Prep: None / Activity Time: 5-10 Minutes

Manipulative letters, such as magnetic letters, are important for helping children build letter knowledge at their own pace. They need many chances to play with letters independently and creatively, and practice matching letters before they can name them. This is a fun, active activity where your child will match a magnetic letter to an oversized letter written with sidewalk chalk.

  • sidewalk chalk
  • large magnetic letters

Step 1: Write three to four large uppercase letters on the sidewalk or driveway. You might start with the letters of your child’s name.

Step 2: Give your child one uppercase magnetic letter at a time and tell him to find the letter. Your child can take the magnetic letter and walk around until he finds the matching chalk letter.

Step 3: When your child finds the letter have him do an action or movement that begins with the letter sound. For example, you might say:

You found the letter S. Can you slither like a snake?

You found the letter W.  Can you wiggle like a worm?

Step 4: Give your child another magnetic letter and repeat.  


To make it easier, reduce the number of letters.  Write just 2-3 letters on the sidewalk or driveway.  



To add some challenge, increase the number of choices.  Write your child’s full name on the sidewalk or driveway using an uppercase letter for the first letter and lowercase letters for the rest. Invite your child to look through the uppercase and lowercase magnetic letters and choose the one that matches the first letter in his name. Your child may place the magnetic letter next to the letter written in chalk and then do an action or movement that begins with the letter sound.

Continue with remaining letters.