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Get learning with these play-based alphabet activities
Play-based learning is where it’s at, my friends. There’s just no better way to teach our kids, especially young learners who are all about having a playful time. From imaginative play to math activities, play-based learning is a must.
Even something as complex as the alphabet can be introduced and practiced in a fun “no flashcards” sort of way.
Put down the flashcards. There are better ways to learn!
Play-based alphabet activities are so important for toddlers and preschoolers as it keeps learning light, fun, and open ended. This age group needs a chance to explore the complex world around them, and drill and kill learning activities don’t provide that.
Good news: I’ve got 3 awesome play-based alphabet learning ideas for you today that your little learner is going to LOVE.
You will love this Giant Letter Matching Activity
My kids went nuts for this easy Letter Matching Activity. They literally went bananas for this simple matching game.
In less than 3 minutes, I had the whole activity prepped and ready to go – now that’s my kind of quick and easy activity!
I rolled out a giant piece of Kraft paper and wrote the letters of the alphabet in large bold print. Then, I dumped out our favorite alphabet blocks (the Soft & Washable Alphabet Blocks from Lakeshore) and sent my daughter (29 months old) on a letter matching mission.
I LOVE these Soft & Washable Alphabet Blocks because they have both upper and lower case letters AND two pictures that “go with” each letter. They’re perfect for play-based learning.
My daughter had a ball matching the blocks to the paper key that I had made. I did add one fun challenge: I didn’t write the letters in alphabetical order. Aren’t I tricky? This made her work just a littler harder to recall all those letter names but it was perfect for her.
Even my 4 year old joined in on the fun which didn’t surprise me at all – he saw how much fun sister was having!
Dough mats are a great way to learn
Interacting with letters is key in play-based alphabet learning. When you’re working with flashcards, no one is really interacting with the letter.
That’s definitely not the case with these Learn the Alphabet! Dough Mats from Lakeshore. These dough mats are perfect for tactile learning and working with letters.
My tip: Instead of setting down the whole alphabet for your child to work with, “chunk it out”. I separated the alphabet into groups of 5 and gave one set to each of my kids. This kept them from getting overwhelmed by choices or by too many materials. Five has been the perfect number of mats to pull out each time we play.
What I love best about this activity is always the quiet focus and concentration. It’s so amazing to watch them working with the alphabet in such an engaging way.
Have you played Alphabet Hide ‘n Seek yet?
Finding hidden objects is a favorite way to play over here. Ever since Easter, my kids can get enough of hunting activities like this Alphabet Hide n’ Seek.
I loved this activity because it’s a gross motor skills + literacy activity. My son loved it because it was super fun!
I grabbed his beloved Alpha-Bots from Lakeshore and hid them all over the family room. Talk about a fun play-based way to work with letters: he loved calling them out as he found them.
I loved giving letter based hints: “I see a lovely, lion like letter trying to play with you toys!” He’d laugh and go running for the letter L.
Once he found all his Alpha-Bots (and after I’d re-hidden them three more times because he loved hunting them down), it was time to turn the letters into alphabet robots. What a bonus that this activity also had a fine motor skills element!
Play-based learning is where the fun is!
It’s so much more fun to work with the alphabet in a play-based way. It gives kids a chance to really interact and work with letters in a way that’s personal to them. It helps the letters come to life.
For play-based learning fun with my kids, we use toys from Lakeshore Learning. Lakeshore toys are the best: they’re well made, designed by teachers and loved by kids. They’re open-ended and full of options. My kids are always coming up with new ways to play with their Lakeshore toys – these aren’t one and done toys!