Simple alphabet and number mats are a valuable classroom resource. I love them because they are such a hands-on way of developing letter and number recognition. You can use traditional methods such as play dough or an erasable marker. Alternatively you can mix it up and try other materials.
Here are a few simple ideas of other materials you can use to make the numbers:
- Coloured paper clips (also fun as an estimating activity or figuring out which sizes fit best)
- Buttons (I found some adorable buttons in the craft section at Kmart)
- Coloured match sticks
- Pom poms
- Cut up straws
- Glass gems
All of these alternative materials provide children with a challenge of finding what fits. You can talk about various attributes of the materials, letters and numbers. Good discussion points are attributes such as size (big, small, long, short), shape (curved, straight), colour and so on. For example, you can talk about how you need a shorter paper clip to fit inside the curved part of the letter f.
These alphabet and number charts are available here.
I’ve made the alphabet mats in all of these fonts (contained in the one zip file):
United States of America
* Zaner-Bloser (print)
* NSW, ACT Foundation font (print and pre cursive)
* NT, WA, VIC (print and pre cursive)
* SA (print and pre cursive)
* QLD (print and pre cursive)