Table Top Activities: Letter Play

IMG_9176Letter sound and letter name play brings a multi-sensory playful approach to learning letter sounds, letter names and word recognition.

Early years classes have varying skill levels and needs. We believe that our learners should be provided with literacy learning where they are at. If they know all their letter sounds then they should not be held back. They should be challenged at their skill development level. Therefore our class will have a variety of literacy games at all different levels as invitations for learning.

We provide approximately 5 literacy games based on the letter sound we are focusing on that day. Right now one of our groups focuses on the letter sound for 2 days. We also have 10-15 literacy games in tubs that our learners can self-select from that have a different literacy focus (i.e. rhyming, segmenting, sentence building, syllables, etc.). We continually change them as interest and skill development dictates. We continually are documenting our learner’s development and reflecting on next steps. Since we offer self-selection we have some learners that rarely independently choose the letter sound play we believe they might benefit from. No biggie, we simply invite them to play. They are most often willing since literacy games are all game-based and/or sensory-based.


IMG_2355Letter Construction is a hit in most early years classrooms. It is especially fun on the light table. You can build upper and lower case letters with it. You can purchase it from

IMG_9896We love these alphabet roads. We purchase these letter roads, but they can easily be printed and laminate from We added tree cookies, rocks with letters printed on them, pine cones, construction worker figures, cars of course.


IMG_8931As a reggio-inspired educator we have many loose parts in our classroom. In this situation our early learners were challenged to create letter sounds with loose parts (sea glass and gems from Michael’s). This is also fun on the light table, wooden cutting boards, placemats, chalkboards, dry-erase boards, artificial grass matts, outdoors, etc.


IMG_9004Wikki Stix are a fun mouldable waxed string that early learners can shape in a variety of ways for many purposes. This time they were used as an invitation to learn on a foam mat with the letter sound ‘sssss’ on it.

IMG_9001Again a foam mat is used as a base, however, this time a ziploc bag with coloured hair gel sealed and taped is placed on top. Pre-writing skills for letter formation are being demonstrated. This is also beautiful on a mirror, window, or light table. You can add glitter, shaving cream, etc to change it up.


This early learner is engaged in a creating her own sensory-based alphabet to take home and practice with her family. To view more of my letter/alphabet craft printables click the following link:
IMG_8925Play-dough mats are another fun sensory approach to learning letter sounds/names. These alphabet/letter mats have pictures that start with the particular letter. We put these in sheet protectors as laminate gets costly. I do like for phonics and letter play dough mats. I also like for word play dough mats.


IMG_9780A fun way to incorporate literacy and math play are these fun letter mats at We put these in sheet protectors as well.


IMG_9567Since early learners are innately creative beings we feel it to be important to provide literacy opportunities rich in the arts. The focus letter sound was “t” and this activity is “t, t, tape” resist.
IMG_1279You caught me, I’ve got worksheets in these crayola dry-erase boards. We do use carefully selected or created worksheets in these from time to time as the dry-erase markers provides a unique and fun approach for their fine motor, letter formation, . Children also can use the movable alphabet and pictures for a focus on first sounds, rhyming, syllables, etc.


IMG_1317This is a wooden movable alphabet (montessori) that we adore. Here our learners are building words with elkonin boxes and pictures. These are amazing for a variety of purposes (i.e. word building, first sounds and pics, letter formation, vowel/consonant games, word families, etc.)


IMG_1303This game with loose parts(gems from the Dollar Store) includes a spinner which matches upper and lower case letters.


IMG_9933Sand play is rich in fine motor and sensory experiences. We love our sand paper letters for tracing, but we also enjoy forming letters in our sand trays. These containers are drawers from a rubbermaid bin. We also encourage our learners to add loose parts to their play. Here a child has chosen some letters to include.


IMG_1691I couldn’t find and wooden trays at the dollar store. So I purchased some boxes, took the lids off, and wood glued them together. We put our magnetic letters on them. Here our learners are matching first sounds to picture cards. Magnetic letters are also fun on cookie sheets.


IMG_0179Read, build, write is a popular literacy mat for word practice. We made word magnets out of card stock and magnetic sheets from the dollar store. We printed the words in table format on card stock, stuck them to the sticky side of magnet sheets, then cut them up. We differentiated the kindergarten, grade 1 and grade 2 lists by colour. This way our learners could select words at their level. The read, build, and write sheet is in a sheet protector on a cookie sheet so we can use a dry-erase marker with it.


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