9 Fun Ideas for Letter Recognition

   Teaching young learners to recognize the letters of the alphabet can get a little monotonous. Pointing to them over and over on charts, or listening to a toy repeatedly call out, “A . . . A . . . A” gets a little old. Below I’ve listed some different ideas to help early or struggling learners with their letter recognition.

  1. Cut the letters of the alphabet out of sandpaper. You can do this by hand or I’ve even used a die-cutter to make them. Encourage the child to feel, trace, and memorize the shape of the letter by exploring it by touch.
  2. Have the child trace the letter in shaving cream. Spread out shaving cream on a table top, cookie sheet, placemat, baking pan, etc. and then have the child trace specific letters into it. Drawing the letter themselves will help them to solidify the connection between the name of the letter and what it looks like. Plus it’s super fun for kids. I mean, who doesn’t want to play with shaving cream?
  3. Play the “Guess the Letter” game by tracing a letter onto the child’s back or arm and having them guess what it is. Most of us have played this at some point with friends when we were little and it turns letter recognition into a fun game.
  4. Use some good sized cereal pieces to have kids either trace, or create, specific letters. Cheerios or anything bigger than that will work. You can place a larger letter “A” under a clear surface (clear page protector or something similar) and ask the child to put the cereal pieces on top of the letter shape. Or you can tell them the letter and have them create the letter with their cereal pieces. Of course when you’re all done learning they get to eat the cereal.
  5. Create a letter matching card game. Make cards with a letter of the alphabet on each card. Make two cards for each letter of the alphabet. Use them in a matching game for the child. It’s similar to Go Fish in that you can start off with five or so cards and then draw cards until you can match pairs. Whoever gets an empty hand first, or the most pairs, wins. There are lots of variations to use with these cards for games.
  6. The website Starfall is also a great resource to use with kids in letter recognition and also letter sounds. It’s free to use and draws kids in with its fun animation and games. Click here for their website.  
  7. Create a “keyboard” out of large poster board or laminated sheet paper. You can arrange the letters on the sheet any way you’d like. Then call out the letters and have the child step on to them. You can spell out simple words, names, etc.
  8. Create sheets for, and play, Letter B-I-N-G-O. It’s played just like regular B-I-N-G-O with letters on the game board instead of numbers. In place of the letters b, i, n, g, o at the top of the board you can use animals, numbers, or colors. Then you call out, “Green B” or “Duck P”. It’s a fun game that the whole family can play together and promotes letter recognition at them same time.
  9. Use cooked spaghetti/linguine noodles to create letters of the alphabet. They’re pliable and will stick in place after they’ve been cooked and kids can manipulate them into forming different letters. Bonus for finally letting them play with their food!

Happy Learning!


Photo Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Hannah T

About Hannah T

I am a 2010 graduate with a degree and certification in Elementary Ed., and I have worked with students from birth to junior high. I believe that one of the most important qualities to surviving a teaching career is a sense of humor. I also strongly feel that students are most successful when they are active and hands-on learners. My Mom was a Special Ed. teacher for almost 30 years, and my Dad was an English major, so I enjoy bouncing blog ideas off the two of them. This usually results in an exchange of great stories with my Mom, and a correction in my writing from my Dad. When they're not available, the job falls to my rescue dog, Coozie.

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