Here's a tactile way to help your young child learn about letters and words!
What you need
Sheets of sandpaper
Index cards or cards made of heavy paper or light cardboard
What to Do
1. Lightly write letters onto the rough side of the sandpaper. The letters should be about 4 inches tall.
2. Cut around the letters, leaving about a half-inch on either side of your traced letter.
3. Glue the sandpaper letters onto cards, with the rough side up.
4. When the glue is dry, help your child trace the sandpaper letters with her fingers. Older children can "point" their index finger and trace with it.
Here's another game to play once your child knows the letters: Ask your child to close her eyes. Hold her hand and trace a letter. Ask, "What letter is this?"
Why it Works
Young children learn to write more easily by using their larger muscles first, before attempting to hold a pencil.
Following the instructions above, make enough sandpaper letters to form words. Good words to start with are:
Your child's name
Name of toy
Name of pet
"Mom," "Dad" (or other family names your child uses)
Name of cartoon or television character
Glue the sandpaper words onto cards, with the rough side up. When the glue is dry, your child can trace the words with her finger.
Once your child knows the words, ask him to close his eyes. Hold his hand and trace the word. Ask, "What word is this?"
More on: Activities for Preschoolers