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How To Teach Your Child Uppercase Letters And Lowercase Letters

by | Jun 16, 2022 | Core Skills

If your little learner is showing an interest in exploring uppercase letters and lowercase letters, you’ve come to the right place! We’re here to help you and your child have fun while learning.

In this article, you’ll discover the best way to start teaching your child about uppercase and lowercase letters to set them up for success.

Plus, we’ll share 11 of our favorite activities for practicing letter recognition and forming letters so your child can build their skills and confidence while engaging in fun learning games!

Table of Contents

Tips For Teaching Uppercase Letters and Lowercase Letters

Parent helping with uppercase letters and lowercase letters

When children are beginning to learn the difference between uppercase letters and lowercase letters, many find it easiest to learn uppercase letters first. This is because letters are often simpler to draw and differentiate from other letters when they’re capitalized.

However, since lowercase letters are used more often throughout text, it’s important for children to learn that there are two forms of each letter and to understand how they connect to each other.

To accomplish this, start by teaching letters that have similarities between their uppercase and lowercase versions. For example, “T” and “t” are usually easier to link than “G” and “g.”

This process takes time, so don’t be afraid to go slow. Your child likely won’t master all 52 letters at the same time — it’s a huge task for their working memory! This skill will improve the more you practice together.

Additionally, while being able to identify the name of each letter is crucial, it’s more important for children to link the primary sound that each letter represents to both versions of a letter.

This will become a key tool they can use later when they begin to sound out words while reading, so it’s a good idea to practice early in the letter recognition process.

Depending on where your child is on their literacy learning journey, it can also be helpful to explain what the purpose of uppercase letters is. This way, your child can understand where uppercase letters fit into sentences and what they mean.

To do this, you’ll want to explain that uppercase letters are used at the beginning of a sentence and when you’re writing the name of a person or city, for instance. Of course, there are other times uppercase letters might be used (like in acronyms), but that’s a lesson for another day!

Letter Vocabulary To Teach Your Kids

Dad reading with son

When you’re talking about letters with your child, it’s important to help them understand the words people use when discussing the alphabet. These vocabulary words will ensure your child can communicate effectively and comprehend what others are saying.

Here are a few key words related to these activities your child should know:

  • Letter: One of the 26 symbols that make up the English alphabet. Each letter has a name, like “A” or “B,” and represents a sound (or sounds).
  • Alphabet: The alphabet is the name for all of the letters.
  • Uppercase letters: These letters have specific functions and usually come at the beginning of a sentence or proper noun, among other uses.
  • Capital letters: Capital letters are another name for uppercase letters.
  • Lowercase letters: These letters are the most common but can vary by font (more so than uppercase letters), which can be confusing for young learners.

You don’t need to quiz your child on these words or make them memorize the definition. Simply use these words when you’re talking about letters so your child can become familiar with the terms.

11 Fun Ways To Practice Uppercase Letters And Lowercase Letters

Learning letters doesn’t have to be boring! Here are some of our favorite games and activities that make learning fun.

kids reading together

1) Everyday Letter I-Spy

I-Spy is a fun, simple way to incorporate uppercase letters and lowercase letters into your child’s everyday life and help them practice letter recognition.

By drawing their attention to different letters throughout the day, you’ll strengthen their skills bit by bit without them even realizing it!

What You’ll Need:

  • Signs or other words around you

What To Do

Simply start asking your child to identify letters as you go about your day together. Beginning with letters that matter to them, such as the letters in their own name, is a great way to begin.

Then you can work your way up to letters in other special words as their letter recognition skills improve. For example, try asking your child to identify the letter “L” in the sign for the laundromat, or how many of the letter “T” they can find in the menu at a restaurant.

This activity is a fantastic learning tool, as a game of letter I-Spy can be played practically anywhere, and you don’t need any equipment — all you need is a good eye for spotting letters!

Try adding this fun game into your daily routine to sneak in some letter recognition practice.

2) Create Letters In Nature

As an engaging way to bring learning outdoors, try practicing to form letters by using materials found in nature. Whether you take a walk around the neighborhood or create a scavenger hunt in the backyard, you’ll have fun collecting materials with your child.

What You’ll Need:

  • A variety of natural materials, such as rocks, sticks, or leaves

What To Do:

Once you’ve gathered the natural materials you found, it’s time to practice forming uppercase letters and lowercase letters with these supplies.

Start by choosing a letter that your child is familiar with, and have them write it out by forming it with one of their chosen materials.

Note: Rocks and leaves are easiest for forming rounded letters (B, C, D), and sticks are best for letters with straight lines (A, F, T).

When your child has mastered a particular letter in uppercase, ask them to form the same letter in lowercase. Gradually move on to trickier letters that they might be less familiar with to challenge their skills.

With plenty of practice, your child will know all uppercase letters and lowercase letters by heart. (At that point, you could include a time limit to see how many letters they’re able to create within a particular time period as a fun challenge.)

