Accidental Hipster Teacher

Teaching Your Child to Read & Write: Fun Activities for Your Target Letter

Here are a few fun ideas that can be used to help reinforce any letter sound. (Remember to use the letter sound, not the letter name. If your child already knows the letter name make sure he knows that each letter has both a name and a sound and today you’re concentrating on its sound.)

Make a play dough letter

Draw a large version of the target letter on a piece of A4 card or paper attached to a clipboard. Show your child how to roll a long thin strand of play dough and lay this on top of your letter. (Remembering to start at the same place he’d start if he were writing the letter and continue from there.).

Dig for Treasure

Teaching Your Child to Read & Write: Fun Activities for Your Target Letter

You need a sand tray and some plastic letters. Bury several identical plastic letters in the sand. Also bury some small objects beginning with that particular letter sound. Ask your child to dig for hidden ‘treasure,’ reminding him of the letter sound each time he finds a piece of treasure or a letter. ‘Another ‘b’… and another!  And now you’ve found a b-b-b-boat. And a bottle and a b-b-b-banana!

You’ll struggle to find enough small objects for some of the letters. But it’s a good activity for the following:  ‘s’ (soap, scissors, sandal, sunglasses, sock, plastic number six, plastic sausage) and ‘b’ (brush, brick, boat, belt, book, ball, bottle, buttons, beads, bow, bucket, banana, baked beans (in their tin) and ‘c’ (car, cube, conker, carrot, crayon, candle, cup, comb, crayon, cap, toy cow.)  p’ peg, pencil, penny, postcard, potato, toy pan, puppet, poppy, pen, pear, padlock, plastic pig.

Feely bag

Place the objects in a drawstring bag or a box covered with a towel. Ask your child to reach into the bag, feel one of the items and name it without peeping. (Remind him of the sound they all begin with.) Then let him pull it out to see if he was right.


Display a few objects beginning with your target letter. (Dot them prominently around your living room.) Play the traditional I-spy game but give clues. Eg ‘I spy with my little eye something beginning with ‘sssss’ that we use when we get washed.’ (Remember to use the sound not the letter name.)

Hidden objects

On a different day hide the objects (the same ones you used for the I-spy game) around the room in easy hiding places. Ask your child if he can find some things that begin with the target sound. (Tell him how many there are and you can make this a counting activity too. Preschool children might only have the patience to look for 3 or 4) Tell him to look under, inside or behind different things in your room. Have a small part of the object poking out to make the activity easier.

Letter rubbings

Teaching Your Child to Read & Write: Fun Activities for Your Target Letter

Cut a large lower case version of your target letter out of a thin piece of A4 card. (If you google ‘free printables lower case’ for the letter you plan to use, and click on’ images’, you should be able to find a suitable letter shape to print out).  Glue it on to another sheet of card.)  Let the glue dry then use paper clips to fasten a thin piece of white A4 paper over it. Help your child to use a thick black wax crayon (peel off any paper and turn the crayon on its side) to make a rubbing. He might enjoy doing more rubbings using different coloured wax crayons but the black is the clearest.

Wax resist painting

Teaching Your Child to Read & Write: Fun Activities for Your Target Letter

On a sheet of white cartridge paper, use a thick, white wax crayon, oil pastel, or plain wax candle and write your chosen letter quite large, pressing on very hard. Mix up some dark coloured watery paint (experiment beforehand to get the right mix of water and paint) and ask your child to paint over the page using a large brush. The wax will resist the paint and the letter will magically appear. Can he recognise the sound? (The darker the colour, the more vivid the picture will be.)

Chalk on concrete

Teaching Your Child to Read & Write: Fun Activities for Your Target Letter

Show him how to chalk the letter outside, really large, on a concrete path. Have him go over it with the chalk several times so it’s nice and thick and clear. (You might have to help) Then he might like to place pebbles, small twigs or flowers along the chalk line, or even a line of toy cars. (Adding small objects helps fix the letter shape in his mind.) Then you could photograph it for your sound scrapbook .


Teaching Your Child to Read by Using Letter Sounds


Teaching Your Child to Read & Write: Fun Activities for Your Target Letter

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