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

This post may contain affiliate links.

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!

  • So many fantastic ideas!! Thank you for organizing these activities in one quick list. Pinning it.

  • Great list!!! So comprehensive! We also like to pop around the shape of a bubble wrap letter and to practice writing letters on each others backs and have them guess the letter. 🙂

  • Super list! I will be referring to this a lot. 🙂

  • This is a really helpful list. I’ve pinned it. My youngest loves making letters in mud with a stick.

  • Dalynn McCoy says:

    Wow, what a fantastic list! Pinned!

  • Linsey says:

    This is amazing! I can see us having the kids draw in salt (sugar would be too tempting.) LOL

  • WOW! What a GREAT list of ways to make letters. It is HUGE!! Beth =-)

  • What a fabulous list and resource you have put together for everyone! Thank you for linking up to my Enchanted Thursdays Blog Hop this week!

  • Sadie says:

    What a great list!! Lots of fantastic ideas in one place!

  • Anne says:

    Great list! I am an OT and I use many of these ideas in weekly kindergarten groups. I would add magnets, and small flashlights (keychain lights you have to squeeze are the best) for tracing under the letter – kids react like its magic.

  • RedTedArt says:

    Oh my goodness, what an AMAZING resource!!! Thank you for compiling it for us all.

    Thanks for sharing on Kids Get Crafty!


  • Anonymous says:


  • Kelly says:

    This is a wonderful list! Thank you so much for compiling it! I hope you don’t mind but I copied/pasted/and made a PDF of it to share with my fellow teachers at our little Day Care– unfortunately a lot of them think the only way to practice letters it through worksheets, and I want them to see this list! Thank you!


  • Scott Ertl says:

    Love your awesome ideas! Thanks for all that you do! 🙂

  • M. Danielson says:

    Jackpot! I have a pre -K4 class and I needed different ways to practice our letter formation. This is great. Thank you.

  • MAZNA MAHIR says:


  • S. Waldron says:

    Just came upon this list and am excited to try some with my preschoolers. Thank you for the great ideas!

  • […] Make letters out of Wikki-Stix, play-dough, pipe cleaners, pretzels, LEGOs, or shaving cream. […]

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