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Toys and Games That Teach the Alphabet – In this post, I’ve curated a list of games and toys that make learning the alphabet easy and fun for everyone. Note: please check recommended ages and make sure products are appropriate and safe for your little ones.
Bath Letters and Numbers
Foam Bath Letters and Numbers by Little Tykes help you create a literacy-rich learning environment everywhere in your home! They’re a great way to make alphabet learning part of bath-time fun.
Alphabet Bean Bags
Alphabet Bean Bags are a versatile tool for reinforcing alphabet knowledge in a hands-on, kinesthetic way. They come with an activity guide with directions for hands-on alphabet games. Measuring 2.75″ by 2.75″, these felt beanbags are lightweight and easy for young children to handle.
These cute 2″ Alphabet Cookies help reinforce letter recognition and beginning sounds, plus CVC words and vocabulary. They come in a sturdy jar with directions for four different games. You get the full alphabet plus extras of the letters that are used more often. Aside from the games that are included, you could use these for matching games, sorting games and bingo markers!
This Jumbo ABC-123 Play Rug by Melissa & Doug can be used as decor in a kids’ room and as a game! It comes with 36 over-sized double-sided playing cards to match to the letters and numbers on the rug. It’s highly durable with a nonstick rubber backing. Best of all, there’s plenty of room for more than one child to play at a time.
Learning Resources Alphabet Marks The Spot Floor Mat
The Alphabet Marks The Spot Floor Mat is one of the the best ways I’ve found to let kids use gross motor skills and movement to learn the alphabet. It’s perfect for rainy or snowy days. Although the rug above is awesome, this mat is great because it can be stored away when not in use.
Alphabet Soup Sorters offer plenty of opportunities for sorting and matching to learn letters and sounds. Each can holds little cardboard photos of items that start with that letter, plus the letters themselves. These are great for imaginative play as well as more structured activities.
These Alphabet Dinosaurs help kids learn lowercase and uppercase letters while developing fine motor strength and dexterity.
Alphabet Memory Game
This Alphabet Memory Game is a terrific way to build lowercase and uppercase letter recognition and practice letter sounds. Add this to family game night!
Alphabet Go Fish Letter Matching Card Game
Alphabet Go Fish is a classic that every child should play! Add this to family game night for extra practice with letters and sounds.
Alphabet Bingo! Letter Learning Game for Kids
Alphabet Bingo is another classic for your game shelf. Instead of using a “caller” to say letters, this game has players reach into a bag and pull out a letter token, then check for a match.
I love these Alphabet Slap Jack cards for so many reasons. They are the size of a deck of standard playing cards and perfect to drop into your purse or keep in the car. Uppercase and lowercase letters are on separate cards, which adds tons of flexibility in playing games (directions included). The vowel cards feature pictures with the short vowel sound, which is much more useful than the long vowel sound. These are perfect for families on the go!
Melissa & Doug ABC-123 Abacus
The little spinning tiles on this Melissa & Doug ABC-123 Abacus are so appealing to kids. This toy develops hand-eye coordination while providing practice with sounds and uppercase letters.
Sit-to-Stand Alphabet Train
V-tech’s Sit-to-Stand Alphabet Train is designed for your youngest learners, ages 1 to 3. It can be used as a push toy, a riding toy, or for floor play.
Alphabet Phonics Bus
Oh my goodness, my parents gave this LeapFrog Alphabet Phonics Bus to my son 20 years ago! My kids spent endless hours intently pushing those letter buttons to see what sounds they would make. This updated version has four modes – letters, animals, games, and music. Each mode integrates letters and sounds in some way.
Spinning Lights Learning Hippo
Also by Vtech, this Spinning Lights Learning Hippo helps kids learn numbers in addition to the alphabet. Pull the bird “handle” down to learn about letters, sounds, objects, and animals. Press the ABC button to sing along to the alphabet song.
The AlphaPup Toy by Vtech is a classic pull toy for toddlers and preschoolers. When your little one pulls AlphaPup along by the leash, 3 different educational songs play. Push the colorful stripes on AlphaPup’s sweater to hear letters and sounds. This cute toy comes in green or purple/pink.
Also by Melissa & Doug, Alphabet Train Lacing Beads develop fine motor dexterity while helping kids learn letters and sounds. These wooden “beads” can be used for matching, sorting, sequencing and spelling.
Alphabet Wooden Lacing Cards
These Alphabet Wooden Lacing Cards are old fashioned lacing cards themed with alphabet letters and matching images. Each lacing card features an uppercase and lowercase letter on one side with a matching picture on the other. They’re great for exposure to letters and sounds while kids are busy developing fine motor skills and dexterity.
You’re sure to find something on this list that will boost your child’s alphabet knowledge and help create a culture of reading and literacy in your home. What toys or games will your add to your family’s collection? Let me know in the comments!
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365 Days of Gratitude – A Draw and Write Journal for Kids is a great tool for helping children develop a gratitude practice early in life. At the same time, it gives parents a concrete strategy to support the development of reading and writing. Plus, it’s a valuable way to spend quality time together.
The journal is 8.5” by 11” and has 183 pages. This allows it to lie almost flat while your child is drawing and writing. Each two page spread has four spaces for your child to draw and then dictate or write what they are grateful for.
There are so many ways to use our gratitude journal for kids. One easy way is to have your child draw a picture of what they are grateful for. Then, have them dictate a response to fill in the prompt “I am grateful for…” and write it down for them.
