Looking for an easy alphabet matching activity for your child? This simple indoor activity uses only two supplies, but is brimming with hands-on learning. Grab some foam letters and set up this alphabet activity today.
Alphabet activities in early childhood are often boiled down to the pages of a workbook and stuck on flashcards. What if those aren’t the best way to teach a child the letters of the alphabet?
Instead of relying on repetitive memorization techniques to learn the alphabet, what if we let children play with, explore, and manipulate letters in a hands-on, playful way?
What if we took the alphabet off paper and into the hands of children?
That’s exactly what this easy alphabet matching activity does.
RELATED: Looking for additional alphabet activities for kids? Try this fantastic list of them!
Looking for more structure each day?
Check out Playing Preschool: Busy Toddler’s 190-day at-home activities program
What happens in an easy alphabet matching activity?
In this activity, we are taking the alphabet and placing it into a child’s hand.
We are letting them hold and touch letters, but even more, we are asking them to match the shape of a written letter with the shape of a foam letter.
Even if the child doesn’t know every letter name, they may be able to complete this activity because this activity. Why? Because this activity is not centered on knowing the name of each letter, but instead it focuses on:
- Recognizing the shape of different letters
- Exposure to the alphabet
- Identifying the shape of a letter in two contexts
Again: this activity is about matching.
It’s about exposure to letters. It’s about experience with letters. It is not about sitting a child down and asking them to memorize letter names in that one sitting.
RELATED: Are you trying to find more preschool activities? This list is wonderful!
The supply list for this activity is minimal. This isn’t complicated , and that’s how activities for kids should be. Activities don’t need to be complex to be valuable.
Quick plug for these foam letters as an activity supply: I know this may seem like an abnormal activity supply, but these are my favorites.
Here are some activities we love using them:
On a window or sliding glass door, write alphabet letters in dry erase marker.
I had upper case (capital) foam letters so I wrote upper case letters on the slider. Option: You can write lower case letters as a challenge.
In a plastic container, I put the foam letters and some water. The water makes the foam letters adhere to glass (not permanently) which feels a bit magical to little kids.
I gave my daughter the instructions for the alphabet matching activity: match the foam letters to the ones I wrote.
Something about this was a 10/10 for her and her preschool-aged big brother.
RELATED: Worried your child hasn’t mastered the alphabet yet? Please read my post of children learning the ABCs.
Setting this activity up on repeat
Once my daughter finished, she insisted on playing again. She pulled her pieces off the window, wiped it down, and I gave a solid assist with reprinting the letters.
Of course I put them in a different order for round 2 which threw her for a loop and I loved it.
After that, she just played with the foam letters on the sliding glass door – similar to how she plays with them in the bath tub, but in a new venue. I’ll take it because I was able to make dinner while all this went down.
Now that’s an activity miracle.
Frequently Asked Questions
Children learn the alphabet on a spectrum between ages 2 and 6 years old. That’s a big range! In most of early children, parents are used to kids meeting milestones on much smaller scales: rolling over is range of a few months, walking is a range of 6 months… but learning the alphabet happens sometime in a span of 5+ years. That’s a big variation kid to kid.
Children learn the alphabet best through exposure and experiences with it, rather than direct instruction memorization. Think of learning letter names like learning animal names. Instead of flash carding the child different animals, you teach those names in context: “That’s a cow.” Do the same with letters. “That’s an M.” Letters don’t need to be pushed differently than other organic learning like animals, shapes, and colors.
Depends on the child and their interest in the alphabet. Instead of deciding based on age, look at the alphabet stage your child is at: do the recognize letters of the alphabet (with or without knowing their name)? Does the child understand how to match similar items? Are they interested in playing with the alphabet?