This post was originally written for Quirky Kids Online, to show how the seriously stylish Ida Perle Alphabet Cards could be used as interactive tools for learning.
1. Alphabetical Order. Shuffle the cards and ask your child to put them in alphabetical order. For younger children you can try the activity using a smaller number of cards. For example you may just start with three cards: a, b and c
2. Missing Letter. Lay or display the set of cards in alphabetical order and remove one letter card. Ask your child to identify the missing letter.
3. Alphabet Hunt. Pick a card from the set and explore your house (or the world) looking for objects that start with that letter. Kids will love this activity even more if you give them a camera to take photos of what they find.
4. Letter of the Day. (Or for younger children it could be Letter of the Week). Pick a card from the set and focus on that letter for the day. You may do a number of activities on that day using that letter. See Alphabet Hunt, Word Brainstorm and Tell a Story as examples.
5. Alphabet bingo. Before you begin this game you will need to prepare by cutting out words from newspapers, magazines or old books, or you may write some words on cards. You will also need objects to act as bingo counters.
Each player takes an equal number of cards from the set and lays the cards out in front of them. The number of cards you each have depends on your child’s ability. You may choose to only start with two cards each and build up from there. Each player also has some counters. The words you have prepared are in a pile between the two players.
One at a time, take a word from the pile. If a player sees one of their letters in the word they can place a counter on their letter card. Once a player has counters on all of their cards they call out ‘Alphabet Bingo’ and win the game.
6. Grouping. Work through the set, sorting the cards into different categories. Some examples include Eg. Objects and Actions, Living and Non-living. Brainstorm other categories with your child.
7. Hide and Seek. Choose a card from the set and hide it in the house. Give your child verbal and written clues to help them find the card. The clues should relate to the letter of the card that is hidden. Eg. clues for a hidden ‘c’ card could include: It is somewhere cold/ it is near cheese/
8. I’m thinking of a card. Choose a card from the set. Ensure your child can see all of the cards then give them clues to help them guess which card you are thinking of. Each clue should include a word that beings with the letter on the card.
Eg. There is a girl on the card and her name might be Casey/ She has a pet cat/ The cat’s name is Cutey-pie/ Cutey-Pie likes to play with cricket balls/ Casey is wearing a clip in her hair/ Casey barracks for Carlton Football Club.
9. Word Brainstorm. Pick a card from the set and with your child brainstorm as many words as possible that begin with that letter. You could write the words down for your child and then you could talk about the different sounds that that letter makes. When your child is ready you could try brainstorming words that relate to a particular theme. Eg. If you were brainstorming words starting with ‘c’ that fit the theme ‘food’ you might think of carrot, cake, café, coffee….
10. Tell a Sentence. After brainstorming words that begin with a letter. Try to use as many of those words as possible in a single sentence. The sentence could be sensible or nonsense. This activity is inspired by An A-Z of Pirates.
11. Tell a Story. Pick a card from the set and make up a story that explains the picture. You and your child could take it in turns to tell a story. When your child is ready you could extend the activity by picking up three cards and including all three objects in your story.
12. One card at a time story. Choose a card from the set and begin a sentence with a word that starts with that letter. Choose another card and continue the story with a sentence that begins with the letter on the next card. Continue. An easier variation would be to tell your story with the first word in each sentence starting with the next letter of the alphabet. Ie. Don’t randomly pick cards out from the set. This activity is inspired by Apple Pie ABC
Other alphabet activities
13. Mr. Letter Squiggle
This activity is inspired by Paul Thurlby’s Alphabet.
Your children may not know Mr. Squiggle but I’m sure you do. He was a gorgeous little character, with a pencil as a nose, who could turn any ordinary squiggle into a piece of art.
Draw a letter of the alphabet (it could be lower or upper case) on a piece of paper.
Ask your child to use the letter to make part of a picture.
14. Alphabet Hunt
This activity is inspired by Alphab’art.
Head out on adventure around your house (or the world) looking for the letters of the alphabet.
The letters can be lower or upper case. They could be obvious (within words) or hidden like in Alphab’art.
Kids will love this activity even more if you give them a camera to take photos of what they find.
15. Magazine Hunt/Alphabet Scrapbook
Prepare a book for your child. There should be 26 blank pages in the book. You can attach these pages together using sticky tape, ribbon or a stapler. Label each page with a letter of the alphabet. It is important to use both the lower and upper case versions of each letter.
Give your child a pile of magazines, newspapers or old books.
They can cut out any words or images that interest them and paste them onto the correct page of their book.
16. I went to the shop and I bought a…….
Talk with your child about an imaginary shopping trip you went on. Take it in turns to tell one another what you bought from the shop. Each item you mentioned must begin with the next letter of the alphabet.
Eg. I went to the shop and I bought an apple
Eg. I went to the shop and I bought a ball.