Keep your preschooler spellbound with these simple alphabet activities.
Letter Writing Tray: Here's a great way to help your tot get a feel for writing — no paper or pencil required! First, sprinkle a thick layer of cornmeal over the bottom of a rimmed baking sheet, then show her how to write letters with one or two fingers. When she's ready to start over, gently shake the sheet to erase the letters. Store the cornmeal in a ziplock bag when not in use.
Sound Search: Clue your child into phonetics with this educational twist on hide-and-seek. To play, gather up a handful of objects that start with the same letter, such as a banana, boat, boot, and ball. Talk with your little one about the sound that the objects start with (in this case, "buh"), then have her close her eyes while you "hide" them around the room. Now make the sound of the letter ("buh buh buh") and challenge your child to find everything in the room that starts with that sound.
Letter Portraits: Draw a large letter on a piece of paper, then give your child colored pencils or crayons and have her turn the letter into a portrait of something else. A lower-case "m" might become a camel, for example, or an upper-case "B" could change into a butterfly. For extra credit, tell older kids they can draw only objects that start with the letter on the paper.
Alphabet Scramble: Print each of the 26 letters of the alphabet on a separate sticky note and help your child stick the notes on a wall in order. Have her close her eyes, then switch the letters around. When she opens her eyes again, see if she can put the letters back in the right order. (If she needs a hint, try singing a round of the ABC song.) When she's ready for a new challenge, encourage her to place each sticky note on an object whose name starts with the letter, such as "c" on a cabinet or "d" on a doorknob.