It is never too early to start exposing your kids to letters and words. Although letter recognition is not a focus until preschool and kindergarten, it is important to introduce letters to your kids as early as possible. This starts by reading to your kids every night beginning from birth!
Aside from reading each night, there are several fun and interactive ways to increase letter recognition. Even though kids are in school or day care during the day, that does not mean that the learning has to stop when they come home! The fall offers a wide variety of opportunities to teach our children new skills and expose them to new ideas.
10 Ways to Increase Letter Recognition:
Letter Apple Tree
For this fun activity, start by putting upper and lower case letters on paper apples and attach them to a pretend tree in your house or a real tree outside (that is low enough of course). Then have them “pick” the apples and match the big letter with the little letter. You can make it harder by having the kids spell words like apple, pumpkin and ghost.
Letters Made With Crushed Leaves
In order to prepare for this project, first go outside and collect dry leaves. Next, draw large letters on paper then apply glue all over the letters. Last, have the kids crush up dry leaves with their hands and sprinkle them over the glue. Not only is this a great way to learn letters and spell words, it is also a wonderful sensory and tactile activity.
This fall put all those pumpkins to good use! Next time you visit your local farm, pick up several mini pumpkins (at least enough to spell your child’s name). Write a letter on each pumpkin then have your kids organize them to spell their name and other words. Want to make it even more exciting? Make letter jack-o-lanterns then spell HALLOWEEN on your front porch!
This is a fun game that also helps enhance problem solving and visual skills. To play, hide the letters in your child’s name all around the yard and/or in a pile of leaves. Then have them find all the letters and put their name together. Maybe a fun reward can be waiting for them when the task is successfully completed!
Nature Walk Scavenger Hunt
The fall is the perfect time to go for hikes and explore nature. While walking in the park or woods, have your kids find one object that starts with each letter of the alphabet. You can make a list ahead of time or just bring a checklist for each letter. You can even have them draw a picture of each item they find!
To play this game, give your child a Bingo card with letters on it. They then have to find an animal or object that starts with each letter on the board. Once found, they can cross out that letter. When they get one row (or any combination decided upon), they get a prize! For real little ones, the Bingo board should have a corresponding picture to increase understanding.
The fall is a wonderful time to play outside. It’s not too hot and it’s not too cold which means much less complaining from children! Sidewalk chalk is a wonderful tool for learning letters. You can write the alphabet and then have the kids copy the letters or just start with practicing their name. Older kids, can write words like sight words and rhyming words (which my 6-year-old loves to do).
Halloween Alphabet Book
This is a fun activity that not only increases letter recognition but also enhances letter-sound identification, phonics and fine motor skills. Have your kids cut out pictures of Halloween related items that start with each letter of the alphabet. For example, a clown for C, a pirate for P or a snickers bar for S. Then have them glue each picture down next to the letter. When done, they will have their own alphabet book!
Play “I Spy” Using Letters
What kid doesn’t love the game of I Spy? To make this game focused on letters, you can say, “I spy with my little eyes something that starts with the letter A.” This is a great game to play during big family gatherings like Thanksgiving or football Sunday. It is also really fun to do at a farm!
Create Letters with Fall Objects
This is similar to the crushed leaves project above, but instead of leaves you can use acorns, apple seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried corn kernels or any fall object you can find. This is a great sensory based task! To make it more difficult, don’t write their name first. I had my son make his name with sticks without writing it first which added to the educational value.
Have another great idea for learning letters? Please share it with us by commenting below or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org!