125+ Ways to Practice Making Letters

 making letters

Here are lots of different ways you and your child can practice making letters!  A lot of the ideas use everyday objects you have around the house, so could basically be considered FREE, or at least very thrifty!  These “making letters” ideas will mostly appeal to the 2-5 year old age group, especially the preschool ages of 3-4 years old.

A lot of these ABC practice ideas can be extended for older children who are working on words in kindergarten and first grade, and can also be adapted for use practicing shapes and numbers as well!  I hope these ideas help you to make learning the alphabet FUN for your little one! 🙂

 making letters

125+ Ways to Practice Making Letters

Use loose parts to build letter shapes.

Use these manipulative materials to construct the actual lines/shapes of the letters.  Obviously some materials are better suited to specific letters than others when it comes to straight and curved lines, so choose according to which letter(s) you are teaching.  Also make sure the loose parts are suitable for your child’s developmental level (i.e. some are choking hazards, sharp, non-edible, or just plain messy).

making letters

Letters made using pretzel sticks


Make letters in a moveable material.

Use a tray, shallow container, or nonporous table top to hold one of the following dry or wet materials for making letters.  Use a finger or utensil to practice drawing the letter(s) in the material.  The substances should leave a void in the shape of whatever letter is drawn.  If you’re worried about a mess, try it outside first!  Here’s an example of a writing tray we made.

making letters





Draw letters in the air.

In the style of a music conductor or an air guitar player, simply construct the letter in the air (…like you just don’t care!  Anybody else got that stuck in their head now or is it just me??)

making letters


  • a finger pointer (like the one pictured above)
  • an unsharpened pencil (unsharpened being key here!!)
  • your finger
  • your nose
  • your elbow
  • your knee
  • your toes (you get the point; silly but fun!)

Decorate a printed letter using loose parts or marks.

Temporarily place or permanently glue loose parts onto a pre-printed or hand-written letter of the alphabet.  Or you can make a mark on the printed letter shape.  It is especially beneficial if the decorative item you use goes along with the letter you’re working on (i.e. feathers onto letter F, buttons onto letter B, cooked spaghetti noodles for letter S, etc.)

Write on creative surfaces. 

Writing on a variety of surfaces helps to expose your child to various textures, and helps to keep the activities fun and fresh!  There are also motor skills benefits to writing on vertical surfaces.
making letters


Use a variety of utensils for writing letters.

Change up the actual devices used to make the marks.  Different writing utensils have varying amounts of friction while writing, so the writing experience can be vastly different between them!  Exposing your child to a variety of writing utensils helps to keep the activities fun and fresh!
making letters


  • pencils
  • crayons, recycled crayons, crayon rocks
  • colored pencils
  • markers — various sizes
  • dry erase markers
  • wet erase markers
  • window crayons
  • window markers
  • paintbrushes
  • fingers (i.e. finger paint)
  • oil pastels
  • chalk
  • sidewalk chalk
  • sticks or shells
    • for writing in mud or wet sand
  • sponges
    • using paint or water, depending on the surface

Trace letters.

Tracing letters helps children learn the letter’s shape and the correct way to write it.  Tracing can be done with fingers or with writing instruments.
making letters
 making letters

What others ways of making letters do you have to add to the list?

Originally published on Aug 14, 2012

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Genny Upton

A former teacher turned stay at home mom to two preschool aged children. Creator (and writer) at In Lieu of Preschool and Parent Teach Play. Currently publishing my first children's picture book!

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