Thursday, May 3, 2012

You use WHAT to teach letters!?

Trying to keep Preschoolers interested in learning can be a difficult, but if you use fun games to teach.... learning will be fun too. As a Homeschooling mom, lots of friends and family have asked me what I do or would recommend to teach letters and beginning reading skills to get their kiddos ready for preschool or kindergarten.

*My first answer is always READ books to your kiddos!!!!! Fictional Books-  ABC books, fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and picture books.  Non-Fiction- books about animals, bugs, snakes, butterflies, cars, tractors and any others you find that are age appropriate. Not only is this quality time with Mom or Dad but it also improves their vocabulary and prepares them for reading later.

My son tracing the letter Tt
*Now the first thing I do to teach how to write and recognize letters is  TOSS THE LINED PAPER BACK IN A DRAWER!!! Yes, I'm serious! Preschoolers fine motor skills are still developing and just holding a pencil is new and hard work. Take that stress of staying in the lines away and just play at letter writing to begin with. (Using a pencil should come later after they already recognize and can write a letter in the ways shown below)

*Now with the paper out of the way, have your kiddos trace over-sized letters with their finger. Practice by air writing them....that is simply writing in the air in front of you or tracing it in the sand box. Make the letter out of Play-doh... while they are having playtime and just have them check it out and say what letter it is. These are all great ways to introduce a letter and keep it fun. Don't over do it because they aren't ready for drilling and repetitive writing just yet...

Practicing letters can be fun!!!!
*The Best Way I have found to teach how to write letters and keep them interested is to use SHAVING CREAM!  I know what you are thinking.... you use what to teach letters? Yes, you did read that correctly!  Shaving Cream is it's just fun! Buy a cheap brand... not gel ( I use Barbasol). Cover your table with a plastic table cloth, and spray a decent size pile out. Next smooth in flat and have you kiddos look at a big picture of the letter you have been practicing with them. {I recommend putting the paper in a plastic holder.}  Have them try to write with their finger in the shaving cream. Viola!!! They are training their minds to recognize and to write a letter without the stress of lines or learning to hold a pencil properly.... and the best part, having FUN! (We all know how boring staying in the lines can be!)  Using this type of learning/ play is good for young preschoolers and older kids too. (To learn more about using shaving cream to teach older kids go HERE)  After a few minutes just let them explore all the different things they can draw in the shaving cream, shapes, happy and sad faces, their favorite animals, stick figures of the family...just have fun with it.  Your options are not limited to simply drawing letters, and that is all age appropriate fun and learning together.  *Note shaving cream is messy but wipes easily off smooth surfaces.

*Remember learning should = fun!!! Stressful learning doesn't go well and your kids will just give up or shut you out.... trust me I know this! Finding fun ways to teach isn't always easy but it's definitely worth the effort.

Happy Teaching!!! =)

~Amanda Dunville~ is a homeschooling Mom of 2 children (a 3rd grader and preschooler) who blogs on Coupons and Lesson Plans. She's a second generation homeschooler (she was homeschooled too), and uses a variety of teaching methods including games and obviously, shaving cream to keep learning fun. She loves to coupon, review products and host giveaways as well. If you found this post interesting, you can find more fun and cheap ways to teach and entertain your kiddos on her blog.


  1. I love the shaving cream idea!! So much fun and learning at the same time, great x

  2. My kids love spelling in shaving cream! Once we even used chocolate pudding! It was tasty (and messy)!

    I loved reading this post and I love your advice of "ALWAYS READ BOOKS TO YOUR KIDDOS!"

  3. This is great! LOVE educational posts!!! Sharing!

  4. You make great points...reading is key. Learning should be fun and is everywhere. Homeschooling allows you to use different practices to really teach kids. Great post!


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