Preschooler Learning Abc's

Updated on February 04, 2009
A.J. asks from Cosby, TN
29 answers

What type of books or dvd would you recommend for preschooler learning ABC's & 123's? I babysit for my friend's, daughter's children 3 days a week. The little boy is three and the little girl is 6 months.

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So What Happened?

I'd like to say thanks to everyone. In the mornings he watches cartoons while I fix breakfast. Then I'll read to him for about an hour. I'm using "The Letter Factory" by Leap Frog after his afternoon naps. This way he gets alot of my attention along with learning. This routine really seems to help.

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S.T.

answers from Johnson City on

We love the Letter Factory (Leapfrog) video. It teaches the letters and the sounds that they make and it is not too annoying to watch over and over and over!! I don't know if Leapfrog has one for numbers though.

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J.C.

answers from Greensboro on

Definitely the leapfrog videos. The letter Factory is great. My kids watched it over and over and over and suprisingly enough it didn't drive me nuts. after about 3 times of watching it, they were able to recognize both the capital and lower case of each letter as well as tell me what sound each made. it was great. The word factory teaching them how to read wasn't bad either. They just liked the letter factory better. It is money well spent on these.....
also another silly thing my kids and I did was to cut index cards into the shape of fish, we taped paper clips to the top and then wrote letters on each (later they were words) then we tied a string to a big magnet and went fishing for letters (words). once you caught it you had to identify it. if you got it wrong the fish went back to swimming in the living room. it was a lot of fun to play and just as much fun for them to make.
good luck and have fun....

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W.H.

answers from Wilmington on

Definitely the "Baby Einstein" series, they are great!!! Although they say "Baby" they aren't just for babies at all...

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T.S.

answers from Nashville on

My daughter is 3 1/2. While she picks stuff up from watching TV occasionally, most of the time she just ends up getting up and playing. We taught her the ABCs and 123s just by singing them to her and showing her. She loves her Doodle Pad and we often write letters and words on there and she practices as well. We also bought some activity books where she can trace her letters and it has pictures on the page that all start with that letter that are blank for her to color. She could recognize all her letters by 2 1/2 and while she can't spell yet, she can write each letter pretty well for 3 1/2. She does spell most of her name, occasionally leaving out a letter. Within the past month she has started asking us what letter a word starts with. So if she asks what letter BOOK starts with, we have her sound it out and 95% of the time she gets it correct. The letters she most frequently confuses the sounds of are C & K and E, I & Y - all very understandable since they can be prounounced differntly depending on the word. We also used books alot. We are avid readers and have a ton of books for the kids. Many teach letters, numbers, colors, shapes, animals, etc. We did get her the LeapFrog ClickStart for Christmas because she showed such an interest in our computer. But we sit down and work with her on it unless she is just doing the coloring activity. And she gets limited time on it as well.

So I guess what I am trying to say is that TV and videos are not the way to go. In my experience, kids learn best with interaction with the adults showing and practicing with them.

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M.C.

answers from Nashville on

We sing the ABC song while signing the letters all the time. We also have lots of letters and numbers accessible - magnets for the fridge, foam letters for the bath, the Eric Carle alphabet cards, wall hangings, books, etc. Our son has been a big Blue's Clues fan since he was about 2 years old (he'll be 3 next week) and has learned a ton from the episodes. A little girl I babysit for is learning the ABC's from the They Might Be Giants DVD "Here Come the ABCs!" (they have one for 123s, too).
Good luck!
M.
www.nomommybrain.com

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C.E.

answers from Lexington on

My daughter is reading at 4 1/2. we rarely watched videos or tv when she was young except a few baby einstein videos. She learned about letters and sounds from our interactions. We read everyday a variety of books. Simple books, ones with more of a story...whatever held her interest. singing songs, making rhymes, talking to each other and making games out of hearing the first sound of a word are excellent ways to teach letter sounds. The names can come later. Find good music at the library to play with the children, go to storytime, if you can, be silly with words and sounds, make rhymes, read lots of nursery rhymes...just surround them with language and books. count as you do things like putting on shoes, steps to the kitchen, noticing colors and objects around you. Talk to them all the time. It's really great that you have an interest in helping them learn since they spend a good amount of time with you. Read some parenting magazines to feel up-to-date on tips and things to try with little ones.
Just have fun!!!!!

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T.C.

answers from Knoxville on

try using songs. children can learn just about anything to music. the local library children's room would be a great resource.

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P.G.

answers from Charlotte on

My oldest loved Dr. Seuss and my younger son was obsessed with any book with the alphabet or animals. You can read to them or let them have a "quiet time" and look at books. If you don't want to buy a lot of books or want to try them out first, go to the library. They also have DVD's and books on tape, where the kids can hear the story as they look at the book.

