How to Teach Your Preschooler the Alphabet Through Play

Do you think it is possible for a two year old child to learn the entire alphabet- all of the letters and sounds, out of order- just through play, without ever doing any flash card types of activities?  Well it IS possible!  And today I am going to tell you how one mom did it, just by reading, playing, and singing with her child on a regular basis since birth.

A couple of weeks ago, a mom by the name of Heather contacted me on my HeidiSongs Facebook page and uploaded a cute little video of her children dancing to Alphabet Action, a song from my Letters & Sounds video collection.  She said,

“Hi Heidi!
Thought you would like to see my 2 and a half year old and 1 and a half year old doing their alphabet songs! They love “Ms. Heidi”! I brought my videos home over the summer and they were hooked!  We have to watch the alphabet songs and numbers/shapes at least twice a day!”

I think that Heather’s story is a GREAT one and an awesome testimonial on the power of learning through play in an enriching environment, coupled with an adult that is continually talking with the children about the letters and sounds, and is making an effort to make sure that those letters are all over the house, and reading to the children constantly.  This is totally different than children left to play alone while the caregiver talks on the phone or sits on social media all day, ignoring the children, with the television on in the background.  Children do indeed learn through play, but focused adult interaction is the key.

So I asked Heather if she would share with us how she taught her two year old the alphabet and sounds.  I am sharing her guest blog post with you below, and am sharing any other comments of my own in the italics.  She also was nice enough to supply some photos of her lovely children in action.  Enjoy!

How I Taught My Two Year Old the Alphabet

My two year knows more of his letters and letter sounds than many of the Kindergartners I start teaching every year! As an early childhood educator, I wanted to start early on developing my son’s literacy skills. When practicing letters we have always included the sounds. This past summer I brought home my Heidi Songs Letters and Sounds DVD  (now only available to stream on for my then 2 year old (25 months) son. The first time he watched it was on our trip to Florida and he was hooked!

Since bringing home the DVD’s we watch the letter songs and or number/shape songs everyday (and now the Colors and Shapes DVD) (now only available to stream on! It is something I could put on while I showered or folded some laundry that would keep my boy’s attention and help them learn at the same time. Now my younger son (18 months) begs for “letters” just as much as he does for Mickey to be on TV. He is just beginning to become more interested in learning letters. “Ms. Heidi” is famous in our house!

My husband and I have never sat down and “drilled” letters with our son. We have only ever practiced with him in play situations. We never push him to play these activities and when he loses interest we move onto something else. In the beginning sometimes 2 minutes was all he was interested in.

Here are some examples of activities we do with our children:

1. Sing
Ever since my oldest was born, I sang songs from HeidiSongs, because they were always in my head from singing them with my kindergartner’s everyday at school. I sang the ‘B song’ the most because it is the first letter of his name.

2. Letters Around the House

Around his 1st birthday I started hanging a letter each week around the house in both upper and lowercase, 3 lowercase and 3 uppercase on Post-it Notes. Whenever we went into a room with the letter I always pointed it out to my son. “There’s /a/ /a/ A!” By the end of the week he could say it when I asked him.

3. LeapFrog Letter Factory Phonics

I also bought the LeapFrog Letter Factory Phonics. (Note: This does not have lowercase letters.) This kept his attention for a couple of letters. His favorite one was L and the alphabet song it plays.

4. Environmental Print

In the car we always talk about the signs we see. My oldest son’s favorite store is Kroger (a local grocery store) and he has been able to point out this sign he sees in places we rarely go or driving down the highway since he was about 18 months.

5. Letter Matching

I took an idea I saw on Pinterest and made sun-bleached letter mats for him to match magnet letters to. (This idea is from Pre-K Pages– an excellent resource for all things regarding preschool and pre-k!)

6. Read, Read, Read!

We have book bins on all three floors of our house. If there is a book our boys bring to us to read we stop and read to them. (Let’s be honest, many of the books only take a minute to get through!) We always read before nap and bedtime.

Keeping books in tubs is a GREAT way to organize books for preschoolers!  They can dump them out, to look at them, and it won’t matter!  They can also help to put them away easily.

We are already applying these types of activities to other early learning skills such as rhyming, numbers, shapes and colors. Thank goodness there are HeidiSongs for these concepts, too!

*Heather C. has taught Pre-K for 2 years, 1st grade for 1 year and Kindergarten for the last 7 years.  Her 2 boys at the time of this writing were 2 1/2 years (32 months) and 18 months old. She has a degree in Early Childhood Education, Early Intervention Specialist and a Reading Endorsement.

Thanks to Heather for this guest blog post!


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