Learning the letters of the alphabet are the first steps to reading. It’s never too early for parents to start teaching the alphabet to their children. Most children between the ages of 3-4 can identify a few letters, according to US Department of Education. It’s important to introduce the alphabet before your child turns 3 years old. Add a little learning to your playtime with your child using these six hands-on activities to spark their alphabet skills.

Erase It

On a dry erase board, write random letters in a row. Call out a letter and instruct your child to find it. Once he or she correctly points out the right letter, encourage them to erase it.

Another option is to write letters on a chalkboard, and then after your child picks the right letter, let them squirt it using a spray water bottle to erase it.

 Hop To The Letter

On pleasant days, take educational fun outdoors. Using chalk, randomly write letters of the alphabet on your driveway or patio. Call out a letter and encourage your child to hop on it. It’s a great way to boost letter recognition plus get your child’s heart pumping and muscles moving.

Make Play Doh® Letters

A few cans of Play Doh® always bring on the smiles. Children love playing with this soft modeling compound, so why not add letter recognition practice into the fun? Use alphabet cookie cutter letters and have your child cut out letters. Ask them what letter they just made.

Scavenger Hunt

Take your child on a letter search in a given room of your house. Use alphabet blocks, flash cards or magnetic letters. Tell your child how many you hid and encourage them to read the letter once they have discovered it. Take the game outdoors for a new set of hiding places.

Pipe Cleaner Letters

Colorful fuzzy pipe cleaners and a pair of kids’ scissors are two powerful craft items to help develop your child’s alphabet skills. Write out a small set of letters on a piece of paper for them to use as reference. Encourage them to create the written letters. It’s a great way to build fine motor skills while reinforcing the 26 letters of the alphabet.

Build Lego® Letters

You are likely to find everything you need in your child’s toy box, Legos®. Turn an everyday toy into a new medium to create letters. An added challenge would be to encourage your child to build upright letters so they will stand up. Place the newly created letters in their bedroom or play area for a lasting sense of accomplishment.

Introduce one game at a time, not overwhelming your child, so he or she will be more willing to participate in the next alphabet game you play with them. Start today on getting your child on a path of learning their ABCs.

Photo Credit: Sara Kendall

This story was written for CharlotteFive’s latest channel for parents in the QC, called QC Playground. Sign up for the weekly QC Playground newsletter here.

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Sara Kendall writes about travel, parenting and lifestyle. She is just as passionate about photography as she is about writing, so you will find her writing paired with her beautifully captured images. Sara’s work has appeared in numerous print and online publications including the following CLT ones – Charlotte Observer, Charlotte Parent and Epicurean Charlotte. Need travel inspiration? Check out Sara’s travels at latitudecrossing.com.