abc cards and clothespin match

abc cards and clothespin match |

Being able to simply recognize and name the letters of the alphabet is not the key to absolute reading success.

However, research has proven that when children can identify letter names before they actually hit big-time school, it’s a strong predictor of later reading achievement (Bradley & Jones, “Sharing Alphabet Books in Early Childhood Classrooms,” in February 2007’s The Reading Teacher). I’d say that playing games with the ole letters of the alphabet is well worth our time.

So we’ve been doing a lot with our trusty Alphabet Cards lately, so it was only natural that when I (finally!) took down our Summertime Fun Cards to keep them for next year, we’d need to figure out a way to use that black string still tied to our railing. . .

  • ABC Cards and Clothespin Match: We had the bag of alphabet cards  just hanging around since Owen and Cora have insisted on playing some form of ABC Hide-and-Seek almost every day for the last ten days.

So I decided to mix things up a bit, pull out a huge pack of clothespins that I had picked up at the store a while back, and voila! ABC Cards and Clothespin Match was born!

While I wrote the uppercase letters on the tops of clothespins, Owen and Cora sorted the uppercase letter cards from the lowercase letter cards. Such a simple but worthwhile activity!–we could have stopped there and called it a day and both kiddos would have had a little bit o’ alphabet practice, but we trucked on. . .

And then we set the lowercase letters aside, and Cora started to ‘hunt’ for the first three letters of the alphabet while Owen put the clothespins in order on the string.

abc cards and clothespin match | teachmama.comCora hunts for ‘A, B, and C’. . .
(need your own set of alphabet cards? print them: alphabet cards)


abc cards and clothespin match | . . while Owen puts the clothespins in alphabetical order.

When all of the alphabet clothespins were lined up, I asked Cora, Okay, let’s get these Alphabet Cards up on their matching clothespins. Can you find the letter A or B for me? (Always giving two choices sets kiddos up for success. . . )

She had the letter ‘A’ ready, so I asked her to clip it to the correct clothespin. She really, really, really loved this part, and clothespin pinching is great fine motor work for tiny fingers!

abc cards and clothespin match |

abc cards and clothespin match |

Cora checks her ‘H’–card to clothespin.

Each time she picked up an Alphabet Card, she’d match it to the clothespin to make sure she was correct. Then she’d pinch, add the card, and move on.

alphabet card clothespin letter match |
After about ‘J’, Cora was d-o-n-e, which was fine. I was really excited that she was interested that long, to be honest, and I was (literally!) dancing around the living room because she did have quite a bit of success in finding the first few letters.

Owen picked up where Cora left off, and he matched the rest of the alphabet with very little problem. We are moving onto bigger and better things for him, but I am always–always!–down for practicing these way-too-important letters any time he’s up for it!

alphabet card clothespin letter match |

alphabet card clothespin letter match |


By the time the whole alphabet was hung, it really looked beautiful, and my truly nerdy teacher heart stopped every time one of the kids walked by and sang the ABC Song.


Cora has been doing it a few times a day since it’s been up, and although she gets all crazy around LMNOP (like so many kids!), she usually picks up again at ‘Q’. And if I’m close by when she does it, I just sing it with her and point to the letters as I do it. That’s it!

But boo-hoo! the letter garland had to come down today so that I could paint the railing (a looong overdue project. . . ), but it’ll go right back up when the paint dries. And for good reason, too–this super-sneaky learning proved to reap big benefits both in fine motor skill practice and in alphabet letter recognition.

Although simply recognizing alphabet letter names is only one facet of truly knowing and understanding the letters of the alphabet, it’s an easy–and clearly FUN!–way of helping to build a foundation for future learning in our kiddos.

Want a few more alphabet activities? Check out:


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  1. That's Who I Am says

    Love it and I think I might have to use it in my classroom. Think I might put the lowercase letter on the clothespin and have the students match the upper and lowercase letters!

  2. Anne@LittleSproutBooks says

    I am honestly scanning my house right now to figure out what I could substitute for your railing! Great activity!

  3. Danielle says

    Love this! This morning we made upper and lower case letters on construction paper and labeled the clothes pins. My 5 yr. old is struggling with his alphabet so this was perfect to play a game of concentration. We turned all the cards over and as he matched them up he clipped them to the correct pin. Then he took all the pins and put them in order. He loved it! His little brother (age 2) wanted in on the action so we made pins w/ a shape and color and used our shape cards for him…which we usually play hide -n -seek with. He had a blast too! Love you ideas. Thanks

  4. Jackie H. says

    I love how you make your activities multilevel to engage and challenge all of your kids! And it sounds like it kept them busy!! woo hoo!

  5. Cindy says

    Love the ideas I’ve found so far on your website. Did you print out the Alphabet cards, and if so, what kind of paper did you use? Thanks so much!

    • amy says

      thanks, Cindy! Yes, print out the Alphabet cards–and use cardstock which you can buy in big packs at craft stores. I suppose it’s scrapbooking/ craft paper, but it’s totally inexpensive.

      thank you for reading!

  6. Monette says

    My daughter has a chronic illness that keeps her home from school intermittently. Your blog has been a tremendous blessing to us during those times and even when she’s not in pain. Thank you for sharing so much. We’ve implemented so many of your ideas into our home learning. The best part is, you keep children learning and you keep it fun.

    My daughter loved these with the letters and now we’re doing them with numbers.

    • amy says

      I’m so grateful for your kind words, I cannot even begin to tell you. Sending prayers and well-wishes your way for more healthy days for your daughter.

      Happiest of holidays to you,


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