I am not a flashcard type of mum, but I do like to follow the lead of my children and at the moment my preschooler is showing lots of interest in the letters of the alphabet. We have a fantastic alphabet puzzle that we have been playing with and we also have a number of books which focus on the alphabet.
The preschooler is also keen to have a turn on the computer, so I thought I would combine these two interests and let him play some online games that focus on the letters of the alphabet. Not all of these games are ones that he can do on his own yet, but with some guidance he is beginning to learn the games and become more familiar with the alphabet.
1. Starfall ABC
The Starfall ABC is not actually a game, but is interactive as the preschooler chooses which letter to learn and then follows the prompts to click the arrows. Once the child clicks on the letter the narrator says the letters name and its sound, then shows a picture of an object that starts with that sound and then a little animation.
2. Sesame Street – Letters To Big Bird
Letters To Big Bird requires the child to locate objects that begin with the letter that arrives in Big Bird’s letter box. They only use the name of the letter in this game, as opposed to its phonic sound, so when I am playing with my preschooler, I explain the phonic sound to him and then he can begin finding the objects which match that sound.
3. Letter Sounds
Letter Sounds is basically the reverse of Letters To Big Bird. The preschooler has three letters on the screen and then an object will appear and be named. The preschooler needs to click and drag the object to its matching letter. Before we begin playing I will name and tell the sound of each letter, so he understands what they are. He often needs a little help with the first few, but then can start to use the pictures of the other objects to help him work out where the new object belongs.
This game has three levels that have the same basic activity, but as you move up levels the sounds become more similar so the child needs to really listen to work out where the object belongs, foe example j and g.
4. Fisher Price Phonic Sounds
This Fisher Price Phonics game is a great one to start with. It has three levels “Teach”, “Sound” and “See”, each step just extending the preschooler further. At the Teach level, the child is shown a letter, told its sound and then an item that begins with that letter. They simply left click to move to the next letter. On the next level they need to choose between two sounds and on the See level they need to choose the object that begins with each sound.
5. Picture Match
Picture Match is a more challenging game for a preschooler as it works on five letters at a time. As with previous games, I will practice the sound and point to each letter to familiarise them with what each sounds like. The child then has to click on the letter that is the starting sound of the object that appears. I like that you can choose which letter the child works on and that you can print out their work, so they can then look at this later and we can talk about the sounds again.
6. Alphabet Antics
Alphabet Antics can be found on the British Council website and is a simple game aimed at letter recognition. A monkey climbs a tree and shake off the coconuts. The preschooler needs to click on the coconut which matches the letter on the screen. You can select whether the letters are in lower or upper case.
7. Loosey Goosey Rhymes
I particularly like Loosey Goosey Rhymes as it uses the sounds that letters make in a familiar context for children – nursery rhymes. The preschooler needs to find the letter that is missing. I repeat the word that the letter starts with to my child and then he can move the mouse over the 3 letters to choose which is the right sound.
8. Alphabet Song
The Alphabet Song, is not so much a game, but an interactive teaching tool. After hearing the alphabet song the preschooler can then hit any letter on the keyboard and the letter will then appear on the screen with an animal that begins with this letter. An excellent starting point for preschoolers, although the letters are in upper case. You can click and hear the alphabet song again at any time.
9. Sesame Street – Letter Of The Day
Cute short video introducing the Sesame Street Letter Of The Day. They also have a great selection of videos to play like the African Animal Alphabet.
The Alphablocks game is part of the BBC’s CBeebies website. The video runs through the alphabet first, with each block saying their sound. Then the preschooler clicks on any letter to hear their sound again. Although it sounds quite simple, the animation is great and the letter’s characters are funny so, my preschooler really enjoyed this game, especially letters ‘b’ and ‘d’.