After a busy weekend camping, Little Sister seemed played out. With colored felts, she had some quiet fun doing alphabet bubbles.
When it comes to kids being ready for school, many parents and caregivers ask, “Does my child need to know the alphabet before kindergarten?” The answer isn’t a straightforward yes or no. Having some familiarity with letters is certainly helpful for kids. But what’s most important is that kids are comfortable and have had a chance to play with them.
Alphabet and letter play can happen with toys like fridge magnets and foam letters. As your child plays, build awareness with comments like, “Oh, these letters are very different. This one is just lines and this one has a circle.” Or, “These letters are almost the same, aren’t they?” You can notice that a letter at home looks like one you and your child see. For example, “Hey, this letter s looks like one on the stop sign, doesn’t it?” It seems so obvious to us, but kids need to see that there are letters all over.
Letters don’t all come ready made, kids can make them too. Play dough is fabulous for some letter play. Every now and then, you can make a letter and invite your child to try it too. When playing with sand, fingers can trace out some letters. Both play dough and sand are very tactile.
For children that are interested in paper and pencil activities, you can draw out the alphabet in big bubble letters. I was able to squeeze two letters onto an ordinary sheet of 8 1/2 by 11-inch paper. Using felt markers, Little Sister traced the shape of the letters inside. She wanted her letters to be rainbow so drew short lines of different colors. She didn’t do all 26 letters but did a few and then we put the alphabet bubbles away for another day.
Play is how brains learn best. Are there some ways your child can play with letters?