3) Guess The Magnetic Letter

Colorful magnetic uppercase letters

This is another easy letter recognition game that doesn’t require much equipment and can be really fun to play (especially when the kids are able to outsmart the grown-ups!).

What You’ll Need:

What To Do:

Grab your magnetic letters. Then, have your child put their hands behind their back before handing them a single letter of your choice.

Ask your child to identify the letter in their hands — without peeking! — only by touch. For children who are still learning, provide choices for them to guess between (“Do you have a ‘T’ or a ‘B’ in your hands?”).

For older kids who are mastering letters, make the activity trickier by increasing the number of letter possibilities, and, eventually, have them guess without any hints at all.

It’s important to take turns so that you also give this letter recognition activity a go as the adult. It’s encouraging (and usually entertaining) for your child if you try and fail a few times by guessing a letter or two incorrectly.

Don’t be afraid to “mess up” in this game!

4) Letter Matching Cards

For this activity, you’re going to need a set of letter-matching cards. While you can purchase a variety of different types, we think it’s fun to make our own personalized set!

What You’ll Need:

  • Paper or cardboard to cut into 52 cards
  • Scissors
  • A marker

What To Do:

Start by cutting out rectangles of paper or cardboard for your cards, one for each uppercase and lowercase letter. Then, write a letter on each of the cards, or have your child practice writing it themselves.

After the letters have been written, your child can decorate to their heart’s content! You might even want to draw (or glue a picture of) an object that corresponds to each letter to make it even more fun (like an apple on each of the “A” cards, a balloon for the “B” cards, and so forth).

This will also make the matching portion of the activity easier for your child if they’re still mastering uppercase letters or lowercase letters.

When your letter cards are complete, mix them all up on the table and have your child select one. Their task is to find the corresponding uppercase or lowercase version of that letter from the selection in the pile.

This game might be difficult at first, so we suggest beginning with just 10 cards at a time: five uppercase letters and five lowercase letters. You can make more cards on different days and add them to the list as your child gets the hang of this activity.

With practice, your child will enjoy becoming a letter matching professional!

5) Get Crafty

Young girl writing Uppercase Letters And Lowercase Letters

This interactive learning activity is all about practicing letter formation using uppercase letters and lowercase letters. No matter which form of arts and crafts your child chooses for this activity, you’re sure to have a blast!

What You’ll Need:

  • A variety of art supplies, such as pipe cleaners, Play-Doh, Fingerpaints, glue and glitter, ribbon, and construction paper
  • Kid-safe scissors

What To Do:

Grab your art supplies and get ready to start the fun.

Say a letter aloud (or write it down for your child to visualize if that works best) and have your child form the letter using your chosen material. Then have them create the corresponding uppercase or lowercase letter to match.

Engaging in crafts is a great way to encourage your child to practice forming letters — they’ll be so busy having fun that it won’t feel like learning at all!

6) Hidden Letters

Get your child up and moving while they practice their letters with this simple game.

What You’ll Need:

  • Your letter cards from activity number four

What To Do:

To make the game more manageable, pick out five to 10 letters your child is practicing. Then, make a deck out of the uppercase and lowercase cards for those letters.

While your child isn’t looking, hide the cards in one room of your home. That way, you’ll limit the area they have to search.

Once the cards are hidden, it’s time to go on a letter scavenger hunt! Your child will love finding all of the letter cards.

Encourage them to set their cards out in a matching set, with an uppercase letter next to a lowercase, so they can see at a glance which part of each set they’re missing.

7) Post-It Note Letter Challenge

Can your child select the matching letters to finish this challenge?

What You’ll Need:

  • 52 Post-It Notes
  • A pen
  • A large area to hang the notes on, such as a blank wall or a whiteboard

What To Do:

Write an uppercase letter on 26 Post-It notes. Then, use the remaining ones for lowercase letters.

Next, alternate placing uppercase and lowercase letters onto your wall or whiteboard. You might have a capital “A” followed by a lowercase “b.”

Once you get to “Z,” set the remaining letters in a row so your child can see them. Point to the uppercase “A” and ask, “Can you find the lowercase letter that matches?” If your child correctly identifies the letter “a,” have them pick it up and stick it below the capital “A.”

If they pick the wrong letter, that’s OK. Gently let them know that they picked a different letter and have them try again.

Once both “A’s” are together, move on to the next letter. When your child has returned all of the missing Post-Its to the wall, sing the ABC song together.

Note: If your child doesn’t yet know all of their letters, don’t start with all 52 Post-Its. Instead, pick a smaller number for them to practice with so they don’t get overwhelmed.

Also, once you finish with the Post-Its, they can save them and use them for this fun Letter Toss game.

8) The Learn & Grow App

App for learning Uppercase Letters And Lowercase Letters

If your child enjoys a bit of educational screen time, our HOMER app is a great way to let them practice their letter identification skills.

What You’ll Need:

What To Do:

Our kid-friendly design makes it easy for your child to practice their letters on their own, so it’s perfect for those busy days when you just can’t squeeze in another activity.

