Our girls L-O-V-E the alphabet! They love to sing about it, to play with it, to identify all the letters. They just can’t get enough. And for our oldest (G), the love started really early. By the time she was 18 months old, she was working on singing the entire alphabet. Then she had it all down. Then she started to recognize all the letters. And by the time she turned 4, she was reading (reading, people!). She must have passed on the passion for the alphabet to her younger sister, because W has followed along the same milestones (just a few months behind where G was at each stage).
I had a reader ask me a while back how I got my girls to love the alphabet so much. And while I do think there is a sort-of inborn passion within G for letters and words, I do think there are a number of things we have done to encourage our girls to fall in love with the alphabet. I thought it would be nice to answer the reader’s question and share my tips and tricks with you, so your kids can be lovers of letters, too!
You may or may not have noticed that the traditional alphabet song is set to the same tune as “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” So introducing the alphabet is crazy easy, if you are already singing “Twinkle, Twinkle” with your little one. You can throw in the alphabet while you are lulling her to sleep, bracketing the alphabet with Twinkle, Twinkle, if you like. Your baby will get used to hearing the letters before ever making a connection between the auditory memory and visual cues. If you start early, your little one will be “singing” the alphabet long before she ever “sees” the letters.
Read various alphabet books
We have a LOT of alphabet books that we love. And each of the books, though tackling the same topic, provide something unique and interesting to keep our girls interested in reading them over and over. To encourage a love of the alphabet, keep the visual ways you present the alphabet to your kids varied.
Start with a name
Kids are interested in lots of things, but most of them are really interested in themselves! Encouraging them to start recognizing the letters in their name will get them interested in learning (at the very least) the letters in their name. Both of our girls could recognize the beginning letter of their names before they could recognize all the other letters.
Interested in which letters should come after your little one knows the letters of her name? This article about what order to introduce letters for recognition is very interesting.
When we go into specific stores where I know the girls will have a hard time keeping their hands to themselves, I give their eyes something to do instead. We go hunting for letters throughout the store. Each girl gets a letter to be looking for. When one finds her letter, she helps her sister find her letter. And then they both get a new letter. This helps our girls to recognize that letters and words are EVERYWHERE! And since they are everywhere, there is always an opportunity to discover more and get excited about those discoveries. They ask for this activity very often!
Make the alphabet a sensory experience
You are already likely appealing to your kid’s sense of hearing and seeing in introducing the alphabet. But incorporating touch into your alphabet exploration may help your little one make surprising discoveries. Some of most simple ways to add a sensory element to alphabet learning are alphabet magnets or alphabet puzzles. And there are TONS of great ways to incorporate the sense of touch into learning the alphabet. Here are some of our favorites:
Rainbow Rice and Alphabet Sensory Bin
Letter Tracing with cars (we love this one!) – from Playdough to Plato
An Alphabet Detective activity – from Frugal Fun 4 Boys
A Bunny Hop Alphabet Recognition game from A Well-Nourished Nest
These ideas for introducing the alphabet will hopefully turn your kids into lovers of the alphabet. No promises, but often those who love the alphabet early in life, love words and reading. Have fun exploring the alphabet with your little ones!
Looking for even more ideas to help your kid fall in love with the alphabet? Check out my Pinterest Alphabet board – it has some really amazing and fun ideas!