Teaching Preschoolers the Letter D: Alphabet Recognition Activities

by Carla on February 22, 2010

Preschool teachers and daycare providers can help children learn to recognize and write the letter D through fun activities that support clear learning objectives.

Learning Objectives

  • The students will identify the letter D.
  • The students make and recognize the D sound.
  • The students will learn to trace and write upper and lower case D’s.
  • The students will identify objects that begin with the letter D.
  • The students will participate in Five Little Ducks finger play.
  • The students will make cinnamon donuts.
  • The students will listen to books that feature the letter D.

Handwriting and Alphabet Recognition

Introduce the children to the letter D along with simple objects that begin with the letter d. Create a colorful letter D poster board that presents both the upper and lower case D. Include pictures of objects cut from magazines that begin with the letter D. For example: Duck, dice, dog, door, dragon, dinosaur, daisy, dove, drum, dolphin, donkey, doll, dime, dad, and deer.

Write both the upper and lowercase D on a whiteboard or chalkboard. Demonstrate the D sound and ask the children to make (repeat) the D sound. Next ask the children to think of words (names, objects, or places) that begin with the letter D.

Allow the children to practice tracing the letter D in both upper and lower case using a letter D worksheet. A good example of such a worksheet is available on the First Preschool website. Children can also practice writing and tracing the letter D on blank sheets of paper using pencils, colored pencils, or crayon.

Letter D Group Time
“Five Little Ducks”* Finger Play
:  Use finger puppets or simply use fingers.

“Five little ducks went out to play
over the hills and far away
When mother duck said
Quack, quack, quack!
Only four little ducks came back.
Reduce by one until you are down to one left and the last line is
One little duck went out to play
over the hills and far away
When mother duck said
Quack, quack, quack!
Five little ducks came running back”

Letter D Cooking and Snack Activity

Cinnamon Donuts
Ingredients:  Pillsbury biscuits, vegetable oil, 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cinnamon
Remove biscuits from the can and create a hole in each one by sticking your finger in the middle. In medium hot cooking oil, deep fry a few donuts at a time for a couple of minutes. Turn each donut when brown. To a paper bag, add cinnamon and sugar. As you take the donuts out of the oil, shake off excess oil and put them in the bag, two at a time. Let the children shake the bag. Remove the donuts and place on paper towels or cooling rack to cool.

Letter D Story Time

  • Daisy, My Dad, and the Letter D by Cynthia Fitterer Klingel [Child’s World, 2003]
  • D is for Doodle by Deborah Zemke [Blue Apple Books, 2004]
  • Duck at the Door by Jackie Urbanovic [HarperCollins, 2007]
  • Big Dog and Little Dog by Dave Pilkey [Red Wagon, 1997]
  • The Deer in the Little Wood by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Renee Graef [HarperCollins, 1999]
  • Jungle Drums by Graeme Base [Harry N Abrams, 2004]

Including these simple activities into the curriculum of child care centers will greatly enhance preschoolers’ language learning. Lesson plans should contain clear learning objectives but also remember to seize spontaneous moments of opportunity to teach.

*Five Little Ducks finger play taken from Cheryl of Cheryl’s Sweethearts ChildCare.

About Carla

Carla Snuggs has written 88 post in this blog.

Carla is a freelance writer from Southern California. She has a B.A. in early childhood education and a Master of Library and Information Science degree specializing in public librarianship and youth services.

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