Alphabet Soup

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Alphabet Soup

My one year old, G, has a special drawer in the kitchen filled with baby-friendly gadgets. There’s an empty bread crumb canister, plastic measuring spoons, a whisk and (his current favorite) a plastic soup ladle. G loves reaching into the drawer, pulling out the ladle and pounding it on the ground over and over again. I am always amazed by how loudly his little arms can make that ladle bang.


The other day, as I watched my little ladle drummer work his magic, I was suddenly inspired. The coveted kitchen tool could be used to make an AMAZING alphabet game. I hurried around the kitchen grabbing supplies for a playful letter recognition activity called “Alphabet Soup”.  It has become my older son’s new favorite learning activity.




  • A soup ladle or large measuring cup.
  • A pot filled with water.
  • A set of alphabet letters. They can be either lowercase or uppercase. I ended up using both.
  • Optional: A set of flashcards to use if your child already knows the names of letters.


To Play


Note: My 2.5 year old loves splashing in water so I was thankful that we played the game outside. You may want to avoid a mess and head outdoors too.


After placing the letters in the water, invite your child to join you.



If your child is just learning the names of letters like my 2.5 year old, ask him to use the ladle and pull out a letter at random. Say the name of the letter he chooses out loud for him and have your child repeat it after you. Continue naming the letters each time that he scoops a new one.


If your child knows the names of letters, show him an alphabet flashcard and have him scoop the matching letter out of the pot.



And if he is already sounding out and writing words, invite your child to ladle 5-7 letters from the pot at a time and try to create words with them like the word “let” in this example:



Join the Conversation


What’s your family’s favorite alphabet book?


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About Malia Hollowell

Malia is a National Board Certified elementary teacher turned stay at home mama to three young kids {4, 2.5 and 5 months}. She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Education {go Stanford!} and spent seven years teaching in a classroom. Since starting Playdough to Plato in 2012, her ideas have been featured in Parenting Magazine, Pinterest's Top Educational Pins and Kiwi Crate.


  1. We do this in the bath and the kids love it. So much fun. (Momma’s Fun World)

  2. What a fun idea! My 2 year old would LOVE this, and my almost 4 would get a kick out of a new alphabet review game!

    Stopping by from Link&Learn

  3. Thanks for stopping by, Kelley! I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed it. :)

  4. So simple and smart, Catherine! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Inspired,. thanks

  6. LOVE this idea! There are so many different things you can do with this! It’d be a great name recognition activity too! Thank you so much for sharing at The Sunday Showcase this week!

  7. Great suggestion!

  8. so fun! I have to this at preschool. I am featuring this on this weekend’s Sunday Showcase. Thanks for sharing with us.

  9. I love this…inventive, fun and educational. My grandchildren love to play in the bath with an assortment of plastic bottles and bowls, making food out of the water. I think they’d enjoy this as well. Thanks for sharing it. Gail (

  10. It’s amazing how creative children are, isn’t it Gail?! I am continually blown away when I watch my boys find new uses for common household objects. Thanks for saying “hello”.

  11. So fun! Is there an alphabet soup book that could compliment the activity? You have so many great games and ideas.

  12. Featuring you this week!

  13. Thank you!!

  14. Thank you, Tulip! Unfortunately, I haven’t found a fantastic alphabet soup book yet but here are a few of my favorite generic alphabet books:

    Alphabet City by Stephen Johnson. Great inspiration for a family trip around town hunting for letters.

    Alphabet Adventure by Audrey Wood. My oldest son loves searching for the missing {i}.

    Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert. Makes great connections between letters and their sounds using food.

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