Most of us are familiar with the colorful magnetic letters that stick to the fridge… though sometimes the educational benefits of these popular learning letters are overlooked.

These letters give your child a hands-on learning experience and therefore a fun and hopefully enjoyable one!

For a moment, let’s forget about the letters found beneath the fridge and around the house! There are many ways to use the magnetic letters as a tool to reinforce the learning stage appropriate for your child.

Early Stages – Learning the Alphabet

As your child begins to recognize the letters of the alphabet, there are many ways you can use magnetic letters:

  • Start with introducing one letter at a time – especially if this is your child’s first official ‘meeting’ with letters.
  • Display the letters in alphabetical order. Point to each letter as you recite the alphabet with your child. You might like to work on a few letters at a time – don’t expect your child to recognize all 26 letters in just one day!
  • Again with the letters in alphabetical order, take one or two letters away and ask your child to identify the missing letters.
  • With your help, have your child put the letters in alphabetical order themselves!

Early Stages – Phonic Alphabet

  • Repeat the activities from above, this time emphasizing the sound that each letter makes. For example, the letter m makes a ‘mmm’ sound.
  • See one of our favorite youtube videos on the phonics alphabet:

Later Stages – Forming Words

    • Once your child can identify the sound that each letter makes, you can start forming words for them to sound out.
    • The easiest first words to learn are 3 letter words that include a consonent/vowel/consonent. For example cat, dog, mat, fox. These are words that are pronounced according to the phonics alphabet – for more examples, here are some Three Letter Words that you can use with magnetic letters.

TIP: Beware of words that do not follow the usual pattern of pronunciation such as ‘for’ or ‘low’.

  • Place a word on the fridge and have your child sound out the word.
  • Choose a word for your child to sound out and assemble on the fridge. You might like to preselect a range of letters for your child to work from (for example a total of 10 letters instead of your child having to search through 26 letters!)

TIP: If you decide to purchase magnetic letters, check that the size of the letters is appropriate for your child. Note – some magnetic letters have an exposed magnet on the back.

More Letter & Alphabet Resources

Learning the alphabet and then moving onto three letter words, in conjunction with learning some “sight words” (basic words such as “that”, “the” and “why” which are not so easily sounded out and so instead children are taught to recognize the word as a whole) is one of many effective methods.

Alphabet Chart – the alphabet chart consists of all the letters with a picture corresponding to the phonic sound they make. The chart is also a great tool to teach the alphabet to your child.

Alphabet Songs – try using these alphabet songs that we’ve compiled that are freely available on youtube.


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