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The Best Way To Teach Alphabet Recognition (With 8 Play-Based Alphabet Activities)

As a teacher and a mom of a 3 year old, when I think of the best way to teach alphabet recognition a few things come to mind. These are the things that HAVE to happen in order for it to be a good experience for both parent and child.

Letter recognition is the first crucial step toward connecting the letter with the sound that it makes and making sure that your child has a solid understanding of each letter is the first step toward reading.

You’ll be moving on to alphabet writing practice before you know it!

Teach your toddler letter recognition through hands-on play with these 8 play-based alphabet activities.

Best Way To Teach Alphabet Recognition

Surround Your Child With Letters

Making sure that your child is surrounded by letters DAILY is going to help him naturally develop an interest in letters and words.

Keep magnetic letters on the fridge for your child to play with while you’re cooking or prepping dinner. He will start asking you (and telling you) what each letter is. Both of my children also really loved the Leapfrog Fridge Phonics toy because it’s really interactive. I love it because it allows me to cook without being interrupted every 5 seconds with my daughter asking me what a letter is.

Read, read, read. Developing a love for reading is going to MAKE your child more interested in letters. Make reading to your child a part of your daily routine, but also make sure that you have books displayed in various parts of your house too to encourage spontaneous reading marathons.

Realize that flashcards can be used in SO MANY different and engaging ways. You don’t have to drill your toddler with flashcards, but you can hide them around the house, play Hot Potato, play relays and so much more with flashcards.

Incorporate singing the ABCs into your routine. We have done it ever since my toddler was a newborn. Then, we used to sing her the ABCs whenever she got a diaper change. Now, we usually do it when we are in the car to pick up her older sister.

Keep foam letters in the bathtub (these are super cheap and come with a storage organizer). These will last you through letter recognition, letter sounds, sight words and beyond.

Practice Makes Perfect

Feel like you’ve sung the ABC song 3,493 times? Well let’s make it 3,494. Toddlers LOVE repetition for good reason. Repetition helps to build their vocabulary and memory retention. Learning letter recognition is no different. Making sure that your child has a solid understanding of letters will take some time and lots of exposure.

When you first start really focusing on teaching letters, start with a group of 5 letters and practice that group until your toddler knows it well before adding in more.

Have A Plan

I know that you want your child to learn his letters. But going into this without an actual plan can mean that you may not succeed 100 percent.

Seriously, we are BUSY mamas. Busier than every before in the history of womanhood, probably. What we all need is an easy to follow, step-by-step plan. Something that will walk you through the process of teaching your child his letters. Without drilling him using flashcards and without depending upon Sesame Street to teach your child.

If you’re trying to work and homeschool at the same time, you need a working homeschool mom’s schedule.

This is why I have created my 5-day Alphabet Learning Challenge. It is an easy-to-implement, 5-day plan that will show you how to start teaching your child.

For 5 days, you’ll receive pre-planned, simple activities straight to your inbox. These are the exact activities that I did with my child. BOTH of my kids loved them.  (You won’t need any weird supplies, I promise)!

Simply subscribe to get started.


Learn Through Play

Last but not least, the best way to teach letter recognition is to TEACH THROUGH PLAY.

At this point in your child’s life, learning should be FUN (and hopefully always will be).

Learning shouldn’t include sitting at a table, completing worksheets. Involving your toddler in active play and incorporating letters too? THAT is what will guarantee that your child learns and ENJOYS learning.

Here are 8 of my favorite ways to learn letter recognition through play.

Letter Recognition Activities

The best way to teach letter recognition is through play! Find out how to make learning easy on you and FUN for your preschooler.
  1. Mountain Climb

Place letter flashcards (or post-it notes) onto the stairs in your house. Announce a letter and have your child “climb the mountain” to that letter.

2. Squirt The Letter

Write letters on a chalkboard, easel or dry-erase board. Give your child a spray bottle filled with water and have your child spray the letter that you say.

3. Play Hot Potato

Place flashcards on the ground (face down). Choose one and keep it face down, play the hot potato song, and pass it back and forth until the song ends. Whoever has it should announce what the letter is.

4. Complete a Letter Craft

Incorporate a craft into your letter learning with my easy printable letter crafts. All you need to do is print, cut and have your child paste the pieces in order to make cute letter crafts.

5. Musical Alphabet

Arrange chairs as if you’re going to play musical chairs. Place a flashcard (face down) on each of the chairs. Play the music and when the music stops, your child should sit and announce the letter that he landed on.

You could do a lot of variations with this one such as winning by finding a certain letter or trying to avoid a certain letter.

6. Balance It!

Place your flashcards on the floor in front of your child. Announce a letter. Have your child pick it up and tell your child to balance it on his head, elbow, knee, arm, nose, etc. See how long your child can hold the pose!

7. Swat The Letter

Tape some flashcards onto your wall (using painter’s tape) and have your child swat the letters that you say using a flyswatter.

You could also use this ocean letter find activity if your child likes this type of activity.

8. Play Tic-Tac-Toe

Create a tic-tac-toe grid but also write your letters in each space. In order for you or your child to claim a spot with your X or O, the correct letter must be given.

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What do you think is the best way to teach alphabet recognition?

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Tuesday 17th of October 2023

Thanks for this guide!

Most of it is the ones that I do with my son as well, specifically: surrounding him with letters, practicing by repetition, and learning by playing and it definitely works!

Loved the letter activities as well. I have tried it and I have fun together with my son!

Brenda Kosciuk

Wednesday 18th of October 2023

So glad you found it helpful!

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