Alphabet Sifting

Toddler and Pre Prep Activity
Letters and Numbers


This sensory experience provides an opportunity for children to experience and explore the world of letters, as well as helping develop hand-eye coordination and motor skills. This activity gives children the chance to examine different textures, materials and material properties through play. When children begin to understand that letters are symbols that have meaning, they take that first important step in building their life-long reading foundations.

What you need?

  • Magnetic letters
  • Sand or flour
  • Medium-sized container
  • Small colanders or sand sifters


1. Mix magnetic letters with sand or flour in the container.

2. Adults may need to model how to scoop the letters up with the colander or sifter.

3. Once a letter is collected put it aside and continue sifting until all the letters are found.

Alphabet Sifting


Use letters that spell a particular word… perhaps the name or your playgroup?

Extension of the activity

  • Use a metal baking tray to store the collected letters. Once you have collected all the letters from the container you could make words, or the names of the children.
  • Add numbers to the container to encourage number recognition.
  • Consider hiding animals, puzzle pieces, large buttons and shredded paper.