Introducing children to letters doesn’t have to only use print material especially for the very young. Children learn with all their senses and it’s best to teach them using as many as we can. These simple but valuable introductory activities is what this series Alphabet For Starters is all about. My daughter who just starting to show interest in letters loved this simple sensory activity. We played and played naming letters as we pressed them into the squishy playdough. Try to avoid using this time to quiz your child on their knowledge ( I know it’s hard not to ) instead label what they are doing.
- Gather your materials. You will need some playdough ( we have great playdough recipes and even a gluten free playdough recipe) and alphabet cookie cutters.
- When starting any activity with a toddler I like to start them ready to play. I gave her a few letters to start and a hunk of playdough pressed flat.
- She started playing and naming letters immediately. She knows a handful of letters but all the ones she doesn’t are named R . I don’t tell her ” NO it’s T! This is T!” I just say something like ” You are pressing the letter T so hard into the playdough.” or ” Look at that yellow T you have.” There is no rush – just play with the letters.
- I was shocked with how long she played – it just went on and on! We grabbed more letters from the bin.
- I asked her which letters she liked and even though she said A and M she played with R way more than any other letter. It was fun to watch her explore knowing that in an instant she will be reading and writing like her brother. Savoring these simple playdough activities is such a treat.
Like this activity but you have an older sibling who wants to play too? Or a child who is already familiar with the alphabet?
Here are a few tasks for them :
- Use the cookie cutters to cut out the letters of their names.
- Give them words to cut out and spell.
- Guess how many letters they can fit in one hunk of playdough without overlapping the prints.