There are so many ways to practice letter formation without boring old tracing sheets. I’ve written on that topic at length before so I won’t go into it too much here. One way we love to practice letter formation is to use letter mats. Alphabet mats give you the basis for a lot of hands-on work with letters so that kids can have fun as they learn to identify and form letters throught different sensory and fine motor activities. During our apple theme we use these Apple ABCs Preschool Alphabet Printables for a variety of letter building activities. Here I’m outlining some of the ways we use them, and you can even get your own free printable 106-page set of alphabet mats at the end of the post.
FIND ALL OF OUR APPLE ACTIVITIES IN OUR PRINTABLE LESSON PLANS
FOR HOME PRESCHOOL AND PRESCHOOL CLASSROOMS.
Apple ABCs Preschool Alphabet Printables
GETTING SET UP
The free printable alphabet mats are designed one to a page. This gives you a lot of options for printing. Some activities require a full page per letter, while others work best with a smaller 1/2 page or 1/4 page format. Simply change your printer options to print 1 per page, 2 per page or 4 per page to get the desired layout for your activities.
I also highly recommend laminating these or using dry erase pockets so you can use them over and over again.
If you prefer not to print in color, I’ve also included a black and white set in the free printable.
Now let’s take a look at some of the ways you can use these to help kids learn to form letters. Watch the quick video below. Then read on for more details.
First you can use small manipulatives like mini erasers, glass beads, pom poms, or black bean “apple seeds”.
As kids pinch to grasp each manipulatives they are also working those fine motor muscles. I included one color of glass gems here, but if you include multiple colors kids will often naturally incorporate sorting and/or patterning into their work.
Play dough is another great way for kids to build letters. They get tons of fine motor practice as they roll out play dough snakes and shape the dough to form each letter.
Add in an extra layer of fun and a little sensory delight by making apple scented play dough.
You can even have kids press “apple seeds” (we’re using black beans here) into the dough for even more fine motor practice and another way to make the letters.
The seeds work on their own too if you’re not a play dough fan.
And finally once kids are showing an interest in writing, let them use dry erase markers to write the letters. We’re using a dry erase pocket here, but you can also print and laminate these into flip books for kids to draw and erase over and over again.
This is just a quick of ideas we’ve tried so far. If you’ve got more ideas or want to share how you’re using the alphabet mats in your class, pop over to our Fun and Learning Facebook group. I’d love to see what you come up with!
Get Your Free Printable Apple Theme Letter Mats
The free printable Apple ABC Mats set includes four complete alphabet options:
- Uppercase Letter Mats in Color
- Lowercase Letter Mats in Color
- Uppercase Letter Mats in Black and White (print on colored paper for added fun)
- Lowercase Letter Mats in Black and White (print on colored paper for added fun)
Interested in more alphabet mats to use throughout the year?
This bundle includes expanded versions of all six of our Seasonal ABC Fine Motor Mat activity series. These tools help children learn to recognize, build and write the letters of the alphabet.
Get 2 free sets when you buy the full bundle!
The emphasis in this series is on providing a hands-on and playful way for children to interact with letters using a variety of multi-sensory materials. Choose between play dough, loose parts, and dry erase markers to mix it up and keep the activity fresh for extended use.
The expanded versions of the alphabet mats also includes eight optional recording sheets that can be used for students to track and review the letters they make during the activity.
Also available on Teachers Pay Teachers.
MORE APPLE THEME RESOURCES
Find all of our apple theme resources in our preschool apple theme planning guide.
GET A FULL WEEK OF APPLE THEME LEARNING AND PLAY
Save time and get right to the playful learning with our printable lesson plan sets. Each set includes over 30 playful learning activities related to the theme, and we’ve provided different versions for home preschool families and classroom teachers so all activities are geared directly toward your needs.
Help children learn more about apples in a playful hands-on way with the apple activities in this comprehensive set of lesson plans for preschool, PreK and TK classrooms. This apple theme preschool lesson plan pack can be used during the fall, back-to-school time, in conjunction with a fruit theme, aligned with exploring the letter A, etc. Watch this short video to see just a few examples of the types of activities and printables included in this set:
This set includes active hands-on learning ideas and the following printables:
- Apple Number Cards (0-35)
- “Counting Apples” emergent reader
- “I See Apples” emergent reader
- Apple Letters (uppercase and lowercase in both red and green)
- Apple Life Cycle Cards (in color and b/w)
- Label the Apple Diagram (in color and b/w) with labeling cards
- Apple Pattern Cards
- Put the Apples on the Tree Game Mat
- Editable cover and pages for a class apple book
GET YOUR LESSON PLANS
All of our products are also available on Teachers Pay Teachers if you prefer to shop there.