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M.T.

answers from Raleigh on

Barney has been the best thing for my little ones. All my little ones including my now 4 yr old boy knew their ABC's, 123's, colors, shapes and much much more before they were 3. Just 1 episode called Barney's Valentine taught my son so much. My 2 little ones, the 4 yr old son and my 5 yr old daughter, watch it over and over. I even catch one of my 14 yr old girls watching it. I have picked up several tapes for a dollar a piece at the thrift store on base. i have not had much luck finding them in thrift stores off base. I do know that you can get them on Ebay pretty cheap also.

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C.C.

answers from Raleigh on

Hi A.,
When my daughter was younger (she's 5 now)she wasn't interested in learning her ABC's. That is until she saw Dora the explorer and they covered the whole alphabet in one episode I believe. I can't remember what that particular episode was called but it's a very good show for kids to watch. HTH!

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C.M.

answers from Wheeling on

Hi A.,

Go to www.bookskidsaskfor.com They have wonderful books, puzzles, work books, flash cards etc.. to help learn ABC's and 123's. They also have these things called learning palettes which are amazing! My 4 year old has learned alot with these. If you have any questions please feel free to email me. Also when on the website be sure to sign up for there monthly drawing to win $50 in FREE books.

You could also do an e-show and earn the books for FREE! The month of February is DOUBLE FREE books for a qualifying show.

C.
[email protected]____.com
www.bookskidsaskfor.com

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T.S.

answers from Nashville on

Since my child was an infant, every night I said the ABC's and sang the ABC song. As my child began to mimic sounds, I would say the ABC's and count to 10. The older he got, he bagan to repeat each letter and number with me. He is now 2 1/2 and can say his ABC's and count to 30 (someitmes skip a few, but still does great). Remember to say the letters slow and clear, especially at MNOP! Don't get your child hooked on singing the ABC's all the time. There are all kinds of books out there. Find one that is simple that shows the letter and only one picture with it. Hope this helps!

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P.M.

answers from Wilmington on

Try "The Letter Factory" dvd. It's fun and entertaining. There is also a good program on public television...."Between the Lions" I believe it is called.

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M.L.

answers from Charlotte on

Hi A.,
The SO SMART video series seems to capture my 3 year old attention. Every kid is different though, so you might want to explore a variety. This series is for babies up to 3 years old.
good luck!
M.

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D.D.

answers from Knoxville on

My children LOVED The Letter Factory by LeapFrog. Good luck!

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B.R.

answers from Raleigh on

We like Sesame Street's Alphabet Jungle. My husband's aunt loaned us her copy, and we wound up getting our own. I ordered it online, but I can't remember where.

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T.C.

answers from Nashville on

I love Brainy Baby and Baby Einstein both have a fun program.

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T.W.

answers from Hickory on

Take a look at this site http://www.ubah.com/n2222 there are some great books for teaching ABC's and 123's.

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B.L.

answers from Jacksonville on

The videos are worthless, as are all the leapfrog and any other such TOYS. My kids just fight over them, and break them. We groan every time we get another "educational" toy from grandma. The videos are no better than TV, which breeds ADD. One set of DVDs that grandma gave us that was actually somewhat useful was Signing Time. It's a little spendy, but my kids actually picked up a little sign language from watching those. They might be at Sam's or Costco.

I don't remember the name of them, but we got a little set of board books that had simple pictures of colors, numbers, animals, and things that kids like to look at (animals, trucks, balls, etc.). I think I've seen them in the toddler/baby section of stores.

But really, with any book, you can say "look at that red rooster; it's like your red shirt..." and they pick it up well from that. You can offer the child "one, or two carrots", and show them one and two carrots (or whatever food). They pick it up easily when you make it that clear.

My son went to preschool at age 3 and it was also worthless for ABCs. They "learned" a new letter every week, but he knew them less after a year of that (5 hours a week) than he did before just from me teaching him from books at home.

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V.C.

answers from Wheeling on

I'm 51, 'mom' to 4 adults and 'mom-mom' to 3 little 'grands'. I still prefer the old interactive, 'hands-on' methods over 'newfangled' electronic devices: Singing the ABC's, counting items (or fingers), paper and pencil (or marker or crayon), blackboard and chalk, markers and a wipe-off board, magnetic letters on the fridge (or on a metal wipe-off board), flash-cards, etc. I found potty training time a wonderful window of opportunity to teach body parts, colors, etc.

