I remember picking my girls up from preschool once, and seeing that the teacher had written a letter on Isabella’s hand. I was taken aback at first. Writing on a little kid’s skin didn’t seem like a good idea to me. Yet, my sweet girl was so proud and excited to show me she had learned a letter and its sound that day.
I swallowed my concerns, and focused on her enthusiasm for learning. It really was exciting that she was learning letter sounds, and having a letter written on her hand was a reminder to review it several times throughout the afternoon, and to tell Daddy about it at dinner.
I knew right away that making these letter rings would be a big hit around here. The moment after we stuck the letters onto the rings, Isabella was gliding them onto her little fingers.
I don’t know whether you can tell what these rings are made of. It’s actually an upcycled item – the pull tab from a new half-gallon of milk or a carton of orange juice.(Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links.) We simply stuck on foam letters. They stayed stuck on remarkably well, yet we could peel them off to adjust the ones that we accidentally put on sideways.I like that the foam letters are dimensional, and so the child can trace them and feel their shape, kind of like you can with my DIY multi-sensory ABC cards.
If you are introducing letters for the first time, it’s good to start with just one at a time. Later you can review with several at a time.
Once the novelty of just wearing a few letters wear off, you can use them for little games.
1. Have the child choose a letter ring to wear, then while they wear that ring, walk around
looking for items that start with that sound. (You might want to have strategically placed a few items for trickier letters!) Repeat with another letter ring.
2. While wearing a letter ring, help the child look through a simple book to find that letter on its pages.
3. Help the child pick out and wear the letters for his or her name.
4. If your child is a beginning reader, you can provide letters that spell simple words, and let them change out the letters, changing, say, cat to mat.
The next thing to do is to just take the rings off and read to your child. One of the rookie mistakes
I made with my oldest was pushing too hard. It’s all worked out in the end, but I do wish I had followed his pace a little better.
My girls have been naturally more enthusiastic about reading. Maybe it all goes back to the letters on the hands – who knows. More likely, it’s a combination of personality and lots of read-aloud time.
One of their favorite books about the alphabet, one they still request even now from time to time, is the classic Curious George alphabet book (affiliate). I like its emphasis on visualizing each letter in a fun way. The girls love all the impish trouble George gets himself into. We all highly recommend it!