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ABCs around the house

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Developmental Benefits

Developed by the early childhood experts at Scholastic Parent & Child and Fisher-Price.

Download and print out the game board. This file is in PDF format. To open this file, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader software. If you do not have this software already installed, you can download it free.

These fun-filled games and activities use the power of sight, sound, and touch to teach the alphabet.

Color It Bright!

You'll need: art materials

Your child might like to color the board using crayons, scented markers, or colored pencils.

Trace the Letters

You'll need: sheet protector or clear contact paper

Put the game board in a sheet protector or cover it with clear contact paper — it's now a reusable wipe-off board. Your child can trace the game board letters using a crayon — then wipe them off and start again!

Make an Alphabet Book

You'll need: the game board cut into 26 squares

Glue each square onto a separate page of a small sketchbook. Your child could then glue pictures clipped from magazines and catalogs or draw objects that start with that letter onto the appropriate letter page.


You'll need: game pieces (such as jelly beans), and one die

Each player takes turns rolling the die and moving his game piece as many squares as the number thrown, going from A to Z. A five would land on the E square, for example. The player then says the letter and the object: E as in Egg. To add difficulty, the player should say another word that begins with the letter he lands on, such as E as in Elephant.

Concentration Squares

You'll need: two copies of the game board cut into 26 letter squares

Choose five pairs of letter squares (two squares for each letter) and place them face down on a table or the floor. Take turns turning over two squares. If the letter squares don't match, the player turns them face down again. If the letter squares match, the player takes those squares and puts them in his pile. Continue to play until you have matched all the letter squares.

ABC Charades

You'll need: one copy of the game board cut into 26 letter squares (or you can use alphabet letter tiles)

Place the letter squares or the alphabet tiles face down in a shirt-box top. Players take turns choosing a letter. The player forms the letter he has chosen using his hands, his fingers, and/or his body. The other player or players then guess what that letter is.

It isn't at all difficult, once you show your child how it's done. For example: Lay on the floor with your arms and legs spread out for an X. Curve your fingers and thumb into a C. Use your imagination and have fun!

Now try this!

Make the ABCs AROUND THE HOUSE game multi-sensory by asking your child to find each of the objects shown on the game board and described in the riddles. Once you find the object, say the letter and the name of the object aloud ("B is for Bubble") then the letter sound (Buh-buh-buh). Now explore the object together, using sight, sound, touch — and sometimes taste!

Here are some tips on how to explore the objects the multi-sensory way.

