Toddler

Letter Recognition: Language Building Activities for Toddlers

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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!

Letter Recognition: Activities for Toddlers | HerJournalBlog.com

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?

There are four components of learning letters. Your child can progress to the other three components by first completing letter recognition.

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!

1. Magnets

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!

NOTE:

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!

3. Decor

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!

Toddler Milestones

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.

Always,
Samantha <3

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Letter Recognition: Activities for Toddlers | HerJournalBlog.com

First time parent to an incredible little boy residing in Northern California. I hold my M.A. in Education with a Specialization in Culturally Responsive Education. My mission is to consistently provide helpful content for other parents to draw from. Parenthood is ever-changing! I look forward to sharing my experiences with you and hope that my posts are insightful.

42 Comments

  • Jasmine M.

    These are great ways to help toddlers. I used to work for a day care, and story time was probably their favorite. Thanks for sharing!

    • Samantha Flores

      Thanks, Jasmine! I used to work for a daycare as well and definitely agree that story time was their favorite time. I loved pointing to the pictures and words while reading to them to introduce letter recognition skills. Working in a daycare is hard work, but it is rewarding in it’s own ways. What age group did you care for while working in daycare? What kind of letter recognition learning activities did you provide? I’m curious to learn other teacher’s teaching styles. I appreciate your input and thank you for reading!

      • Jasmine M.

        There was a point where I only cared for 2 and 3-year olds, and then I cared for 4 and 5-year olds. Before I left the job to pursue school full time, I cared for 6 and 7-year olds. For the little kids, we did A LOT of story time, and that helped them learn how to recognize certain letters in a word. We also had a CD with alphabet songs that they really loved. They were getting familiar with the sounds that each letter makes. The other thing I remember is playing games where each child had to give a word that starts with the same letter as the name of the person to their left. They liked that game for a little while, but we had to stop playing it because they kept repeating the same words as in previous games. Hope that helps!

  • Brooke wood

    This is helping me so much! As a stay at home mom with a toddler and a newborn, it’s hard to find time for super special activities. These ideas are awesome for easy learning around the house!

    • Samantha Flores

      I’m so glad these activities are inspiring to you, Brooke! It is a challenge to keep your kiddos entertained while incorporating educational opportunities. I do a ton of work from home so providing easy activities for my toddler during the day is critical for my productivity. Letter recognition activities seem to be easy for us to use at the moment. I may attempt more educational opportunities throughout the summer. You are a rock star mama taking care of a toddler and a newborn! Don’t forget to make time for yourself when you can (I know that probably seems laughable right now). I appreciate your input and thank you for reading!

  • Joanna

    The magnet game sounds very entertaining, especially that your toddler discovered them by himself on the fridge, which he found intriguing. Great way to develop his vocabulary and identify letters and animals.

    • Chava

      Toddlers are incredibly teachable! I’m so glad you mentioned that this is not too advanced for kids this young. People would be surprised how much their toddler can learn and, if you start early, what a great foundation will be had!

      • Samantha Flores

        Exactly, Chava! I appreciate you taking notice of that! Toddlers are super sponges and absorb so much in a small amount of time. They are constantly looking to explore. I hope parents see the benefits of incorporating letter recognition activities for their children at this young of an age. The foundation they will lay down for their children will be priceless. I appreciate your input and thank you so much for reading!

    • Samantha Flores

      Thank you, Joanna! I think the colors of the magnets definitely helped in keeping his attention and drawing him in to the activity to begin with. I am hopeful that being aware of letter recognition skills now will benefit his future in reading and writing. Toddlers learn so much at this age, especially the language development part of it. I hope these letter recognition activities are also interesting to other moms to include in their routines as well. Thank you for reading!

  • Robert Johnston

    Lots of great ideas for parents of young ones. Mine are all over the age of 7 now, But I enjoyed reading your post

    • Samantha Flores

      I’m glad you enjoyed reading my post, Robert! I am hopeful to inspire other parents to incorporate letter recognition activities in their little one’s daily routine. Did you have any letter recognition activities you used with your children when they were younger? As a veteran parent, you would be someone I could learn from! My son is not quite two years old yet. Therefore, I’m still new to this parenting journey. I appreciate your input and look forward to learning more!

  • Polly Amora

    I remember when I was a child, my mom used to read books for me. English isn’t my native language so it helped me learned fast. Thank you for these! <3

    • Samantha Flores

      I love hearing about your experience, Polly! Reading is definitely a good way to learn a new language. Just like English, the more you see the words and begin the letter recognition journey, the more you will pick up the language. I hope my son has fond memories of me reading to him as you have fond memories of your mother reading to you. Reading is such a special bonding activity! I appreciate your input and thank you for reading!

  • Janay

    This is a very informative article! I think magnets are good ways to help kids recognize letters and words! I read to my son everyday!

    • Samantha Flores

      Thank you, Janay! I think the colors of the magnets definitely helped in keeping his attention and drawing him in to the activity to begin with. I am hopeful that being aware of letter recognition skills now will benefit his future in reading and writing. Toddlers learn so much at this age, especially the language development part of it. I hope these letter recognition activities are also interesting to other moms to include in their routines as well. Thank you for reading!

