Teach the ABCs – With Hands-on Activities


There are many ways that your child can learn the letters of the alphabet.  They can watch any number of wonderful children’s television programs and play educational games on a tablet or computer.

But here, I’ll show you some simple things you can do at home, the old-fashioned way.  ​Despite all the fancy toys and games you can buy, I’ve found children often prefer home-made things.

Read alphabet books!


·       Say the name of the letter and say the sound it makes.

·       Ask the children’s librarian at your public library for ABC books, or buy them at the bookstore.

Teach the alphabet song.

·       This is an easy way for your child to learn the letter names.

·       If you don’t know the song, search for it on the Internet.

Play with letters in the bathtub.


·       Buy some sponge letters. Float a letter in the tub at bath time and name it.

·       Once your child knows a few letters, ask your child to find and sink specific letters.

Use soap paints in the bathtub.

·       Write letters on the tiles with the soap paint.

·       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.

·       Print a big letter on a sheet of paper or cardstock and have your child cover the outline of the letter with play dough.

·       Start with letters your child already knows, and then add unknown letters.

·       Do your child’s name out of play dough.

·       Demonstrate how to run your finger over the letter the way you’d print it. Then ask your child to do it.

·       Give verbal directions while you model how to trace the letter.

·       For an uppercase “A”, say: “Down, down and across” while using your finger.

·       For a lower case ‘a’, say: “Around and down, around and down” while using your finger.

·       There are many recipes online for homemade play dough.

Make a name card.

·      Print our child’s name on a piece of cardstock or construction paper. Make the first letter a capital followed by lower case letters.

·      Make the first letter about 10 cm. tall.

·      Say the names of the letters.

·      Go over the letters with glue.

·      Provide colourful cereal circles, or mini-marshmallows for your child to glue onto the letters.

Paint letters with water.


·       Give your child a bucket of water and a big paintbrush and let him or her ‘paint’ letters on the sidewalk.

·       Say the name and the sound the letter makes.

Draw letters in the sand.


·      Draw letters with a stick in the sand at the beach or in the sandbox. Name those letters. Say their sounds.

Draw letters with chalk.

·      Draw letters on the sidewalk with chunky sidewalk chalk.

Fish for letters.

·       Make fish with a letter printed on each fish.

·       You’ll need 52 fish. Use this  fish-template


·       Print one letter on each fish: an uppercase ‘A’ on one fish, a lowercase ‘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. The magnet 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.

·       You can use only lowercase letters to start with. In time, you can add the corresponding uppercase letters.

·       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.

These are low-tech ideas but your child will have some hands-on fun while interacting with you!  

Available now:

The Super Hammy ABC poster featuring Super Hammy and his friend, Little Mouse. Every classroom and refrigerator needs one! From DC Canada Education Publishing

To purchase the poster, click here: Super Hammy ABC Poster

Coming soon…my new Super Hammy ABC books in English and French from DC Canada Education Publishing.

Super Hammy – My First Reading Series. 15 engaging books for beginning readers.

“I will defend
the importance of bedtime stories
to my last gasp.”
-J.K Rowling

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