When you’re teaching letters to young children they can burn out easily. Especially if you try and overwhelm them with too much at once. Not only can that affect a child’s love of learning in general, but it also isn’t always the best way to teach letter recognition to begin with! Instead, plan out letter of the week crafts and worksheets for your at-home preschool learning.
Letter of the week crafts and worksheets
Planning a letter of the week schedule is great for homeschool preschool programs, at-home supplements to school learning, or as fun letter introduction to toddlers. You can pick and choose activities based on your child’s skill level and focus on areas that need work.
It also allows for a slower introduction to letter recognition and letter writing. While you can choose to teach letter recognition in alphabetical order, there are easier ways to introduce the alphabet to young kids.
What order should you teach a child their letters?
When planning out your letter of the week schedule there are better letters to start with first. These are the ones that are easier to write for young children, or that they’re more likely to recognize:
Usually it’s easiest to start with straight lined letters first. That’s L, F, E, H, T, and I, in that order. Once your child has mastered those you can move onto the curved letters U, C, O, Q, G, S, J, D, P, B, R followed finally by ones with slanted lines like K, A, M, N, V, W, X, Y, Z.
Of course, letters on their own don’t have a lot of context to young kids. You could also start with teaching your toddler or preschooler the letters in their name. Another idea is to begin with vowels then work on consonants after.
Start with uppercase letters
When you’re just starting to teach kids their letters it’s best to master the uppercase alphabet first. All these letter of the week crafts and worksheets are uppercase letters to support that. The reason we start with uppercase letters is because they’re usually easy to write for young kids, especially with letters like “a” “e” and g”.
How letter crafts can help with letter recognition
Worksheets are helpful, but they can also get boring. Especially if you have a child who’s on the younger side or who isn’t ready to sit and do work yet. By introducing letters as a letter craft you can turn learning into a fun activity that lets kids be creative.
On top of that, taking the time to do a letter craft also means your toddler or preschooler will be spending more time with that letter and really focusing on its shape.
Finally, letter crafts are perfect for any age. Pre-writers can still complete them and learn letter recognition even before they’re able to print the letters.
Why doing a ‘letter of the week’ is important
Just like with the crafts, a letter of the week plan is designed to have kids spend a lot of time with just one letter. It takes something that’s overwhelming and breaks it down into more manageable pieces. By focusing on just one letter, you can really work on mastering it before moving on to something else.
Letter of the week also gives more opportunities for enrichment. Instead of just learning the letter shape you can also work on letter sounds and identify things that start with that letter. You’ll also have an easy to follow homeschool preschool curriculum for 26 weeks!
How to plan a letter of the week preschool schedule
First of all, plan out what order you want to teach the letters. Some parents like to start with a child’s name before following with the letter order outlined above. By starting with something relatable, kids get encouragement early on that writing can have meaning. It helps to reinforce what they’re doing and why.
Once you have a plan in place, focus on one letter each week. That means getting a letter craft together, planning preschool letter activities like worksheets and games, and structuring your homeschool or evening learning around that letter.
Fun ways you can add your letter of the week to your day
- Food or drinks starting with that letter.
- Cutting fruit, cheese, meat, and so on into your letter of the week.
- Eating letter themed food and looking for your letter of the week (for example, in alphabet soup).
- Listening to alphabet themed kids’ songs.
- Finding books that focus on that letter.
- Collect objects from around the house starting with your letter.
- Look for your letter everywhere you go: on street signs, in flyers, in storybooks, or even things that resemble that letter in nature.
- Have kids create the letter of the week out of different materials like sticks, drawn in sand, with LEGO, and so on.
- Play hide and seek with your letter by hiding it, or objects that start with that letter, around the house for your child to find.
- Talk about the people in your home who have the letter of the week in their name.
If you want to challenge kids who have already mastered their beginning sounds, focus on how their letter of the week sounds in the middle or at the end of words.
Other preschool letter activities
These preschool letter activities would be a great addition to a letter of the week preschool plan or just to do on their own. Even kids who are in another preschool program can benefit from some at-home enrichment activities. Worksheets and other activities are also great for kids to do during school breaks to avoid the ‘summer slide’.
If part of your homeschooling includes ‘work’ time with sit down activities or worksheets then these letter activities will provide a great foundation. Especially if you’re hoping to prepare preschoolers for kindergarten.
Be patient and have fun
Some letters might come easily to kids while they struggle with others. That’s OK! Don’t stress too much if your toddler or preschooler hasn’t mastered each letter by the end of the week. Make a note and revisit that letter later, but keep moving on. Spending too much time with something can make it boring, which makes children less willing to learn.
Children learn at their own pace, so even if you try and teach letters kids might not be ready for them. In that case, focus on fun letter of the week activities that introduce your child to the alphabet and then repeat the program later on when you feel your preschooler is ready.
Letter of the week crafts a – z