Finding the Right Gift for Everyone You Know

Three Fun Ways To Introduce Your Preschooler To The Wonderful World Of The Alphabet

If you're like most parents, you want to provide your child with the best possible start in life, and this includes giving him or her a good head start on learning the alphabet. However, as you may have already discovered, simply sitting down at a table and teaching your child the ABCs isn't nearly as easy as it looks. Preschoolers have a notoriously short attention span, making it difficult for them to gain much from traditional learning settings. Fortunately, this doesn't mean you can't teach your child the alphabet—you just need to "color outside the lines" when it comes to getting your child engaged with the alphabet. Making it fun is a surefire strategy—and all you need to get this ball rolling is a package or two of funny refrigerator magnets in the shape of the alphabet.

One way to use the magnets as a literacy tool is to play the "Name Game" using a magic marker. Do play the game, form letters on a flat magnetic surface that spell out your child's name—stray cookie sheets work great for this. Your child can then match the refrigerator magnets to the letters on the cookie sheet. After your child has mastered his or her own name, you can move on to the names of pets, siblings, and other familiar things. 

You can also write the ABCs down on a cookie sheet or other magnetic surface such as a paint stick covered with magnetic paint so your child can match the letters with magnets. The reason for using something with a magnetic surface is so that you won't have a mess on your hands all over the kitchen floor if something gets knocked over. It also provides a play surface besides the refrigerator so that the children aren't in your way when you're trying to prepare a meal. However, you probably won't want to use a magic marker on your favorite cookie sheet, so pick up a couple at the dollar store to use for alphabet play purposes.

Playing Alphabet Bingo is another option. Little minds love games, so help them learn by creating an alphabet bingo game. Use a magic marker to create bingo cards out of dollar store cookie sheets and print each letter of the alphabet on a small paper square and place them in a bowl. Pull a piece of paper from the bowl and say the letter on it out loud while your child searches the magnetic letters for its match.