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Creating a Letter Wheel for Your Preschooler

The wheel
The wheel
Emily L. Goodman

Teaching your toddler their letters can feel like an exercise in frustration more often than not. It sounds easy. They’ll pick it up eventually, right? But the more you work on it, the more you start to wonder if they’re ever going to gain those skills! Try mixing it up and keeping it fun—and one way to do that is by making a letter wheel. This way, if you’re working with your child, they can continue to identify letters; and even if you aren’t, they can spend some time matching them and becoming familiar with how letters are different.

First, take a paper plate. Styrofoam will work, too, but it will break down faster. Write all twenty-six letters around the outside of the plate. It doesn’t have to be perfect; you may end up with some empty space at the end, and that’s okay! Now, hunt down twenty-six clothespins. This may be the most challenging part of the project. (Everyone’s clothespins don’t disappear as soon as they come in the house? Huh. Fascinating.) Write the same twenty-six letters on your clothespins. If you have an older preschooler who is starting to identify both upper and lower case letters, you can write upper case letters on the plate and lower case letters on the clothespins, and they can work on matching those. If not, simple uppercase letters may be enough!

Once it’s done, sit down with your toddler. Introduce the letter wheel and explain that they’re going to match the letters on the clothespins to the letters on the wheel. You may have to help them with the first few, but after that, they’ll probably fly right along on their own! However, if you stay close at hand, you can continue to help identify the letters as they pick them up.

This wasn’t great solo project for an older two-year-old. He quickly grew frustrated when attempting to do it on his own. However, a little guidance from mom made it plenty of fun again, and made for some learning, too!