Once you set up their learning pathway and create your parent account, you can let them play independently. The program takes them on a personalized learning journey that’ll meet them where they are now and help them grow.

Many of the games in the Pre-K section of Learn & Grow, as well as the Early Learners section, work on letter recognition and identification, so it’s a fun way to review what you’re working on together.

9) Letter Sort

Some uppercase letters look just like their matching lowercase friend. Others look nothing alike. This activity helps your child pay attention to the shape of each letter so they can sort them.

What You’ll Need:

  • Letter cards (you can reuse the ones you made in activity number four)
  • Two large bowls to sort the letters into

What To Do:

Start by mixing up all of the letter cards. Then, invite your child to help you sort them into two groups: those that look the same in upper and lowercase and those that look different.

You may need to model this for your child a few times. For example, hold up the capital “S” card and ask, “Do you see a lowercase letter that looks like this?”

When your child finds it, say, “Both the uppercase ‘S’ and the lowercase ‘s’ look similar. They have the same shape, but one is a little smaller. Let’s put these two letters in this bowl because they look the same.”

Then, pick up another uppercase letter, such as the “E.” Ask your child to find the lowercase “e.” If they have any trouble, give them a hand. Then ask, “Do these two letters look the same?”

Let your child examine both letters and highlight similarities and differences between the uppercase and lowercase versions. Then say, “Since they don’t look the same, we’re going to put them in this bowl.”

Continue sorting, letter by letter.

Once your child sorts all the letters, have them count the cards in each bowl and see if there are more that look alike or more that are different.

10) Identifying Letters In Books

Mother is reading book with her daughter

When you’re sharing a book with your child, asking them to identify a few letters is a fun way to sneak in a little extra practice. It’s also a great way to get them excited about books and reading.

What You’ll Need:

A picture book your child will enjoy hearing (find some of our book recommendations in this post)

What To Do:

Start by choosing a book that you know your child will enjoy. Then, as you read it aloud, stop occasionally to point out a few letters and ask them to identify them. For example, you might say, “Oh, look, there’s an uppercase letter ‘B’ on this page. Do you see it?”

If your child has trouble finding the letter, point it out. Then, say the sound the letter makes and have them repeat it to you.

Once they’ve found the letter, invite them to look for other letters on the page. See if they can find an uppercase and a lowercase version of the same letter. If not, that’s okay. Just move on to another page and try again.

As you stop, pay attention to your child’s engagement level and enthusiasm. You don’t want them to get tired of finding letters, so try to quit while they’re still having fun and enjoying the activity.

You can always try again later!

11) Make A Letter Book

young girl writing Uppercase Letters And Lowercase Letters with colored pencils

Your child can use their alphabet knowledge to create a special book from A-Z. It’s great for practice and can also be a neat keepsake to look back on when your child is older.

What You’ll Need:

  • Construction paper for the cover
  • Printer paper for the inside pages
  • Crayons or colored pencils
  • A pencil or pen
  • A stapler or a hole punch and ribbon

What To Do:

Start by having your child select a title for their book and then decorate the cover. They can use crayons or colored pencils for this task. Just make sure you add their name as the author somewhere!

Once they finish the cover, it’s time to move on to the inside pages. For each letter of the alphabet, have your child write an uppercase and a lowercase letter. Then, have them illustrate the page by drawing things that begin with that letter.

For example, for the “D” page, they might have a picture of a donut, a dog, and a duck.

Once every page is ready, it’s time to put the book together.

First, lay the pages out in order from A-Z, and then put the cover on top. Flip through the book to make sure everything lines up.

When everything is together, use the stapler to bind the book. If you don’t have a stapler that’ll staple something that thick you can also use a hole punch and a ribbon to bind it.

Once you’ve finished, have your child read the book to you. They can say the letter on each page and then identify the items they’ve drawn that start with each letter. As they’re reading, have them point to the uppercase or lowercase letters on each page to practice.

Learning Letters Is Fun With Begin!

Two kids writing uppercase letters on a chalk board

With the help of our expert learning tips and fun, engaging activities, your young learner will begin to enjoy practicing uppercase letters and lowercase letters in no time!

From I-Spy and guessing games to enjoying crafts together, watch your child’s skills develop as they master letter recognition and letter formation, feeling more confident each time they practice.

To experience even more “I did it!” moments with your child, try our Explore Letters Kit. Packed with thoughtfully designed activities and expert play tips to build their literacy skills, the possibilities are nearly endless!

Author

  • Dr. Jody LeVos

    As our Chief Learning Officer, Jody leads a highly knowledgeable team of early learning experts at Begin. She has a Ph.D. in Developmental Science, focused on children’s mathematical and cognitive development.

Dr. Jody LeVos
As our Chief Learning Officer, Jody leads a highly knowledgeable team of early learning experts at Begin. She has a Ph.D. in Developmental Science, focused on children’s mathematical and cognitive development.