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Teaching The Alphabet With ABC Learning Games!

Nov 30, 2012 | By Sharon DeWitt

Toddler ABC blocksAs most of our blog readers are aware of, Little Heroes personalized books for kids has just launched the new alphabet book, Alphabet Zoo, for toddlers that are learning their abc. Today we are focusing on different ways for teaching the alphabet to your child, specifically with easy ABC learning games.

Choosing the right ABC learning game for your child

Children's interests vary. Some love music, others are always trying to see what's cooking in the kitchen. However your child expresses their interest, you can be
sure that there is an ABC learning game that will fit their personality.

Different kids alphabet games and why they work

  • Singing games. If your child is crazy about music, use it! There's a reason why the alphabet song is still sung in preschools the world over, it work. Try our fun singing game below that incorporates the ABC song with a new study on early childhood learning.
  • Visual games. Is your child excited by the things they see around them? They might be a good candidate for a visual kids alphabet game like the one we have in todays article.
  • Tactile games. Is little Billy or Suzy squealing with delight over the touch of a fuzzy new blanket or the feel of your suede jacket? It could be that they find learning the alphabet easy when you get their sense of touch involved in the games.
  • Cooking games. Some toddlers just love smelling and tasting everything! That can sometimes be frustrating, but with a little creativity you can use your child's appetite as a recipe for teaching the alphabet … in the kitchen!

Fumbling through the Alphabet Song:
A smart and musical way towards learning the alphabet

Mother and child singing the Alphabet SongAccording to a study published in April of last year in the Journal of Developmental Science, children focus even harder on what adults are saying when they fumble for words or letters saying "um" or "uh". So how can you use this to teach your child the alphabet song?

Study researcher Celesete Kidd, of the University of Rochester in the Brain and Cognitive Science department explained that when an adult is speaking and then fumbles for the next word or letter, the child pays even closer attention than if the adult was just speaking smoothly. This type of purposeful "forgetting" can help a child to learn to predict what will come next. 

With that in mind, here's a new twist on the Alphabet Song.

What you need: 

  • Magic marker
  • Paper
  • Musical instrument (if available)
  • Knowing the words to the Alphabet Song

What to do:

  1. Pull out a sheet of paper and write all the letters of the alphabet on the piece of paper in bold, easy-to-read letters and explain that you're going to teach them a new song. 
  2. Sing the Alphabet Song once to your child fluidly. If you have a piano, or even a children's musical toy, hit the keys as you sing to keep them interested. 
  3. The second time you sing it, take your child's hand and point their hand to the letters as you sing them.
  4. Sing the song again but this time, pause once or twice and say "um" or "uh". Look at your child for a moment before "remembering" what letter comes next, but keep them pointing to the letters as you do this. Fumble twice during the song. 
  5. Now, sing the song again (fourth time) and ask your child to sing along to "help you". 
  6. Do this a few times a week and you'll be amazed how quickly your child learns the alphabet! 

Need a refresher on the alphabet song? Here's a fun youtube Alphabet Song to watch and sing along!

ABC ... What do you see? A great visual alphabet game!

Toddler drawing an apple for the letter "A"Although all children learn predominantly through visual cues, some kids learn especially well by what they see. 

What you need:

  • Crayons
  • Paper

What to do:

  1. Write out all the letters of the alphabet on a piece of paper. Sound them out with your child (phonetics style).
  2. Ask your child to find an object for the first letter "A" by looking around the house. 
    You can help them, but make it their decision through problem solving and sounding out words together. For example, if they are looking at an apple, ask them to sound out that word to make sure it starts with an "A". 
  3. Once you've both agreed that the object, for example "apple", starts with the letter "a", ask them to draw an apple on a piece of paper with the crayons. 
  4. After they draw the apple, congratulate them and get them write out the letter "A" and "a" beside the apple. This helps them to further link the letter with the object that they've just drawn. 
  5. Hang up that picture on their bedroom wall for a visual reminder of the letter for an extra boost.
  6. Do this a few times a week with just three or four letters at a time and before you know it, your child will know the alphabet!

T is for Tactile: Teaching the alphabet through the sense of touch

Toddler learning the ABC with tactile alphabet lettersTouch is an amazing sense. In a famous chimpanzee study, young chimps were given the choice between a terrycloth covered "mother" model and a wire-mesh "mother" model. Even though only the "wire mother" gave food, the baby chimps still went to the "terrycloth model" mother because of the comfort the soft texture of the cloth gave them. 

Children also have a strong emotional connection with how things feel. When a child connects their sense of touch with a learning experience, they remember it! For this activity below, a child first feels the alphabet letters that have been cut out of the different pieces of material
and sandpaper, thus stimulating their sense of touch!

What you need:

  • Sand paper
  • Different scrap pieces of material like cotton, silk, felt and wool
  • Scissors

What to do:

  1. Gather up different scrap pieces of materials and sand paper. Use the scissors to cut out the alphabet letters.
  2. Ask your child to hold the letters and touch them with their hands. Have them say the letters out loud. 
  3. Mix up the letters on the floor, turn out the lights or have them close their eyes and get them to search for a specific letter through touch alone. 
  4. Congratulate them heartily when they choose the right one. If they do not, have them open their eyes and take a look at the letter they are holding and compare it to the one they were searching for.
  5. Repeat with every letter in alphabet, perhaps starting with just a few letters at a time.

This blind alphabet game helps kids explore their tactile sense and skills while learning the alphabet in a fun and challenging way.

Mix it up: Learning the alphabet in the kitchen!

Mother and child making Alphabet CookiesWhat better way to learn the alphabet than with a yummy treat in the kitchen? For a child who loves cookies (and really, what kid doesn't like cookies?), this activity is a dream come true! 

What you need:

  • Cookie dough
  • Alphabet cookie cutters
  • A working kitchen with a stove

What to do:

  1. Choose your favourite cookie recipe (sugar cookies work nicely) and make up the dough.
  2. Pull out your alphabet cookie cutters (or if you don't have any, make a paper stencil you can cut around). 
  3. Roll out the cookie dough and invite your child into the kitchen to help you make Alphabet Cookies. 
  4. Place the cutters in alphabetical order and say each letter as you place it down. 
  5. Ask your child to get you different letters - some in order, some out of order.
    If they get the wrong letter, have them place that cutter back in the right order and then show them the right letter. 
  6. If you have enough dough, make several cookies of each letter. You can also sing the alphabet song together as you cut out the letters in the dough to reinforce the learning experience. 
  7. Once the cookies are baked, cool them down. Refresh the alphabet with your child.
  8. Ask your child to choose two letter cookies to eat, but tell them they have to say the letter before they pick the cookie. If they find the cookie letter correctly, they'll taste the sweet reward. If they don't, they'll try again. A tasty treat is great motivation for learning the alphabet!

Reading and alphabet games together pave the way towards learning the alphabet

Learning the alphabet takes time and variety is key. The best way to teach your child their ABC's is to play games, read colorful alphabet books, and read some more! Of course continuing to read the Little Heroes blog is also a great way to keep up to date with all sorts of new ways of learning! 

Tags : Learning the alphabet, abc learning games, personalized books for kids, kids alphabet games, teaching the alphabet

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