Dictation is a great way to model writing for younger children, and develop concepts about print. After you write, be sure to read it back to your child, touching once under each word. If it seems easy and casual and things are going well, ask your child to count how many words are in the sentence. Or, have them show you a particular word that you think they might know, perhaps the name of a sibling or a simple sight word.
Instead of drawing, your child could cut pictures out of a magazine. Or, you can find images online and print them out.
You could also use photos of family vacations and outings, or daily activities like eating dinner or playing outside. Your child will love to express gratitude about family members pictured in photos, or about the various rooms in your house. A fun option is to have your child pose with the item or person they are grateful for, take a digital photo and then print it out.
Instead of having your child dictate, they could fill in the prompt themselves, using their own spelling. Or, you could make it more of a shared task, encouraging your child to ask you when they are unsure about how to spell a word.
Depending upon the age of your child and the amount of time you have to record that day’s entry, you can choose if you want to illustrate with a drawing or a photo, and if you want to have your child dictate or write more independently.
This Draw and Write gratitude journal for kids is undated, so you can start it at any time. The beginning of a new calendar year in January is a great time to start. Or, a child could begin journaling after receiving this as a birthday gift.
For years I’ve created themed gifts based on a specific book, or a specific subject. For instance, I might give a child The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and include a couple of related toys. Or, I might pick three favorite dinosaur books and add a plush dinosaur. One of my favorites was when I chose books for a friend’s two boys, and found matching pillowcases!
With book subscription boxes, I can give themed book gifts to the children in my life, and the giving goes on all year. This also gives me a way to connect with the recipients as the months go by. I like to check in every now and then by email or text to see what books and goodies have arrived. This gives my young reading friends an authentic reason to write, as they dictate to a parent or use budding keyboarding skills to reply.
Giving a book subscription box is a great way to build a child’s personal library, and expose them to new genres and subjects. For a reluctant reader, receiving a box in the mail each month creates a ton of excitement, which often transfers to the books themselves.
Bookroo is geared for kids ages birth to 10. Depending on age, kids receive board books, picture books, or early chapter books, beautifully wrapped. For board books and picture books, the curators of this box are aiming for what they call “hidden” gems, rather than classics. Books are chosen through a rigorous review process which includes input from 12 families with young children.
Older children receive one “hidden gem” early chapter book, and one well-known “classic” early chapter book. Bookroo is a great book subscription box option for families who want some help expanding their library in new directions. $19.95 per month.
Reading Bug Box
The Reading Bug Box offers three options for book subscription boxes for kids. The Baby Bug Box is for ages 0-30 months, and includes three board books each month. The personalized Reading Bug Box is for kids ages 0-13, and includes three or four books based on the recipient’s age, gender, and interests. There is even a Reading Bug Box for 2, a personalized book subscription box for two children at the same address. $19.99 per month.
OwlCrate Jr. is a book subscription box for kids ages 8-12. Each box includes a middle-grade novel, as well as related goodies that are fun and educational. Examples are science or art activity kits, notebooks, bookmarks, writing tools and collectible toys. $27.99 per month.
The Story Box
The Story Box is for younger children, ages 0-6 years old, with three options to choose from. The Board Bookpackage includes two board books each month. The Picture Bookpackage includes two hardcover picture books each month. The Familypackage includes one board book and one picture book.
Books are chosen by a team that includes a speech pathologist. This team looks for books that have attractive illustrations, strong vocabulary, fun story lines, rhyming, and alliteration. A unique feature of these book subscription boxes is a helpful parent guide, with easy tips for supporting children’s speech, language, and pre-literacy skills. $14.99 per month.
Kid Curated Books
Kid Curated Books offers boxes for four age groups ranging from 0-14. Parents provide detailed information about their child’s reading level and preferences, including what types of books to avoid. Parents can provide monthly feedback so that future book choices will better match their child’s needs and interests.
Each shipment contains four books. There’s a 15% discount when you sign up a sibling, and gift cards are available. $34.99 per box, with the option to deliver as often or as seldom as you like.
What I really love about Kid Curated Books is their stand alone book boxes for baby showers, holiday gifts, or birthdays. The baby shower boxes are my favorite. They include a variety of classic books with a matching onesie. Absolutely adorable, and so much easier than trying to track down so many themed items.
There are two STEM boxes for young engineers and scientists, and two “Girl Power” boxes for both younger and older girls. These boxes are beautifully packaged and include a card and a bookmark.
Amazon Prime Book Box
Are you a Prime member? Amazon has added another benefit to its Prime membership. The Amazon Prime Book Box program is set up to send your child either four or two hardback books in each box, at up to a 40% discount from Amazon’s list price.
Age groups are baby-2 years old, ages 3-5, ages 6-8, and ages 9-12. A unique feature is that you can specify delivery every 1, 2 or 3 months. Five days before shipment, Amazon will send you a curated list to choose from, or you can let it be a surprise. $19.99 per box.
STEM Reads Book Club
The STEM Reads Book Club is a monthly book club for children (ages 4-8) who love to learn about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).
Each themed box includes two (or more) handpicked, kid-friendly books, exclusive author notes, engaging learning activities, and fun surprises. Boxes often include new or recently released titles, including some from up-and-coming authors or publishers.
Books are chosen by a team of advisers with advanced STEM degrees and professional experience in science writing and editing. Subscriptions do sell out, so don’t delay if this book subscription box sounds like a good match for your young reader. $34.95 per month.
A book subscription box is a great gift for kids, and a fantastic way for you to support and encourage any young reader in your life. I hope you’ll love them as much as I do!
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