125+ Ways to Practice Making Letters

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ways to practice 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 ages 3-4.  A lot of these ideas can be extended for older children who are working on words, and also adapted for use practicing shapes and numbers as well!  Hope these ideas help you to make learning letters FUN for your little one! 🙂

ways to practice making letters

Use manipulatives to build letter shapes:
Use these materials to construct the actual shapes of the letters.

  • Q-tips
  • pipe cleaners
  • pretzel rods
  • Lincoln Logs
  • Zoob set
  • rulers
  • chop sticks
  • skewers
  • toothpicks
  • rubber bands on geoboards
  • pencils
  • pens
  • crayons
  • play dough 
    • homemade is typically easier to mold
  • string cheese
  • blueberries
  • tongue depressors
  • standard unit blocks
  • Lego or Duplo blocks
  • caps from bottles or squeeze pouches you’ve collected
  • Unifix cubes
  • circular, square, or rectangular magnets
  • multiple children/people
    • use their bodies to form into letter shapes
    • take photos from an elevated position
  • cooked or dry spaghetti noodles
  • Tinkertoys
  • twigs and sticks
  • rock collection
  • Wiki Stix or Bendaroos
  • lengths of yarn or ribbon
  • birthday candles
  • matchbox cars or monster trucks
  • dominoes
  • playing cards or index cards
  • strips of card stock or construction paper
  • Cheerios or other circular cereal
  • M&Ms or chocolate morsels
  • pegs in a mosaic board
ways to practice making letters

Draw Letters in:
Use a tray or nonporous table top to hold one of the following materials and use a finger or utensil to practice making the letter in the material.  If you’re worried about a mess, try it outside first.

  • Wet: 
    • fingerpaint or paint
    • shaving cream
    • pudding
    • applesauce
    • any puree or baby food
    • whipped cream
    • icing
    • yogurt
    • hummus
    • small amount of water 
      • We do this often on restaurant tables while we wait for our food!
  • Dry:
    • salt
    • flour / cornmeal / dry pancake mix
    • sand
    • leftover coffee grounds (dry)
ways to practice making letters

Draw Letters in the Air using:
Like a music conductor or an air guitar player, simply construct the letter in the air.

  • a pointer
  • an unsharpened pencil
  • your finger
  • your nose
  • your elbow
  • your knee
  • your toes

Decorate a Printed Letter using:
Temporarily place, permanently glue, or mark onto a pre-printed paper 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
  • dry pasta
  • dry beans
  • glitter
  • stickers
  • gems
  • seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, etc.)
  • bits of scrap paper
  • feathers
  • google eyes
  • bingo chips
  • bingo daubers or Do-a-Dot markers
  • fingerpaint
  • markers
  • crayons
  • colored pencils
  • oil pastels
  • paint and a brush
  • sponges and paint
  • rubber or foam stamps using ink pads or paint
  • small rocks 
  • shells
  • bottle caps
  • foam shapes/stickers
  • pom-poms
  • printed pictures or clip art
  • pictures cut from magazines, catalogs, or junk mail
  • spices or seasoning mixes
    • can possibly mix with a bit of water to use as a paint or use dry
  • dried flowers
  • dried herbs
  • leaves
  • toy cars whose wheels have been dipped in paint
ways to practice making letters

Creative Surfaces for Writing on:
Writing on a variety of surfaces helps to expose your child to various textures, and helps to keep the activities fun and fresh!

  • Magnadoodle
  • Buddha Board (paint with water)
  • Aquadoodle
  • dry erase board
  • chalkboard
    • use chalk
    • use a damp sponge
    • use a paintbrush and water
  • a Ziploc bag with an oozy material inside, somewhat flattened
    • oozy materials: paint, shaving cream, gel, pudding, etc.
  • cardboard box
  • various kinds of paper
    • scrapbooking
    • printer
    • card stock
    • stationary
    • post-it notes
    • index cards
    • cardboard
    • parchment paper
    • wax paper
    • easel roll
    • newsprint
    • construction paper
    • sandpaper
  • plastic sheet protectors
    • use dry erase markers
  • Plexiglas / Acrylic
    • use dry erase markers or window markers/crayons
  • glass
    • windows, picture frames
    • use window markers/crayons
  • an easel
  • rocks
  • cement/concrete/bricks
    • use chalk
  • sand at the beach or lake
  • aluminum foil
ways to practice making letters

Utensils for Writing Letters:
The actual devices used to make the marks.  Exposing your child to a variety of writing utensils helps to keep the activities fun and fresh!

  • 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
ways to practice making letters
Tracing Letters:
Tracing letters helps children learn the letter’s shape and the correct way to write it.
  • sandpaper / tactile letters
  • trace letters on paper
    • using a finger
    • using a writing utensil
  • trace letters printed and put in a sheet protector or Crayola Dry Erase Activity Center using dry erase markers or crayons
  • use toy cars to drive over a large print of the letter
  • Apps — LetterSchool, Handwriting Without Tears: Wet-Dry-Try
  • rainbow write
    • write the letter in one color
    • have your child trace over the letter in another color, and then another, and then another until you have a rainbow of colors
What others ways of practicing letters do you have to add to the list?
ways to practice making letters

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