Of course, flash cards can be boring. But if you get a little creative, they are cheap, portable, educational, and fun.
Before your child knows the letter names or sounds:
1. Alphabet Hunt & Match
2. Memory/Concentration Game - My pack of cards from the dollar store included enough repeat cards to play a game of Memory. Be sure to name the letters for your child as they are flipped over.
3. Trace - Place tracing or tissue paper over the cards and have your child trace the letters.
4. Sort - Use the monkey, giraffe, chicken method to sort lower case letters. (Monkey letters have tails, giraffe letters are tall, and chicken letters are in between.) Or sort by round and straight. There's no wrong way - you just want them looking at and thinking about the letters.
5. Indoor or outdoor sound match
6. Make your own set of alphabet cards using index cards.
7. Decorate - we have 8x10 alphabet cards hanging from a clip wire in our playroom, but they would look really cute framed too.
When your child knows some or all the letter names and sounds:
8. Spread the cards all over the floor. Call out a letter and have your child jump on that letter.
9. Work together to arrange the cards in alphabetical order.
10. Match each card to an object that starts with that letter.
11. Slap Jack - play Slap Jack using the letters in your child's name as the Jacks.
12. Alliteration Game - each player takes turns choosing a card and listing as many words starting with that letter as they can think of in 15 seconds. Each word is one point.
13. Word Game - once they've mastered the alliteration game, move on to listing words that end with the letter. Once they've mastered that, try listing words with the letter in the middle.
14. Letter Pictionary - One player chooses a card without showing the other player. They draw something that starts with that letter while the other person tries to guess the object and letter.
15. Letter Charades - same as Letter Pictionary but acting out instead of drawing.
For older kids:
16. Choose a topic and 10 cards. Think of a word related to the topic beginning with each letter from the cards. (Example: If the topic was volcanoes and I chose the cards L, A, and H, I'd say " L=lava, A=ashes, H=hot" etc.) This is a great way to review. I've done a similar activity with my students after finishing a novel.
17. Choose 5 cards and lay them out. Form a sentence in which each word begins with those letters.
18. Choose 1 card. Say a sentence that DOES NOT contain that letter.
19. Play Slap Jack. Vowels are the Jacks.
20. Choose a card. Write or tell a story with the letter as a main character. What's the personality of the letter? Quiet or loud? What does the letter like to do and what other letters does he/she hang out with?
What ideas do you have for using alphabet flashcards? I'd love for you to share them in the comments.