Learners are sure to have fun with this magnetic letter activity for kids! Incredibly versatile, this activity can be modified to work for preschool through 2nd grade! Begin with letter recognition, and soon this magnetic letter activity will be early spelling practice and reading practice too.
Students eager to learn to read or spell can sometimes be slowed down by phonics programs that require writing letters too. In turn, these kids sometimes become uninterested in or frustrated by learning to read or spell. What a bummer!
Kids do not need to be proficient at or even interested in handwriting to learn how to read. This is an early literacy activity with NO handwriting involved! Digging through a bowl of letters is a hands-on, sensory approach to alphabet skills.
Supplies for Magnetic Letter Activity
Another great thing about this activity? It is EASY peasy to get started! You’ll need three things:
- a set of magnetic letters (consider two sets of letters if you are going to be working with a more advanced student on spelling longer words/short sentences)
- a magnetic surface such as your refrigerator (if your fridge, like mine, isn’t very magnetic, a cookie sheet or magnetic white board works well)
- a bowl or bin to place magnetic letters in
✅ This set of magnetic letters has 208 letters and a magnet board that comes with it! Making it perfect for this activity!
Magnetic Letter Activity for Pre Readers
There are three options when introducing kids to letters:
- Introduce them to the names of letters first
- Introduce them to the sounds of letters first
- Introduce them both at the same time
It is fairly common to teach letter recognition by name first. I believe it makes a lot of sense to teach sounds first, and some people do it with great success. Personally, I’ve taught my kids to read using a hybrid method where I introduce the letter like this:
While holding up the “A” magnet, say, “This is the letter ‘A’. It makes more than one sound, today we will learn the ‘/a/-/a/-apple’ sound.” Have the student repeat the sound. Then put a few letters in the bowl including the “A”. Ask the student to find the letter that says “/a/.”
However you decide to do it, introduce a few letters a day. A, M, T are an excellent place to start, or you can work your way through alphabetically.
Magnetic Letter Activity for Early Readers
Kids who know a few consonant and vowel sounds can start sounding out words! Practice isolating the sounds in words like “mat.”
Give your child a bowl of letters and ask them to find the /m/ sound. Next, the /a/ sound. Finally the /t/ sound. Put it all together and they just spelled AND read a word!
My son was SO excited when he spelled and read a word all by himself that I could barely get a photo! He was jumping up and down!
Expand Letter Activity for Proficient Readers
Proficient readers will still enjoy using magnetic letters! They are excellent for spelling practice, especially for those kids who love words but are not excited about handwriting.
Try “copywork” by spelling out a word or two with magnets and letting kids “copy” what you spelled by finding the same magnetic letters and putting them up too. Then take down all the letters and ask them to spell the word with magnets by themselves!
You might also enjoy:
- Learning Letters: Mailing “Letters” Alphabet Game
- 8 Genius Activities for Teaching Letters
- Phonics Worksheets for Beginning Sounds
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