Letter identification is part of the process to learning the ABCs, and if the actual learning process is fun it also inspires a love for learning. I am a strong believer that kids adopt an attitude about learning at a young age. Frustrating learning environments and experiences can lead to an attitude that learning is more of a chore, whereas exciting and positive learning experiences can foster a love for learning. Because of this, I believe it is imperative that new concepts be taught to little ones in a fun and exciting way, creating a positive environment for your child to succeed in. Here are a few tips and tricks to create this type of environment, and later I’ll share some fun activity ideas and printables!
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Tips and Tricks
#1: Follow Their Lead
Part of creating this positive learning environment is based on your child being ready and accepting of the environment you set up, so follow their lead. This does not mean that they’re the boss and have complete control of the situation. It does mean that you adapt and follow their lead to make the learning experience more successful. Here’s an example of a situation when I was working on letter identification with my little girl:
I had enthusiastically printed off worksheets all about the letter “A”. I sat her down with the worksheets and crayons only to have the crayons pushed off the counter, her refusing to color and demanding a snack. After dealing with the attitude and behaviors so that she knew this wasn’t an appropriate way to act, I switched gears and we got back on track. I brought her a snack of apple slices arranged on a plate in the shape of the letter “A” and we talked about the letter and the sound it makes.
Did my awesome worksheets get used? Definitely not on that day, but did she learn to identify letter “A” that day? Absolutely! It didn’t happen the way I planned, but instead happened with a fun snack and a good chat about the letter “A”. We both had fun, it was a positive experience for her, and at the end of the day she could identify the letter “A”. Mission accomplished. Had I continued to force the worksheets on her instead of following her lead, we would have had one heck of a time getting it done. Plus, it would not have been a positive or successful experience for either one of us.
#2: Happy Times
Approach teaching new concepts at a time during the day when they are happy and content to focus for a short time. A time when they’re sleepy, hungry, or so full of energy they’re struggling to sit still is NOT the prime time to attempt to force focused attention from your little one.
#3: One Per Week
Focus on one letter per week. Kids learn through repetition. A LOT of repetition. Focusing on only one letter each week with various activities allows for the repetition they need when learning something new.
When focusing on a specific letter for the week, make that letter stand out in your child’s daily life in every environment they’re in. For example, during letter “A” week eat Apples, Applesauce, Avocados for snack; visit an Aquarium if possible; talk about good and bad Attitudes, go on a treasure hunting Adventure, etc. Engulf them into a world of letter “A”!! As always, do what works best for you and your little one!
#5: Letter Identification + Sound
Pairing letter identification with the sound each letter makes gives them something else to associate with each letter. Teaching letter identification is giving them the visual aspect of the letter and pairing that with the sound each letter makes gives the auditory association.
Letter Identification Activities
Now let’s get to the fun part…Activities! Yay! There are so many activities that you can do with your kids for letter identification. Here are a few really fun ideas:
- Coloring pages – Coloring pages of the letters themselves as well as objects that start with the focus letter
- Do-A-Dot letter maze – Child identifies the specified focus letter in a fun alphabet letter maze!
- Picture bingo – Go for a walk or to the park to find objects that begin with the focus letter and get a BINGO!
- Grocery list – While grocery shopping for the family, keep the little ones busy with their own grocery shopping list of items that begin with a specified letter.
- Arts and crafts projects – Have fun making arts and crafts for each letter of the alphabet.
- Fun with food – Eat foods that begin with a specified letter.
- Make a collage – Find pictures of items that begin with a specified letter to cut and glue into a collage!
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Make the Activities Reusable!
After printing these activities, I HIGHLY recommend laminating them so that you can reuse them as many times as your heart desires! Obviously certain activities such as the coloring pages will not be laminated, but the Grocery Lists and Bingo Cards are definitely reusable. Your little one can carry these activities around at the grocery store, at the park, on walks, etc, so you want them to be durable. Laminating can be a ridiculously easy task to accomplish with just a few tools. If you don’t have a laminator, you can use self-laminating sheets or pouches, which you can find here:
Another option is to invest in a laminator. This will not only allow you to protect these activities for your kiddos now, but will allow you to preserve future artwork, certificates, etc. as they grow up. This is an excellent laminator because it’s quick, reliable, easy to use, and it won’t break the bank:
I laminate every activity I make for my kids that I can potentially reuse and I laminate the art projects they create for keepsake purposes. These laminating ideas listed above are the tools I personally use to laminate and I love them!
Now that you’ve got your activities ready to go, make a plan and get going!
What are your tips and tricks for teaching new concepts to your kiddos? I’d love to hear from you!