Children initially learn the alphabet as a song. They memorize the letters as they would the introduction to their favorite cartoon. Most children are exposed to the song without actually seeing the letters themselves. This is a fine introduction but it's important to extend that learning by introducing the letters out of context. Below is a short list of proven strategies to help your child increase their letter recognition skills as they prepare for kindergarten.


Using a childs first and last name is a natural and fun way to increase letter recognition. It is also a great extension to use family member's names as well. Begin with this exercise: write the child's name and have them write it directly underneath. If you have printing capabilities visit this website to print custom tracing worksheets with their names. Also, draw a picture of the child's family members (or use actual pictures) and write their names below the pictures. Have the child write the names again, underneath your words. Make sure to have the child say each letter as they write it.


Many children already have Play-Doh around the house. It's a classic toy. Write letters on 3x5 notecards or use laminated paper. If you do not have a laminating machine, office supply stores sell rolls of laminate. Show the child how to roll a blob of Play-Doh into a 'snake' then lay the snake pieces over the letter to make a Play-doh letter. For the first few times you do this activity, be sure to help the child name the letters as they form them. After they finish ask: "What letter did you make?" so they can tell you.

Sand & Shaving Cream

This activity is super fun for most kids. Get a cookie sheet and cover it with sand or with a thin layer of shaving cream. Show the child how to use their finger to write a letter in the sand or cream then wipe it clean to write again. Ask them to write names and letters they know. If the child does not know any letters, present them with some names or the alphabet so they can see the letters to write them.

Magnetic Letters

At many dollar stores you can purchase bags of magnetic letters for very little. Put pictures of family members on the fridge and write their names on the pictures. Have the child use the magnet letters to make the names underneath the pictures. This can be problematic if the child has no knowledge of letters and has to sort through 27 different letters to find the right one. It is best to only put a couple pictures on the fridge at a time and only put the letters needed for those pictures on the fridge.

These four activities are fun ways to help your child learn to write and name letters. One more recommendation I have is to leave this list and the materials needed with the babysitter. It's great to know that while your out having some time away from the kids that they're getting some simple practice in. (It'll also stretch those babysitting dollars.) Have fun with these activities and if you'd like more please contact me and I'd be glad to help out.