A question I often get with teaching the alphabet is “Where do I start?” “How do I know where to begin?”
Drum roll please…I always recommend beginning with the letters in your child’s name. Of course, it is perfectly fine to talk about other letters. But I recommend explicitly teaching the letters in your child’s name first. With my son, Jackson, I started introducing these letters when he was a year old. This was super play based- I only discussed them or explicitly said what the letter names were if he was showing interest. I had the letters (J A C K S O N) out for him to play if he chose to play with them. As he got older, we played games with these letters. Once he knew the letters in his name, then I began teaching and introducing other letters starting with the letter A. Remember- the goal is always to be play based and fun!
Once I go through the entire alphabet, I have another approach I use to teach the alphabet (I will write more on this in an upcoming blog post).
You have said your child’s name since his/her first day of life and every day since then. This name is very important to your child; it’s their identity. This is the perfect word to begin with when teaching your child the alphabet. We want children to understand letters make words. What better word to begin with than your child’s first name? We don’t teach letters just for isolation purposes. We teach letters so your child can use these letters to make words and eventually learn how to read and write.
What are some good name activities to do with your child?
Some of my favorite and super easy name activities to use with your child are:
Leap Frog Refrigerator Magnets
I bought these for my son when he was a year old. I only put out the letters J A C K S O N (I put the rest of the alphabet away) and he could play with them like he wanted or when he wanted. Sometimes he wanted to play with them during most of his play time, other times he didn’t want to play with them for days. He is 2.5 years old now and still likes to play with them. They are also great for when you are cooking and want your child to be “educationally” occupied (let’s make motherhood easier, shall we?).
All you have to do is print, write your child’s name and cut. Have your child put the puzzle back together.
I recommend having your child say the name after you put the letters back together so he/she knows this is his/her name. I also recommend saying each letter as your child touches and uses them.
Let your child explore these letters. It may take a few times for him/her to get it correct, and that is totally ok! Learning should be fun!
Click below! Free download
N is for Name
This is great for teaching your child the first letter of their first name. It’s fun and, again, a very easy activity that doesn’t require a lot of your end. My goal is to make it as easy as possible for you. Click below! Free download
Remember, the goal for learning at this age is all about fun! Keep it play based as much as possible. Let them take the lead on learning letters. This is not something we want to push on them at this age. It’s incredibly fun to watch toddlers explore their world.