You can buy all kinds of hi-tech alphabet toys and computer games to teach your child the alphabet…
But often it’s the simple, homemade things that work best. My kids learned their abc’s with the good, old alphabet fishing game. Nothing hi-tech about it, but it works!
Make some fish. Print the fish-template I’ve provided on card stock. Make 5 copies. You’ll need 52 fish. Or you can cut them out of foam. Print one letter on each fish: a capital ‘A’ on one fish, a small ‘a’ on another fish, and so on. Attach a paper clip to each fish.
Make a fishing rod using a small stick (a chopstick, a paint brush, a dowel). Attach a string with a magnet on the end. It will pick up the fish by the paper clip.
Make it easy. Put only 3 fish on the floor face down so you can’t see the letter. Your child will “catch” a fish, turn it over, and tell you the name of it. Always include letters your child already knows and add one new one at a time. If your child doesn’t know any letters yet, start with 3 fish, but when your child catches one and turns it over, you name the letter.
Variation: Once a few fish have been collected, have your child match the upper case letter with the lower case letter.
Variation: Lay out 5 different fish face up. Ask your child to catch a specific letter. Praise your child.
Play with alphabet puzzles.
Name the letters.
Say the sound the letter makes and play a game thinking of words that begin with that sound.
Show your child how to trace the letters with a finger. Use verbal directions while you’re doing it. For example, while tracing a capital ‘E’, you can say: “Down, across, across, across” as you move your finger.
Play with alphabet toys.
Name the letters. Say the sounds.
Play “What’s the Mystery Letter?”
Once your child has learned some letters, put 5 magnetic letters in a bag or a shoebox with a hole cut in the lid.
Have your child pull out one letter at a time and name it. Praise your child.
Play with letters in the bath tub.
Buy some sponge letters. Float a few the tub at bath time.
Ask your child to find and sink different letters one at a time.
Use soap paints in the bath tub.
You can write letters on the tiles or on your child! Or on Mommy or Daddy! Guess the letter.
Have your child write the letters.
Name them. Say their sounds.
Write your child’s name on the tiles.
Make letters out of play dough.
Roll out the play dough and shape a few letters. You can make your own play-dough with this recipe. I used to make it all the time in my kindergarten class.
Demonstrate how to run your finger over the letter the way you’d print it. Ask your child to do it.
Give verbal directions while you model how to trace the letter. For a lower case ‘a’, say: “Around and down, around and down.”
Paint letters with water.
Give your child a bucket of water and a big paint brush and let him or her ‘paint’ letters on the sidewalk.
Draw letters in the sand with a stick. In the snow. Name those letters. Say their sounds.