Let’s face it: the letters of the alphabet are the building blocks of the English language.
The ABCs are among the most important things our children will learn when they’re young, and the good news is that they’re something that families can very easily help children learn.
But how should you teach kids the ABCs?
Where should you begin and when should you start?
What kinds of supplies do you need? How much time do you need?
Really, it’s pretty simple, friend. So put away those workbooks and worksheets.
Cast aside the worry and stress.
I’ve got you covered. It’s actually easy–and fun--to teach your kids the letters of the alphabet.
My friends at KinderCare Learning Centers and I are super excited about the idea of making learning fun for our littlest ones and nurturing a sense of joy and wonder in every child. KinderCare Learning Centers are totally aligned with the main focus of teachmama.com from the start: encouraging simple, meaningful learning in the every day.
I’m thrilled to continue my partnership with the KinderCare Learning Centers team as they launch two of their newest locations here in the DC Metro area: Penn Quarter and Watergate East. In fact, I am hosting a workshop at an event at the Watergate East location on July 21st – Sign up for the Explore + Learn Labs here! I would love to see you all there!
Here’s the skinny. . .
How to Teach Kids the ABCs — 5 Fun Ways:
Remember, there are about a million ways to cross the same bridge when it comes to teaching kids the ABCs, but my expert advice is as follows:
- Before anything, you want to start with your child’s name. Focus on the first letter of his or her name and then work on the other letters.
- Introduce other family members’ names: Mom, Dad, siblings’ and pets’ names.
- Start with uppercase letters, and once most of those are mastered, introduce the lowercase letters.
- After children can recognize the letters of names with some consistency, then start playing with the entire alphabet.
- Most importantly, keep it light. Keep it fun!
How do you keep it fun? You play games, that’s how!
1.) Alphabet Hunt
I shared all about the Alphabet Hunt in another post, but it’s definitely worth checking out because the Alphabet Hunt is an all-time fave for kids.
Don’t waste another second. Check it out here and then come right back to read the rest.
2.) Water Paint the ABCs
Children love painting, don’t they? But parents aren’t always too fond of the mess.
So instead of painting with paints, how about painting with water?
All you need is a little plastic container for water and a paintbrush. Then head outside and find some concrete–a sidewalk, a driveway, or a porch–to paint on.
Let your child wet the brush in the water and then “paint” a few squiggles on the ground. Then say, “Let’s see if you can paint a letter [name a letter] or a letter [name a second letter].”
Once your child paints one of the letters, do a little celebrating, and then ask him or her to paint another one.
Always give your child a choice; we want to set our kids up for success. And most likely, he or she will be able to ‘paint at least one of the letters you say.
Allowing our kids to play with water this way and to practice writing the letters of the alphabet is super for developing letter recognition and fine motor skills!
3.) ABC Hide & Seek
All you need for this game is a set of alphabet cards and your imagination.
You can create alphabet cards simply by writing each letter of the alphabet on an index card or small square of paper. Or you can print out a set of alphabet cards here.
To play ABC Hide & Seek, all you do is gather the alphabet cards and hide them around the room. Yes, hide them around the room!
Put one card under a pillow. Put another on the window sill. Have another card sticking out of a book.
Don’t make it too hard–you don’t want to lose a card!
But once they find the cards, they put them in ABC order on the floor or on the table. This may be difficult at first, but after a while, they’ll get the hang of it!
Not only will ABC Hide & Seek get our kids up and moving, but it will allow kids to hunt for little letter “treasures” around the room. It’s a win-win!
4.) Play ABC Tic Tac Toe
Playing Tic Tac Toe with the Xs and Os is so old-school and boring.
Now? We play this classic game with a new twist. We play with any letter of the alphabet that we want.
Let your child pick a letter, and then you pick a letter, and then start playing!
The object is to get three in a row; the first person to do so wins!
Tic Tac Toe is a great game to teach kids strategy, so not only will they learn the ABCs, they’ll learn a little critical thinking as well.
5.) ABC Beanbag I-Spy
Using the alphabet cards from ABC Hide & Seek, ABC Beanbag I-Spy combines rhyme and movement along with identifying the letters of the alphabet.
The object is for the first player to cover 3-5 letters that the second player chooses. This game lets kids identify the letters of the alphabet and then drop a beanbag on top of each one.
The first player says, “I spy with my little eye. . . the letter [insert any letter]!”
The second player searches for the letter and then drops a beanbag on top of the card once it’s found. When doing so, the player says, “Goodbye letter [whatever it was] on the ground. I know you make the [insert sound] sound.”
For example, it might sound like this:
Player 1: I spy with my little eye. . . the letter S!
Player 2: [Searches for the letter and finds it then drops a beanbag on it.] Goodbye letter S on the ground. I know you make the ‘ssssssss’ sound.
And that’s it–5 fun games to play with your kids to help them learn the super important letters of the alphabet! Which will you try first?
Remember, if you find yourself in the DC Metro area anytime soon, how about you unplug and do a little hunting around the Nation’s Capital?
KinderCare Education has created an awesome Little Explorers’ Guide for DC, and it highlights some of the must-see parts of our amazing city. What better way to unplug and spend time together as a family than by exploring one of the greatest cities in the US?
I’d love to hear what you think!
fyi: I’m thrilled to share this post as part of a partnership with the great people at KinderCare Learning Centers. Check out how we celebrated the new DC KinderCare locations in April on the DC Waterfront.
Please join me for a workshop at an event at the Watergate East location on July 21st – Sign up for the Explore + Learn Labs here! I would love to see you all there!
KinderCare Learning Centers make it their passion to nurture a sense of joy and wonder in every child, every day, at every one of their centers. As the nation’s leading private provider in accredited early childhood education, KinderCare Learning Centers are committed to delivering the highest-quality childcare and educational opportunities for families and the dedicated professionals who serve them.
KinderCare Learning Centers are early childhood learning and care experts, guiding more than 1,300 community-based centers for children 6 weeks old through school age. To find out more, visit:
- website: KinderCare.com
- twitter: @KinderCare
- instagram: @KinderCare
- facebook: KinderCare
- youtube: @KinderCare
- pinterest: @KinderCare
Soumi Das Chatterjee
Learning ABC with a tic tac twist is really innovative. I try my best to incorporate new ways like this while teaching my 4 year old letters or anything new. Kudos to you!
Thanks, Soumi! So great to hear from you. Any questions you have about teaching your little one, let me know!
What fun ideas! I miss those early days of teaching my girls their letters.
Susan, I DO TOO!! But sharing these ideas will still keep other parents in the thick if it excited and inspired!
Thanks for such interesting….. ideas….. Love to see and read
hope my toddlers will love to do this activities…….
I am a fan of this blog from now on… Nice one.
Amy I really like the angle you took on simple fun way to teach a kids.
Sometimes I feel that teachers seems to forget education is an experience and does not need to be so dry, no matter what age. : )
Although I do not teach kids now rather teens, you gave me some pretty good ideas.
Hi Amy! You are ingenious, this post will certainly the proactive mentors or teachers to take a stride in their endeavor.
I love this!
Thank you for sharing this!
I actually have a toddler enrolled in the home school program of http://www.georgia.edu.ph and I am having a hard time thinking of ways on howto teach my lo the basics of alphabet as he is having a tantrums whenever we are doing the activities. Hope you share more activities like this! More power to you blog!
Great idea! I don’t have any kiddos of my own, but I am teaching preschoolers and it can be tricky finding new ways for them to practice/learn their ABCS! I also like playing a game, of having the students bring me the letter I call out. But that’s for more advanced learning. Great ideas, thank youuu!