hands are really clean first.) When they’re done playing it, they like to scoop it up with graham crackers or banana slices. (This was always a big hit with my kids.)
  • Letter Hunt– Write all of the letters on note cards and hide them around the house. You can pull out the Easter baskets to gather them in.
  • Letter Sounds– Go through the alphabet looking for objects that start with each letter.
  • The Letter Game– A road trip favorite! Find all the letters as you’re driving. Victory points for J, Q, X, Y and Z.
  • Sing the alphabet song. It doesn’t matter if you can sing well, putting it to music really makes it stick.
  • Talk about letters in their name. And the names of friends and family.
  • Make an alphabet scrapbook.– Staple blank pages together (14 half sheets, a 1/2 page for every 2 letters, and one for the cover)  Write the upper and lower case letter in the corner of each page. Then let them cut out pictures from magazines and glue pictures in their book that match the corresponding letter.
  • Make your own photo alphabet.– One Saturday Thing 1 and my husband went on a hunt trying to find every letter in ‘stuff’ around them and took pictures. (i.e. a Boppy is a C, a hula-hoop is an O) Sometimes they had to make their own letters (arranging cans to make a Q).
  • Play-doh– Use it to form letters. Clay or pipe-cleaners also work.
  • Make a collage– Search for letters in magazine and newspapers to cut out and glue.
  • Have alphabet theme days. Find activities and foods that start with a given letter.
  • Glitter letters– Have your child draw letters with glue and sprinkle with glitter. (Or pasta, cotton balls, beans, etc.)
  • Squirt the letter– Draw letters with sidewalk chalk and have your child squirt the letters as you call them out.
  • Magnet letters- There are several activities that you can do with these, and they’re super cheap. You can hide them in rice or make words on a cookie sheet.
  • Fishing for Letters– Someone more crafty than I came up with this great idea.

Websites with Free Alphabet Games

Favorite Alphabet Books- There are thousands of alphabet books out there. These have
just been some of our favorites.

  1. Dr. Seuss’s ABC
  2. The Graphic Alphabet by David Pelletier
  3. ABC3D by Marion Bataille
  4. I Spy: An Alphabet in Art by Lucy Micklethwait
  5. Animalia by Graeme Base
  6. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin
  7. The Z was Zapped by Chris Van Allsburg
  8. Little Quack’s ABC’s by Lauren Thompson
  9. K is for Kissing a Cool Kangaroo by Giles Andreae
  10. On Beyond Zebra by Dr. Seuss

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