With the beginning of school starting up I love to take a little time to focus on letter recognition for the little ones. I love seeing the sense of accomplishment that preschoolers have when they can find their name on the board or in the classroom. If you are looking for a few simple, hands on and fun activities to help you little one work on letter recognition check out these ideas!
Balloons + Letters
This is a VERY simple and flexible activity that is always a big hit with kids.
- Permanent Marker
- Blow up your balloons
- Write a different letter on each balloon (I like to write the letter in multiple spots on my balloons)
- OPTIONAL: Flash cards or paper to write letter down on
Call you munchkin in to a room that is safe to toss the balloons around in. Then get playing. There are so many fun ways to use these balloons:
- Lay them all out and yell the letter you want them to run a kick.
- Toss your child a balloon and ask them which one they have.
- Write a letter down on paper and then have a race to go and find that balloon.
- Hide the balloons all around a room and go hunting for them. Have your child tell you which on they find.
If your are at the very beginning stages of letter recognition you can use flash cards or paper to look at the letter you are talking about. That way when you say, “Go kick the G balloon.” you can show your child which letter they are looking for. As they are learning to recognize their letters point out that different letters have lines and curves. This will help your child start to notice differences.
If you are further along in letter recognition use lower-case letters only. Another awesome way to use these balloons is to say a word, like CAT and then annunciate the beginning sound. Ask your beginning reader to go find the letter that CAT starts with!
Box + Letters
This activity is still great for busy learners because they have to use more than just fingertips to participate. Young children learn best when they are able to use their bodies. There is a little more involved in the Set Up of this activity.
- Cardboard box
- Permanent marker
- Long ribbon or string
- Cut small holes in your cardboard box. (I had to get rid of extra flaps of cardboard so I didn’t have to cut through multiple layers. I also got rid of extra, in-the-way, flaps.
- Write different letters near each hole.
The idea behind this activity is to have your child thread the ribbon through one hole. Then they can search and find another letter. I love that they are searching and using their whole arm and hand to do the activity.
- This would be a great activity to match lower and upper case letter.
- You could also do the first 10 letters of the alphabet and have your child thread the letters in order.
- One fun way to set it up is to have all the letters in your child’s name and have them thread it in order.
Paper + Stickers + Letters
This activity is a little more of a sit and participate activity but still can catch little one’s attention because their are stickers involved!
- Stickers or even dot markers
- I cut my paper in half, but totally optional
- Write letters on the paper, you can do upper or lower case
- Then set out paper with stickers
This is super simple. I asked my 3 year old to grab a sticker, let your munchkin do the small motor work to get those stickers off themselves. Then I asked her to find the first letter of her name. She spent the next 3 minutes putting stickers on her paper. You could call out any letter and have your child find it. As I said super simple!
Letter Recognition Conclusion
As a preschool teacher I know how important it is to Kindergarten teachers and parents for their children to know the names of the letters. There is something powerful about naming such important markings. That being said, if your child doesn’t know each letter it really is not the end of the world. Knowing the names of the letters doesn’t help you read. Really, if only our school systems agreed, it doesn’t even need to be the first step to reading. If we were smarter we would focus on the SOUND each letter makes and forget the stupid name! But alas, I don’t get to make all the decisions so here I am putting together little activities for my students to work on the names of their letters. I want them to feel successful when they go on to Kindergarten.