D is for Dance
The Active Alphabet
Compiled and Edited By Fran Wisniewski
and Diane Flynn Keith
Universal Preschool has a wonderful Yahoo support group for parents who do not send their children to preschool called, "Unpreschool." Parents on the list have the opportunity to share clever and creative ways that help their young children to learn new things. List member, Megan Waugh, inspired many parents to contribute to this great learning activity for active children.
This A-B-C activity has been created for children who enjoy moving around. Many parents ask how they can get their young children to sit down long enough to learn the alphabet. With this activity, they don't have too! They simply do actions that correspond with all of the letters in the alphabet — and learn to recite the alphabet as they perform the actions.
This is a playful educational activity. Your child will learn even more if you play too, by doing the actions right along them.
Use this list as it is, or come up with fun action words of your own!
- A is for Airplane — Pretend to be an airplane. Spread your arms way out at your sides and "fly" around the room. Don't forget to add sound effects too!
- B is for Bow — Show your child how to take a bow by bending from the waist.
- C is for Clap — Clap your hands together.
- D is for Dance — Put on some music and dance.
- E is for Elephant — Pretend to be an elephant by making an imaginary elephant trunk with your arm.
- F is for Frog — Jump, hop, or leap like a frog.
- G is for Grin — Smile!
- H is for High-Five — Show your child how to give a "high-five." You each raise your arm above your head, and slap your open hands together.
- I is for Itch — Pretend to scratch an itch.
- J is for Jump — Jump. (Some young children may not yet have the coordination to jump. If not, then "J" can be for Jog.)
- K is for Kick — Kick a ball or balloon or an empty box.
- L is for Laugh — Ha ha ha ha ha!
- M is for March — Show your child how to march around the house.
- N is for Nose — Point to your nose.
- O is for Open — Open and close your hands, or open a drawer or door.
- P is for Pout — Stick out your bottom lip to make a pout or look of displeasure.
- Q is for Quiet — Put your index finger in front of your lips and say, "Shh."
- R is for Run — Run around the room, run outdoors, or show your child how to run in place.
- S is for Sit or Stand — Sit down and then stand up.
- T is for Twist — Show your child how to twist their body to the right, and then to the left.
- U is for Up — Pick your child up.
- V is for Vacuum — Vacuum the floor or pretend to vacuum.
- W is for Wiggle — Wiggle your arms, legs, and body.
- X is for "X" — Make an "X" shape with your index fingers, or shape your body into the letter "X" (stand with legs set apart and arms stretched up and out)
- Y is for Yummy — Say "Yummy" while you rub your tummy.
- Z is for Zipper — Find a zipper on a piece of clothing. Zip it up and zip it down.
More letter/activity suggestions:
- A — Angel (fold hands in prayer); Angry (make a mad face)
- B — Bounce (bounce a ball); Bubbles (blow bubbles)
- C — Curtsy
- F — Frown; Funny Face; Fall down
- H — Hop; Hat (put a hat on, take it off)
- I — Ice skate (pretend to ice skate around the room)
- L — Lick (Pretend to lick a lollipop.); Look (Make pretend goggles with your fingers and then pretend to look for something. Or, put your hand above your eyes -as if you're shading them from the sun- and pretend to search for something in the distance.)
- N — Neigh (make a sound like a horse); Nod (move your head up and down)
- O — Oink (make a noise like a pig)
- S — Stomp (stomp your feet)
- T — Touch; Talk; Tap; Turn; Tickle; Tiptoe
- U — Under; Umbrella (open and close an umbrella, or pretend to do it)
- V — Victory (show your child how to make a "V" with their index and middle fingers)
- W — Wave (wave bye-bye); Whisper (speak in a whisper); Wink; Walk
- Y — Yawn; Yodel; Yell
Additional Activity Suggestions
By Fran Wisniewski
Letter by Letter
Cut 26 pieces of cardboard and put a letter on each one. Ask your child to step on a letter of his/her choice, tell them the name of that letter, then ask them to make an action/sound for that letter based on the list above. Remove the letter when finished.
- Example: If your child steps on a "c", ask them to clap or do another "c" activity.
- Suggestion: When playing with beginners, put a few letters out at a time. The letters of their name make a great starting point.
- Extra Learning Fun: As your child gets better at the game, make each piece of cardboard a different shape to keep things interesting.
When your child is familiar with the alphabet, have them hop from letter to letter to form small words. Say a word, ask your child to step on the correct letters in order to spell out the word (tell them the order if needed), then ask your child to act out the word they've spelled.
Note: This activity is for children who know their letters very well.
Have your child write on the sidewalk with chalk or draw letters in the dirt with a stick.
- Alphabet Bean Bags
- MI Article: Teaching the Alphabet: Alphabet Learning Games
- Dancing Alphabet Craft
- You Tube: Grover Disco Dancing
- You Tube: Elmo's Alphabet Rap
- You Tube: Nursery Rhymes Alphabet Song
- You Tube: Patti LaBelle Sings the Alphabet Gospel Style
- A Very Active Alphabet Book: And Other Alphabet Rhymes by Kate Somme
- Active Alphabet (Paperback) by Laura English
MaryAnna suggested the following fun activity:
I made a huge stack of flashcards for my sons. Each flashcard was an action word for them to act out. Examples: bang, boom, jump, hop, pow, run, spin, kick, hug, kiss... they started easy, like run, hop, bam... and then I added more difficult words as they learned new sound combinations.