Our launching letters activity combines letter learning with science concepts. Build a catapult and then watch the letters fly through the air.
After reading the Unofficial Guide to Learning with LEGO (affiliate link), Aiden (age 6.5) set out to build his own LEGO catapult. Toddler Lily loved playing with the catapults he built. We’ve been working on learning letters with her, so I thought it would be a fun idea to combine the catapults with letter learning. There are lots of ways to build a catapult. For this activity, I stuck with one of the simplest ways using LEGO. Use an axle and wheels as the base. Connect two long pieces together and add another long piece for stability. Finally, build a launching platform. Use caution with LEGO pieces as they are small and can easily be swallowed. Always supervise. If your child still puts things in his mouth, I recommend skipping this activity or using a spoon as a catapult.
I used milk caps as our letters. We have a ton of them and they make great manipulatives.
I had Lily choose a letter. We said the name of the letter and its letter sound. She placed the letter on the catapult and sent it flying.
I also asked her to bring certain letters. Can you find the letter T? What letter makes the /b/ sound? Go get the letter C.
Lily grabbed some animals to add to our activity. She wanted to launch letters at them. This was a great opportunity to work on beginning letter sounds. Zebra starts with the letter Z. Can you launch the Z at the zebra? What does the letter E say? What animal starts with the letter E?
Lily wanted to include herself in the letter matching. She launched an L at Lily. You could also work on name recognition and spelling with this activity. Launch all of the letters in your name!
Add more science to this activity by focusing on the catapult design. How does changing the length of the catapult affect the launch? Where is the best place to attach the axle? Does the size and weight of the launching platform affect anything? How far do the letters fly? Measure them and compare.
More Letter Learning Ideas
- Letter Sounds Race – Practice letter recognition and letter sounds with a fun game that gets kids moving.
- Brown Bear Beginning Letter Sounds Game – Use a favorite book and some props to play this letter sounds game.
- A Water Race to Learn Letters and Numbers – Take letter learning outside with a water game.
For 20 more letter learning ideas, check out my collaborative ebook ABCs and 123s.
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