Get outside and enjoy some fresh air while practicing letter recognition with this Garden ABC Letter Hunt. It’s a low prep activity with a lot of potential for fun and learning as kids learn the alphabet and letter sounds. When my little ones were toddlers we loved doing this over and over again with the letters only. Then as they got older we decided to incorporate a bit more writing into the activity with a recording sheet. You can use the free printable ABC scavenger hunt at the end of this post with preschoolers and kindergarteners to do this, too!
We recently updated our flower beds in the front yard, and the kids want to play there all the time. You can use any outdoor setting for this activity, your yard, a garden, or even a local park. One morning I took our foam letters and hid them all around the flower garden. I also placed a large basket on the sidewalk for the kids to place the letters in as they found them.
I told the kid there were two “rules” of the game. They couldn’t step on any plants, and they had to say the name of the letter they found (or get help saying the name if needed). You could also ask kids to name the letter sound or a word that starts with the letter depending on the skill focus.
After naming the letter then they could place the letter in the basket and find another.
They searched and gathered and called out letter names with enthusiasm. I helped the little ones who are still learning letter names.
Once they thought they found all the letters they worked together to put them in order from A to Z to make sure no letters were left in the garden.
Depending on the age and ability of your kids you may need to modify this part.
When we did this as a multi-age activity with the toddlers and preschoolers, I helped the toddlers find the letter they needed and they would put it in the line of letters while saying the letter name.
When the preschoolers did this on their own, I simply sat back and observed as they worked through how to figure out what letter comes next, who would go first, and such.
This process of self-checking was very helpful, and I loved to see them discover when a letter was missing and work together as a team to track it down in the garden.
I knew this activity was a hit when the kids asked to do it four more times the morning I introduced it and then pulled it back out again that afternoon when we came back outside to play. Now we’re keeping a set of foam letters outside for more phonics fun whenever the kids are ready.
Extend this ABC Scavenger Hunt with a Free Printable Recording Sheet
Another way to make sure you’ve gathered all of those letters and reinforce letter recognition is to use our free printable recording sheet. Kid can color or rainbow write inside each letter as they go through the ones they found during the scavenger hunt.
Use Alphabet Mats to Learn the ABCs
ABC letter mats can be a versatile tool to use in early childhood learning. They can be laminated and used over and over again for letter formation and writing activities. They can also be used to create alphabet books, posters and more. Letter crafts and process art activities related to a letter you are learning can be a fun way for kids to make connections between a letter and something that starts with that beginning sound. In our Alphabet Letter Mats set you’ll find two full sets of alphabet mats to use and tons of ideas for using them. There are over 140 ideas for using the alphabet mats in meaningful ways to reinforce letter recognition and learning letter sounds.
This 181-page resource pack contains the following:
1) Suggestions for Using the Letter Mats-These ideas include ways to use the mats for small group and center activities and can be done for any letter of the alphabet.
2) Process Art Ideas for Each Letter of the Alphabet-60 ideas!
3) Collage and Texture Art Ideas for Each Letter of the Alphabet-54 ideas!
4) Complete sets of alphabet mats in two different font options.