It’s never too early to start teaching children the alphabet! Although they may not be ready for school, toddlers can learn plenty by engaging in fun activities that help lay the foundation for later reading and writing skills.
Making this learning part of everyday play can promote memorization, something that has been proven effective as an early-learning approach to literacy. Here are some great tips that can help with learning the ABCs.
Start with their name
What’s more important to a child than their name? They start to recognize it early on, maybe even earlier than many other words they’ll eventually learn. Teach them the letters in their name and encourage them to find the same letters in signs all around. Once they’ve tackled the letters in their name, kids are usually ready to move on to the entire alphabet.
Sing a little song
There’s a reason the Alphabet Song has been used for decades as a learning tool! Putting words to music has been scientifically proven to help those words stick in our minds, especially for kids who may be just beginning to learn important reading skills. Plenty of resources are available online to help with sing-alongs. Find something catchy that your child is sure to sing over and over, helping to cement those early language learning skills into place.
Read books — all the books
You’ll find benefits of reading to babies even if they don’t seem very interested in it. Start reading to children during infancy, and focus on books that promote basic alphabet learning. Doing this on a regular basis helps kids to recognize letters in fundamental ways as early as about 18 months old.
Look at letters everywhere
Don’t just limit learning to play time or reading sessions. Ask toddlers about the letters on the box of their favorite cereal or point out road signs as you’re driving. Let them know how important reading is by highlighting signs with letters everywhere. You can even buy foam letters for fun bath time play that offers sneaky skill-building.
Try going letter by letter
Break it down and focus on just one letter for about a week at a time. Make it a fun week with plenty of themes. For example, for the letter “R” dress in red, play with robots, and hold races with little toy cars.
Pick out prime puzzles
There’s no question that we love puzzles for educational play, and for good reason! An alphabet puzzle doesn’t just help with reading, it can also boost important problem-solving and object recognition skills, as well as boost hand-eye coordination. All of these skills help support school-age reading and math learning, and give young children a sense of confidence to help motivate them to keep learning.
Make it magnetic
Alphabet magnets are a fun tool that almost every household can take advantage of, and they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. This is such a fun gift idea for young kids, as it keeps them learning and entertained while parents may be doing household tasks in the kitchen — win/win for everyone! Tip: Ask kids to spell the names of their favorite foods on the front of the refrigerator.
Depend on downloadables
We love Pinterest for plenty of reasons, but especially when it comes to educational resources that help us teach kids important early learning skills. Take advantage of this platform by downloading age-appropriate printables, activity guides, and learning systems to help create fun learning experiences for toddlers just beginning with the alphabet.
Put it everywhere!
Make the alphabet present everywhere for your toddler, starting with a wooden name sign in their room! Every day make it a big, fun deal about reading each letter of their name out loud. Wooden stools can help in the kitchen, where little hands love to help. Learning letters doesn’t have to be a boring chore. Find ways to make it fun!
Ready to help your toddler learn the alphabet? When it’s easy to learn letters from everyday objects all around them, kids quickly catch on and develop the foundation for learning throughout the rest of their lives. Explore our website for wooden puzzles, name stools, and other items that make unique children’s gifts customized just for them.