Activities You Do with Your 3 Yo Daily That Involves Teaching Alphabets, Numbers

Updated on January 09, 2011
W.L. asks from Pittsburgh, PA
15 answers

HI moms!
My son is 3 and I am a stay home mom and single mom to this wonder boy. I play cariboo with him and also candyland among other types of games daily, I teach him the alphabet through and teaches him numbers when we count together, what else can I do in terms of teaching him to prep him for pre-k? Thanks moms!! Any suggesions is appreciated.

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answers from Wichita on

we get workbooks at the dollar tree that are good with numbers and letters. You can also find books at the library and make copies, or print things off of the internet that work with letters and numbers. It sounds like you're on the right track already.

My 3 year old also loves the Leapfrog videos, so I second those.

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answers from Chicago on

We have foam letters for the bath tub. My twins just turned two and know the entire alphabet from playing with these tub toys.

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answers from Honolulu on

That is fine.
You seem to be doing just fine.
Pre-K will teach him those things as well.

With my son, who is 4... I also do workbooks with him.

Practice fine-motor skills too... cutting with scissors, coloring books, tracing things, writing... doing cooking/stirring with him etc.
Can he dress/undress himself? Meaning, if/when he goes to the bathroom... can he, by himself, pull down his pants and then pull it back up? These are motor-skills, that they need to know how to do, too. Practical things... such as that.

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answers from New York on

what you are doing is fine, anything he enjoys is. lots of books that make the alphabet and counting fun. my kids always loved animal books, lots of ones with the alphabet etc, rhyming books are great too, dr seuss, sandra boynton, stuff like that.... just playing with alphabet magnets/blocks/puzzles etc and stuff is good too. whatever keeps his interest. its more important that he see you reading and writing for both a purpose and enjoyment. that said....they will do that in pre k, no need to push him to be ahead unless you are worried that he might have trouble keeping up. i have often found that kids who are way ahead of the class are bored in school, which is a recipe for trouble. imo, its more important to teach him to think. there is no shortage of rote memorization in school, but especially these days, teaching kids to think and to question and to wonder and create falls more and more by the wayside, sadly. what you are doing is great, i think that lots of "why" and "what if ..." and "what do you think" in your daily conversation is invaluable for kids of any age. either way, be sure to have fun, sounds like you are a great mommy :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

At the grocery store we always talk about the colors of the fruits. We also count together when we are buying fruits and veggies. One of the grocery stores we go to has you print the scanning labels. My kids help me put those numbers in there to practice number recognition.

Magnets are fun and easy. Cookie sheets make them portable.

When we cook, they help. That involves a lot of numbers and sometimes letter recognition.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

You HAVE to get ABCs for the tub!! (I just got some for my nephew at Target) My younger son learned how to read really early by these. You put them on the wall while he bathes and say the letter and the sound. After a while you put a couple letters together like CAT...sounding out each as you go. Pretty soon he will be sounding them out himself!

Also the Leapfrog videos are amazing...The talking Letter Factory is what you should start with. I would also buy him a Leapster to go along with it.

And of to him all the time!

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answers from Philadelphia on

Play hide & seek. I count to 20 before I go & look for my kids. (The teen numbers are really hard to learn, so its good to do them a lot).
I've done a lot of research about teaching kids to read. I've learned that the MOST important indicator of whether anyone will comprehend what they are reading, is whether they have prior knowledge of the subject. So, the absolute best thing you can do for your child is to expose them to as many different things as possible. The more he learns now, the better he will be able to read & more importantly comprehend in the future. The better someone is at reading comprehension, the more successful they will be in school (b/c you are expect to read in almost every subject).
The easiest way to expose your child to new things is through reading to him. You can read books or websites. You can also visit places (like zoos, parks, museums, sport events, etc). Visit a garden to learn about plants, a planetarium to learn about stars, hike in the woods & discuss nature. Visit a city to see sky scrapers. You could read a book about China, then find it on a map & then eat Chinese food for dinner. And so on.
PBS also has some great kid shows which teach children about all different things. Caillou is a favorite in our house.
At this age, experiences are way more important than whether they have memorized their letters.
It sounds like you are doing great with the academic areas. Make sure you also do the physical areas. Work with scissors, play doh, crayons, pencils (for coloring), dressing himself, putting on his jacket, sitting still in a seat for a period of time. AND this is incredibly important, but MANY people forget....FOLLOWING DIRECTIONS! You can make games with following directions, like a treasure hunt or simon says or follow the leader. Something so they learn to listen & do what is asked.

