Playful preschool activities that teach the alphabet

How do you teach preschoolers the alphabet? Many people send their children to preschool programs that have different techniques ranging from letter-of-the-week studies to playful learning opportunities and everything in between. I must admit that I am not super strict on sticking to one technique with my boys. As we preschool at home, we use many different activities to learn the alphabet (letter recognition only, as we are not to phonics yet). And as a believer in Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligence theory, I like to try to include as many of the intelligence as possible in our lessons. Here’s just a few of our playful learning methods that we’ve done:

Make a game of it

We have a big ABC chart on our living room wall (see a tour of our homeschool space here) that we use for alphabet practice. One game we like to play with it is Role Reversal. I give my son the pointer stick and he quizzes me on what letters he’s pointing to! This one has been a fan favorite for a while 🙂


Offer an alphabet sensory bin

My boys both really enjoy sensory bins. Another thing they love are tractors. I combined those two elements to make this Alphabet Sensory Bin that was a great way to play pretend with the letters of the alphabet. If your munchkins know several letters of the alphabet already, this is a great way to be playfully reinforce that knowledge! (we used these alphabet beads for the bin)

alphabet contruction zone activity

Take learning outside

We draw large chalk letters on the sidewalk and trace them with various items we find in the yard. (Many of the activities you see here have been featured on Munchkins and Moms Instagram page. Follow us on Instagram to get ideas that don’t always make it to the blog!)

learning the alphabet outside Munchkins and Moms Instagram page

We have also written the alphabet on our small brick wall and “walked the alphabet” This is another great whole body learning opportunity!

Walk the alphabet

Use flashcards

I know I know, flashcards in and of themselves are not playful, but they are a great tool that you can use in many different ways! One of our favorite alphabet flashcards are these beautiful food ones from Teepee Learning. We use them in many art activities (as you’ll see from scrolling through my IG feed!)

learning the alphabet with flashcards From Munchkins and Moms Instagram page

We have also used smaller flashcards here to practice writing letters in a salt tray

salt tray for practicing letter formation

Use Alphabet Printables

I have put together a FREE pack of alphabet printables that we use to fill in with various materials. We love using these in busy boxes to work on letter recognition! This particular activity uses small and large muscles while it also promotes muscle memory and helps kids learn in a way that is more than just standard memorization! Read more about how we use this activity and how we use these printable in this post.

Working on alphabet skills with this fun activity!

Make alphabet activities based on books

Okay, I am talking about Chicka Chicka Boom Boom here (although we have also done activities based on Alphabet Under Construction!) This sticky wall activity was a big hit with my boys (I also made a Halloween costume to go along with it!)

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom alphabet activity Closing thoughts

Every child is unique with different learning styles, interests, preferences, and attention spans. I try to offer many hands-on learning opportunities when I teach as I know that will captures my sons’ attentions longer that paper or straight flashcards. That’s not to say those methods are wrong, they are just not right for my kids. The key to learning the alphabet through play is repeated exposure to alphabet activities and playing side by side with your children during these activities (this gives you those teachable moments while their interest is high!) If you were looking for some new ways to bring life into learning the alphabet with your kids, I hope these ideas were inspiring to you! And if you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them in the comments below 🙂

More Alphabet Activities from the Early Childhood Education Team:

Teaching the Alphabet with a Class Name Book by Fun-A-Day
Capital or Lowercase?  Alphabet Activity for Kindergarten or Preschool by Capri + 3
Playful Ways to Learn Alphabet Letters by Still Playing School
Preschool Letter Activities: 3 Ways to Teach the ABC’s by Learning 2 Walk
Learning the Alphabet- Which Letters Do I Teach First? by Growing Book by Book
Preschool Activities that Teach the Alphabet by Munchkins and Moms
A Giant List of Alphabet Activities by Mom Inspired Life
How We Learn Our ABC’s by  Tiny Tots Adventures
Learning the Alphabet Ideas plus FREE ABC Poster by Powerful Mothering
 Playful Learning Literacy Games for Preschool and Kindergarten! by The Preschool Toolbox Blog
Teaching the Alphabet Activities for Children by The Educators’ Spin On It


playful alphabet activities for preschoolers- A lot of fun out-of-the box ideas here!

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