Our oldest girl is alphabet obsessed! And she has been for a long time. She recognizes all the letters of the alphabet and is working on knowing all their sounds. So I created an activity for her to work on sequencing, specifically “before” and “after.” This was a challenge for her at first, but we kept going and she was so proud when she was finished with the entire alphabet.
Since it is the Halloween/Fall season, I thought it would be fun to put our alphabet letters into a cauldron I found at Target. But this activity could be adapted to any seasonal study or be completely separate from a theme. I found some cut out alphabet letters on clearance a little while back, so I used these letters, but you could use any letters you have on hand or make some alphabet cards for yourself. The details of the props are secondary to the activity.
Here’s how our activity went:
I put all the letters of the alphabet into a cauldron and mixed them up a little bit.
I instructed G to draw one letter out of the cauldron and name the letter.
Then I instructed G to draw another letter out of the cauldron and name it. I then asked her if it went before or after the previous letter she picked. If she got hung up on the answer to the question, we quickly sang the alphabet song to help us remember where the letter she was holding went.
We worked our way through the alphabet, focusing on learning the words “before” and “after” through practice. When she struggled with identifying before or after, she often said, “this [letter] goes next to this [letter].” I helped her to identify what “next to” meant based on the letter we were working on by replacing “next to” with “before” or “after.” As we worked, she began to use the words correctly.
This alphabet activity worked on a number of concepts for our preschooler, including:
- Sequencing – putting things in proper order
- Reading right to left, top to bottom – this is reinforced by placing the letters in paragraph form on the table
- Recognition of letters – she knows her letters, but this just helps to reinforce and review.
- Memory – we sang the alphabet song to help jog her memory and teach her what “before” and “after” mean. It also helps for her to learn that she can use what she already knows to build upon and learn new things.