Activities for preschool should not be complicated. Ideally, children should be able to use any activity or material you put out (or they take from a shelf) independently in some way even if it is not exactly how you intended. This simple letter sorting activity makes it possible for children of varying ability levels to explore independently.
Children do not need to be masters of letter recognition to do this activity. However, as they sort the letters by color they can (and many will) recognize and verbally label the letters. Of course, if you are participating with them, you can always say something like “Oh I’m going to grab the A because my name Allison starts with A!” They may follow your modeling, they may not. Our job is to create a rich environment where their interactions with the environment point to what they know and how we can support them as they develop further.
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Rainbow Letter Sorting
Gather your materials. You will need some colorful letter magnets, a divided tray, and I also included this book so that children could find more letters and colors in the book as well. I would read the book to the class before offering this activity as a free choice/center activity to deepen the connection. In the springtime, rainbows are a great tool for learning because they fit weather themes as well as St.Patrick’s Day.
Start by placing one letter magnet of each color in the sections of the divided tray. Place the rest in the middle.
Time to sort!
You may notice children only sorting a few letters and not matching the colors. Don’t assume they are wrong, instead take the time to ask about how they sorted the magnets. Some will match up letters if there are duplicates. Once, I had a child sort them by fat letters and tall skinny letters. We had a great conversation about how m and w are fat, and i and t are skinny. Not only did we talk about letters for a long time ( he was only 3.5) but we also noticed differences and shapes. Take the time to talk.
If you want another great rainbow activity for your classroom check out my Instagram I have more simple preschool activities that go perfectly with this book or any book about rainbows!
I have even more rainbow, snow, wind, clouds, and even some sun activities in my printable thematic unit about weather!