Learning the ABCs (letter names AND letter sounds) is the bedrock for learning how to read. While you can certainly do a lot with just YouTube videos and some homemade supplies, these are the resources that have helped our four children learn their ABCs really really well in a way that revolves around play.
1. Leapfrog Fridge Letters
If you could only buy one thing to help your child learn his or her letters, it should be these Leapfrog Letters! All of our children have enjoyed playing with these letters, learning about letter names and sounds, spelling words, and listening to the sounds and songs that are played.
Below is a video of my daughter Ophelia at 21 months playing with her Leapfrog Fridge Phonics set.
2. ABC Foam Magnet Letters
I love these foam letters because they are durable, fun to handle, and I love there are multiple copies of each letter including upper and lowercase.
You can get also these cute Melissa and Doug wooden letters, but I have had some problems with them peeling apart (especially after they’ve been thrown into the water table or toilet a time or two). I also like using a muffin tin like this for teaching my children how to spell three letter words.
3. ABC Bath Letters
The bath can be kind of boring without a few toys, so why not make it fun and educational with some bath letters? If you’re taking a bath with your little one, this can be a great time to talk about letter name and letter sounds.
You also might like this really great storage caddy to keep them organized and within easy reach during the bath.
4. Leapfrog ABC Toys
Pretty much all Leapfrog ABC toys are great, and this Leapfrog ABC Tablet has been a real favorite.
Below is a video of Ophelia playing with our Leapfrog tablet.
5. VTech ABC Toys
This company makes really great educational toys for small children, and this ABC Apple is something that all of our kids fight over.
6. Preschool Prep Videos
You might also enjoy getting the entire boxed set which has everything your child will need to know about letter names, letter sounds, digraphs, blends, numbers, shapes, colors, and sight words.
7. ABC Puzzles
Puzzles are a great way for toddlers and young children to explore the alphabet in a tactile manner. I really like this Melissa and Doug ABC puzzle because the pegs make it really easy to handle each letter, and I like the pictures associated with each letter too.
This stand up wooden puzzle and this flat wooden puzzle with upper and lowercase letters are great ABC puzzles too. When your child is ready for a more complex puzzle, I love floor puzzles like this giant Eric Carle ABC Floor Puzzle. We also love using our matching pairs puzzle.
This Sesame Street ABC puzzle is also a big favorite toy in our house.
8. ABC Rug
If you have the space for it (and the money), this rug has been one of my favorite purchases ever. The kids love running in circles around it saying the letters, and the solar system in the middle is another great teaching tool.
At 5’4″ x 7’8″, this rectangular rug fits in our homeschool room perfectly, but you can also get a 7’8″ x 10’9″ rectangular rug, a 5’4″ x 7’8″ oval or 7’8″ x 10’9″ oval rug as well. This ABC rug looks really cute too.
9. ABC Posters
All of my kids have loved learning their sign language ABCs, and this ABC sign language poster is a great addition to any room. Check out this great sign language ABC video, and this one, and this one too.
I like having handwriting posters up as well. Here’s the one I like for print, and here’s the one I like for cursive. This ABC “poster” (pictured below) is really cool because each letter is actually a sticker which allows you to get creative about where you put it.
For a more interactive poster, I love using my wall hanging pocket chart with these beginning sound cards. There are many other cards you can get from Smethport that are useful for teaching other skills as well.
10. Robot Letters
These ABC robot letters from Lakeshore Learning have been an absolute favorite with our son Elliot. He has always loved transformers and robots, and these were great for helping him to learn about his letters. We got these for him for his 3rd birthday, and at that time, we had to help him transform the robots. When he was about 4, he was able to transform them on his own.
Okay, so this is really #11, but it is the most amazing resource I have ever come across. Now, you will need a computer, ipad or iphone to access the Starfall website or app, but it is an absolutely amazing resource for teaching children the ABCs and so much more.
People have asked me what I think of other programs such as ABC Mouse, Always Ice Cream, and Clever Dragons, and nothing I have seen or used holds a candle to what Starfall provides. You can play the ABC portion on the website for free, or you can get a home membership for $35/year. You can use your phone, ipad mini, or regular ipad to play the ABC app (for free) which is very easy for little ones to use with the touch screen.
*If you’re looking for more great apps for preschoolers, check out my blog here: Best Teaching Apps for Young Children (Ages 0-6).
Teaching the ABCs is the foundation for learning how to read and these resources in addition to creating an environment conducive to learning have helped all of my children to learn how to read at a young age and have fun doing so! For more information and resources about teaching your child to read, check out my reading program.