A is for Apple
Ask your child to describe the apple's shape and how it feels in her hand. Does it feel round and smooth? What color is it on the outside? When she takes a bite, what does she hear? Listen for the crunch. What color is the apple on the inside?
B is for Bubble
Blow bubbles together. Ask your child to describe the bubbles. Are they smooth, shiny and round? Can he see through the bubbles? Do the bubbles float up? When he pokes a bubble with a finger, what happens? If he stays very still, one may land on his hand. How does it feel?
C is for Cup
Give your child a cup of water. Is the cup hard, smooth and round? What color is it on the outside? Is the color on the inside the same? Can she see through the water? When she touches the water with a finger how does it feel? How does the water taste and feel in her mouth? Ask her to pour out the water and listen for the sound.
D is for Desk
Invite your child to touch a desk. Is it hard? Is it rough? If he knocks on the desk does it make a sound? Does it make a different sound if he taps it with a pencil? What is the color and shape of the desk? Ask him to draw the shape in the air with a finger.
E is for Eggs
Ask your child to gently hold an egg in her hand. Does it feel smooth and hard? Is it cold? What is the shape and color of the egg's shell? Let her crack the egg into a bowl, and listen for the sound it makes. What color is the inside of the egg? When you touch the yolk, how does it feel? Sticky and slimy?
F is for Feather
Have fun with a feather. Place it in the palm of your child's hand and let him see what happens when he blows on it — gently at first and then harder. Does it float down? Yes! Does it make a sound? Ask him to close his eyes. Now touch his neck with the feather. Where did it tickle? Let him touch his arms, legs, feet and face with the feather. Where does it tickle the most? Does the feather look as soft as it feels?
G is for Gate
Can you find a gate? If not, ask your child to describe a gate. What does it look like? Is it hard? What color is it? Does it make a noise when you open and shut it? Can he make the same noise? Squeak!
H is for Hug
Give your child a big hug. Do your arms feel soft and warm? Does a hug make her feel happy? Now let her hug you. Squeeze hard! Harder! Are hugs fun? Are they nice to give and to get?
I is for Ice
Let your child touch an ice cube. Is it hard and cold? Does an ice cube have a color? Now put the ice cube on a table and watch what happens. Is it melting little by little? Is the small puddle wet and cold? Give your child a cup of juice to taste. Now put an ice cube into the cup. Will the ice cube make the juice colder? Wait and see.
J is for Jam
Give your child a spoonful of jam. What color is the jam? Ask him to touch the jam with the tip of his tongue. How does it feel and taste? Is it soft and sweet? How does it smell? Let him taste a little. Does it make a sound in his mouth? Now he can spread the jam on a piece of toast or a cracker. When he takes a bite, does hear a sound?
K is for Keys
Do keys make a sound when you hold them tightly? How about when you shake them? Ask your child to shake the keys gently then harder. Was one sound soft and the other louder? Are the keys hard or soft? Are they shiny? What are keys used for? Do they open the door to the house, to the car? Play some music or sing a song together, shaking the keys to the beat.
L is for Lemon
Ask your child to hold a lemon in his hand and tell you how it feels. Is it a little bumpy? A little soft? Does he like the way it smells? Now slice the lemon in half. Does it smell the same inside? Is it the same color inside and outside? Let him touch the inside of the lemon with his tongue. How does it taste? A lemon smells sweet, doesn't it? But does it taste sweet? Now make sweet lemonade from a sour lemon.
M is for Mirror
Sit your child on your lap and look into a mirror together. Is the mirror very shiny? Make funny faces, sad and happy faces. Laugh and growl. Now touch the mirror. Is it hard and smooth? Gently tap the mirror. Does it make a sound?
N is for Necklace
Give your child a necklace to hold. Ask her to describe how it looks and feels. Is it hard? Shiny? What color is it? Does it make a sound if she shakes it gently? Would she like to put it on? How does it feel around her neck? You might make a necklace together, stringing beads or pasta.
O is for Oatmeal
Ask your child to shake a container of oatmeal and listen to the soft sound it makes. Now pour a little into a bowl. Did it make a sound? Ask your child describe how it looks and feels. Now make oatmeal together so she can describe how it looks, then how it tastes and feels in her mouth. Is it smooth or lumpy?
P is for Pillow
Have your child hug a pillow. Does it feel nice and soft? Ask her to fluff it up. Does it puff up a little? Now find another pillow. Is one pillow softer? Test how pillows sound when you thump them.
Q is for Quilt
Can your child find a quilt? If not, find a picture of one. Does she see many colors and shapes in the quilt? Can she trace the patterns and shapes on the quilt with a finger? How does it feel when she touches it? Cuddles up in it? Does it make her feel warm and cozy?
R is for Rug
Invite your child to take off his shoes and walk on a rug. Does he like the way it feels? What sound does he hear when he jumps up and down? Is it a soft thump, thump? Let him touch it with his hands and describe how it feels. Is there a pattern in the rug he can trace with a finger? Can he name the colors in the rug?
S is for Sink
What color is the kitchen sink? Is it shiny? Ask your child to tap the sink and make a sound. If she taps it with a spoon is the sound different? Turn on the faucet and listen to the sound as the sink fills up with water. Can she make a splashing sound with the water? Can she see through the water? Now look and listen as the water goes down the drain.
T is for Telephone
Sit down together and take a close look at your telephone. Ask your child what he sees. Can he say the numbers and letters on the telephone? Would he like to touch the buttons? Invite your child to pick up the receiver and listen for the tone. Can he make that humming sound? Would he like to call someone? Show him which numbers to press. Can he hear the telephone ringing? Hello! Who's there?
U is for Umbrella
Help your child open and close an umbrella, again and again, listening to the sound it makes. Ask her to touch the umbrella fabric. Is it soft and dry? When it rains, what happens to the umbrella? Does it get wet? Does she stay dry? When the raindrops fall on the umbrella do they make a sound? Can she make the sound?
V is for Vase
Invite your child to touch a vase. Is it smooth, sleek and dry on the outside? Does it feel wet inside? What color is the vase? Ask your child to trace any pattern on the vase with a finger. What color are the flowers in the vase? Ask him to touch and smell the flowers. Are they soft and sweet smelling?
W is for Waffle
Enjoy a batch of waffles together. As you eat, ask your child to describe the shapes on the waffles. Can she draw a square shape in the air with a finger? What color are the waffles? What is the color of the syrup? Do waffles taste as good as they smell?
X is for Xylophone
If you don't have a xylophone at home, find a picture of one in an alphabet book or draw one. Ask your child to touch the xylophone or trace the picture with his finger. Are the lines straight? What sounds does a xylophone make? Ping, ding! How does it make a sound? You hit the metal rectangles with a stick. Can he play a tune on the xylophone, or pretend to play a tune by tapping the picture? Do Re Mi Fa!
Y is for Yogurt
Have a yogurt tasting. Invite your child to touch a spoonful with her tongue. Is it soft? What is the flavor? What color is it? Is there fruit in the yogurt? How does the yogurt feel in her mouth? Isn't it smooth? Isn't it quiet?
Z is for Zipper
Let your child slide a zipper up and down. Listen closely: Does a zipper make the sound of the letter Z? Invite her to touch a zipper. Is it rough? Go on a zipper hunt and find zippers on pants, dresses, jackets. Ask her to guess why there is a zipper on her winter jacket. Is it to keep out the cold?