Learning the letter sounds should be fun and inexpensive.
As a kindergarten teacher, I used many ways to teach my kiddos their letter sounds. However, because I understood that I would be basically accomplishing the same skills year after year, I looked for ways to stretch my resource budget while keeping my kids engaged as they learned the sounds of the ABCs. In this blog, I shared several great books that are great additions to any home library because they all entertain and educate. Another method was to always make sure my kiddos had fun activities for learning letter sounds.
A basic tool in any preschool and kindergarten room that should be available every day is flashcards. Now before you throw stones, let me explain why I love this simple tool.
Alphabet flashcards can be used in so many ways. There were years I used the same set over and over for different classes. I also made sure each of my children had their own resource bag kept in their cubby so they could play with them whenever they had a free moment. I always taught them fun ways to use their flashcards, either independently, with a friend, or in a small group.
Now I’ve seen some of the questions below floating around the internet.
- How do you teach the alphabet to preschoolers or kindergarteners in a fun way?
- How can I teach my child the alphabet?
- What are some flashcard games?
- How do you make flashcards fun?
- How do I teach my 3, 4, or 5 year old the alphabet?
Well, this post is here to give you 13 ideas on how you can teach your child their alphabet sounds in ways that are fun, engaging, and inexpensive. While many are tempted to use the wonders of technology it may not be the best fit for all situations. There are non-academic skills young children need to acquire that can be supported as they learn the sounds of the ABCs. So let’s get into a list of activities that are sure to please.
Letter Sounds and Alphabet Activities
To do these activities you’ll need (link each to product):
- Laminating pouches
- Alphabet Sound Cards
These are all needed for initial preparation for a singular resource that will last you a long time. Print, laminate and cut out the cards to use with these activities below.
Letter Sounds Memory Match
This game was always a favorite go-to for my classroom. I love it because it allows children to practice specific skills and can be played with a partner or a small group. To do this simply lay out all cards face down on the table. When it is the player’s turn they turn over two cards and say the name of the picture they see. If the first sounds match, they get to keep the cards but if they don’t they turn the cards back over. Kids and adults have to recall the sounds they hear with the location of the card to be able to collect pairs.
Letter Sounds Match with Scrabble Tiles
Sometimes it’s not the newest toys that keep kids’ attention but something familiar used in novel ways. This activity uses the alphabet sound cards and Scrabble tiles – if you don’t have Scrabble tiles, use whatever is nearby (water bottle tops are a great substitute). Place the tiles in a basket or container. Children choose a tile to work with and match them to the alphabet sounds flashcards.
Getting little ones up and moving is another tool I’ve used to keep their attention while letting them learn important skills. We all know it can be hard to keep children’s attention so a sound hunt around your home is a fun way for them to learn the letter sounds of the ABCs. To do this, simply give your child one alphabet sound card and look together around your home to find things that begin with the same sound. Add another level by giving your child a way to record what they found on their sound hunt. Help children develop their fine motor skills by giving them a piece of paper and something to draw with, or add technology by allowing them to take pictures with your smartphone or camera.
Learning to play card games is fun for the whole family. Instead of playing Go Fish with normal rules, use the alphabet sound cards and ask ‘Do you have a card that says /m/?’ or ‘Do you have a card that says /k/?’. Children will love this as much as they love a normal game of Go Fish and they’ll be learning the letter sounds.
Initial Sound BINGO
I’m a big fan of repurposing things children are familiar with because it allows them to focus on a specific skill. It’s basically one less thing for little ones to process. This game can be played by drawing a BINGO card on paper and placing one alphabet sounds card in each box. The caller then says the sound and players cover the card that matches.
Letter Sounds Bean Bag Toss
Another fun large motor game is a bean bag toss. Place the letter sounds cards on pieces of paper or in hula hoops. Say a sound and children can then toss a bean bag or small weighted toy to identify the matching sound.
I adore movement activities and so did my children! A fun outdoor game is hopscotch. Simply draw a hopscotch pattern on the ground (have your little one help you – it’s a great way to sneak in writing). Place one card in each box. Your child can toss a rock or small weighted object and play hopscotch as always but when they get to the box where they tossed their rock/small object they say the beginning sound (and letter name if they are ready for that).
Sorting Letter Sounds
A nice concentration activity to learn letter sounds with flashcards is to have children sort their sounds. Place the alphabet letter sound flashcards in a mixed bag or container. Children remove cards one at a time, say the picture name, and decide where it belongs. Depending on the level of your child you can give them 2-4 different sounds to sort. I like to give children different colored paper to sort or hula hoops to help them visualize the sorting process.
Sound Poster Collage
Visual prompts are one way to help young children recall various skills. Use the alphabet sound cards either as prompts for creating a poster collage or print multiple copies and have children cut and paste to make their own. I am a fan of giving young children the chance to choose a flashcard and paste it on the poster then looking through old kids’ magazines or appropriate parts of the newspaper or neighborhood fliers they find images that begin with that sound. They then cut and paste to make their own poster collage.
Dancing and large motor movement activities are so much fun. Why not incorporate this when learning the letter sounds? Place ABC sound cards on the floor and play some fun tunes (instrumental works best for this). Call out a sound and encourage your child to hop on the matching card. This will surely be lots of boogie-down fun while learning their letter sounds.
“I spy with my little eye something that starts with…” is a fun game that can be played with or without flashcards. If your child needs a visual prompt they can use the alphabet flashcards to recall the sound of each letter. This is a great transition activity from one thing to another or can be used when doing tasks around the house. While cooking, it is easy to include I Spy with cooking ingredients.
Spear Fishing for Sounds
This is a simple fishing activity that only requires a pole or pencil and sticky tac as additional resources. Place a piece of sticky tac on the end of the pole or pencil and the letter sound flashcards in a shallow container. Children fish out specific alphabet sounds.
Tip: Include these cards in your child’s busy bag that goes with you when you travel or need a few moments to yourself.
There are so many fun ways to incorporate letter sounds into everyday activities. Your child will definitely have fun while practicing this important skill!