Saturday, April 10, 2021

8 Letter Recognition Activities for Toddlers

I began exposing my son to his letters at around 2.5 years old. He isn't the biggest fan of "learning" so I try to make it fun for him so that he doesn't realize he's learning. Today I’m sharing 8 fun toddler-approved activities that helped my son with learning and identifying his letters. The best thing about them are that they are all easy to do and very low prep!

In the very beginning, we just worked on letter matching. This process is important in allowing toddlers to differentiate that letters look different from one another, some have curved shapes and some have straight lines. As he got the hang of matching letters, I began telling him the name for each letter and had him repeat it back to me. For every match he makes, he is now required to say the letter name. We use this same structure for most of the activities below. 

Materials Needed: 

Magnetic dry erase board

Magnetic Letters

Dry erase marker

For this one, just write random letters on the dry erase board. Place magnetic letters along the bottom of the board. As your toddler chooses a letter, tell them the letter name and encourage them to find the matching letter on the board. Have them place the magnetic letter over the written letters.

*Try to stay away from using letters that look the same in the beginning (b/d, p/q).

Once your kiddo is done, you can start all over with new letters :)


My son is obsessed with dinosaurs, so I created this printable to encourage him to work on learning his letters. 

Materials Needed:

Flat dish

Rice (you could substitute with oatmeal)
Dinosaur letter cards
Dinosaur letter mat

I had my son dig through the rice to uncover letters. He pulled the letter out, I told him the letter name, had him repeat, then he found the match on the board. We continued this process. We’ve also switched it up by letting him use a paintbrush to brush away the rice. 

This one was definitely a hit! I stocked up on a TON of Easter Eggs one year after Easter was done and got them for like 10 cents a bag (or something crazy cheap like that). So I have eggs on hand all the time and use them for tons of activities.

I filled the eggs up with the dino letter cards (same as the above activity) and hid them around the house. Little man went hunting for one egg at a time, opened it, then placed it on the letter board.

As always, as he opened the egg,  he was required to say the letter name and then place it on the board.  For the letters he wasn't sure of, or if he made a mistake, I would just tell him. 

Grab a paper towel roll, write letters randomly throughout the roll. Get the dot stickers (purchased here from Amazon) and write the corresponding letter. Have them match it up by placing the sticker over the letter on the roll. You could also extend this (and all other activities) by having them match the lower case with upper case letters. As you can see- this is one our earlier activities.

It's also great for their fine motor skills, peeling off those stickers can be tricky!

This specific one was to help him learn the letters in his name. I just printed out giant letters on cardstock paper and taped them to the wall.

I used letter stickers that I already had and also hand wrote a bunch of the letters for his name on the dot sticker sheets. I cut off a section of the dot stickers and hand them to him, he uses what he has and matches up the letters on the stickers to the letters in his name.

In this video, we were practicing the letters in his name but it could be used to work on any letter of the alphabet! Whatever you choose to work on, us sidewalk chalk to write the letters out. Call out a letter and have your child shoot the letter with a water gun. 

I also showed my son how to shuffle, so had him practice that as well lol.

Another obsession of my little on is CARS. He has a million little cars and can play with them for hours. I used the same Amazon dot stickers and wrote letters on each car. I picked up this painting roll paper from TJ Maxx, but they have them here on Amazon, too. I drew out little rectangular garages and wrote the letters of the alphabet. I used construction paper to make little roads. 

I threw all of the cars into a bin and left this out for him to discover. As soon as he laid his eyes on it he immediately ran over. He picked up his cars, noticed the letters on them and began looking at the mat. I told him that they were "letter garages" and he had to find the right garage for each car and park the car in there.

Little man had a total blast driving his cars down the road and parking them in the garage.

I have my son trace the letters on each sheet before starting. Then, I read him the "secret mission". I remind him that he will be looking for the big and little letters.

My son is working on coloring in the lines, so I have him color in the squares. If your child is a little younger, they could also use stickers to cover each letter.

As he finds the letter, he will color it and say the letter name out loud. This helps him to remember what each letter looks like as well as the name associated with that letter.

Once my son has completed the mission, we will take out a toy animal (if we have it) or he will use his fingers and walk along the path he just colored. We do this to make sure that it is a "complete" path and that he has successfully completed the mission.

Finally, I will have him count how many "steps" it took to get the animal to where it needed to go.

If you want to follow along on my little man's learning journey, be sure to follow me on Instagram! I'm always posting stories about the learning activities my son and I do together. You can also catch old activities on my highlight reel #teachatoddler!

I hope that you were able to find something fun for your little one to help them learn their letters. If you try any of these activities, I'd love if you share with me by tagging me on Instagram @teachinginparadise

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