9 Effective Ways to Teach Your Toddler the Alphabet

My guess is the alphabet is probably one of the first things that you will want to teach your children.


It’s essential to know the alphabet, so toddlers/preschoolers can start recognizing letters and learning phonetics.


But teaching your kids the alphabet can be incredibly frustrating!


Trust me; I know first hand how challenging it can be! But I promise if you stick with it and work with your toddler every day, you will see progress!  Below you will see a video of my son working on his skills! 



Here is a list of 9 things to help you teach the alphabet to your toddler! 


1. Play With Alphabet Toys


Do you know that there are 4 ways that people learn?  Those 4 ways are (visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic).


When children are exposed to alphabet toys like puzzles, magnetic letters, or foam letters, it is an excellent opportunity to begin teaching them.


Children can look at the letters, hear you say the name of the letter and physically touch them, which almost hits all of the ways that we learn best (reading and writing will come at a later date for these kiddos).


I have used a variety of different alphabet toys with my kids to help them learn their letters at such a young age. Here are some toys that I recommend.


A. Melissa and Doug See-Inside Alphabet Puzzle


I can honestly say that my son learned his ABC’s with this puzzle!


At the time this short video was taken, he was 16 months old. Below you will find a video of how you can play with this toy to help your toddler learn! 



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B. Melissa and Doug Alphabet Sound Puzzle


Do you have time to sit and play with your toddler all day?


Most likely, the answer is no, we all wish we could, but there are dishes that need to be done and laundry that needs to folded. This puzzle is fantastic because not only does it have the letters but it also makes the phonetic sound for each of the letters!


MD Alphabet Sound Puzzle


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They can still be learning even when you are not right next to them!


It’s suitable for toddlers and preschoolers so they can start connecting the sounds that each letter makes.


C. Sesame Street Elmo’s On the Go Letters


Who doesn’t love Elmo?


Elmo On the Go Letters


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This alphabet toy has the letters that children can manipulate and also includes some of their favorite Sesame Street characters inside once they lift the letter!


*TIP*  It is a little harder for younger ones to try to get the letters in and out, so you may need to be there to help them with this toy until they can pull all the letters out themselves. 


D. LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set

My husband collects magnets from everywhere we travel to and out kids can’t get enough of pulling them off of the refrigerator!


That’s why I knew this toy was going to be a hit for both my kids!


These magnets can stick to the refrigerator, which is fun and engaging for toddlers. It comes with a magnetic bus that kids can press the letter into and it tells them what letter it is and the sound it makes. 


It also says words that begin with each letter and uses the word in a sentence, which is great for preschoolers or kindergartners, which makes this toy worthwhile since it can be used for a couple of years! 




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E. Leapfrog My Own LeapTop


My FAVORITE on the go toy! I had to get two because both my kids wanted their own. 


I keep both of them in the car because it’s a fun toy for them to play with for a few minutes while we are in the car and they get to be learning at the same time! 


There are four functions on the computer for kids to interact with (letters, messages, animal games, and music). You can also personalize the computer by adding your child’s name in it! 


LeapTop Computer


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2. Repetition is Key!


Remember that time when you told your toddler something once, and they remembered it correctly, and you never had to say it to them again?


Yeah, me neither.


When you are trying to teach anyone something new, especially toddlers, repeating the information is crucial. Even though my son knows the alphabet, I still spend at least 10 minutes a day going over it with him, so he remembers the information.


It is exciting and engaging to also present it in different ways to kids so they don’t get bored with the same toy, which I will explain in the next section.


3. Alphabet Learning Activites


There are so many creative and fun ways to help a child learn the alphabet! 


Does your child love blocks? Try writing the letters of the alphabet on the Mega Bloks to get them interested in learning them. Use a dry erase marker and it comes right off with a baby wipe! 


Does the child enjoy painting?  Paint letters on a piece of paper and ask the child which letter is which.  


Does the child like to play in the bathtub? Get foam letters that are made to go in the bathtub and review the letters when it’s bath time!


No matter what the child is into, you can use their interests as an opportunity to help them learn. When I get stuck and can’t think of any fun activities to use for my kids, I use the following two websites to help!


A. Post-It Letter Activity


It’s the easiest to do activities with supplies that you already have at home, right?


Write down an upper/lower case letter on each post-it note. Mix up the letters and ask your child to find a letter. Or, if they are really excited about pulling the post-it notes off the wall, when they pull them off, ask them what letter they have in their hands!


ABC Activity

B. Letter Craft


We recently started doing a letter of the week activity. To do this activity, you just need construction paper and googly eyes!


Every week, you choose a new letter to focus on. You can ask your child if they know a word, animal or object that starts with the letter you are focusing on.


