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“A” is for Activity

Now that you are home trying to teach your preschooler how to learn the alphabet and have figured out that worksheets don’t work. Are you ready to throw in the towel? Don’t give up just yet. We may have an easy solution that your child will love! Have you tried kinesthetic learning?

 Kinesthetic learning is hands on, active, tactile learning. By combining kinesthetic experiences with the alphabet, children can simultaneously learn their letters, make literacy connections, and improve their motor skills. All you need for this lesson is rope and some eager learners!

“A” is for Activity is an active learning lesson featured in www.OPENPhysed.org’s early childhood section. While designed to be a group lesson, you can easily adapt it to use at home with one or two children. The lesson lasts approximately 10 minutes and can be done indoors or outdoors.

This fun alphabet learning game is not only developmentally appropriate but is aligned with early learning standards for preschool

To get started, you and each child will get a rope and put it on the floor at your feet. We use 7’ handleless jump ropes from www.USGames.com. I like these nylon braided ropes because of their bright colors and they are the perfect size for young children to manipulate. I prefer these colored ropes because it allows us to learn color identification as we use the ropes to make our letters.  If you don’t have access to handless ropes, you could use any jump rope you have available as well as string or yarn.

Prior to starting this active learning activity for preschoolers, be sure to review safety issues when using ropes. For example, children should be working at a low level and keeping their ropes on the floor when making letters. Also, be sure spacing between children is safe for the activity.

During this activity, children are encouraged to make any letter of their choosing with their rope on the ground. Once all the children have made a letter, spend some time talking about the letter they chose.

Encourage children to share what letter they made, compare and contrast how many different letters were made, who made upper case letters, who made lower case letters, what letters were the same, and what letters were different. 

Repeat the activity, but this time, call a letter for the children to make. For younger preschoolers you may need to manipulate your rope to create a model of the letter you are asking them to produce. You can further challenge older preschoolers by asking them words that start with the same letter they all just made. 

Another extension activity is to make this ABC learning game a phonemic awareness lesson. Phonemic awareness is a strong predictor of children who experience early reading success. Do this by saying the sound that a letter represents and ask older preschoolers to identify the letter based on the sound they hear.  For example, ask the children to manipulate their ropes to make the letter that represents the /s/ sound. After all of the children have made the letter S, they can take turns leading the group in other sounds that letters represent.  Have any school age children at home? They can manipulate the ropes to create spelling words. 

For decades research has shown that hands-on learning at preschool and kindergarten is best. Personally, I have lead this tactile learning lesson several times at school and each time the kids enjoyed creating their own letters and sharing what letter they made. Ropes are a great kinesthetic learning tool and may just be the solution to keeping your preschooler engaged and active while learning at home.

For more active learning lessons for preschoolers check out Get in Shape or Feed the Hungry Puppy.

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