Learn the Alphabet - Educational Toys
Find some fun and educational toys to help toddlers and preschoolers learn the alphabet. Knowing their letters is a first step towards reading.
With my older son I spent lots of time with him helping him learn his letters and the alphabet, he was very interested and picked things up quickly. We had a few fun toys and games that helped.
My younger son is quite a different child. I think his aptitude is good, but he reacts against actively learning his letters. Toys have been more important in engaging him. If we just start playing with toys that help him learn the alphabet he does really well.
If you make letters part of everyday life for your child then they'll pick them up readily. Note that while you may have learned the names of letters at school, now it's usual for kids to focus on the sounds that letters make using a phonics approach.
An Alphabet Puzzle
We have this Melissa & Doug alphabet puzzle. I like it for quite a few reasons:
- It has both upper and lower case letters together. This helps kids recognize both versions of the same letter.
- It has interesting pictures which make it really easy to talk about letter sounds e.g. 'b' is for bear.
- It's big! Big stuff generally impresses toddlers. My boys both enjoyed the size of this puzzle - it's over 10 feet long when you have put it all together.
- Kids start to notice the order the letters are in in the alphabet train so they are learning the alphabet as well as the individual letters.
Melissa & Doug Alphabet Express Floor Puzzle
These alphabet cookies are just gorgeous! They use lower case letters which is great for learning - kids see lower case letters much more than upper case when learning to read.
The set also includes the instructions and accessories for four fun games to play with the letter cookies.
You get a deck of cards, two spinners and an activity guide as well as 42 brightly colored alphabet cookie letters.
The activities are grading so these cookies will see your child through from learning their letters to early spelling and reading.
Goodie Games - ABC Cookies
Foam Bath Letters
Foam bath letters are another good toy to have around. You can use them in the bath when kids are usually relaxed.
My boys have enjoyed putting together strings of letters and then getting their parents to say their nonsense words. Of course as you're doing this you're sounding out the letters.
You don't have to use foam letters in the bath either. We've had fun just using them on a play table.
The Alex toys bath tub stickers are very snazzy!
Update: It's a couple of days after I first wrote this and my older son (aged 5) is teaching his little brother (aged 3) his letters using foam bath letters!
Alex Toys Abc Stickers For The Tub
Electronic Alphabet Toys
Electronic toys are often good for engaging kids. We've got several of the LeapFrog toys for learning letters and they're very well made with lots of educational knowledge about how kids learn built in.
The LeapFrog Lettersaurus is a fun toy for toddlers aged 1-3 to help them learn their letter names and letter sounds.
Note that learning letter sounds, or phonics, is a key part of how reading is taught today.
This toy has a fun alphabet song to teach kids the alphabet too.
For older kids there's the LeapFrog Letter Discoveries toy which teaches kids phonics using games and music.
This toy is for toddlers aged from 2 upwards.
LeapFrog Letter Discoveries
A DVD is also a good option for teaching kids their letters. The LeapFrog: Letter Factory is very well regarded.
It's a colorful and fun DVD that uses songs to teach kids aged 2 - 5 years their letter sounds.
Kids this age will happy watch the same DVD repeatedly which reinforces the learning.
Note that the DVD teaches with upper case letters which is common in the US. It's a good idea to also have toys that user lower case letters so your child learns both.
LeapFrog: Letter Factory DVD
How did I forget this one! Today my son asked for the alphabet stampers we keep in our craft box, I'd forgotten about them.
He then spent over an hour working on his letters, trying to find the letter that matched the ones he could see in a magazine. He was asking about the ones he didn't recognize.
Afterwards he asked for a pen so he could have a go at writing letters himself.
So yes, letter stamps are a great toy for getting kids interested in learning the alphabet. Toddlers and preschoolers love ink stamps.
This set from Learning Resources uses lower case letters and the stamps are nice and chunky.
Educational Insights Lowercase Jumbo Alphabet Stamps
More Gift Ideas for Toddlers and Preschoolers
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