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Letter recognition for children is crucial to their development and success in their education.
However, what you won’t hear from others is that being a parent and trying to make sure your child is meeting every developmental milestone by “X” number of months or years is EXHAUSTING. Do you ever feel this way?
Recently, I talked to a very good friend of mine. Our children are six months apart so it is interesting to see the developmental milestones they are meeting and what a difference those six months can make.
What I noticed during our nearly hour and a half phone call was that we are both just trying our best at this motherhood thing. We talked about ways we could help our children succeed and meet those developmental milestones, especially with language development.
One of the things we discussed was how to give our toddlers time to learn while also being entertained throughout the day. Therefore, I decided to write about simple activities parents can use to incorporate letter recognition into their toddler’s daily routine. I hope this post helps other parents in their parenting journey!
What is Letter Recognition?
Letter recognition is exactly what it sounds like; the ability to recognize the letters of the alphabet. More specifically, letter recognition is being able to recognize the shape and size of a letter.
Letter recognition is the first step in your child’s reading and literacy journey. Just by taking the time to develop your child’s letter recognition skills, you are setting them up to be able to start naming the letters and noticing what sound each letter makes.
Why is Letter Recognition Important?
In addition, language and literacy development are major domains of early childhood development. It is important to begin developing your child’s language and literacy skills early on to help prepare them for a successful reading journey.
Children who are able to recognize their letters can be more successful in learning the sounds each letter makes. This is especially helpful in the English language given that English often has more than one sound for a letter.
How Can I Easily Incorporate Letter Recognition Activities?
A quick glance at Pinterest can have you filled with so much inspiration on how to incorporate letter recognition learning opportunities for your children.
As a busy mom, I appreciate being able to quickly and easily incorporate learning opportunities into our daily routine. This gives me more time to complete some work-from-home tasks for myself or get things done around the house faster.
It is also fun to improvise on the spot and engage with your toddler in a letter recognition activity! This makes the learning memorable for your child because you are right there by their side. I don’t know about you, but my heart just melts when my son grins at me while engaged in an activity!
I found this was one of the easiest activities for me to include in my son’s daily routine. Placing letter magnets that were at this eye level on the refrigerator caught his attention immediately!
The first day he noticed the magnets, he sat at the base of the refrigerator for half an hour exploring. I made it a point to include letter magnets as well as animal magnets so that we could start associating the letters to the animals. I verbally labeled each letter magnet that he touched or pointed to. Then, I moved an animal magnet over to the corresponding letter.
For example, when my son showed me the letter ‘C,’ I would name the letter. Then I brought over the cow magnet and stuck it next to the letter. I repeated the letter name and told him, “C is for cow.”
At a toddler stage, some might think this kind of expansion is too much for this young of an age. However, after my time working in early childhood education (specifically with toddlers), I can tell you that this age group is a fast learning age group. They pick things up quickly and tend to repeat more.
Because of my experience, I encourage my son to learn more by immersing him in activities that require his little brain to think more.
Since I am a work-from-home mom, there are times when I need my toddler to entertain himself. This magnet activity was a winner in my book!
After our time talking about the magnets, I left my son’s side to continue with work and he explored with the magnets much longer than I had anticipated. This was a win-win for us!
The magnets we used were printer magnetic letters that we made at home using printer magnetic sheets. I wanted to make sure the magnets were safe for my son to use and didn’t pose a choking hazard.
2. Story Time
Another easy way to incorporate some letter recognition time is by simply reading to your toddler. This gets them familiar with letters, words, sentence structure, and language!
Reading to your toddler is one of the best ways to bond and help them establish their language skills. Letter recognition will come through reading the more you engage with them through stories.
Try pointing to the words on the pages as you read aloud to your child. This will help draw their attention to the words and therefore begin the process of having them recognizing letters!
This might seem like an odd activity, but incorporating learning opportunities through your home decor can be helpful. Take a look around your home and notice what letter recognition opportunities you have.
As simple as this may sound, I have my son’s name across the back wall of his bedroom. I used individual letters to spell out his name. In the mornings and before he goes down for bed, we take a look at his name and mention each letter that he sees in his name.
This can be incorporated throughout your home! I’ve seen many home decor options that spell out ‘Family’ or ‘Gather’ or some other kind of word. These could be used in the same way to recognize and point to each letter you and your child see.
4. Everyday Items
Using the items in your pantry and refrigerator are full of language rich opportunities. All of these items are labeled with the names of the products so why not take the opportunity to use them as learning tools?
When you’re making that peanut butter and jelly sandwich, show your child the names of the items.
With the bag of peas that you are going to use for dinner tonight, show your toddler the bag and point to the letters on the bag: P-E-A-S.
These food examples might sound silly. However, your environment is full of rich letter recognition learning opportunities for your toddler. Better yet, these activities don’t cost anything more than what you spent to buy that food item! Budget friendly and educational?! SCORE!
The milestones children are supposed to meet by specific ages can be stressful for parents. This is totally understandable! It feels as though your parenting skills are being judged if your child isn’t doing something by a certain age.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone! Some toddlers meet milestones sooner than others while other toddlers might meet milestones later.
Using budget friendly and easy activities like the ones mentioned in this post can help to integrate more learning opportunities for your child. Whether in your own home or out and about, there are many chances that you can engage with your child in a learning activity.
As always, if you have any concerns about your child’s development, consult your child’s pediatrician.
Which Activities Worked for your Toddler?
Every parent has a different experience and every child is different. Therefore, you may have used an activity that worked better for your child. Share your experiences in the comments below!
How did you incorporate letter recognition in your daily routine? Would you be interested in trying the activities listed in this post? Let me know your thoughts! Your comment could possibly help out another family looking for suggestions.