Playful Alphabet Garden with Free Printable

I am very excited to announce my next super talented guest blogger: Sue from One Time Through. She has many amazing parenting posts and great educational ideas. Also be sure to check out her (free printable) Parent & Child Connection Coupons

Playful Alphabet Garden

Spring is arriving late to my neighbourhood this year, so I decided to get a head start and create a playful alphabet garden for my 3 year old son to plant inside. I'm Sue and you can usually find me blogging about hands-on learning activities for young kids over at One Time Through.

Because I'm a teacher, I often try to find a way to turn fun activities into learning opportunities and I thought this idea would be perfect to share with the Totschooling readers!

I found the idea for a playful alphabet garden at my local early years drop in centre where they often share creative and fun ways to introduce young children to their letters.

My son didn't have enough time to really play with the "garden" that day - so I decided to make my own at home for him to use.

What is the Playful Alphabet Garden?

The alphabet garden is a simple plastic tub filled with play sand, a pair of child- sized garden gloves, some small gardening tools, a few plastic plant pots, a small watering can, and of course, the popsicle stick alphabet "flowers."

The flowers (as well as a few bugs and butterflies for fun!) each have a capital letter of the alphabet on them. I created a printable PDF A to Z set of these that you can download for free {HERE}.

How to Prepare the Garden

You Will Need:

- the Playful Alphabet Garden printable (1 or 2 copies)
- 26+ popsicle sticks
- play sand and a plastic tub/container
- small garden gloves, planting tools, watering can, and plastic plant pots

To set up the garden activity, print off your alphabet flowers and cut them out. I decided to print out 2 copies so that I would have lots of letter doubles. I also laminated mine so that they would last longer. Tape each flower/bug to the top of a popsicle stick.

I also found some small plastic flower pots that I wrote some garden-related words on with a permanent marker, like: water, dirt, rocks, flower, and my son's name (a big favourite right now!)

Garden Play

When my son first played with the bin, I didn't give him any instructions except to put on his gardening gloves. His first instinct was to scoop the sand and fill the pots, and dig, dig, dig! And that was okay with me.

After some exploratory play, I showed him how he could "plant" the flower letters in each pot to match the words on the pots. We did this activity for a little while together - focusing on his name and then one of the plant pot words that he was interested in (incidentally the one that also started with the first letter of his name).

Eventually, his focus moved back to scooping and digging, but the letter flowers now became a part of his pretend play.

I got this gardening activity out several times this week, and each time my son seemed to get something different out of it. The first day was about exploring, the second day was more about pretending to plant flowers, and the third time was more about matching the letters to the words.

In all cases, he was having fun, learning to recognize the letters, and by talking with me as he played, incidentally learning letter sounds. All perfect practice activities for an early writer!

Meet Sue:

Sue is an Elementary School Teacher currently on leave to be at home with her preschooler son. She shares ideas for connecting and learning with kids through meaningful, play-based activities that nurture curiosity and creativity, as well as positive parenting tips.

If you enjoyed this activity you will LOVE our Alphabet Games Bundle, a set of 15 creative, hands-on ABC games!


Viviana is a blogging mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a kindergartner, sharing ideas and resources for early education. She specializes in unique, hands-on printable activities that are educational, fun and inspire creativity in young minds.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for having me at Totschooling - Viviana! Hope your readers like this idea! Best, Sue