Ideas: Letter/Alphabet play

Using MFW Preschool & Pre-K Packages, as well as occupying babies and toddlers while teaching
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Ideas: Letter/Alphabet play

Unread post by lyntley » Wed Apr 25, 2007 6:25 pm

Book suggestion for letter play

You might enjoy this book. We absolutely LOVED it. "Alphabet Art with A-Z Animal Art & Fingerplays." You can find it on Amazon and other places easily. We first borrowed it from the library but it was a constant request from the kiddos we ended up buying our own copy.

In it is a page of an outline of uppercase and lower case letters. What we did was trace them onto a piece of copy paper (instead of what the recommended paper plate) then for each letter you glue on objects. It tells you in the book. Lets see... D was dots... we used from a hole punch. E was egg shells, F: Fluff or cotton balls, K was the all time favorite as my little ones put on lip stick and put kisses on them.

Each letter has a simple animal craft using simple household items like paper plates, muffin papers, toilet paper rolls etc. And a little rhyme or song that we memorized. We did one letter a week and put each one in a page protector and in a three ring binder. The children created their own "alphabet Book" That has now become a special keepsake. They still get them out to show guests.

Anyway. I know this is getting long but we just really enjoyed this book. It may be something you could add to the preK suggestions giving her a jumpstart on K skills, lots of fun hands on projects, without being too much for such a little one.

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OT: tactile/active letter games for pre-K & K

Unread post by Yodergoat » Wed Jun 25, 2014 12:45 pm

I teach Sunday School for ages older 3 year olds to just before children enter K, and sometimes use tactile letter games in my classroom as part of my teaching when appropriate.

Recently, a mother who was sitting in on my class with her very active and boisterous 4 year old boy asked for more suggestions of such games. She had been amazed (almost to the point of tears) to see him engaged in a letter activity of any sort. On that occasion it was using cookie sheets for matching magnet letters to the phrases we had been learning about God, such as "God is holy" and "God is fair." She had also thought that he was not good at or interested in puzzles, but when she learned that he could do a magnetized puzzle on a cookie sheet she was surprised. He does lack fine motor skills, but I would expect that because he is quite young. He does not enjoy crayons or markers on paper and can't write his name, but can put letters in the right order to spell it.

I'd like to minister to her if I can by giving her some encouragement that her active son can learn... she seems to worry because he can't seem to sit still or attend to preschool type tasks. Yet he loves learning when it involves something tactile in nature or which incorporates big movements!

I've thought of a few ideas to share with her. Of course I would explain them in more detail...

drawing letters in a tray of salt or cornmeal
using a gallon bag of squish paint for drawing and writing
using a dry erase board or chalk board instead of paper
writing in shaving cream, pudding or some such
using sheets of sandpaper and yarn
forming letters out of modeling dough

hopping to paper letters on the floor
fishing for letters with a magnet pole
bringing a certain number of household items to count
racing to get the called out letters from the floor to a jar

Does anyone have any they could share so that I may pass them on to this mother? I know she won't use them to academically "push" the boy, but is just seeking ways to engage him in learning at home as a way to spend time with him. I'd love for her to see that her boy is very bright and eager to learn but just doesn't show it in conventional ways because he isn't yet ready for the pencil and paper activities.

Thanks for any ideas!
I'm Shawna...
... a forgiven child of God since 1994 (age 16)
... happily wed to William since 1996
... mother of our long-awaited Gail (3/15/2006)
... missing 6 little ones (4 miscarriages, 2 ectopics)
... starting Rome to the Reformation this fall!

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Re: OT: tactile/active letter games for pre-K & K

Unread post by TriciaMR » Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:04 pm

Wiki Stix to form letters (or build other things) - you can have an outline of something and then they form the Stix over the shape/letter
Sidewalk chalk - writing, tracing, drawing large - and then drive cars and trucks over them to trace
Just blowing bubbles
Driving trucks and cars over large letters and numbers
using legos or duplo blocks to make letters and numbers
make targets (plastic disposable cups are good) and shoot at them with a water gun (develops hand strength for fine motor)
Make large letters on the floor/cement with duct tape - again for driving cars over for tracing

Mostly let him have fun.
Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
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Re: OT: tactile/active letter games for pre-K & K

Unread post by hsm » Thu Jun 26, 2014 7:34 am

My wiggly boy LOVES to use my large exercise ball. This is how he does the sound identification activity in MFW K. We lay the puzzle pieces on the floor and put the exercise ball in front of the puzzle pieces, I call out a sound or letter and he rolls on the ball on his tummy to grab the pieces. Or more often than not, he "flies" with a running start over the ball to grab the pieces :-) He requires a lot of movement in his learning activities and this really helped him learn and have fun at the same time.

Tactile activity: Print the letters or write the letters large on a paper and have child glue pieces of something outlining the letter that starts with that sound. Boy that sounds confusing. Here is an example. I print a large Bb and he might glue buttons on the Bb. Or for Cc, glue cotton balls, you get the idea.

Another tactile activity idea I got from here (I think from Poohbee) was to use a paint brush with water and have him "paint" the letters on a large chalkboard or she could do on the sidewalk or wooden fence.

Write letters in chalk. Use your ideas of jumping to the letters outside on chalk letters too. I do this with not just identifying the letters, but the sounds also.

Finger paint.

Hair gel in the bag as an alternative to paint in the bag.

Not sure how many kids she has, but I have three and I have had all of them lie down to form the letters with their bodies together. Could even take pictures of this and put into his own personal alphabet book.
K/ECC, CtG/Learning God's Story
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Re: OT: tactile/active letter games for pre-K & K

Unread post by CaseyVG » Fri Jun 27, 2014 11:50 am

Cutting out the letter in a magazine and gluing them on a paper.
Put lower case letters on one side of the room, upper case on the other and run back and forth to match them

Those are the only two I could think of that weren't already listed.

