Amazing Alphabet Lessons to Excite Your Little Learners

Wiggle, create, and recognize! Fun and engaging activities to reinforce phonemic awareness and pre-reading skills.

By Ann Whittemore

list of the alphabet

When I think of the ABCs, two things come to mind: the Jackson Five Song “ABC” (easy as one-two-three) and various Sesame Street scenes of letters found around New York. The alphabet is the foundational tool for teaching phonemic awareness and pre-reading skills. However, maybe it’s more than that. Perhaps the ABCs are an integral part of our cultural identity. We sing the alphabet, categorize by alphabetizing, and we spell using the alphabet. The ABCs, or the sounds of the alphabet, transmit all of our thoughts and feelings. Perhaps I’m philosophizing too deeply as to the fundamental link between language and culture. Regardless, the ABCs are fundamental to how we communicate as effective writers and readers. Here, I intend to provide a few fun and interdisciplinary ideas that will get those little learners singing their ABCs in a variety of different ways.

Alphabet Wiggle Games

As many of us know, kids love to move, and movement is essential for kinesthetic learners. You can make learning the alphabet a moving experience by integrating dance and rhythm.

  • ABC body shapes is a fun game. You play it by holding up a letter card and calling out the letter’s name or the sound it makes. Learners will then twist and turn, attempting to make the shape of that letter with their bodies. Clapping games are also a great way to teach the alphabet.
  • Have your kids clap along as you say a word and a sound that relate to each letter. For example: A is for apple (clap, clap, clap) and A says aaaaa! B is for baby (clap, clap, clap) and B says bbbb! You can also prepare learners for chunking later on by clapping out the syllables or sound chunks for each word you come up with. 
  • I like to have my Kindergartners wiggle when they make the letter sound. You can work as a class to brainstorm movements (verbs) that start with each letter of the alphabet. It'll take some creativity, but it’s a great way to build a strong vocabulary and creative-thinking skills. Nothing is more fun than Noodle Arm N!
  • Do you remember the game Who Stole a Cookie? Have the class sit in a circle, then have each child randomly pick a letter card from a bag, making sure not to show it to his neighbors. You start singing, “Who stole a letter from the letter jar?” “Someone stole a letter from the letter jar, and the letter is C!” When you say the letter all the children with C cards stand up and show their card, then each child must think of a word that starts with the letter before he can sit back down.

Alphabet Art Projects

  • You know those wonderful large-sized alphabet cards that you can purchase at education stores and hang in your classroom? Why not have your learners make them instead? Depending on your class size (learners can work in pairs if necessary) have a pair or an individual draw the letter you assign. Your class will have one-of-a-kind decor, and the kids will have a sense of class ownership and pride.
  • When working with preschoolers or kindergartners, multi-sensory activities are a must.  Children can build letter recognition by creating ABC caterpillars, snakes, or trains. Have them water color cut outs of each letter. Next, they arrange the letters in order and glue them onto circles, squares, or diamond shapes. They are connected together, with an appropriate head and tail attached. After your ABC animal or train is put together, have the class trace each letter to reinforce letter writing skills. These are great to have on bulletin boards.
  • A classic tactile exercise for little learners is to have them write each letter with their fingers in shaving cream, finger paint, or colored vanilla pudding on a table. They can also shape letters using salt dough or clay. These can be dried, painted, and displayed.  My favorite creative letter activity has always been the letter-of-the-day book. Each child makes his own alphabet book. Have the class write the letter of the day, a word that begins with that letter, and a corresponding image. These pages are then compiled into a book to take home or you can use them in class throughout the year.

Alphabet Letter Discrimination Activities

Some letter-recognition activities are just fun! You can make these into centers or provide them as enrichment activities at free-time.

  • Have a newspaper or print ads out at a table. Provide learners with a list of letters they are to find. They will hunt through the printed material and use a pen to circle the letters they find based on their list.
  • Letter magnets are always fun to have available. Have several pictures like a cat, dog, bag, and apple with the word printed under image. Learners manipulate the magnets to make the words they see. This is a good way to build letter recognition and sight-word vocabulary. 
  • Letter collages are quite fun. Provide a wide variety of images printed from the computer or cut out of magazines, along with large cut-out letters. The children can choose a letter and then find images whose name begins with the chosen letter. For example: The letter A can be decorated with images of apples, ants, arachnids, artichokes, and ambulances.

Additional Resources:

ABC Ideas You'll Love

This website has book titles galore, tons of cute and funny letter songs, and some really great center ideas sure to excite all your little learners.

Great Printables for Every Letter

Here you will find a truckload of printables, flashcards, posters, ABC dot-to-dots, coloring pages, and books to make. Each item on this page is all about the ABC’s and can be downloaded, saved to your computer, and printed as needed. A great one-stop resource.

Art and the ABCs Made Easy

Look no further because this link takes you to a list of art activities for each letter of the alphabet. From noodle and newspaper neckties to silly socks decorated with stickers, sticks and skittles these activities will be a hit.