Preschool in a Minute
Cookie Sheet Letter Matching
One activity you can do with your preschooler in 1-5 minutes with something you may have in your home or easily get from the dollar store! That’s it! Preschool in a Minute!
Most of us have magnetic letters for our preschoolers, but often they hang out on the refrigerator door (or floor as they did at our house for a season!) and that is the only use they get. Well, here is another way to use those great learning tools!
Activity: Cookie Sheet Letter Matching
Materials: A full set of upper case or lower case magnetic letters (these can be found at the dollar store), a cookie sheet (used or new from dollar store), a bowl to hold the letters, and a printout sheet of letters from here or make your own!
Prep Time: Time to gather all magnetic letters, cookie sheet, and print out alphabet sheets here.
Why I Love This Activity: There are several reasons this is a GREAT activity for your little one.
It helps develop identification of upper and lowercase letters.
It helps with fine motor coordination to pick up the item and put it down where it belongs.
It can travel with you and be used in the car or at visits and appointments. Because it is magnetic, the pieces do not fall off as easily. If you are concerned about using it in the car, just pack it for when you reach your destination.
Age Level: 3 and up (you can try it with younger ones if you feel they are ready)
Attention Span: 3-5 minutes at first, but as you do these over time, you can see their interest grow and you can move to the next level of interest.
Place the letters in a bowl next to or above the cookie sheet.
Put the paper on the cookie sheet and talk about matching the letters.
Choose the first letter and talk about what it looks like and where it might be on the sheet. Be sure you are using the paper that has the same letters (upper or lower case) as the magnets. Children are going to identify the same things first.
Continue matching letters until your child loses interest or you are finished.
Matching Upper to Lowercase – As you continue working with the letters and your child is learning lowercase, put out the uppercase magnetic letters with the lowercase sheet to challenge them. When my son did the uppercase matching sheet quickly, I knew it was time to change over to the lowercase. Don’t worry how fast or slow your child goes. Look for accuracy.
Practice Letter Sounds – As you match the letters, talk about the sound each letter makes and a word that starts with it. For example, when matching B to B say, “B says buh” like in Bubble! Next time you blow bubbles together, remind her of the B sound. Tying all of these things together helps it to become more natural rather than taught specifically.
Sight Words – As your child starts recognizing that sounds make words, bring out one of the sight word sheets (or make your own!) here. Sight words are common words in books that children may see. They are usually short. Even if your child is not reading, he can work on these sheets because, again, they are matching letters to letters. Soon, your little one can form words. It may be some time before he can read them, but it is a good practice to have them “make words.” Print out sight word sheets here.
Using Numbers - This variation works on numbers and number words. You can download sheets here that give spaces to match numbers with the number words. Your child doesn’t need to read because in the beginning you can read the words to them. As you read them emphasize the beginning letter and sound so they know that “seven” starts with an S. Read more on this website as I am a big fan of these cookie sheet ideas! If you really enjoy them, she has a whole set you can purchase for just a little over $5.
Do you have an idea for using magnetic letters? If so, leave your idea (and URL below!).
Looking for more ideas? Get our free download about how to use cookie sheets and puzzles below.
Jen Benoit, MEd, works with her husband, Tim, providing in-home, private tutoring to Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Durham, Chapel Hill and surrounding areas. They also like to match magnetic letters with their preschool son!