My oldest started to show a strong interest in learning the alphabet around the age of two. One day, he decided he wanted to nap with the letter Q and R puzzle pieces. As I always try to build on his interests, I didn’t let this opportunity pass. Nothing force-fed here!
How do toddlers start to learn their ABCs? Below are some of the fun things we enjoyed doing to promote this new-found interest.
Learning the Alphabet
Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
Let’s Start with Your NAME! to Learn Your ABCs
You don’t have to start with the letter Aa and move your way through the alphabet when introducing letters. I prefer starting with the letters in your child’s name. After all, you can’t find a better word that your child can connect to.
Display your child’s name in his/her bedroom. Each of my kids has their name hung in their bedroom. Initially, this was done to personalize and decorate the room. However, it has turned into a wonderful learning tool. Since the time they were babies, my husband and I would point to the letters and sing or say each one as entertainment. My 2 year-old could point and say them on his own. He especially liked to use a flashlight to shine on each letter.
He also quickly learned about Mm for Mama, Dd for Dada and Nn for his little brother Nana.
So, now that you have some letters selected to start with, what should you do next? Keep reading for some great ideas.
ABC Puzzles to Learn Your ABCs
My son also enjoys puzzles. By far his favorite is an alphabet train puzzle by Frank Schaffer. It has both the upper case and lower case letter on each card with a picture that corresponds with the letter. He has progressed from doing it with mom or dad to doing it by himself. From pure repetition, he can now name each letter. I do prefer puzzles that have both upper and lower case letters.
ABC Books to Learn Your ABCs
Through the repetitive reading of ABC books, he also began to point out letters and name them. For some reason, the letter Mm was a favorite. Here are a few of his favorites. You can also visit a previous post I did on alphabet books for more ideas.
Chicka Chicka ABC by Bill Martin and John Archambault
Dr. Seuss’s ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Bookby Dr. Seuss
ABC Games to Learn Your ABCs
We play lots and lots of games around here! Recently, we created a “letter delivery” where you drive letters on a toy car to a mailbox. After scattering the letters on the floor, call out a letter that needs to be picked up and delivered. Often, my son prefers to select his own letter to be picked up and then names it.
Find that Post-It Letter
Another activity is to write a letter of interest on 3-5 small sticky notes. Have your child cover his eyes while you hide the letters in the room. He then hunts for the letters and names the letter as he finds it. My son has played this game for 20 minutes straight.
Erase Away a Letter
We have a dry erase board on wheels in our house that we got from a company that was disposing of it. I wrote different letters on the board with a dry erase marker. Then, I called out a letter and my son erased it. If you don’t have a dry erase board, you can try tile, a window or laminate. Just make sure to try a small mark to test the surface. You also want to make sure that you erase everything completely when finished.
This one is a bit more advanced. We drew houses with sidewalk chalk on the driveway. Each house was labeled with an uppercase letter. Then, we scattered gingerbread men, each labeled with a lowercase letter, on the lawn. The goal was to get each gingerbread man to his correct house.
We have so many more hands-on alphabet ideas. See them all—>TAKE ME TO MORE ALPHABET ACTIVITIES AND GAMES
I hope that you find some of the things we’ve done to be useful. I’m a huge advocate of following a child’s interest when learning new things. What ideas do you have for learning the alphabet?
P.S. Have you signed up for our FREE newsletter? Each week you get lots of literacy goodies delivered to your inbox. Take a second and sign-up HERE.
*This post was first published on Growing Book by Book on 2/4/13.