Early Literacy Activity: Clay Letters

b-boot_75.jpgClay Letters is an activity that you can do with one child or a group of children to help them practice forming letters of the alphabet. In this activity, children become familiar with the shape of the letters and practice forming them independently.

What you need:

  • modeling clay or play-dough
  • paper and pencil

What you do:

  1. Print a few letters of the alphabet on the paper, making them at least 6 inches tall.
  2. Roll lumps of clay or dough into long, thin strips.
  3. Help our child form the strips into letters. At first, your child can make the letter directly on the written model. He or she can progress to forming the strips below the written letter, using it as a guide.


Your child will become familiar with the shape of the letters and practice forming them independenty. This is also great for fine motor skills!

This activity is an emergent writing activity. Emergent writing refers to a child’s beginning attempts to use print in a meaningful way.

My child is having trouble doing this activity. How can I help?

If a child is having difficulty with this activity, draw a large letter on a piece of paper. Help the child form the clay directly on the written letter. Start with simple upper-case letters like “O” and “L.”

How can I make this activity more challenging?

Let the child try to make letters without a written model. You can also ask the child to make the letters in his or her name.

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