Teaching kids to match the letters of the alphabet is a pre-cursor skill to learning how to read. Even before a child can state the letter name and sound, they should be able to first match the symbols. Over time, kids will learn to associate that letter with a name and corresponding sound. Learning to blend those sounds together for words is the art of phonics, a crucial skill for reading.
There are several phonics toys that help children with foundational skills for reading, but just learning the letter name isn't always fun or easy for preschoolers.
Drills and flashcards can be a major source of frustration for kids. So, exposing kids to letters indirectly, in a playful yet meaningful way, is crucial to their ease of learning challenging new skills.
Spot it! travel games have been a family favorite for years. Decks of cards fit inside small, metal tins. These tins are lightweight and easy to put in a purse or backpack for play in restaurants, on airplanes, or in the car. Players take turns scanning and looking between 2 cards simultaneously, searching for the match. There is only one picture, letter or number that is the same on both cards. First person to Spot it! wins the card and players move onto the next card. Spot it! games that provide exposure to the alphabet generally include uppercase letters, which are developmentally easier for children to identify and write when they are ready.
Recently, Spot it! has evolved into Disney themed licenses, including Frozen.
Frozen toys and games are flying off the shelves, and in my experience basically anything with Elsa, Anna, Sven and Olaf pictured on it is a fan favorite, sending kids into major shrieks and squeals of excitement.
Disney Frozen Spot it! Alphabet (compare prices) is a perfect game for kids to practice their letter matching and identification without the stress of feeling like it's "work." Aside from learning about the alphabet, this game can be played individually or with a group of people up to 8, so it's a great first game for young children who are learning the social turn taking aspects of game play.
Kids learn many times by exposure. It's not fun to hold up a card and put them on the spot, drilling them on a specific letter one after the other, as parents in my opinion it's best to provide incidental learning opportunities using fun games like this as a learning tool.
Here are a few ways you can comment or gesture to help children learn when playing this game:
- "Hey great job, you matched the letter A!"
- If you spot the letters or shapes before your child that are the same, "Oh I see that the letter B is the same on both cards." Point to the B on one card, then ask, "Can you help me find the B on the other card?"
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.