Learning the alphabet is one of the first things we do in school, and something we use every day for very important tasks—(like reading this article!) While most of us remember learning the Alphabet Song as young children, knowing the letters of the alphabet doesn’t stop at singing them; we also need to know how to write them.
Unfortunately, tracing the alphabet over and over can get boring, especially for a bunch of energetic children. That’s why Jean Feldman and Holly Karapetkova developed dozens of fun sensory activities to help children practice writing letters! In I Love Letters, ideas range from putting letters up around the class room to acting letters out to making them out of new materials like yarn or buttons. The possibilities are endless! Below are a few fun activities parents and educators can use to get children excited for practicing their letter formation.
Get the book!
Get children moving by having them make the shape of the letters with their body! Children can stand up while they do this or lay on the floor, and since some letters may take two people to make, teamwork becomes a factor too. The kinetic movement will make the letters stick in their minds and give them another visual when they write. If you want, take photos of the acted-out letters and hang them around the classroom so that the children remember making the shapes. This activity increases alphabet knowledge, motor skills, visual tracking skills, and print knowledge.
This versatile activity allows children to practice tracing the shapes of letters on things other than paper. This allows them to get used to the motions of the letters before actively writing them down, and can be used as a warm up before a tracing activity or just as a way to practice at home. The activity can increase alphabet knowledge, small motor skills, and develop an interest in writing. Here are a few ways to do it:
Air Writing: Make letters in the air using your index and middle finger
Flashlight Writing: Turn off the lights and let children take turns tracing letters on the ceiling with a flashlight
Palm Writing: Have children trace letters on their left palms with their right hands. If you feel they will be cooperative, have them trace the letters on their neighbor’s palms as well.
Uppercase Letter Rhymes
It’s no secret that children love music, so why not come up with a new Alphabet Song? This song demonstrates how to make the different uppercase letters with fingers or a pen. Children can learn a new letter every week and sing the song while making the proper movements in the air! This activity will increase alphabet knowledge, develop knowledge of print letters, and build fine motor skills.
(To the tune of Skip to my Lou):
Letters are made of circles and lines
Pushes, slants, each letter looks fine
Make them while we sing this song
Everyone sing along!
Sample verse: Slant, slant, push in between
Slant, slant, push in between
Slant, slant, push in between
To make the letter A
B—Pull straight down, two humps on the right
C—Circle round and then you stop
D—Long straight line and half a circle
E—Pull straight down then push, push, push
F—One tall line, push top and middle
G—Circle round, stop, then push in
H—Pull, pull, push in between
I—Pull, little push at top and bottom
J—Pull down, make a hook, put a hat on top
K—Straight line, slant in and out again
L—A long line and push on the ground
M—Two straight lines, two slants in between
N—Pull, pull, slant top to bottom
O—Circle round then back to the top
P—Pull straight down, then a hump at the top
Q—Make a circle, then a small slanted line
R—Pull straight down, add a hump and slant
S—Curve up and down then down and up
T—Straight line down, push at the top
U—Pull down, curve, then back to top
V—Slant, slant, meet at the bottom
W—Slant down, up, down and up
X—Two slanted lines cross in the middle
Y—Two small slants on a straight line
Z—Push right, slant down, push right again
Alphabet Fold-Out Book
This fun art activity will allow children to practice writing their letters while also giving them a neat keepsake. To make the book, take two sentence strips and fold each into eighths. Open it up and accordion it back and forth. You will need 28 sections, so if there are more than that, cut them off. Help each child label the first section of their book “My Alphabet Book” and then invite them to write a letter in each section. On one side will be the letters A-M, and on the other N-Z. At the end, help the children write “The End” on the back of the book, fold it up, and then tie it with a ribbon. Voila—each child now has their very own alphabet book! This activity will build alphabet knowledge, fine motor skills, visual tracking skills, and print knowledge.