Caleb: ECC (finished MFW Adventures, 1st & K)
Rebekah: 1st (finished K)
Joshua: 2 year old
Matthew: baby
I blogged MFW K, 1st & Adventures at

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Re: OT: tactile/active letter games for pre-K & K

Unread post by Yodergoat » Sat Jun 28, 2014 12:50 pm

Thanks for the great ideas! I think there is great potential here for this mother to have some enjoyable learning time with her little boy instead of just feeling overwhelmed by his energy and what she had considered an "inability to learn." :-)

I have typed these up for her and will present them Sunday if she attends church. Of course the sheet I'm giving her is much neater looking, with bullet points and such. ;)



TACTILE LETTER GAMES: Sometimes 4 and even 5 year olds aren't ready for the tiny hand movements needed to use a pencil and they can easily get frustrated, but using the following ideas they can get familiar with letter formation while also strengthening their finger muscles. These ideas are usually fun enough that a child will want to try, and it is very easy for you to write an example for him to try to copy.

Have him draw letters or write his name in a tray with a shallow layer of salt or cornmeal in it. This can be done over and over, and using a tray with a good lid means you can just store it away for next time.

Put a layer of paint or colored hair gel or lotion in a gallon baggie and tape it shut. When laid flat on a table, this can be used to write numbers and letters and draw designs because the paint squishes out of the way as he writes. It's fun but not messy.

For a messier variation on this idea, some kids love to write in a pan of shaving cream. Might be a good idea during bath time or for outside!

Have him form letters out of Legos.

Use a bucket of water and a paintbrush to let him "paint" letters on concrete or wood. Gail used to do this on the front porch.

Some children love to use short lengths of yarn on sheets of sandpaper. The yarn sticks slightly, letting them make designs and letters. This may especially appeal to boys who like the idea of using tools.

Have him try to form letters out of play dough. For extra incentive, have him form letters out of bread or soft pretzel dough that you can cook and eat!

Have him help you make letter-shaped pancakes, maybe to spell his name.

Make an outline of a letter on paper and have him glue on small objects that begin with that letter to cover it, such as a big B covered with buttons or a C covered with cotton balls, etc.

Use magnet letters on a cookie sheet. This is a great way to learn letter recognition and spelling without tiring the hand. I LOVE cookie sheets and magnets!

Use "Wiki Stix" which are wax-covered bendable sticks that can be found in the toy aisle. These can be used to make shapes, or pressed on to a large letter drawn on paper to form the letter. They're repositionable and fun.

Give him an old magazine and have him cut out certain letters to glue on a paper. Good for letter recognition and developing fine motor control and scissor skills. This could be made more fun for him if it was suggested as a letter "hunt.

ACTIVE IDEAS: These are fun games that use a child's energy for learning. Some children learn best while moving their whole bodies!

Put paper letters on the floor and have him hop to the one you call out. Or put the letters of his name in random order and have him jump to them in the right order.

Draw letters outside with sidewalk chalk and have him jump on the one you call out, or run to it, or toss a ball at it, or shoot it with a Nerf gun, or whatever.

Do a matching relay with a group of letters on one side of the room (maybe upper case) and matching letters on the other side (maybe lower case). He must run from one side of the room to the other to make the matches.

A similar racing game can be played with just one set of letters and a jar across the room. You call out a letter, he runs to get it and races to put it in the jar. I used to vary this with instructions that helped develop listening skills... "Hop on one leg to the B. Crawl to the F. Pounce on the S. Sneak up to the V. Twirl to the O." A variation of this might be to have him roll on his stomach on a big ball to get the letters.

Use a "fishing pole" with a magnet on the end to "fish for letters" that have paperclips attached. To keep the fish, he might identify the letter or make its sound. When Gail was learning to read, she fished for words and she would read the word to keep it.

When learning individual letters, make the shape of that letter on the floor with masking tape (or write it outside with chalk) and have him use it as a car track. You can make these really big! The shape is learned while having fun.

For a number game, call out a certain number and he must run all over the house to find that number of objects. This can be made harder and builds listening skills by giving a modifier for the object, such as "Get me 7 blue things" or "Bring 10 toy dinosaurs." When he brings the items, count them together. (The same thing can be done when he learns letter sounds, as in "Find 3 things that start with T" and he brings a turtle, a truck, and Trevor.)

Make a "racetrack" out of posterboard, with spaces for each letter or number (you can use post-it notes in the spaces if you want to change it up, or put contact paper over the spaces so you can use a dry erase marker). As he pushes a car or small tractor along the track, he must say the number or letter he is on (or its sound) before going to the next. This could also be done on the floor with tape or outdoors with chalk, but we made ours out of poster and used it again and again. A fun variation was to use plastic animals instead of cars.

Using a big dry erase board or chalk board, you write several letters or numbers. When you call one out, he gets to find it and erase it. There is something satisfying about the empty board at the end. One fun variation is to use a Nerf gun with suction cup bullets to "shoot" at the letters, then he says the number or letter's name or its sound and erases it.

Use disposable cups with letters or numbers written on them as "targets" that he must hit when you call out a certain one. He can use a Nerf gun or water gun (water guns are great for developing hand strength for writing).

There are so many more ideas out there... this is just a sampling of some of the things we did when Gail was learning her letters and numbers, as well as ideas from fellow homeschoolers. I hope they can help you enjoy some great learning time with Trevor! If you have any questions, just ask!
I'm Shawna...
... a forgiven child of God since 1994 (age 16)
... happily wed to William since 1996
... mother of our long-awaited Gail (3/15/2006)
... missing 6 little ones (4 miscarriages, 2 ectopics)
... starting Rome to the Reformation this fall!

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