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How To Make Hands-On Alphabet Box Preschoolers Will Love!

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hands on alphabet box


This Hands-On Alphabet Box for Preschoolers is a frugal way to help your young learners learn their letter recognition, letter sounds, and more.

Learning the alphabet and letter sounds can be a daunting task-just ask any preschooler! As parents and homeschoolers, I think it is so important that we find fun ways to help our precious little ones learn their alphabet.

I would love to take credit for this amazing idea. Alas, I can not. I happened upon a wonderful at-home daycare provider at our local library one day.

I was immediately drawn to her table with 3 preschoolers eagerly gathered about her. She had a shoebox full of little objects and letter cards. Nothing special...but those kids were just drawn to it!

Trying to stealthily observe her, I noticed that she was doing something with letters and small objects. Intrigued, I just had to talk to her and learn what she was doing!

When she closed the shoebox and the kids moved along, I took my chance. I asked her what she was doing with the kids to have them so engaged in learning. She gave a sweet smile and kindly explained her activity.

To paraphrase:  this amazingly creative instructor went around her home and sought out small objects that had different beginning letter sounds. She made sure that each object would be safe for a youngster to use.

She then took index cards and wrote both upper and lower case letters of the alphabet on each card.

Simple (and frugal!) enough! I was interested in how she used with different children.

Here is a list of how she used a Frugal Hands-On Alphabet Box with different levels of learning:

  1.   Beginners (zero to little letter recognition or rounds)=
    1. hold up letter card
    2. say letter sound
    3. show object that has beginning letter sound
    4. have child repeat
  2. Intermediate (can name about half of letters, as well as demonstrate sounds)=
    1. hold up letter card
    2. have child say letter sound (if they can not recall, give clues-or tell)
    3. show object that has beginning letter sound
    4. have child repeat
  3. Advanced (can name most letters and demonstrate most sounds)=
    1. hold up letter card-have child demonstrate sound
    2. have child find object with beginning letter sound
    3. child names object and demonstrates letter sound


So simple yet effective! I was blown away, especially by how engaged the kids were. They were actually asking her to "play" the letter game again. (I love "games" where kids learn while having fun!)

Of course, I had to replicate for our homeschool. And, put my own twist on this amazing letter recognition/sound activity!

How To Make a Frugal Hands-On Alphabet Box for Preschoolers:

  • container (shoebox or clear plastic shoebox container)
  • index cards
  • markers
  • small, safe objects

Cut index cards in half. Write upper and lower case letter on each card. Search your home for small safe objects for each beginning sound of the alphabet. Place cards and objects in box.

We had duplicate-even triplicate of some letter sounds. I added those to box. We had room and knew my boys would have learning fun with them all.

The boys and I had to be creative with a few letters. For a few objects, we just used colors (i.e. yellow pom pom for Y). Q was surprisingly easy-quarter! For X, we took a popsicle stick, cut it in half, and glued in shape of X. (If you have trouble thinking of objects, please leave a comment below or email me!)

I added a few ideas on how to use:

  1. Sound Treasure Hunt=hide objects in room. When child finds object, they select letter card and they demonstrate sound.
  2. Letter Treasure Hunt=just reverse game above. Hide letter cards and when child finds letter, they select object to match. Child demonstrates sound.
  3. For more advanced, draw letters=have child select object, demonstrate sound, and draw letter (upper and/or lower) on paper, chalkboard, or dry erase board.


I pray that this Frugal Hands-On Alphabet Box for Preschoolers blesses your homeschool!

What interesting small objects do you have in your home
for difficult letters like Q, X, & Z?


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