I recently picked up some alphabet flashcards in the charity shop for £1.50 so started thinking of different ways to use them to support literacy learning.
There are tons of different ones you can buy but simple alphabet flashcards lend themselves to a whole host of different activities. These activities have been organised from easy to more difficult activities - useful for including younger siblings while helping older ones!
Focus on the shapes of letters on the flashcards and try to recreate them using different materials e.g. lolly sticks or strips of wool. Keep referring back to the original flashcard and pointing out any rounded parts or tails etc.
Choose one letter and put the flashcard in a basket with a few different items that begin with the same letter. Let them explore with the items and older tots and preschoolers may even be able add to the basket. Treasure baskets are a great sensory opportunity for babies and tots, as they're able to explore, experiment and make choices.
Choose two letters and a range of objects. Encourage them to sort the items under each letter. Again, see if they can add items to each letter. Maybe even throw in one or two items that don't belong to either letter and chat about why they don't match with either letter.
Each person needs a grid with nine spaces on (like a noughts and crosses grid) and chooses 9 letters from the alphabet, writing one in each space. Pick a card at random from the flashcards set and ask the child to identify the letter and cross it off on their grid if they have it. You could also use Lego bricks or counters to mark off the letter.
ABC scavenger hunt
Lay the cards out in alphabetical order (this could be an activity in itself!) and set the challenge of finding something around the house or garden that begins with each letter. You may want to add relevant digraphs that your child has been learning, such as sh or ch. Set a timer for more competitive children and address any misconceptions they may have about the spelling of words.
Spelling hide and seek
Give them a picture or object and hide letters around the room. They then have to find the letters to spell the word correctly. If you're not sure which words to use, raid your child's school bag for a spelling book and choose words that they have already been learning at school. Or pick a few words from their current school reading book to use.
Boggle / Countdown
Separate the vowels and consonants in the flashcard set. Ask them to pick 9 cards, using a mixture of vowels and consonants. How many words can they make from the chosen letters in 3 minutes? Don't forget to have a dictionary handy and encourage them to look up a word after each round to check spellings and meanings of words.
On a piece of paper, draw up a 5x5 grid and include four headings along the top, such as noun, adjective, adverb and preposition. Choose 4 flashcards at random and write the letters down the first column (see grid below). Set a timer for 1 minute and see how many boxes they can fill in during this time. Adjust the timer as necessary or change the headings to suit different subjects too.