Gone are the days of just drilling a child with flashcards and having them memorize letters. That was how my parents taught me. It was boring & for me traumatic because it led to such frustration for both them and me when I didn't respond (memorize) as quickly as they would have liked. Thankfully, today we know there is a better way to learn! Children learn best when they are fully immersed in the process.
For a full letter learning experience it would be ideal to let the child:
1. Hear the letter - share the sound, use easy repeateable songs as much as possible
2. Feel the letter - that's what I am going to share with you here (see below for ideas/details)
3. Taste the letter - try to incorporate a fun letter related snack (more on this coming up in another post!)
4. See the letter - expose the child to the letters in books, make a poster board, make an ABC book, etc
5. Write the letter - this is another fun post I have in the works! So many great ideas to make letter writing a fun and memorable hands-on experience (more on this later!)
I thought it would be fun to share with you an easy & handy list for tactile ABC ideas that you could use with your tots and preschoolers to give letter recognition a more hands-on and sensory experience.
**Activity - Touch & Feel ABC Book **Get a large binder and create your own Touch & Feel ABC Book that your child can read, feel & touch over & over again!
Tactile Ideas from A to ZA - apple prints, aluminum foil, alphabet pasta, apple stickers or stamps, animal stickers or foam shapes
B - beans, beads, bubble wrap, buttons, foam bear stickers
D - dirt, dots (stickers or do-a-dot markers), daisy petals, foam dinosaur shapes
E - egg shells, foam egg shapes, envelope strips, eyes (wiggly), earth stickers
F - feathers, foam, puffy fingerpaint, flower petals, froot loops, flower stickers or stamps
G - glitter, grass, glue (dried out glue is raised), gems, ginger (ground)
H - hay, hair (doll hair available in craft stores), heart shaped stickers or stamps
I - ice cube prints, ivy, ice cream stickers
J - jelly beans, jewels
K - kool-aid, kleenex, old or plastic keys, kite stickers
L - leaves, lasagna noodles, lace
M - macaroni, m&m's, mini marshmallows, play money
O - oatmeal, owl feathers (brown feathers will do) cheerios (o shape)
P - pasta, pom-pom balls, play-doh, popcorn, pipe cleaners, penguin stickers, paper (torn), pumpkin seeds, pennies (play money, stickers or stamps), paper clips, packing peanuts
Q - q-tips, quarters stamped in paint, quilted fabric
R - rainbow colored rice, ribbon
S - seeds, sand, sequins, sprinkles, stickers, stamps, shapes, snowballs (cotton), spaghetti (cooked), string, shells, sponge paint
U - uniform (fabric pieces in a plaid design), umbrella stickers, unicorn stickers
V - vegetable prints, vegetable stickers, velcro, velvet, vehicle stickers
X - x's from alphabet pasta, bones stamped in white paint (x-ray) dirt or tape (for x marks the spot)
Y - yellow yarn
Z - zeros (cheerios), zippers (fabric), zig zags (cut from paper) zebra stripes (paint, black construction paper or tape)
Other great tactile ABC ideas:
1. Have block letters for children to manipulate
2. Have magnetic letters readily available for play
3. Sand Paper Letters - these would be easy to cut out (use block letter templates) and attach to cardstock
4. ABC puzzles - I have made these with foam pieces and using block style letter templates that I colored, laminated and cut into puzzle peices. Plus, of course there are the actual wooden puzzles kids love playing with that you can purchase.
5. ABC floor mat (see our in photo above)
6. Alphabet lacing cards - you can easily make these using a laminated block letter template, a hole puncher & some shoe laces or string!
Do you have any other tactile items or learning ideas that I missed? Please share your ideas by commenting below.
Hope you enjoy our list! Be sure to let me know if you use any of these ideas - I'd love to hear how it went for you.