Forget the Flashcards – Learn the Alphabet and Have Fun

Kids doing letter search game

Go to any children’s store and you’ll see a dozen different styles of alphabet flash cards, and while some of these are beautifully designed, we know that not all children learn in the same way. So here is our rundown of fun ways for kids to learn the alphabet without a flashcard in sight.

Styles of Learning

It’s thought that there are seven different styles of learning. These include:

  • Visual – learning best through images
  • Aural – getting the most out of musical or spoken lessons
  • Verbal – saying things out loud
  • Physical – learning through doing, using your hands
  • Logical – working through a problem to its conclusion.

Although your child may have one way that they prefer, the chances are that they will enjoy lessons that come in a variety of forms. We’ve used these styles as inspiration for the following exercises for kids to learn the alphabet.

Letter HuntKids listening to teacher read a book to class

While you’re reading a storybook, take a pause and point out one particular letter. Ask the child if they can spot any more letters that are the same, on that page. You can also use this technique to match letters to their phonic sound and to help pair up upper and lowercase letters. (Aural, Logical)

Letter Basketball

Write letters in pieces of paper and scatter them on the floor. Grab a trash can, or if you have one a basketball hoop that is set nice and low, so the child is likely to succeed at getting a basket! Ask the children to find letters they recognize; if they can name the letter (or it’s sound if that’s what you’re practicing) then they can shoot for the basket! (Verbal, Physical)

Playdough familyPlaydough Letters

Play dough is a great way to build up strength in the hands for a good pencil grip and practice those fine motor skills, all while learning their ABC’s. Use the dough to make the letter shapes – you can make this at home yourself from store cupboard ingredients. You can write the letter shape on paper as a guide, or print out letter shapes and laminate them for a longer-lasting solution.

Parking Cars

Make a car park using a sheet of paper or cardboard; add a letter to each space. Using toy cars with magnetic letters attached, or paper letters stuck on, ask the child to park them in the right space. This can also be used to match letters to their sound or upper and lowercase letters. (Physical, Logical)

Alphabet Band

For this one, you need an instrument per child. If you don’t have them, then part of the activity can be for the child to make their own shaker and choose a letter to put on it. Shakers can be made easily with a toilet paper tube, a few dried beans, and some paper to cover the ends.

Once you have the instruments, practice your ABC songs – there are some great playlists on YouTube to give you a bit of variety. (Aural)

Shaving Foam

Fill a shallow tray with shaving foam and have some fun making shapes with your finger. This is a great technique for making learning letter writing fun, and it helps to build up pencil grip too! (Physical)

BINGO!

Bingo is a versatile learning tool. Children have so much fun playing that they don’t realize they are learning along the way. For letter recognition, make mats with the letter shapes and call out the names. Encourage children to call out if they get a line, a row or a full bingo! You can also have objects that start with that letter when you are moving on to learning letter sounds. (Aural, Logical)

These ideas are really just the tip of the iceberg. We hope that you enjoy helping your child learn the alphabet and finding out more about how they learn best!

Parent Resources

Educators have identified three main types of learning in young children. Children normally learn through all three types, but there may be a particular style that allows them to thrive. Knowing your child’s dominant learning style will help you better understand how they like to learn. You can easily determine your child’s learning style by making a few simple observations. Visual learners learn through seeing. They prefer using images, pictures, colors, and maps to organize information and communicate with others. You might have a visual learner if your child: prefers books with pictures, enjoys drawing and coloring, likes to do jigsaw puzzles, notices details, remembers people’s faces more easily than their names, and likes brightly colored pictures, maps, graphs, and charts. Aural learners are drawn to sound and they learn best through listening and hearing information, often repetitively. Characteristics of an aural learner include: humming and/or singing while performing a task, easily memorizing song lyrics, following oral directions well, enjoying being read to, having a good sense of rhythm, and talking a lot. Physical learners learn by touching, moving, and doing. These types of learners may: have trouble keeping their hands to themselves, like pop-up books and books with textured pages, enjoy building and crafting with clay and building toys, love hands-on activities, like to take things apart to see how they work, get impatient while listening to directions, have a tendency to fidget, and need to get up and move when sitting for a long time.

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