Small details and shapes of letters are how we tell letters apart. Letters use straight lines, slant lines and curves in different combinations. Talk with your child about the characteristics of letters to help her learn to distinguish them. In this activity, children will compare letter shapes as they learn the names of letters.
- scraps of paper or sticky notes
- magnetic letters
Step 1: Write the letters of your child’s name, one letter per note, all in uppercase letters. Write each letter three times. So, if your child’s name is Katie, you would have 3 Ks, 3 As, etc. Scatter the notes around the room in random order.
Step 2: Place the uppercase magnetic letters of your child’s name in a small plastic bowl with a large spoon for dipping. Tell your child the name of the letter. You might say:
Let’s play a matching game. This is a bowl of Letter Soup. Katie, use the spoon to scoop one letter out of your soup. You scooped the letter A.
Step 3: Talk about the shape of the letter. Does it have sticks and slant lines, or curves and circles, or some of both? Invite your child to look for the notes that have the same letter written on them. You might say:
Look! The letter A has two slanted lines and a line in the middle. See if you can find some more letter As.
Step 4: As your child finds the letter, repeat the name of the letter. Continue until you have “eaten” all of the letters in the Letter Soup.
To make it easier, provide fewer choices. Start with just the first 2-3 letters of your child’s name.
To add some challenge, include both uppercase and lowercase letters. Use an uppercase letter for the first letter in your child's name and lowercase letters for the rest.