It's as Easy as ABC and 123! Teaching Preschoolers Their Letters
By Rachel Ward
Your child’s first shaky, barely legible attempt at writing their own name marks an important milestone! (And it’s another awesome piece of work to proudly display on your fridge.)
You probably already know the importance of teaching preschoolers their letters to get them ready for the big, bold world of elementary school—and the earlier, the better. But did you know that learning letters shows a big step in your child’s cognitive development?
“From birth, children’s brains are wired to gain information through their senses, and so they learn through experiences with real-world objects that they can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch,” explains Linda Nelson from KinderCare’s Education team. “When they start understanding abstract concepts, such as the fact that symbols like letters carry meaning, the door to higher learning begins to open.”
For some kids, growing the ability to think abstractly and connect symbols to concrete items comes quickly. But others have a harder time picking up the rhythm—and that’s okay!
That’s why at KinderCare, we use all kinds of fun activities for our preschool and Pre-K students to help them recognize and remember their letters (and even our classrooms are set up to encourage literacy). And that’s what these next two weeks are all about, starting with the letters in kids’ names!
Fun Activities in Preschool to Teach Upper and Lowercase Letters Can Make All the Difference
This activity is all about letters, letters, and yes, more letters! We grab some uppercase and lowercase sets of letters, whether they’re felt cut-outs, fridge magnets, or alphabet blocks, and encourage kids to match, say, an “R” to its lowercase form.
“As children begin to learn their letters and connect them to their accompanying sounds, they’re demonstrating their ability to think in abstract terms and recognize that symbols like ‘A’ and ‘B’ have a set meaning,” explains Nelson.
While we’re learning letters in our centers, here are some quick and easy ways you can help your child take on their ABCs at home. Try our fun ideas below!
Have a Blast with Letters! 4 Fun Ways to Teach the Alphabet at Home
1. Make Some Letter Blocks
Write the uppercase and lowercase alphabet letters on a piece of paper, and let your child cut out each letter with kid-size scissors (bonus: this is a great fine-motor skill-builder!). After that, help your child tape each letter to a building block, and mix them all up. Challenge your child to build a block tower, putting the matching uppercase and lowercase letters next to each other!
2. Draw a Hopscotch Grid
Play a kid-favorite game with a twist: Instead of assigning each square a number, add in a different letter! Mix up the letters for more of a challenge. As your child lands on each square, have them call out which letter they’re standing on.
3. Play a Game of Letter I-Spy
As you’re going about your day, give your child a letter to look for. Can they see the letter “U” or “H” when you’re walking around your neighborhood? As your child gets more familiar with the letters, have them point out whatever letter catches their eye!
4. Grab a Flyswatter and Whack at Some Letters
Have your child write out some uppercase and lowercase letters on different pieces of paper and hand over a flyswatter. Call out different letters, and let your child whack, whack, whack at the correct letter!