I love Melissa & Doug products, especially their hand-crafted wooden toys. One of our favorites is the magnetic chalk/dry erase board with magnetic letters (and numbers, too!). We got this board when my 4-year old was about 1-year old and we used it all the time with him to teach him his ABCs. We’re now using it to teach JA his ABCs. JA is 16-months old.
A few letters from our original purchase have been lost over the years and many of them are showing signs of wear. Fortunately, Melissa & Doug sell a set of 52 magnetic letters, both upper and lower case, as a separate purchase so we’ve been able to continue with the same board, even if some of the letters are new.
JA gets so excited to see the board with the letters. I usually have him in his high chair when I bring it out. Then we sing the ABCs; JA’s favorite song. He dances and tries to sing along every time. I then point to some of the letters and introduce them by saying “here’s letter (A, B, C, etc.)” and then I give him the letter to explore. Part of the reason we use the board with JA in his high chair is because the letters are somewhat small so I want to be able to closely supervise him when he’s exploring one of the letters.
We also practice the sound of the letter. For example, I’ll point to letter A and say “ah” and then I’ll introduce a word that starts with a, like “apple.” JA loves playing this game and he gets so excited he can hardly stay in his seat. It brings back memories of playing the same letter games with his older brother when he was a toddler. Both of my kids love their letters!
Since this board has brought many hours of joy and learning to our household, I thought I’d share some ways you can use it to teach ABCs to your toddler. (Although, the letter and word game possibilities are really limitless with this board).
Here are 5 ways to teach ABCs to your toddler using magnetic letters:
- Sing the ABC song and point to each letter as you sing it.
- Point out letters and say their names. You can do this in order but you want to also point out letters in random order. This will help your toddler start to identify individual letters on their own.
- Point out the letters and say their sounds. This is always fun. We sometimes sing the song from the Letter Factory when practicing sounds, “the A says ah, the B says buh…”
- Put just a few letters on the board and ask “where is letter __.” Eventually, you can practice this with all of the letters on the board. This is how I knew my older son knew all of his letters and sounds by the time he was 1.5 years old. JA is already starting to recognize letters, too.
- Make words that start with a letter. Put just one letter on the board and say “here is letter B,” and then spell a few words that start with B, like “BAT” or “BET.”
Eventually you can use this board to teach your young readers how to spell words. Your child will also be able to use the dry erase markers or chalk to practice writing letters and words. You can also use it to teach numbers and math! There are so many fun and educational activities you can do with your child with this simple board.
Have fun teaching the ABCs to your toddler!