Active Alphabet

Act out the alphabet with a fun game that can be played verbally, with letter cards, or by making picture cards with letters on them.
To make cards, you will need…
Index cards, glue and: something to draw/write with, stickers, old magazines, or graphics.
What to do:
  • Draw pictures, write letters or put stickers on index cards.
  • Cut pictures from old magazines or use graphics and glue them onto index cards. 
  • Use commercial alphabet cards: Some alphabet cards have pictures that can be acted out, otherwise you can mix up the cards and use the letters. 
Make up your own list of words that can be acted out or use some of these examples:
A = Airplane, Angel, Ape, Archer, Anger, Act
B = Ball, Bounce, Ballerina, Book, Bicycle, Bird, Bow, Blow bubbles
C = Cat, Clap, Climb, Cold, Canoe (paddle down river), Curtsy, Crab
D = Dog, Dig, Dip, Dance, Dolphin
= Elephant, Ear, Eat, Eyes (do something fun with your eyes)
F = Frog, Flower (pick a flower, smell it), Fish, Flexible, Funny face, Frown, Fall down
= Grin, Gather, Gum, Gym (pretend to workout), Golf
H = Hop, Happy, High-Five, Horse, Hula hoop, Hand, Hug
I = Ice cream, Itch, Ice skate
J = Jog, Jump, Juggle, Jumping Jack
K = Kick, King, Kangaroo, Karate, Kiss
L = Laugh, Look, Lollipop, Lick, Lion, Lizard
M = Move, March, Moo, Melting ice cream (‘melt’ slowly to the ground), Monkey
N =  Nose, Neigh, Nod, Nothing (stand still), Ninja Turtle
O = Open, Oink, Owl (hoot), Oar (row boat) 
P = Pop (pop mouth or pop up), Pout, Pick, Punch balloon, Pretend  
Q = Quiet, Queen, Quick
R = Run, Ride a Horse, Race car driver
S = Sit, Stand, Stomp, Squirrel, Superhero, Scared, Surfer, Slow motion, Snake 
T = Talk, Tap, Twist, Touch, Turn, Tickle, Tiptoe, Turtle
U = Umbrella, Up, Under, Unicycle
V = Vacuum, Victory sign, Victorious (arms up in air), Vulture, Vampire Bat
W = Wiggle, Walk, Washing machine/Wash board, Wink, Whistle, Wave, Walrus
X = Make an X shape with your body, X-Men, Xylophone
Y = Yo-Yo, Yodel, Yell, Yummy (rub tummy)
Z = Zebra, Zipper, Zig-Zag
Tips & Suggestions…
  • Keep the game open-ended and playful.
  • When possible, encourage players to make sound effects while performing an action.
  • Young people are very creative! Ask them to think of ways to act out each picture/word and encourage them to come up with their own actions for each letter. If a player can not think of a word, help them out.
  • Play this game verbally by saying a letter and giving players a chance to act out their own words or a player can say a word and players can act it out in their own way.
  • Players can form letters of the alphabet with their body.
  • Play an animal version of the game. Animals can be a lot of fun to act out and can add a little challenge to the game!
  • Encourage silliness.
  • Challenge players to combine letter words whenever possible or come up with an attribute that an object does, real or not, that begins with the same letter, for example: a kicking kangaroo, marching monkey, laughing lizard, etc.
  • Put letter/picture cards in a container, have players take turns pulling out cards and acting them out in their own way.
  • Play this game outdoors as a chalk or charades-type game.
  • When the fun ends, so does the game.
Natural Benefits: Builds large motor skills, allows for creativity/imagination, builds letter recognition and letter-word comprehension skills, it’s a physical activity, the game is open-ended, all ages can play!
Personal Note: A few years ago I compiled a list that used an action word for every letter of the alphabet with a group of parents. The result came to be known as, “The Active Alphabet“. Parents reported that their kids, especially the ones full of energy, enjoyed the game and gained letter recognition skills more easily as a result of playing it with their children. Over the years we have played this game and have added our own ideas to it to make it more interesting and fun, I encourage families to do the same.

This post is part of the Building Writing Skills series on Fran’s World of Discovery. If you are interested in reading more from this series, please use the following links:
Building Writing Skills Naturally – Offers links to activity suggestions that have many built in benefits.

No More Tears! – Introduction page.
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