Learning letters and sounds with dinosaurs (and water)

Win and Ru’s personalities couldn’t be any different. Three year old Win used to ask me to teach him how to write his name and how to read, and his idea of fun was practising his letters. He gets frustrated when he can’t do things, and he pushes himself. Ru plays. He plays all day, and it’s wonderful. He has no interest in sitting down, writing and learning. He has to be persuaded to do most things, doesn’t like trying new things and doesn’t like doing things that he senses I want him to do. It has been such a lesson in individuality.

I sit in two camps when it comes to learning – the one where parents aren’t pushy, but I also sit in another camp. The one that recognises that children are intelligent. They are capable, and they are happy and confident when they understand the world around them. I know how I feel in a foreign country when I have no hold of the language, or the alphabet. Learning is exciting, it’s inspiring and it can be really fun.

I wanted to find some activities that Ru and I can do together when we’re in, and O is napping. He never wants me to join him playing cars, and always refuses my offers to play games or build dens with him. He prefers to play alone. I’ve noticed him getting enthusiastic over numbers and letters when we’re out, and wanted to build on this. I knew a workbook wasn’t going to cut it.

I had a think about what he likes – cars, washing up, space ships and books, and after a quick browse on Pinterest I came away with some simple ideas that I thought he would enjoy. Armed with my list, the two (well three) of us headed to Hobbycraft, so that he could choose some supplies.

This is a very easy activity and one that Ru loved. He was beside himself with excitement a few times, and it was lovely to see. I think he was sold when he saw the water sprayer!

What you need:

  • 26 foam cut outs – Ru chose dinosaurs
  • A black permanent marker
  • Sellotape
  • Blackboard, or something you don’t mind getting wet
  • Water sprayer
  1. Write each letter of the alphabet onto a foam cut out, with a permanent marker. Ru wanted a number 5 too, so I added one in.
  2. Attach each foam cut out onto a board with sellotape (it holds surprisingly well).
  3. Then start by saying a letter (“Can you find me ‘e’ for elephant?”), and your child has to find the correct letter and spray it with water.
  4. First I started with ten letters that I was certain he would know, and then we added more as he recognised them consistently.

learning letterslearning letters learning lettersE xx



  1. 15th March 2017 / 7:31 pm

    Oh that looks like a fun game, I might try it with Lia. She is the same, it’s all about having a laugh for her, nothing else really matters. But I think I’m okay with that. There will be plenty of time for being serious in the future.

    • 23rd March 2017 / 7:18 pm

      I agree. There is plenty of time for that! Let me know if you have a go! x

  2. 16th March 2017 / 6:06 am

    Genius Esther…get it on pinterest. Lol Love it. I bet little Ru bear LOVES this..cheeky x

    • 23rd March 2017 / 7:20 pm

      Haha! I have no idea how to work Pinterest blog wise! It’s on my list of to-dos! x

  3. 16th March 2017 / 10:28 am

    Love this!! What a great idea, I’m going to try it with the twins. Lucas was exactly the same as Ru, he never wanted to sit down and write or do numbers or anything he thought of as ‘work’ we never pushed anything on him and he’s absolutely flying in school now – it just shows you how they all do things so differently and in different ways, it’s great to watch them learn things in their own way xx

    • 23rd March 2017 / 7:21 pm

      That is so lovely Hayley. They just have to decide to do things I think, and we have to make sure we catch them when they’re interested. It is incredible how different they are. I could never have imagined having two people so different, from the same parents! x

  4. Fee Shaw
    19th March 2017 / 1:46 pm

    I LOVE this! My boy is only 2.5 and really really wants to learn how to read. It really frustrates him that he can’t so I said we would learn the alphabet but it is so tricky. He is mad for squirting things so this is perfect. Thanks. #littlemakes

    • 23rd March 2017 / 7:22 pm

      Oh brilliant!!! I think it must be so frustrating being little, when there are so many things you want to do. You must let me know if you try it xx

  5. 19th March 2017 / 3:44 pm

    This looks like a lot of fun. #littlemakes

  6. 19th March 2017 / 10:01 pm

    What a great idea!! I am totally going to give this a go with some foam butterflies we have! #littlemakes

    • 23rd March 2017 / 7:23 pm

      Oh brilliant! Have fun! x

  7. 23rd March 2017 / 11:14 am

    This is GENIUS! And I think sounds so much like Freddie. He does everything on his terms, and if he senses I want him to do something, he may entertain it for a minute or two to shut me up but then he will want to do something of his choosing (or the easy option of watching TV). Im always looking for fun ways to practise letters and numbers and I am so trying this one as he’s started to get really into dinosaurs. Thanks Esther! A xx

    • 23rd March 2017 / 7:25 pm

      Yes! Absolutely! I have to try and make it sound like his idea so he’ll do it! It can get rather confusing! Let me know if you have a go Amelia! xx

  8. 25th March 2017 / 1:27 pm

    I love this idea. Perfect for my dino loving double trouble twins #littlemakes

    • 30th March 2017 / 8:43 pm

      Thank you. I hope they enjoy it xx

  9. 30th March 2017 / 10:06 am

    this is such a fabulous idea – my little girl is just learning her letters and phonics so I’m going to try this! Thanks for linking up #littlemakes

    • 30th March 2017 / 8:43 pm

      Thank you! Let me know if you give it a try! x

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