When I first started thinking about teaching my 2 and-half-year-old son the alphabet, I thought the easiest approach would be to just sing the ABC song over and over and he’d eventually catch on. Wrong. He couldn’t even stand to hear me sing the ABC song let alone sing it over and over again. I’d get about 5 letters in and I’d hear my sweet boy say, “Mommy stop, stop singing!” Ugh! After being thoroughly offended for about 2 minutes, I had to think of a different approach. I decided to try using the Letter of the Week strategy and after about 4 weeks he was hooked on letters and singing his ABC’s anywhere and everywhere! My favorite is when he sings at the top of his lungs while we’re in the stall of a public restroom…it makes my heart smile every time!
If you’re wondering How to Teach a Toddler the Alphabet, check out how to apply the Letter of the Week strategy and some playful tips that coincide with this teaching approach.
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How to Teach a Toddler the Alphabet – Letter of the Week strategy
Start with teaching the letters of your child’s name first and then move on to each letter of the alphabet. Doing this helped ease my son into the ABC learning process because he already recognized his name.
1 Letter Per Week
Focus all your activities on one letter per week. Incorporate playful games, crafts, activities, books, songs, and even apps revolving around the alphabet. My son loves cars, trucks, and basically any heavy machinery, so we read him Construction ABC at least once per day, no matter what letter I’m teaching him. During screen time he loves to play Elmo ABC, which incorporates letter recognition and sounds with Elmo.
One of my favorite blogs for learning tools is The Measured Mom. I bought a pdf package of A-Z letter and photo flash cards for only $6. Download, print, and cut and you’re in business. I find these flashcards and her Letter Books to be very useful tools when teaching a toddler the alphabet. They can be used for a variety of letter recognition activities. Use flashcards every day.
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Most toddlers are into coloring, gluing, and making a mess, so make sure to do a letter specific craft each day to keep them interested. I usually do one uppercase and one lowercase craft per week. I also recommend the largest packs of construction paper and glue you can find. Each day I scour Pinterest for inspiration on letter specific activities and we make puppets, turn letters into animals, transform toilet paper rolls into something fun and playful, we cut, paint and color all while talking about the letter he’s learning that week. After he’s finished his activity, I take a picture of him proudly posing with his masterpiece.
Related: Shape Recognition Activity
Practice letter recognition using actives that also help your toddler work on their fine motor skills and sensory development. Use sand, colored beans, playdoh, water, ice, food, rice, legos, puzzles or anything else that will help captivate their attention.
Read…a lot. Reading is the best tool you have at your disposal because most kids already love books. I have an obsession with buying books—new and used, so I always try to find a few books for the week that coincide with the letter my son is learning. For example, we’re on letter D this week and J’s really been into Peppa Pig as of late so I bought a new copy of George’s New Dinosaur for only $3.19 on Amazon—Prime delivery!
Worksheets can help your toddler with letter recognition. At this age you don’t have to concentrate yet on writing skills, they will come later. Use playful worksheets with pictures related to the letter your toddler is practicing to help teach them what the letters look like. Use lots of crayons, markers, pom poms, and stickers.
Teaching your toddler the alphabet can be fun and be challenging at the same time. Don’t expect great results right away, but if you’re patient and make learning as playful as possible, they will eventually catch on and have fun too.
Print out this Printable Lesson Plan and laminate it. Use a dry erase marker to fill in your own activities for the week.
What fun things do you do to help Teach Your Toddler the Alphabet? I’d love to get some ideas. Share in the comments below.
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