Letter Recognition Sensory Activity

Keeping learning fun and engaging has always been my goal as an educator for eight years and now stay-at-home-mom. I love teaching, so to see success with my daughter learning the alphabet and sight words has been such a joy lately. I have started creating hands-on learning activities to reinforce phonemic awareness for her, allowing me to assess her progress quickly. She has fun while learning; it’s a win for everyone! Here is one way we used rainbow materials for a letter recognition sensory activity. 

Preschool & Kindergarten Skills Practiced During this Letter Recognition Sensory Activity 

  • Alphabet identification
  • Letter recognition 
  • Letter- sound correspondence 
  • Identify & sort colors

Before Playing the Letter Recognition Practice Sensory Activity

Assessing which letters your child needs help with is the first step before gathering materials or playing. 

Using flashcards or writing in random order letters on a sheet of paper, I assess my child’s letter recognition. Then, I make a list of letters she was unable to identify or paused to recognize. Because my daughter now only has a few letters she still needs practice identifying, this process is more straightforward than it was a few months ago. For my son, who is just starting, I pick the two letters used during the activity. 

Materials for Letter Recognition Practice Sensory Activity 

Process for Setting up the Sensory Bin for this Preschool Alphabet Play Idea 

  1. Identify which 2-4 letters you will focus on for this play activity. 
  2. Next, using a permanent marker, write the letters on paint chips, Bauspiel Lucent Cubes, and magnetic bingo chips. TIP- Use an EXPO marker and draw completely over the permanent marker to remove the permanent marker when you are done with the activity for the bingo chips and Bauspiel lucent cubes.
  3. I kept the paint chips my level 1- and color-coded the letters; red was letter V, silver was letter Y, and blue was letter R. For more of a challenge, the cubes, and magnetic chips are all different colors for V, Y, and R. 
  4. Fill the sensory bin with rainbow rice and rainbow pom poms. 
  5. Add the letter chips and cubes to the sensory container. 
  6. Set up the tool bin by placing various size scoops and cups into a container. Then add sight word flashcards, magnetic wands, colorful rings, sifters. 
  7. Explain to your child your expectation for their behavior and goal for the activity, which is to identify and sort the letters found in the bin. 
  8. Have fun. The first 5 minutes of play I use as unstructured inquiry-based play. Then as needed, I redirect to focus on the desired goal of identifying letter and sound recognition. 
Finished set-up letter recognition sensory activity.

Letter Recognition Play Ideas For this Sensory Bin Activity

Magnetic Letter Sort Game 

Have your child use the magnetic wand and find as many letter chips as possible in the bin. Then have them sort the chips into three silicone cups. This play idea can become a game by seeing how many they can sort in under one minute.

Magnetic wands helped pick up the letter chips easily. Then my daughter sorted the letters into cups.

Towering Letters

Have your child find all the cubes with letters written on them. Then ask them to construct the tallest tower they can by using the same letters or making a pattern with the letters they first identify to you.

These mini towers were sorted by letter. taller towers could make a pattern with all the letter blocks.

Sorting Letter Activity 

Model for your child finding letter chips and identifying which letter is on the chip. Model thinking of a word to match for sound recognition of this given letter. Then sort the letter into a cup or ring on the table. Ask them to help you continue to sort until they find at least FIVE chips of each letter. Make it a challenge to see if they can overflow the cup by finding so many items.

Letters R, Y, and V are separated into cups and rings.

Color Sorting Activity: 

When letter recognition practice is complete, we switched to color sorting in cups, scoops, and the table.

Small wooden cups were perfect with tongs to sort materials by color.

Favorite Alphabet Game to Play after Letter Sensory Practice

Shark Game: We read ocean books ALL the time at our house, so this game is a quick, easy after reading a book activity that we use. When I first bought it, I was worried my kids would see how educational and not want to play. I was wrong! They request this game all the time. It’s something about the alphabet gobbling shark that keeps them wanting to play again and again! 

Favorite Alphabet Books to Read After Playing this Sensory Alphabet Activity

Alphabet Rescue and Alphabet Adventure written by Audrey Wood and illustrated by Bruce Wood are incredible books to use for reinforcing learning the alphabet. I first let my children do a “picture walk” through the illustrations of the books. Then I explain that while I read the book, “let’s keep our eyes ready to find the letter _.” After that, I pick two letters per read-aloud. Alphabet Rescue is excellent for identifying “ex” words and comparing capital letters versus lowercase letters. For Alphabet Adventure, the book focuses on finding the letter “I” that is missing his dot. But I have used read-aloud with these books to search and find many different letters. The kids never get tired of these books. 

  • Try Scholastic Book Club for Alphabet Adventure if it is out of stick on Amazon.

For more alphabet activities for your preschool or kindergartners please check out my other article with our favorite books and play ideas Simple Hands-On Alphabet Activities for Preschoolers to Learn the ABCs and Alphabet Books For Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers.

Thank you for visiting Live Learn Literacy! I hope you found these ideas helpful. If there are specific books or resources you would like me to create activities using, please contact me at ChrisC@MorenoMade.com or on instagram @livelearnliteracy.

For writing resources, please visit my other website MorenoMade.com.

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