Now that the weather has been warming up, my oldest son has been spending a lot of time digging in our sandbox. As I watched his face light up with excitement when he discovered a worm, I realized that the sandbox was yet another fabulous spot for helping him learn to recognize letters of the alphabet. This alphabet treasure hunt is perfect for children who are learning the names or sounds of letters as well as little ones who are starting to match upper and lowercase letters.
To play, you’ll need letter cut-outs that you don’t mind getting dirty. I used our stack of magnetic letters but wooden or foam ones would work well too. If your child is still learning the names of letters, choose just a few to hide at a time so that he can focus on learning several letters well before adding more to his to-do list. If your child is working on matching upper and lowercase pairs, be sure that each letter has a match before hiding it.
Once you have your stack of letters ready, hide away. Then invite your child to scoop the sand and hunt for the hidden letters. Each time he finds one, have him repeat its name after you.
Talking about what it looks like helps his brain too. For example, when C found this [m] our conversation sounded like this:
Me: “You found an [m]!”
Me: “The [m] has a line on this side and then two humps. It’s called [m].”
C: “Yeah! It’s [m].”
(Then C threw it quickly to the side and started hurriedly digging in the sand to find his next treasure: an [o].)
When C is older, I will adjust this activity by encouraging him to match the upper and lowercase letters. He will find pairs like these two [L]s.
What other ways do you help your child learn letters? Please share in the comments below.