Each time they match the letters, they will become increasingly familiar with their shapes. Tell them the letter sounds as well as they pick up each pebble. They will soon be able to make a connection between the shape of each letter and its sound.
For this early years learning game we used some flat, white pebbles that we found at a florist (these ones are actually used for decorating the bottom of vases).
You could use any small pebbles you find on the beach or on a walk. You could even use white broad beans if you prefer.
Time: 10 minutes
Age: Little Kids
Difficulty to make: Easypeasy
Skill: First letters
You will need:
- 26 small white pebbles or broad beans
- 26 bun cases OR
- 26 large stickers (ours are sunflower stickers)
- A black Sharpie
Step 1: Make your alphabet pebbles
Gather 26 small flat pebbles and write one letter of the alphabet on each one using a black Sharpie.
Use lower case letters as that is what your child will learn first, when they start phonics at school.
Step 2: Make your letter labels
Now you need to make markers for each letter of the alphabet.
We used little bun cases and wrote the letters of the alphabet inside each of them.
When they play the game your child has to pick up a pebble and place it on the marker with the same letter.
Step 3: All ready to play the alphabet game
Your child can now play the alphabet pebble game. Place all the bun cases in a row or a circle in order.
Place all the alphabet pebbles on the table. Now ask your child to pick up a pebble. Can they tell you what letter it is? If not, tell them.
It is better to say the sound each letter makes – so ‘ah, buh, cuh’ instead of the capital letter sounds: ‘ay, bee, cee’.
Now ask your child to find the matching letter on the bun cases and pop their pebble in the right one.
Alternative game: Sticker fun
You can also play this game by using large stickers as the alphabet markers instead of the bun cases.
We found these pretty sunflower stickers at a pound shop. You can find all sorts of foam or felt stickers or even just plain round stickers at craft shops and stationers.
We wrote the letters of the alphabet on our sunflower stickers and then matched the pebbles to the flowers to play our matching game.
Extending the game
Once your child has had lots of fun matching all the letters of the alphabet, you could extend the activity by spelling out their name using the bun cases or stickers.
See if your child can find all the pebbles that make up their name (if there are repeated letters then you may have to make a few more).
They can match them and line them up to spell out their name. Help them sound it out.
If their name is too long you could try doing this for simple three letter words like ‘hat’ or ‘mat’. Help them to sound it out and they may well end up reading their first word!
These alphabet pebbles make learning phonics child’s play!
You can keep them in a box and take them out again and again to help them to learn their first letters and words.