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How to Make Learning the Alphabet Fun for a Five-Year-Old

by Erica Loop

If rote writing exercises and excessive repeating of the ABC's sounds dull to you, imagine how a rambunctious five-year-old views those academic activities. According to PBS Parents, by the close of the kindergarten year most children can read and write the majority of the alphabet. That said, interesting a five-year-old in learning letters takes a pinch of creativity, a dash of imagination and a few entertainingly educational art, movement and dramatic play activities.

Artful ABC's

PBS Parents notes that kindergarten-aged children are in the midst of learning that printed English words move from left to right. Play up this burgeoning knowledge with a linear art project. Give your five-year-old student a long sheet of paper that is at least 5 inches tall and 36 inches wide. Choose a writing tool or art medium to work with, such as colored pencils, crayons, markers, stamps and ink pads, tempera paints or oil pastels. Have the child write the capital letters A through Z across the paper using different colors and/or switching up materials. For example, he can write the letter A in blue colored pencil, B in purple crayon, C in green marker, D in red tempera and E using yellow finger-print paint spots. Young five-year-olds who are inexperienced at writing the letters can trace a pencil outline, use a stencil or try out a letter-shaped stamper.

C Is for Creative Movement

If your five-year-old seems to have an overabundance of energy, it's completely normal for her to find sitting still for long periods of time -- more than 15 minutes -- a challenge. Instead of forcing her to sit and write her letters, get her off of the chair and into an alphabet-themed creative movement activity. Kindergarten and preschool students can learn the shapes of the letters by forming them with their own bodies. For example, Tina can make the first letter of her name by standing straight up and stretching out her arms to the sides.

Alphabet Drama

The dramatic play area isn't just for dressing up like firefighters and princesses. Five-year-olds can try a fun-filled pretend play activity that also introduces the alphabet. Although acting like a letter is a more abstract activity than the typical kindergarten or preschool student can handle, a five-year-old can act like a person or animal that begins with a letter of the alphabet. For example, a kindergartner can buzz around the room like a bee, making a "B for buzz" noise.

Spiced-Up Story Time

Instead of simply reading stories to your five-year-old, get interactive and help the child to feel like he's part of the learning process. Pick a few different picture books that feature the alphabet, such as "Alphabet City" by Stephen Johnson, "Amazon Alphabet" by Martin Jordan or "The Butterfly Alphabet" by Kjell B. Sandved. Have the child pick out the different letters, naming them for himself and then using them in his own alphabet-themed story.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

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