Learning ABCs - Games and Centers

A-B-C-D-E-F-G, let's learn the alphabet, yippee oh yee! I love teaching the alphabet because the possibilities are endless for ways to introduce and review all of the letters. In fact, I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to Learning ABCs, full of hands-on games and crafts for little learners.

Over the years, I have tried out many of my ABC Pinterest finds, but I want to share with you a few of my favorite games and activities that I have successfully helped my own kiddos learn their ABCs.

First up is my favorite ABC game, "I Have Who Has?" For this game, we use our giant ABC chart. I love, love, love this chart because we use it for so many quick ABC review activities. When I first introduce letters to students, I use this chart by hanging it on my magnetic whiteboard and matching up jumbo magnetic letters onto the chart. So students are familiar with both tools when they learn the "I Have Who Has" game.

I found my chart at Lakeshore Learning Store, however there is a similar one here on Amazon. OR, if you are artistic, you could even make your own version on a large piece of poster board, or just write the ABCs on a whiteboard.
Here's how we play "I Have Who Has:" First, place the ABC poster on the whiteboard, or some type of magnetic board. Then, pass out one magnetic letter to each student (I keep the extra letters with me).

The teacher starts and says, "I have letter ___," and then places that letter on top of the matching letter on the chart. Next, the teacher finishes with, Who has the letter ___?" Whichever student has the letter the teacher asked for holds the letter up and says, "I have the letter____" and comes up to the board, places their matching letter onto the poster. Then the student finishes by saying, "Who has letter ____?" So the student is identifying their matching letter and then calling out another letter from the poster that hasn't yet been matched. This really engages all students, since they have to be paying attention for their letter to be called. The game continues until all the letters are placed on the ABC chart.
NOTE: A quick classroom management tip during this game - Once students have had their turn, I use my Flip Sticks to randomly call on students every two or three "I have who has" turns and and ask them to name a letter that has been placed on the board already, and tell me something they can think of that starts with that letter. This strategy keeps students engaged and thinking about those letter sounds during the entire game. :)

Now, if you don't have an ABC poster, or the magnetic letters, you can use a pocket chart and pocket chart ABC letter/picture cards.
I love using pocket chart cards, too, because for a more challenging version of this game, we play using letters and their sounds.

Fill up the pocket chart with the picture cards only. Then, give each student a letter card and you will have students match the letter to their sound. For example, I would say, "I have the letter that says /a/," and I would place the letter A in the pocket chart next to the apple. Then I would choose another letter and say, "Who has the letter that says /e/?" The student with letter E would hold up their E card and say, "I have the letter E that says /e/," and they would come place their E card next to the egg.
Then, that student continues the game by saying, "Who has the letter that says ____?" This continues until the whole chart is matched up.
You can also use these cards to play "I Have Who Has?" to match capital letters to their lowercase letters. Or, included in my A-Z Pocket Chart Cards are word cards, so you can play to match up the word to the letter or picture card...there are so many fun possibilities!!!

We also love to sing the alphabet song as a quick warm-up during phonics time! I made some alphabet song strips so students can tap each letter as they sing along. These are great for those visual and kinesthetic learners, too, and it really helps to reinforce letter recognition. Just print these out, laminate them for extended use and they're ready to go! If you hole punch them you can store them on a ring for easy access. Here's a free set of capital and lowercase Song Strips for you! :)
Another game we love to play with our letter poster and magnetic letters is "I Spy the Letter." This game not only practices letter recognition, it also is a great tool for introducing positional words.

Here's how we play: Pass out a magnetic letter to each student. Then, the game begins with the teacher saying, "I spy a letter that is between N and P." The student that has O would raise their letter up (raising their letter up is a quick way for you to check that the student actually has the right answer, too). The student with O would come place it on the poster. Then, I would continue the game. "I spy a letter that is to the right of letter D." The student with letter E would hold it up, come place it on the board. The game continues until all the letters are on the board.

You can use letter sounds for this game, too. For example, "I spy a letter that says /f/." The student with letter F would hold it up and come place it on the board. This game is always a hit!

Another tool that I use in small groups or one-on-on, are these Alphabet Letter/Sound Discrimination Cards. I laminate these and keep them on a ring for easy use and storage. Students look at and say the name of each picture on the letter card, and identify which word does NOT start with the given letter sound. This is a great way for students to build their vocabulary as well! These cards are part of my Big Alphabet Activity Book & Center Bundle.
After we play our alphabet games, I love to do some independent practice. So I created Alphabet Activity Books, which students can work through at their own pace. Each activity book provides practice for students recognizing the letter, identifying its sound, writing the letter, and using their fine motor skills with cutting, pasting and coloring. These books are available individually or even better, at a huge discount in the bundle! Here's a free letter A book for you to try out. :-)
Some other fun centers to incorporate ABC practice are these A-Z Sort & Glue, ABC Letter/Sound Match-Up, Dot, Graph & Write, ABC Printing Practice, and the Punch and Write center. You can grab all of these centers at a discount with the BIG Alphabet Activity Bundle (keep reading).
Finally, by popular request, I have put it all together and created the BIG Alphabet Activity Book & Center Bundle at a 50% discount!!!! This bundle includes all of my Alphabet Activity Books, all of my A-Z centers above, the A-Z Pocket Chart Cards, as well as the Letter/Sound Discrimination Cards. You can see the bundle HERE!

Thanks for reading along and I hope teaching the ABCs are as fun for you as they are for me!

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