Letters of the Alphabet Fun with Playdough
Alphabet games with playdough are fun ways to introduce ABC's to early learners. Kids can learn to recognize letters of the alphabet with these simple activities, while strengthening fine motor skills.
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Either one is a perfect go-to for a welcome play time on a rainy day or a quiet afternoon.
In this post, I'll show you how to combine playdough and magnetic letters. With this combination, kids can play matching games, stamping games, hide the letters, and more.
You'll be building literacy experiences just by introducing these simple playdough games.
Playdough and magnetic letters activity
You'll need two materials for these games - playdough, and letters of the alphabet.
There are different ways to prepare the materials. I'll provide options for the clay and the letters.
1. Playdough: homemade or store-bought
Do you keep playdough on hand? If you find it messy, and difficult to clean up, try containing and defining the work space with a large tray or plastic play mat.
Do you prefer store-bought or homemade? Either one can be used for playdough games, and each has its own benefits.
Store-bought dough has the benefit of being ready-made in a variety of vibrant colors.
Homemade playdough can be made as needed and has a healthy shelf life.
If you decide to make playdough, here are two recipes we've used. The outcomes are compared in the post with the recipes.
- This requires hot water so will mean careful supervision as it is being made.
Kids can help make the dough by adding and stirring ingredients, choosing colors, and kneading the dough.
2. Letters: large or small sized
This activity uses magnetic letters - they're durable, easy to clean, brightly colored. But you can use other letters you have on hand such as wooden or foam letters.
An alphabet chart is also a part of the play.
Included in this post is a printable PDF in two sizes: one with large-sized letters and one with smaller-sized letters.
Each chart is printed with the letters of the alphabet in upper case.
Match the size of the letters you use for the activity with the size of the letters on the chart.
- The magnetic letters used in this activity matched well with the chart that has large size letters.
Now you're ready to play!
These activities can be played with just one child, or with several kids at a time.
They can be presented in a sensory bin, on a shelf for independent play, or introduced by the parent or teacher in a small group session.
The materials and games can be altered to suit the requirements of the play time and the space available.
1. Hide the Letters
a) Wrap each letter in playdough. Place the wrapped letters on a tray next to the alphabet chart.
b) Remove the playdough to reveal the letter. Place the letter on the chart.
c) Roll the dough removed from the letter in the palm of your hand to make a small ball. Set aside for Activity 2.
Wrapping and unwrapping the letters, and rolling the dough into small balls, is great fine motor work for kids. In a small group, kids can work together to wrap, and then unwrap, the letters.
2. Stamp the Letters
a) Gently flatten the small balls of play dough from Activity 1 with fingertips. Press a letter of the alphabet onto a playdough pad to make an impression of the letter.
b) Observe and feel the impressions.
c) Arrange the playdough impressions from A to Z.
3. Play a Bingo Game
a) Make a playing card for each participant with four to six letters on each card. Unwrap and identify a letter. Each player looks at his or her card to see if the letter is there. Kids can take turns unwrapping and naming the letter.
b) No time to make playdough? Play the game without playdough, using just the alphabet chart. Place all the letters in a bag or box. Each player draws a letter from the box, identifies and adds to his or her card.
Is this the rainy day or quiet afternoon that you and the kids are inspired to get out the playdough?