We have been working hard at learning letters this school year, and are trying to put the alphabet everywhere. Boogie is really into it and will ask what letter words start with or make the beginning sound of a word and try to figure out the letter. We are continuing with a letter of the week approach, but with a lot of holistic activities as well. It seems to be working for Boogie, he knows the sounds of a few letters, he can recognize all the letters of his name and about 5 others, I think, at this point. He does not write any of them yet, but that will come.
So, the idea. Our latest way of encouraging Boogie to recognize letters is to make him a textured alphabet placemat.
I bought a $2 plain(ish) placemat at Walmart and a $5 giant bag of glittered, foam, uppercase alphabet stickers in primary colors (and white, which it didn't say on the bag).
I played with the colors (I wanted to do it Montessori style and have the consonants blue and the vowels red, but there weren't enough blue consonants. I kept all the vowels red, though, and didn't use red for any consonants. So the groundwork is there.) and arrangements until I settled on a layout I liked, then I peeled them and stuck them. That's all! The fact that they are raised and a bit textured from the glitter will help Boogie make connections between seeing the letters and recognizing them or writing them.
Because the letters are all a uniform height, it absolutely works as a placemat! I imagine that Boogie will mostly play with it after he eats, though, and is waiting for his brother to finish. We have a rule that he has to stay at the table while Bam Bam, Hubby-Man or I am still eating, and he is allowed to color, look at a book, or do schoolwork if he is antsy. This will go on the list of "Keep Boogie at the table" tricks.
This idea actually stemmed from the geography and history placemats that Rachel uses over at Grasping for Objectivity in my Subjective Life. We plan on buying those placemats and using her reward method of memorization for the alphabet as well as the geography/history facts. Basically, she puts a treat on a state, president's photo, or country and asks her daughter to identify what is under the treat. If she does, she gets the treat (nut, raisin, marshmallow). If she does not correctly identify it, Rachel corrects her, moves the treat, and her daughter tries again. By 3.5 or 4, her daughter knew all the presidents, the 50 states, and something like 60 countries! Sign Boogie and Bam Bam up! We will start with the alphabet and maybe alternate with one other placemat since we are going through the alphabet so slowly (one letter a week) and there is a lot more to the alphabet than memorization.