Preschool Alphabet Activities
Preschool is the perfect time for little learners to learn letters and letter sounds. But not just any letter activities will do. Preschool alphabet activities need to be hands-on for the greatest impact. And some of my favorite hands on literacy tools are magnetic letters. Letter magnets are affordable and easy to find. Chances are you already own a few sets! They also provide a great way for preschoolers to observe the attributes of letters and notice similarities and differences between different letters.
There are so many amazing learning activities you can plan with ABC magnets. Here are 9 of the best alphabet activities using magnetic letters! You probably already have most of these materials in your classroom. In case you don’t, I’m including Amazon Affiliate links for your shopping convenience!
1. ABC Sensory Bin
Place magnetic letters in your sensory bin along with a filler material like colored rice or sand. Provide students with magnet wands and let them search for and find the letters using the wand. Add a laminated “Seek and Find” page to the center for students to place each letter as they find it.
2. Alphabet Soup
Fill a plastic tub with water. Place magnetic letters in the water and provide a slotted spoon for students to stir the water and scoop up a letter. As students retrieve a letter, have them name the letter and letter sound. Then, have them place it on a laminated Alphabet Soup letter mat.
3. Alphabet Fishing
Put magnetic letters in a box. You can decorate the outside of the box like an ocean or lake if you like. Or, use a plastic fish bowl to make the game even more realistic. Attach a string with a magnet on the end to a wooden dowel rod. You can even purchase a magnetic fishing pole. Let students “fish” for a letter. When they catch the letter, have them place it on a letter mat. Be sure your laminate the mat for durability so students can use it again and again.
4. Name Kits
Write a student’s name on a sentence strip. Select the magnet letters needed to spell their name. Place the strip and the letters in a zip up pencil pouch and send home for students to practice spelling their name on the fridge. To add more challenge, add some extra letters into the bag so students have to choose which letters they’ll need to form their name. This activity makes great hands-on homework for little learners who actually think homework is fun and are begging you to send them some home. (I found this particular pouch at the Dollar Tree in the school supplies section. It has magnets on the back of the pouch so it can be stored on the fridge.)
5. Letter Sorting Mats
Another fun alphabet activity using magnetic letters includes letter sorting. Print out letter sorting mats and laminate them. Provide students with a bowl of magnetic letters. Have them choose a mat and follow the sorting directions on it to sort the letters. Here are some of the ways they can sort the letters:
- Short Letters / Tall Letters
- Letter with a Tail / Letters without a Tail
- Letters with Holes / Letters without Holes
- Letters with Straight Lines / Letters with Curves
- Letters with Vertical Lines / Letters with Horizontal Lines
- Letters in my Name / Letters not in my Name
- Matching Uppercase with Lowercase Letters
- Matching Letters with Sounds Using Pictures
More Alphabet Activities using Magnetic Letters
6. Paint Stick Word Wands
Stick magnetic tape to a paint stick. Laminate some word cards, and encourage students to use the letter magnets to spell out each word on a paint stick by copying the word cards. Choose word cards that fit with your current theme. This is a great way to expose children to vocabulary. Be sure to include a picture cue on the vocabulary card to help children realize what word they’re “reading and spelling!”
7. Trace a Letter
Let students choose a magnetic letter and trace it on a piece of construction paper. Or, give them the letters in their name and have them trace each magnet to spell their name. Colored pencils work great for this activity. Students can even go back and color or decorate the traced letters on their paper.
8. Feel a Letter
Place magnetic letters in a paper bag. Have students reach in and feel a letter without looking. See if they can determine what letter it is based on the attributes they feel. Ask guiding questions if needed. Do you feel a tail? Are there any holes in the letter? Are there straight lines or curves? This is a great activity to help students become aware of the similarities and differences in letters.
9. Lunch Box Letters
Get a metal lunch box. Add vocabulary picture cards and magnetic letters. Students choose a card and use the letter magnets to spell that word by sticking the letters to the side of the magnetic lunch box. You can even add a magnetic clip to the lunch box to hold the word card while students use it. You can often find cheap vintage metal lunch boxes at thrift stores!
How to Differentiate
Magnetic letter activities are easy to differentiate based on your students’ needs and abilities. For students who are struggling with letter recognition, only give them a few letters at a time to work with instead of providing the entire alphabet. For students who are ready for a challenge, you could have them fish for capital letters and try to match them to a lower case letter mat, or vice versa. Trace a letter is perfect for struggling students, while feel a letter works better for your more proficient letter learners. There are many ways to make these activities work for a variety of children. And the activities can work for small groups or independent center time as well!
Tools You May Need for These Activities
Ready to try these fun, hands-on letter magnet activities in your classroom? You probably have *most* if not all of these materials on hand in your classroom already. In case you don’t, I’ve included an Amazon Shopping list below with affiliate links for your shopping convenience.
- Magnetic Letters (I suggest one set per 2-3 children)
- Magnet Tape
- Colored Rice (in case you don’t feel like making your own!)
- Magnet Wands
- Metal Lunch Box
- Paint Sticks (FREE at the paint store–just ask!)
- Zipper Pencil Pouch
- Brown paper bag – (FREE at the grocery store–just ask!)
- Colored Pencils
Printable Packet to Help You Get Started
Love these alphabet activities using magnetic letters but don’t want to reinvent the wheel? I’ve created all the printables you’ll need to complete these fun letter magnet activities in your own preschool or kindergarten classroom. Simply print the pages on colorful paper, laminate for durability, and add your letter magnets to the printables. This will easily become one of your most visited literacy centers. You can purchase the printable packet by clicking the image below.
Looking for more ways to teach the alphabet? Check out these ideas!
Please pin this post!