I used to think that letter formation should come later on – after learning all of the letters. But the more I research it, the more important I find that learning how letters are formed and tracing is such an integral part of learning letters. Tying in the motion of forming the letter actually helps our brains learn the letters better. It’s all about that multi-sensory approach to learning! With all of this new knowledge, I’ve come up with a few letter formation activities that will help activate the brain and help our little ones learn their letters faster!
Letter Formation Activities
Tracing letters is so important when learning the letters of the alphabet. Adding in that movement creates connections in our brains between what we see and what we feel. Plus, it will help so much when our little ones are asked to pick up those pencils!
So, start at the stars, and have your little ones trace the letters over and over, saying the verbal instructions included on each card.
Since my little one is just beginning to learn her letters, she needs some extra support from me. To do that, I stand behind her and gently guide her finger, saying the verbal instructions that are included on each card.
Also, each card includes initial sound pictures, which not only make them beautiful but provide extra exposure to the letter sounds.
There are so many ways to use these cards. Tracing is always my number one objective, but you can also:
All children learn best when we teach in a multi-sensory way, and skywriting is such an easy way to do that!
First, write the letters you are learning really big on a whiteboard. Then, all you do is have students stand up, point their pointer finger straight out in front of them with their arm fully extended and locked, and write the letter in the air. Make sure students use their whole arm and write big!
Do this at least three times and say the letter out loud. The muscle memory will help transfer the information to the brain, which will come in handy when actually trying to write the letters later on.
Skywriting is a kinesthetic, visual, and auditory activity – perfect for cementing those letters in our brains.
This should be done as a whole group first so that you can model how each letter is formed. Then, you can set up a skywriting station for students to do during centers.
Letter Formation Activity
What can make letter formation practice more fun than driving toy cars over letter roads?
These alphabet road cards are such an exciting activity for our little ones. Each page includes numbers to indicate the pencil strokes along with verbal instructions to aid our visual and auditory learners. Again, making activities multi-sensory is the best way for our little ones to learn.
Rev up your engines and check out these Letter Formation Roads!
Again, we have our Letter Mats, but this time they are paired with play dough.
I cannot say enough how important playing with play dough is! Squeezing, rolling, pressing, pinching – all of these motions help build up the dexterity in our little ones’ hand muscles. Play dough also helps enhance hand-eye coordination. Developing these skills will help with pencil and scissor control later on. Besides, play dough is just plain fun!
We started by rolling out play dough snakes between our hand and the counter, but more advanced kiddos can roll it between their two hands to add in that extra coordination. Then, we used plastic knives to cut each piece to match the length of each letter line. The play dough can also be cut using play dough scissors. Finally, we placed our play dough snakes on top of the letter mats to make each letter. Another great use for these Letter Mats. Check it out here!
Rainbow Roll & write
This next activity is for students who have more advanced fine motor skills. Rainbow Roll & Write is an exciting way to practice letter formation because, well, dice and rainbow markers!
First, I helped my little ones color in the dice on the page according to the color listed below. Then, we got to rolling! Whichever number we rolled showed us which color marker to grab and which section of the rainbow to trace the letter.
My littlest needed support to trace the letters, while my oldest did this all on her own. I just made sure she was forming the letters correctly according to the large letters at the top. Easy and fun!