    • Samantha Flores

      So good to hear, Nursery Rhymes Girl! I am glad there are more people relating their blogs to children and how caregivers can help children succeed. Children are the future of our world. Therefore, it is important that we provide them with various learning opportunities. Letter recognition activities are such a great start to their reading and writing skills. Without those skills, I fear children would struggle. If you are ever interested in collaborating, I’d be happy to work with you to provide more resources for children! I appreciate your input and thank you for reading!

    • Samantha Flores

      I love hearing your experience, Vanessa! Reading is such a special bonding activity to do with our kiddos. I find that it is the easiest activity to incorporate throughout the day and it helps in various learning aspects in addition to letter recognition. I make sure that my husband and I read to our son everyday to give him that head start in reading, writing, and letter recognition. Does your son have any books that are his favorite? We are always looking to enhance my son’s reading collection. I appreciate your input and thank you for reading!

    • Samantha Flores

      I love when others remember their learning experiences! Thank you for sharing your experience, tingandthings! I am hopeful that my son is able to recall learning activities as well as he grows up. Letter recognition activities that I instill in him now will be beneficial for his reading and writing skills. I appreciate your input and thank you for reading!

    • Samantha Flores

      Thanks so much, Jackline! I am looking forward to introducing number activities in addition to letter recognition activities soon with my son. What kind of number activities have you been successful trying with your daughter? I am a work-from-home mom so keeping my son occupied while learning is crucial for my productivity as well as important for his learning. I appreciate learning from other parents! And thank you for reading!

    • Samantha Flores

      So great to hear of your experience, haroonejaz! I love when others reminisce on special bonding times with their parents. It is my hope that my son also has fond memories of the activities my husband and I do with him. Especially with the reading and letter recognition activities. I really want him to be able to recall his learning while he grows and learns more throughout the years. I appreciate your input and thank you for reading!

    • Samantha Flores

      Thank you, Neil! I think the colors of the magnets definitely helped in keeping his attention and drawing him in to the activity to begin with. I am hopeful that being aware of letter recognition skills now will benefit his future in reading and writing. Toddlers learn so much at this age, especially the language development part of it. I hope these letter recognition activities are also interesting to others to include in their routines as well. Thank you for reading and sharing!

    • Samantha Flores

      Thank you,Piyanka! I think the colors of the magnets definitely helped in keeping his attention and drawing him in to the activity to begin with. I am hopeful that being aware of letter recognition skills now will benefit his future in reading and writing. Toddlers learn so much at this age, especially the language development part of it. I hope these letter recognition activities are also interesting to others to include in their routines as well. Thank you for reading!

    • Samantha Flores

      Thanks, Goldfish an Gin! Reading is such a special bonding activity to do with our kiddos. I find that it is the easiest activity to incorporate throughout the day and it helps in various learning aspects in addition to letter recognition. I make sure that my husband and I read to our son everyday to give him that head start in reading, writing, and letter recognition. I have also been contemplating doing homeschooling with my son when the time comes. He is not quite two years old yet so I have some time to consider. However, I am beginning the research part now so that I can make an informed decision. I appreciate your input and thank you for reading!

    • Samantha Flores

      Thank you, Jm de guzman! I think the colors of the magnets definitely helped in keeping his attention and drawing him in to the activity to begin with. I am hopeful that being aware of letter recognition skills now will benefit his future in reading and writing. Toddlers learn so much at this age, especially the language development part of it. I hope these letter recognition activities work well with your youngest! Please let me know how it goes. Thank you for reading!

    • Samantha Flores

      I love when others remember their learning experiences! Thank you for sharing your experience, Ashli! I am hopeful that my son is able to recall learning activities as well as he grows up. Letter recognition activities that I instill in him now will be beneficial for his reading and writing skills. I know how much you love reading and I’m hopeful my son will be the same when he is older. As long as you can read, you have the key to the world, right? I appreciate your input and thank you for reading!

    • Samantha Flores

      Thank you, Cavansir! I think the colors of the magnets definitely helped in keeping his attention and drawing him in to the activity to begin with. I am hopeful that being aware of letter recognition skills now will benefit his future in reading and writing. Toddlers learn so much at this age, especially the language development part of it. I hope these letter recognition activities are also interesting to others to include in their routines as well. Thank you for reading!

    • Samantha Flores

      Thank you, Shoppers Gossip! Congratulations on the soon-to-be addition to your family! I think the colors of the magnets definitely helped in keeping his attention and drawing him in to the activity to begin with. I am hopeful that being aware of letter recognition skills now will benefit his future in reading and writing. Toddlers learn so much at this age, especially the language development part of it. I hope these letter recognition activities are also interesting to others to include in their routines as well. Thank you for reading!

    • Samantha Flores

      Very true, Sanjota! When being immersed in a language, you pick up many of the sounds and recognition the levels of inflection in the sounds as well. Letter recognition in any language helps in developing those language skills. I hope others find value in this letter recognition post as well! We can easily incorporate so many educational activities for our child each day. I appreciate your input and thank you for reading!

Let me know your thoughts!

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