Games that Teach Letter Recognition

I LOVE teaching through games!

If you want to teach your child their letters then have fun with them!  Here are three of my favorite games to teach letter recognition.  I suggest having all three available to your child.

First I like to put the letters on a big wall.  Preferably one that doesn’t already have a lot of stuff on it.  Use Fun Tack to hold them up there and put them low enough for your child to reach them.  When you sing the ABC song together point to the letters.  Show your child which letter their name starts with and say their name slowly making sure that you say the begining letter sound.  Tell them that that’s the sound their letter makes.  Ask what other words they can think of that start with their sound.  You will have to help them at first but they will get the idea.

Get a bucket.  An old ice-cream bucket or sand pail will do.  It’s great if it has a handle for your child to carry it around.  Let your child help you decorate this bucket with letters. (I also use this idea for teaching colors.) Give your child the challenge of running around the house finding things that start with the letter of the day.  You will need to help them with this at first but start with letters they are already somewhat familiar with.  Practice the sound and brainstorm ideas first then set them loose.  You can have them fill the bucket or just gather five items.  It just depends on your child’s attention span and your time (how much you have to play OR how long you need them to be busy, say while you fold laundry.)  Remember to sit down (take your time) and talk about each item.  Why did they choose it?  Does it start with the correct letter?

Use those cards we made in my last post.  Don’t get rid of these once your child tires of this game!  We are going to use them for reading and spelling later.  Place one set of the letters on a flat surface, table or floor, talk about the letter and try to sing the song to help you put them in order.  Play dumb more and more often as your child gets better.  Remember that you already know what order they go in!  Scratch your head and try to remember what comes next.  If your child can’t remember then sing the song until you get to your next letter.  That shows them how to figure it out on their own.

Use these cards to show your child how to spell their name, mommy, daddy, etc.  That helps them to begin to understand the function of letters.  Learning letters is boring and a waste of time if there isn’t a point to it.  They will be intrigued by the idea that knowing their letters gives them real power in the world.  Kids often feel weak and powerless.  Mommy decides when I eat, sleep, play, what words are okay to say.  I believe in giving kids power where you can.  Once they can read, they won’t have to ask someone else what something says!  Knowledge is power…in the words of the Electric Company!  Thank you PBS!