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A.F.

answers from Charlotte on

The Leap Frog videos are the best. They teach the letters and the sounds that they make which begins to prepare them for reading. I have 3 boys that have all wtached them and loved them. The name of the video is "The Letter Factory" Then as your child gets older "The Talking Wordw Factory" and "Code Word Caper" are great for understanding how words are put together and the "Learn to read at the Storybook Factory" teaches how to pause and read punctuation, etc. My kids have loved watching the videos and learned a lot from them.

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M.B.

answers from Raleigh on

A lot depends on the individual child's learning style. With my older daughter, she seemed to respond best to picture books that showed an object with each letter - apple for A, bear for B, etc. With my younger daughter, she doesn't sit still for a minute, so she has done better with a toy that says alphabets - we have an Alphabet Pal, its a green caterpillar with buttons that say different letters and sings the ABC song - cost about $12 at Walmart. You might try different things til you see what the child responds best to. Some of the tv shows on VHS or DVD are good too - Dora or Bear in the Big Blue House or whatever tv character the kids you sit are interested in.

As for counting, I just play games that involve counting as often as I can. When we have lunch, I encourage my girls to count out crackers, pretzels, apple slices, or whatever. When we pick up toys, we count as we go....one block, two blocks, etc. I just try to incorporate learning in every angle I can think of. It must be working, as both my daughters are accelerated in reading and math skills at school. They even do counting games when we are waiting in a restaurant - stacking up sugar packets or butter pats and adding or subtracting. Seeing how many green (or white or red or whatever) cars they can count on the road on a trip to the store.

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C.F.

answers from Lexington on

Read, Read, Read as often as you can. As you read, point out interesting things in the books... pictures, occasionally letters & numbers. Run your finger under words as you read so they begin to understand that what you're saying has visual meaning. I wouldn't use any videos or electronic equipment. Also point out words and letters and numbers in the children's every day environment. They will begin to notice on their own.

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E.M.

answers from Louisville on

just sing the ABC's and sing number songs its the best way to get them to learn since preschoolers cant really read anyway

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S.M.

answers from Raleigh on

I bought Leapfrog letter factory. That DVD was amazing for my 3 year old! It teaches the letters and also the sounds they make. It was one of my daughters favorite videos.

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A.J.

answers from Raleigh on

I wouldn't use any videos. Hands on manipulatives are the best.

When teaching letters and numbers, remember it is a foreign language to them. You have to start with circles and lines. Once they have that mastered, then you can show them how circles and lines come together to make letters and numbers. Also, start with meaningful words, not like a letter a day. Say one child's name is Aiden. Do 'A'... a cicle and a line, then next do an 'I' a line and a dot, then 'D' a circle and a line, etc. I would recommend all lower case at first.

You could set up yogurt, sand, sugar, shaving cream, etc. and have the kids trace the letters in the cool feeling substance. They could make the letters with playdough also. I just got my daughter an Aquadoodle ($20). It is a cloth type material that comes with a water pen. The kids can practice drawing on it and after so many minutes it disapears. Also, most important read read read. Several books are targeted to their reading level and you could use them for practice. Check them out at your local public library for free!

Good luck!
Amanda

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W.M.

answers from Nashville on

Sesame street DVD on abc's or Baby Einstein on DVD for abc's are good. Kid's love them. Usbourne company makes good books.

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S.F.

answers from Greensboro on

Wal-Mart and Barnes & Nobels have wonderful workbooks ranging from pre-k up to 6th grade level on various topics (math, writing, abc's, numbers). I am a new nanny who has a preschool aged child with me all day, and we use several of these books. Also, any ABC picture book you can read to the kids does help them recongize the letters and pictures that begin with that letter.

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A.U.

answers from Asheville on

Here are things we've done:
- Leap Frog has a "Fridge Phonics Magnetic Set" ($18) which is FANTASTIC. You put a letter in and it says "A says ah" in a little song for each one. Helps teach letters and their sounds (and kids seem to learn so well when a song is attached to the lesson). A button on it also plays the alphabet song. (There's also a next step up of this toy that has three letter spaces for learning to spell.) This sounds like independent play and sometimes it is, but my son loves to play with this toy with us too.
- Tub letters and numbers. We have a full set and play with them nearly every day in the tub. My son knew his alphabet and numbers before he turned two...we've used these in the tub since he was 9 months. (These are really inexpensive.)
- Sing the ABC song with him every time he washes his hands. It's long enough to get the germs scrubbed off and helps him learn the song.
- We have a great Melissa & Doug wooden ABC puzzle and a wooden clock puzzle (same brand) that my son loves. The clock puzzle has numbered shapes for 1-12 on the dial so he can learn shapes at the same time.
- Point out numbers and letters everywhere...around the house, on signs when you take a walk, in his books. You can even get inexpensive ABC/123 decals (that peel and re-stick without damage) for his room.
- One more...Dr. Seuss ABC book is fantastic.

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