Why is learning the alphabet for toddlers so important? Many of you may think that’s too early to teach your 1-year-old phonetics, letters or numbers.
In this article, you will get a better understanding of the benefits of early learning and how to incorporate the ABC in your toddler’s routine.
Keep on reading to find out the perfect toys and activities to help you with that.
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Why learning the alphabet is important for toddlers?
The alphabet is very important in any person’s life, but even more VERY important for any child, especially toddlers.
We all know that letters and sounds form words and sentences. That’s how we are able to communicate with one another. This is exactly why it’s important for your toddler as well – that’s how they learn to speak and communicate with others.
The alphabet is the foundation of any language, that’s usually what every person learns first, no matter the language. So this is valid for children as well. The sooner you start introducing letters and sounds, the better.
Don’t forget to make if fun and enjoyable for your child. This way he’ll be more keen to start learning.
When you should teach the ABC?
Wondering when to start introducing the ABC in your child’s life?
The short answer to this is – ASAP!
Learning the alphabet should be one of the top priorities in any child’s life. Sadly, most children begin learning and building their language skills in school. Which is not recommended at all!
These should be introduced before the age of 3. If you have no idea where to start and how to incorporate activities that can help your child learn the ABC, keep on reading for some more inspiration.
How can you help your child learn the alphabet?
There are several ways to do that. In this paragraph, I’ll share with you my top favourite teaching methods.
I recommend having 15 minutes “teaching” sessions where you focus on a particular topic. Similar to classes in school. I think it’s a great idea to keep any child focused on what you are teaching him.
You can easily incorporate these sessions into your routine and he’ll get used to them over time. My son gets really excited when we do these teaching sessions.
- toys – see the next heading for our best teaching toys.
- activities – I have a list of activities for you to try out with your child. Keep on reading to find out.
- books – one of the best tools out there. Help your child be more knowledgeable with the use of books.
- flashcards – another good learning tool. I have some free printable ABC flashcards, ready for you to download. Click here to learn more.
- songs – in my opinion, songs and books are the best ways to learn a language. But songs, are more fun, easy to remember and your toddler will most likely learn the song as well.
- puzzles – there are so many ABC puzzles out there. Great for teaching shapes, letters, numbers and sounds.
Remember that you don’t have to inundate your child with the entire alphabet! Instead, focus on a few at a time. I always like to choose 3 and work from there.
I also have some kind of “technique”.
Like I mentioned earlier, I put in front of him 3 letters, different ones that aren’t similar. You don’t want them to be confusing for your child. The perfect example is M and N. To us may seem totally different, but almost identical for a toddler.
Now you show each letter at a time and say it out loud (phonetically). After that, ask your toddler: “Where is A?” Most probably at first, he won’t know it, but it’s OK to help out and show the letter. It’s all about practice and over time he’ll learn and will point them out.
Example of alphabet & number toys
This list will also include number toys, simply because many of them have numbers too. I guess it’s simpler that way.
*** some of the below are affiliate links
Alphabet Abacus. If you are looking for a neat and tidy learning toy, an abacus is perfect for you. Everything is in its own place, very easy to put away, compared to letter blocks for example. It comes with 36 colourful blocks that will teach your child letters, words and numbers. Buy on Amazon now
Lego Duplo My First Number Train. It’s 3 into 1 if you ask me. On one side your child can develop building skills and on the other side, he can learn numbers. All these while enjoying and experimenting with movement. In this building set, you are going to find a buildable locomotive and three wagons. The figurines are great for imaginative play. Plus the decorated bricks (0-9) that will teach your child numbers and sequences. Buy on Amazon now
Personalised Wooden Letter Train. These are a great way to teach names. It integrates both play and learning, which make everything more fun. I bought one for my son last Christmas and he loves playing with it. When he gets bored, I can easily put it as a decoration in his room. Won’t go to waste. Buy on Esty now
Leapfrog Laptop. I absolutely love this laptop and my son too. It has 4 different modes where your little one can learn and explore more. In the letter mode, your child can listen to phonic letter sounds and a word that begins with that letter. In message mode, your child can pretend that he sends a message to a friend. In games mode, he can learn while playing. This is a little bit advanced for a 1-year-old, but great for later. And finally, in music mode, your child can listen to 16 different songs. In this mode, the keyboard makes lots of different animal or musical instruments sounds. Very interactive. Buy on Amazon now
Munchkin Bath Foam Letters and Numbers. Designed for bath time, but they can be used outside of bath too. We have 2 sets of these – one for bath and one for outside the bath. We play a lot with these. We hide them under pillows or in his ball pit. He finds it very entertaining. Definitely, something to have around your home. Buy on Amazon now
Jacootoys Number Wooden Chunky Puzzle. This is a very nice puzzle for preschoolers, but very helpful for young toddlers as well. It’s one of those pieces that grow with your child. Great for Montessori education as it has countable objects underneath the numbers. If you remove the chunky pieces, your child can practice tracing and how to write them. Buy on Amazon now
Vtech Educational Bus. Very similar to the laptop listed above, but this is a bus. Which makes it even more fun. I can guarantee that any little boy would love this one.
When I bought it to my son, he played with it for an entire day! He just couldn’t get enough of it. Good for speach development, words, phonetics and much more. Highly recommend it! Buy on Amazon now
Melissa & Doug Self-Correcting Alphabet Wooden Puzzle. Another great puzzle for older kids, maybe 2-3 years old. But 1-year-olds can still learn a lot of things while playing with it. The Puzzle comes with 52 wooden pieces – 26 with letters and 26 with images. Your child can match the letter with its corresponding image. The “self-correcting” feature means that each letter can be matched with its pair, so kids can’t match a dog image with letter C for example. Buy on Amazon now
Magnetic Letters & Numbers. This is a fun way to teach letters and numbers. They are very versatile and will last for a really long time. Later on, these are a great tool for spelling, writing and so on. You can pair them up with a magnetic board or keep it simple by using your fridge or washing machine 🙂 Buy on Amazon now
Alphabet Flashcards. Flashcards are an awesome way to teach your child anything. It’s proven to be very effective. So why not introduce them to your toddler as well?
In fact, I made these personalised alphabet printable flashcards for my son. But you can get them too!
Activities for alphabet & number learning
Here are just a few amazing activities and ways to teach letters to your child. For even more inspiration feel free to check out Pinterest. Try searching “alphabet activities” and you will be bombarded with tons and tons of ideas.
- Alphabet matching game
- ABC Colouring pages
- Alphabet worksheets
- Letter magnets
- Alphabet preschool worksheets
- Hide and find letters
Here is a post with 12 amazing alphabet activities for kids.
Best ABC books
Books are very important in any person’s life. But most importantly in a child’s life. I love reading to my son, look through books, learn new words, spot things and many other interesting things.
I wanted to list some of our favourite books here. Books that are particularly teaching letters or numbers.
If you can’t afford new books, I would highly recommend going to the library and borrowing. This is very good for your child as well because he will never be bored with his books. So it’s a win-win.