If they are unsure, you can help them out and also make sure to make the phonetic sound of the letter you are working on!


alphabet activity


C. Sand Letter Search

This activity was a hit! Both kids continued to do this activity for a half-hour after they found the first round of letters!


Kinetic Sand Letter Search

You need kinetic sand and magnetic letters to do this activity.


*(The link provided has uppercase, lowercase, and numbers in the container, which I thought was the best deal because you could do this activity for each of these). 


kinetic sand for sensory play

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Ask your kids to search through the container of sand to find letters. They will love because the sand feels SO cool! Once they find a letter, they are to find it on the worksheet and place it on top of its match!




4. Begin With Uppercase


I have noticed that almost all alphabet toys, learning videos, and books use uppercase letters.


Because of this, starting with uppercase letters is the best way to teach your child the alphabet!


Make sure before moving onto lower case letters, that your child knows each uppercase letter, I promise it’ll make it easier for them to learn!


We have these uppercase and lowercase learning locks that are so much fun to play with and work on fine motor skills!


Uppercase and lowercase learning locks


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It can be confusing for kids to hear that a lowercase letter is the same as an uppercase letter, especially if they look nothing alike. It’s important to help them with this activity, so you can explain that they are the same letter! 


If you know about any fun uppercase and lowercase letter toys that have worked for you and your kids, please comment below!


5. Read Letter Books


Each night, we have a routine to at least read 2-3 books with our kids before bedtime. They usually request more too, but that’s probably to prolong having to go to sleep!


Reading is crucial to a child’s development. I don’t know about you, but I feel like each time I am at the pediatrician, they always ask me if I am reading to my kids. That shows me how important it is!


There are SO MANY books to choose from out there that focus on the alphabet and letter recognition. It’s difficult to make a choice!


Here is a list of my kid’s favorites. 


A. My Best Ever: ABC Alphabet Book by Thomas Nelson


B. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Tony DiTerlizzi


C. LMNO Peas by Keith Baker


D. Sesame Street: Elmo’s Word Book by Lori C. Froeb


The Sesame Street: Elmo’s Word Book is my favorite! It has flaps that kids can pick up to see pictures underneath, so it’s interactive, which makes it more memorable for them.


6. Watch Educational Videos


Yes, I know I’m crazy… screen time for toddlers and kids?


We try to limit the amount of screen time that we have at our house. There are times when I have to change the laundry or clean up the giant mess created in the kitchen from painting.


When there are those times that I have to get something done, I do try to put on something educational for the kids to watch.


The current favorites at our house are Super Simple Songs, Bob the Train or Little Baby Bum. These songs/shows are catchy, and they help aid in the learning process.



I’m not saying I allow my kids to watch hours of TV each day, but I do allow them to watch some.


7. Focus On A Few Letters


Wow, I messed this step up when I was first teaching my kids the alphabet!


I started out showing them all the letters of the alphabet and trying to tell them all the letters at one time. I was wrong!


After realizing they weren’t picking up what I was trying to teach them. I tried focusing on only 2-3 letters a day.


This way, it wasn’t so overwhelming.


If you use one of the alphabet toys that I mentioned above or you have your own that works for you, start by showing them A, B and C.


For a few days go over just those letters then add 2 more to that list. Always go over the letters you began with as well to keep that repetition going!


7. Don’t Overdo It


Ever try to sit down and teach your toddler something and all they want to do is play with other toys? 


This happens to all of us!! Toddlers don’t have a very long attention span. There are times throughout the day that are better than others to try to teach them.


There will be times I attempt to work with both my son and daughter, and I can tell they are not interested whatsoever.


If you make them learn when they are not ready to, they will not be eager to learn more the next time. It’s better to wait till they are ready to concentrate for a few minutes so you can get the most out of that time.


8. Don’t Compare Your Child To Others


Do you have friends on social media that brag about how their children are geniuses?


So many parents use social media as a place where they can brag how well their kids are doing at school and how smart they are!


It’s easy to compare what your child is doing with other children their age.


Every child has their own learning process, and they will learn the information when they are ready to!


There is no need to get frustrated or worried that the child is behind if they don’t know their alphabet at 16 months.


Take your time when you are teaching your child and stay positive with them! If you show them that you are frustrated, they will see your frustration and maybe not be as interested in learning.


Final Thoughts and Conclusion


My most important tips for teaching the alphabet are repetition and don’t get frustrated! If you follow these 8 ways to teach your child the alphabet, you are off to a great start on your child’s education!


I would love to help you on your journey to teaching your child the alphabet! Whether you need some creative ideas or you need more helpful suggestions leave a comment below.


If you have any great ideas that you ]would like to share as well on what helped you teach the letters of the alphabet to a child, please share them with us!