Teaching letter names or sounds doesn’t have to be done in dry, drill-and-kill style. A monster alphabet game like Don’t Feed the Monster is just the opposite. It’s interactive, hands-on, super fun, and even a wee bit silly. And as an added bonus, children also get to practice their one-to-one correspondence skills, too!
And be sure to read all the way to the end of the post to find 16 other awesome friendly monster activities!
I still hear pretty frequently of parents and teachers relying on flashcards for teaching important foundational skills in reading and math. But here’s the problem: flashcards only really result in rote memorization. This means if you’re using flashcards alone, you’re only really scratching the surface . . . of a foundational skill.
That won’t do.
Now, let me be clear. Flashcards are fine for some kids. Some kids really respond to them. My first grader, for example, loves sight word flash cards because she is so competitive, even if only competing against herself.
But I’ve never met a preschooler who asks for flashcards over a crazy fun monster alphabet game. So don’t forget to get your free printable at the end of this post. Your preschoolers will be asking for it again and again!
Monster Alphabet Game
This game not only teaches letter recognition or letter sounds, but it also exposes children to ten frame counting skills and one-to-one correspondence skills, too! All in a fun, yet simple, alphabet game!
- free monster alphabet game download (at the end of this post)
- heavy cardstock and laminator (for added durability)
- math counters of any variety (traditional, floral gems, buttons, M&Ms, whatever)
Print the game and cut out the cards. Mix up the cards and place them in a pile face down. Give each player a scorecard and invite them to fill their ten frame.
How to Play the Don’t Feed the Monster
Now that the letter game is set up, you are ready to play!
Draw a card from the pile and identify the letter and/or sound, then place in a discard pile.
If your preschooler needs help, that’s ok! This is supposed to be fun. It’s not a test. Just tell them the letter name and have your preschooler look at the card and then repeat the name.
If you teach a wide range of levels, I’ll give you lots of variations of play down below.
If the player draws a “Feed me” card, she must identify the number of items to “feed the monster”. Then carefully count the corresponding number of counters from the player’s ten frame scorecard. Set those aside. (Of if you’re really ambitious, you can make a cute monster like this one, this one, or this one.)
Once those counters (otherwise known as monster food) are set aside, the player must say, in their very best monster voice, “Chomp, chomp” or “Gobble, gobble,” and maybe add in a burp. Adding in a burp at the end makes it really silly because the rest of the players get to say, “Monster! Say excuse me!” which always results in gut-rolling laughter.
Variations of Play for a Variety of Skill Levels
You and I both know that preschoolers develop at their very own rate. This means that not all preschoolers are able to play this game exactly as described above. Here are some different ways to play so your children can learn the best.
For Easier Play
- Make multiple copies of the game, pulling out a small set of letters (about six) that the child is most familiar with. Set aside the other letters and the extra “Feed me” cards. Play the game as described with just a small set of letters.
- Play as described above, but use the letters from the child’s name.
- Say the letter for the child, then invite him to use his finger to trace the letter as he says it.
For More Challenging Play
- Invite the preschooler to say both the letter and sound on the card.
- Have your child name something that begins with the card’s letter sound.
- Turn the monster feeding into a subtraction problem. For example, “You have eight monster food pieces, but you have to feed the monster one. How many will you have left over?”
My preschoolers love to play alphabet games like these all year long, and this monster game quickly became a favorite. With just the right amount of rules and silliness, it’s such a fun and effective way to reinforce alphabet skills.
Grab Your Copy Here!
Think your preschooler will love this game? (I know they will!). You can grab your free copy by clicking on the Stay At Home Educator download button below!
Want More Monster Themed Activities?
Then check out these amazing activities! They are too fun!
Feed the Monster Alphabet Match // Sara J Creations
Monster Alphabet Playdough Mats // Modern Preschool
Monster Counting Cards // Miss Kindergarten
Monster Math Addition Clip Cards // The Kindergarten Connection
Monster Counting Mats // The STEM Laboratory
Monster Measurement Cards // Fairy Poppins
Monster Alphabet Game // Stay at Home Educator
Felt Monsters Busy Box // Teach Me Mommy
Monster Letter Match // Schooling a Monkey
Monster Snowball Coverall // Recipe for Teaching
Snow Monster Addition Puzzles // The Simplified Classroom
Monster Shape Graphs // Playdough to Plato
Slime Monster Counting Activity // Fun-A-Day
Name the Monster Phonics Game // Play & Learn Every Day
Monster Counting Emergent Reader // A Dab of Glue Will Do
Color Monsters Write the Room // Letters of Literacy
Monster Truck Numbers: Bigger and Smaller // Liz’s Early Learning Spot
Monster Creation Tray // Powerful Mothering
Monster Feelings Match Up // Pocket of Preschool
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.