10 Great Hands-On Activities for Exploring the Alphabet
Sept. 17, 2018
Chances are, you’ve been reading to your child alphabet books since your preschooler was an infant, but you may be wondering how to make letter recognition “stick”. Books are amazing tools to help children learn, but most kids need a little something more to master the basics.
Fun Alphabet Activities for Preschoolers and Kindergartners
Many kids are said to be kinesthetic, or tactile learners, meaning that learning takes place through hands-on activities. Alongside books, educational apps, worksheet printables, and even engaging videos, like our new Learn the Alphabet video series, it’s important to vary letter instruction and tailor activities in a way that accommodates all learning styles. Not only will this keep things interesting, your child will have a lot of fun!
If you came here searching for alphabet activities for preschoolers, you’re in luck! Get ready to discover some of the most exciting and motivating hands-on ways to teach your child letter recognition for both lower and upper case letters!
Feed the Monster Alphabet Game
Easy to make, and endlessly fun, this preschool letter-learning activity will teach your child to recognize letters in no time! Simply take a dry, empty box of wipes and decorate the outside to look like a monster, making sure that the opening under the cap is the monster’s mouth! Use construction paper, googly eyes and puff balls to transform the wipes box into a monster designed by your child.
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In the meantime, collect and repurpose plastic bottle or milk jug caps to make the “monster food”. Use a permanent marker to draw upper and lower case markers on the outside of the caps. Challenge your child to call out the names of the letters as he or she feeds the monster, putting the caps inside the monster’s mouth. Make it a game by creating letter dice or making a spinner! After spinning a letter or rolling the dice, your child will have to identify the letter on the cap to feed the monster!
ABC Playdoh Cards
It’s easy to find free printable alphabet tracing cards online, or feel free to make them yourself! All you need are sheets of paper with large letters to trace. Instead of tracing with a pencil or crayon, your child will trace letters using Playdoh! After printing or making letter cards, get out the Playdoh and watch as your child makes the letter shapes using the clay.
Guide them as they work, placing the Playdoh over the letter on each card. Provide both upper and lower case letters and talk about each as your child is completing the cards. Although incredibly simple, this activity is awesome because by using the Playdoh, kids are able to not just see the letters, but feel them as well! By taking the time to roll out the dough, and shape it just right, your child will begin to internalize the appearance of each letter, boosting recognition and recall!
Play Alphabet Twister
The game of Twister can be made into a fun preschool alphabet activity that all your kids, and even you and your spouse can get in on! First, you’ll need a Twister game set that you are willing to sacrifice in the name of learning. With 24 spots on each mat, you can leave out two letters, or create new spots in the middle to represent the last two letters.
Use a permanent marker to mark each circle on the mat with a large, uppercase letter. On the spinner provided in the box, write in letters including two letters for every colored circle. Take turns spinning the spinner and following the instructions on it, playing just like the original game. If your children are short, use beanbags to throw onto the letters, and play in a way that doesn’t involve contorting little bodies in impossible ways!
Alphabet Sand Trays
This quick letter activity is great for kindergarten and kids preparing to write! Just like the above Playdoh activity, tracing in sand can appeal to your child’s kinesthetic learning by feeling each letter. To get started, print out letter-tracing cards or worksheets, often found for free on the internet. Be sure that the tracing cards include the correct direction for each stroke, since you’ll want your little learner to practice early writing skills appropriately.
Next, find a few shallow 8x8 or 9x13 foil baking trays. In a pinch, cookie sheets or baking pans work just fine, too! Fill each tray with enough colored sand to cover the bottom of the trays. Using the tracing cards one at a time, help your child duplicate the letter inside the sand tray, making sure to use the appropriate writing strokes. Work on both upper and lower case letters to maximize learning!
Alphabet Beanbag Toss
If you don’t already have a cornhole set, it’s time to get one! This set will come in handy now, but also works as easy entertainment for kids and adults of all ages. Don’t forget to buy the beanbags in bulk by searching for cornhole bags online. Once ready, using a permanent marker, write a letter on each beanbag, or simply order beanbags with letters already on them, offered through and educational supply website.
On a warm day or evening, head outside to set up the cornhole set in the backyard and invite your child’s friends and siblings! Play a game of alphabet cornhole by spreading out the beanbags on the lawn and calling out a letter. For each child’s turn, they’ll find the letter that was called out and toss it into the hole. The child with the most letters in the hole wins!
Magnetic Letters Fridge Match-Up
Your fridge is useful for so many things, but one of them is for this easy and exciting alphabet learning activity! All you need for this game is printer paper, a marker, and colorful magnetic letters. Keep your busy while you’re working in the kitchen by posting on the fridge printer paper with all the letters in the alphabet written with plenty of space nearby.
Arrange the papers vertically, but within your child’s reach on the bottom half of the refrigerator. Give your child a bucket of magnetic letters, and watch as he or she searches for the letters to match those on the fridge. Make it even more challenging by making another column of lowercase letters. Be sure to have enough magnetic letters available, and encourage kids to say the letters as they work!
Mega Bloks Tower Alphabet Matching
Great for tiny hands, this tower letter matching game will keep your little learner busy learning the alphabet! Using a permanent marker, take pairs of like-sized Mega Bloks and write the upper case version of a letter on one, and the lower case letter on the other. Do this until you have covered the entire alphabet. Finally, mix up the blocks and watch as your child searches through the pile to find the matching lower and upper case letters. When all of them are found, make a letter tower, in order of the alphabet!
Lego Letters Game
Stemming from the above activity, this game uses Legos and is great for older or more advanced children. This game becomes a puzzle quickly when the Legos become separated. Piece together a few Legos of the same shape and size. Across the Legos, again using your permanent marker, write a letter, either upper or lower case. Do this for a few letters and once ready, separate the Lego pieces and mix them up. Your child will now look through the individual Legos to piece together the letters, much like putting together a puzzle!
Slappin’ Letters Card Game
Kids love card games and this one is no exception! Buy, print, or make a deck of letter cards. Choose about 4-5 letters that will be “it”. Those letters are the targeted letters that players will be looking for throughout the game. Next, shuffle the deck and deal them to the players. Taking turns, each child draws a card and quickly flips it over into a central pile. Each child does this until a targeted letter appears. Kids quickly slap the letter with their hand to claim the card and put it aside. At the end of the game, the player with the most wins!
Alphabet Cup Stacking Games
Out of all the other alphabet-themed activities, this one stands out because you can reuse the cups over and over again for everything from sight words to counting! First, buy large packages of colored plastic cups. Solo cups work best for this game because you can purchase in two different colors—red and blue! Buy a large package of red, and another in blue, or whatever seasonal color your store offers at the moment.
Using labels, write upper case letters and attach one to each cup, all of the same color. Selecting the second color, do the same, attaching a lower case letter to each. Once ready, encourage your child to stack the cups, matching upper to lower case letters!
By offering a variety of games, learning resources, and activities, your child will master the alphabet in no time, forming the foundation they need for reading success! Don’t forget to check out all our alphabet games, worksheets, videos, and more, and check out our YouTube channel to find an enchanting new video that will help teach your child to recognize upper and lower case letters!