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answers from Dothan on

I bought the "little people" alphabet song cd for the car. After a few months my kids were singing the alphabet and every word to the song. Keep up the good work thus far. I always ask my kids how many of anything I have. Laundry, cheetos ect ect. Just incorporate it into anything you do. You can wing it as you go ;)


I bought the "little people" alphabet song cd for the car. After a few months my kids were singing the alphabet and every word to the song. Keep up the good work thus far. I always ask my kids how many of anything I have. Laundry, cheetos ect ect. Just incorporate it into anything you do. You can wing it as you go ;)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Victoria on

With my kids, I would incorporate it into regular daily activities. for instance, honey can you put your car away? Oh do you know car starts with a c. What would you like for lunch today? Peanut butter & Jelly, Pa Pa P is for peanut butter. Then when you are out & about, point out words & go over the letter. For instance, Look honey, an exit sign, that means a way to get outside. It starts with the letter E.

My kids are 4 & 5 and we now how the game.....You want it? You have to spell it first. They don't have to be correct so much as really trying. :)

Hope this helps.

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answers from Denver on

check out the activities on (my fav!) or (although I am not a big fan of computer time for little ones)



answers from Norfolk on

The My Baby Can Read system works great, I have it for my son. Leapfrom Tag Junior...what makes that good is he can move the wand over the words and repeat what it says...good for sounding out words and recognizing the words and memory. I also only let him watch Nick Jr...mainly because the two characters Moose and Zee do a lot of counting and memory games during "commercials". From Kai Lan, he's learned how to count to ten in chinese, Diego for spanish....I've taught him to count to ten in Japanese (grew up there). Or I'll let him cook with me. For example, if I'm cookies, we will scoop the dough and count as we lay them on the sheet to bake. Or I'll randomly sing songs like ABC's or counting and encourage him to join in. He likes that because we end up dancing around the house...then he decides to strip naked and run up and down the hallway singing his ABC's...if we can just skip that part.


answers from Tampa on

Dora, Diego, Sesame Street, Sprout, Noggin, Clubhouse Disney, Blue's Clues, Barney... seriously. These programs my daughter has been watching often since she was 1.5 years old. Most of the time, I'd watch with her and play along with her when the characters would be teaching, etc. It also helps with socializing, how to treat others, how to listen to adults, etc.

My daughter went into kindergarten 2 weeks before she turned 5 y/o and was only accepted because of her emotional maturity and love of learning. She's now one of the top academics in her private school kindergarten class.

TV is only bad when you don't use appropriate programs, use it as a babysitter most of the time, or allow your child to make the TV rules. For those who make the right choices with TV, their children get a huge boost.


answers from Pittsburgh on

I was in Staples over the weekend and saw so many things that we'll purchase closer to my son's 3yo bday. I'm sure other stores sell these things but I'd never think to buy them if I hadn't seen them. Like their drawing alphabet book, where you connect the letters in correct a-b-c order to draw an animal/object/etc. Good luck!



answers from St. Cloud on

Something to use as a tool with learning his letters (NOT just a babysitter) is The Letter Factory Movie. Teaches kids SOUNDS, not just memorizing which letter is which. The other Leapfrog movies are great too!



answers from Los Angeles on

My son learned most of his from Starfall as well. But, we have a few games and toys at home that have really helped him and are even helping him start to sound out simple words (he is 3 also, born May 2007). The toys are all from Discovery Toys (which I sell). Here are a few of the best ones for learning letters and numbers:

Short Vowel Fun: (gave this to my son for xmas and he's really enjoying it)
Letter Fun Lotto:
ABC & 123 Workbook Set:
ABSeas Fishing Game (another of my son's favorites):

The Think It Through sets are great; they have math sets, reading sets, age-level sets, and more. Here is a link to the basic tiles and you can see all the sets on my site in the "preschool" section:

Finally, a couple of others I want to tell you about:
This one is great for teaching pre-reading skills, even though it doesn't focus specifically on learning letters:
Similar to the previous toy, this one teaches pre-math skills:

Please let me know if I can answer any questions for you!
p.s. all toys come with a lifetime warranty to encourage lifelong learning

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