Practice letter recognition and letter sounds with a fun game that gets kids moving. I get commissions for purchases made through affiliate links in this post.
Letter Sounds Race
Clear some open floor space – the more space, the better. Place letter magnets on one side of the room. Place a magnet board or a magnetic pan on the other side of the room. (Our easel has a magnetic dry erase board, so we used that.)
Have your child stand next to the magnet board (opposite side of the room from all of the letters). Explain to your child that you will call out a letter sound and he should run and find the letter. Then, pick up the letter and place it on the magnet board.
Tell your child to run and pick up the letter that says ___. (For example, in a really excited voice say: Ready… set… go pick up the letter that says /b/.)
If your child is just starting to learn letter sounds, try one of these suggestions:
- Call out letters instead of letter sounds. Say: Run and get the letter B. B says /b/. Repeat the sound a few times.
- Ask your child the letter sounds: What sound does the letter B make? Your child answers. Then say: B says /b/. Go get the letter B.
- Mix it up. Ask the letter sounds of letters you know your child knows. Tell her the letter sounds of the ones she doesn’t know yet. Have her repeat the letter sounds to you.
For 20 more ways to learn letters, check out my collaborative ebook ABCs and 123s.
Variations with the Magnet Board
You could also add another learning element with the magnetic white board. Instead of just placing the letter magnets on the board at random (which my son really enjoyed), write letters or words on the board.
Write uppercase letters on the magnetic board. You could write them in alphabetical order or mix them up. Have your child match the letter magnets to the letters on the board.
Write lowercase letters on the magnetic board. Again, you could write them in alphabetical order or mix them up. Have your child match the letter magnets to the letters on the board.
Write words on the board. Make sure you have enough letter magnets to cover the words you choose. I wrote the word ball, but we only had one l. You could have your child run to get each letter individually. For example, say: Let’s spell the word dog. Go get the letter D. Or you could have him get all of the letters at once. Say: Let’s spell the word dog. D-O-G. Go get letters D, O, and G.
Make this about moving as much as possible. Encourage running to get the letters. My son thought this was great fun. He eventually became more interested in matching the letter magnets with the letters in the words and stopped running, but that’s okay, too.
More Ideas for Learning Letters
- Try a name practice letter hunt.
- Pair the colorful magnetic letters with the book, Freight Train, for some color matching and letter practice.
- Make letters with objects in nature.
- Use a train set to help practice letters.
- See all of our activities for learning letters.
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This post was originally published on February 14, 2013.