I love letters. You know, the alphabet kind…. well, truth be told I like the ‘open up the mailbox’ kind too. I’m not sure if it is because I am a preschool teacher or if it is because I have always excelled in reading/writing (as opposed to math… numbers + me = yikes). But, letters are my jam.
Letters play a big role in preschool. Seems like everyone is wanting those kiddos to KNOW THEIR LETTERS….parents, K teachers, administration…
Don’t get me wrong, I want my kiddos to learn letters and letter sounds as well. But, I do not believe that pushing my preschoolers with flashcards and drill and practice is the way to go. I mean, they do learn best through play- God made them that way! So, why don’t we have fun and play while learning letters?
So, I’m sharing 8 ideas that I use to bring letter learning into circle time. These are the ways that I purposefully plan letter experiences for my preschoolers (which happens to be in circle time for us). But, please know that we do connect with letters and sounds all day long through books, centers, conversations and other activities.
Activity 1: Surprise Letters: Put letter cards in a bucket. Have students take turns pulling out a litter and the class yells the name of the letter or the sound. Easy right?
Activity 2: Hunting Letters: Who doesn’t love a scavenger hunt? Hide letter cards through the classroom and have students hunt for them. Come back to the carpet and have each child present which letter they found.
Activity 3: Smack a Letter: Grab a fly-swatter and get smacking! Lay out several letter cards. Give a student the fly swatter and call out a letter or sound. The student swats the letter card that was called out.
Activity 4: Missing Letter: Place 3 alphabet cards on the ground. Name each letter/sound with the group. Have students turn around and hide their eyes while you take a card away and hide it behind your back. Students turn back around the guess which letter went missing.
Activity 5: Puppet Letters: Grab an animal puppet (with a mouth that opens). Lay out some of the alphabet cards. Encourage children to feed the puppet a certain letter/sound. Have the puppet nibble on the correct letters and spit out the incorrect letters.
Activity 6: Hopping Letters: Get up and move! Put several alphabet cards on the floor. Call out a letter or sound and ask a student to hop on it.
Activity 7: Beanbag Letters: Put several letter cards on the carpet area. Have students take turns throwing a bean bag towards the letters. Then, name the latter/sound that the beanbag lands nearest to.
Activity 8: Guess My Letter: Choose one alphabet card, but don’t show it to the class. Start naming words that begin with the letter sound. Ask student to guess which letter you have. Reveal the letter and celebrate!
Want a printable version of these Alphabet Games?
Included in the link below you will find 8 alphabet ideas for circle time. You will also find my letter cards (NOT flashcards…please, please do not use these as flashcards). Letter cards are what I use to help children visualize the letters and I use them in all the activities in circle time.
Now, you may be asking yourself- so does she do all 26 letters in each of these activities? (okay, so you probably were not asking yourself this, but hey- go with me) The answer is…heck no- that might take all day! Long activity = bored checked-out children. I use the letters that my students are having the most trouble with. I get this info from the assessments I do 3 times a year. It works great for me!