A, B, C, Weeee! Fun Activities to Help 4-Year-Olds Learn Their Letters
Every September, children across America get a fresh start: They head back to school. At KinderCare, young learners get a jumpstart by reviewing their letters. While some adults may think of “review” as boring, our teachers are focused on fun, which is how young children learn best. To help them stay focused on literacy, we use movement and music, read-alouds, outdoor activities, drama, and more.
For children already familiar with letter and sounds, the focus on familiar content helps them to feel competent, confident, and ready for the next challenge—especially important for children who may be entering a new classroom or school come fall.
“Young children learn through repetition, so a review of basic concepts and ideas is a good thing, if the review is presented in a way that is fun and engaging for children,” says Meg Davis, Manager of Curriculum and Content Development for KinderCare Education.
You can support your child’s summer back-to-school learning at home with these three activities inspired by our new summer unit, Alphabet Letters.
1. Leaping Letters
This is a great activity for children who love to learn through movement and active games.
Materials needed: Sidewalk chalk
Use sidewalk chalk to write three sets of letters—like D, E, and F—on the sidewalk. You can mix upper and lowercase letters if you like. Make the first set of letters about 12 inches tall; the second set about 18 inches; and the third, largest, set about 24 inches tall. Leave some space between the letters. It should look something like this:
Ask your child to leap over the letters as you call them out. Begin with the smallest letter set, and call out a letter, “E!” Encourage your child to repeat the letter name and then make the letter sound as he leaps; and when he lands, he can say the letter name again. Demonstrate this for your child, if needed. Continue drawing new sets of letters and leaping over them.
2. Outdoor Letters
Heading to the park? This activity turns the outing into an alphabet adventure!
Materials needed: Paper and a marker
With your child’s help, write uppercase and lowercase letters on separate sheets of paper—like j, J, k, K, and l, L. Now bring the papers outdoors or to the park with you. Let your child pick a letter sheet and invite your child to use natural materials, like twigs, bark, leaves, sand, or rocks, to cover the outline of the letter. When he is finished, ask your child to name his letter and make the letter’s sound.
3. Make an Alphabet Book
This is a great project that the whole family can work on together. Get creative!
Materials needed: A journal or large notebook, drawing and writing tools
(To make your own: fold drawing paper inside a sheet of construction paper and staple along the side to bind the pages together.)
Working over a few weeks, create a family alphabet book together! You may wish to focus on one or two letters a day.
On the left-hand side of the page, have your child write the letters, assisting as needed. Leave the right-hand side blank. This is where your family can create magazine collages of pictures that begin with the letter, or draw pictures, write words, names, or places you want to visit. Get creative!
When your book is complete, read through it, identifying letters and illustrations together. Ask your child to imagine a title and write it on the first page of the book. Below the title, write “written and illustrated by” and invite your child to sign his or her name.