It's the time of year when I shift my attention to gift buying in preparation for the upcoming holiday season. I start thinking about what my kids want and what they need. And where they're concerned, I'm always thinking about fun educational products that will help them learn and grow. Over the past year, I have focused on alphabet toys for preschoolers and kindergartners to help my youngest. And I wanted to share some of the ones that we've used, and a few others that I think would be great tools in a child's pre-literacy journey.
Educational Insights and Learning Resources are my two go-to brands for this type of resource. They have so many excellent educational toys to help teach and reinforce basic skills. But there are a few other smaller, but wonderful companies creating learning magic. I've tried to list the resources below in order of complexity, beginning with uppercase letter recognition and ending with beginning sounds.
The following post contains affiliate links.
Frida's Fruit Fiesta Alphabet Game
This is, hands down, my favorite alphabet toy. Technically, it's a 2- (or more) player game. But it's one that even I don't mind playing regularly with my 5 year old. He's old enough now to recognize all the letters, but we still play the game because it's fun and a good way to reinforce his letter recognition.
This game comes with four player boards, three (connected) spinners, 26 game pieces (fruit bowls with a letter), and Frida (a toucan-shaped tweezer tool). Instructions are also included, of course.
The objective of the game is to get four in a row on your player board in a manner similar to bingo (left-right, up-down, or diagonally). You spin all three spinners and choose the letter of the alphabet you want to place on your player board. Then your child uses Frida to "collect" the fruit bowl that has the letter in question.
It's super fun for littles and great for helping them identify upper case letters. The only thing I would change about this game would be to add lowercase letters as well.
This game is by Educational Insights.
Alphabet Learning Locks
This is a really fun toy set by Dinhon.
Alphabet Acorns Activity Set
I bought this set a few years ago for my son and he still plays with them. Alphabet Acorns comes with 78 pieces: 26 acorn bases, 26 acorn "caps" and 26 color-coded counters/figures.
Each acorn has a capital letter displayed on the front, it's lowercase partner on the inside of the lid, and a surprise hidden inside that begins with the letter on the acorn. What a great way to help teach the alphabet! I really highly recommend this set.
But parents be warned: It can be a challenge to keep up with the small figures inside the acorns if you don't keep an eye on your child while they are playing with the set.
This set is by Learning Resources.
This set is also on my list to purchase because it is the next level up. ABC Cookies comes with four different games that you can play to learn different concepts:
- letter recognition
- upper and lowercase matching
- letter sequencing
- beginning sounds
The focus of this set is to learn upper and lowercase letters. It comes with 26 double-sided pops, that are also color coded to help children learn which letters go together. All the popsicles will connect with each other, so they may also be used to build simple two-letter words, such as "go," "at," "me," etc.
This set is also by Learning Resources.
I haven't actually bought Alphabet Island, but it is on my list of games to get this year. It caught my eye because players are required to match upper and lowercase letters or beginning sounds with the corresponding pictures. My 5 yo definitely loves playing games, so this is high on my list this year for Christmas. And it's a treasure hunt theme, which I know he will enjoy.
This game is by Learning Resources.