Alphabet Activities for 2-4 year olds (Free Alphabet Mats)
I thought it might be useful to pull a lot of our letter-activities together into one post, although we didn’t ever focus exclusively on letters. We generally had a theme or unit (astronomy, birds, volcanoes, bears, pirates, princesses and whatever else the kids were interested in at the time…) and we added in these types of activities to supplement whatever else was going on. So, just keep in mind that I pulled these activities out of context.
When my kids were little, we added in a lot of games to learn to recognize the letters, learn the letter sounds and learn the shapes and how to form the various letters. Here’s a glimpse at the kinds of activities we did to keep it fresh and fun!
File Folder Games:
We played lots of matching file folder games. The spider web matching came from a paid website I belonged to called Kidssoup, but the hearts capital-lower case matching came from File Folder Fun.Child Care Land also has lots of free file folder games and other early learning activities.
I purchased a set of sandpaper letters and the kids used them a lot when they were 2-3 years old. It’s a Montessori activity that we did regularly. We got ours from didax.com or you can get them from Montessori stores such as Kidadvance:
Here ED then matched some foam letter stickers to an index card. We usually only focused on a few letters at at time:
Jump on Letters: We did this activity with everything from contact paper in the kitchen to letters written in chalk on the driveway. This active game was a huge hit with all my kids. “Find the “R.” “Go jump on the “K.” You get the idea!
Cereal Box Matching:
ED had to put letters in the correct slot in the cereal box. You can find the alphabet printed out in various themes and I used to do this a lot using websites such as Communication 4 All (look in the literacy area)
I always tried to make learning fun and interactive. Here the girls went on a scavenger hunt to find their letters and then they had to mail them as they told me what letter/letter sound they made:
Drawing Letters in Sand:
For those of you who don’t know much about the Montessori method, I actually sat down with ED and “presented” the activity below to her. I show her each and every step…
- take out the blanket and spread it on the ground
- take the tray with two hands and lift it down and place it on the blanket
- lift up the lid
- sketch the letter in the sand
- mail the letter
- take the sand tray with two hands and shake it back and forth
- repeat until done
- put the tray away
- fold up the blanket
- put the blanket away
I think arming ED with EACH step has really made a big difference to how successful she is at doing the various activities and then repeating them on her own.
We did this in combination with a scavenger hunt and a “mail box” with a slot to mail the letter. We just had a tray of sand and ED had to write the letter before mailing off her letter! I never wound up making more “letters” for her to mail, but if you’re interested in A, B, C, E, L, M, N, O, R or S you can download them free here.
Hands on Activities:
We often fit the letter activities into whatever unit/holiday we were working on/celebrating such as the bird unit or the Shamrock fishing activities below:
An activity after reading Green Eggs and Ham!
Using foam letters and contact paper to create a matching game:
Q-tip painting: As the kids were learning their letters, I tried to change things up for them. Sometimes I brought out Q-tips which they could dip into paint to practice “writing” their letters. Here are some alphabet mats I made that you can download as you need them:
(font licence purchased from Kimberly Geswein Fonts)
Clothes Pin Matching:
Using Clothes Pins to match the letters. These letter matching cards are from Honey at Sunflower Schoolhouse (the link I had doesn’t seem to be working anymore), though it would be easy enough to make with a marker and an index card.
This is something similar from Making Learning Fun – Upper – Lower Case Letter Matching
Here is another cute letter matching activity from Making Learning Fun, Hungry Caterpillar theme:
My kids loved doing the do-a-dot activities (with bingo markers). The ones pictured below are by Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler. Erica developed an entire curriculum around the letters of the alphabet. Here’s an example of her Letter A activities or Letter F Activities. Awesome, right?! We just used a few of these activities and fit them into our units (More about that in another post!!). You can also find do-a-dot letters at Making Learning Fun.
Letter Factory: All three of my kids loved the Letter Factory movies. The tune is catchy and it helped the kids learned the sounds of the letter.
I hope you found a few ideas you can use with your kids! If you found anything useful or have other ideas to share, I’d love to hear from you at our Homeschool Den Facebook page.
Other related posts you might be interested in:
- Preschool at Home: Activities you can do with your 2-4 Year Olds, Fine Motor Skills
- Preschool at Home: Learning Letters
- Preschool at Home: Alphabet Activities
- Preschool at Home: Handwriting
- Preschool at Home: Science for 2-4 Year Olds
- Preschool Montessori: Vertebrate and Invertebrate Study and Free Cards
- Preschool at Home: A Few Math Ideas for the 2 1/2-3 year old crowd
- Preschool Math Activities (K4) Montessori Math and More
- Preschool at Home: Lapbooks
- You might also be interested in the post: Homeschool Preschool Year in Review which was a recap of many of our preschool activities this past year.
- Preschool Geography: Activities for learning about where we live in the world, Montessori world map work and more
- Preschool Geography: Maps and More
- The Seven Continents and World Landmarks
- If your child knows their letter sounds, they may be ready to learn to read. Visit this post, Teach Your Child to Read, for fun ideas that help your child learn to read!