from Alphabet Learning Center Activities Kit book by Nancy Fetzer and Sandra Rief


This is a great hands-on alphabet/beginning letter sound activity for emergent readers that is described in our book.

The alphabet apron is one of our “ABC tubbing center activities”. The kids love this!  You will need to make the apron and fill a bin or bag of small objects that have beginning sounds for each of the 26 letters.  For this activity and the other ones I will be sharing on this site, you will need to gather up objects for matching/sorting objects with their corresponding beginning sound.  For example, fill a large ziplock bag with 26 objects for this specific activity:

a – little plastic alligator or apple, b – button or small plastic banana, c – a small candle or plastic cookie, etc.  Make sure when you gather up objects, that you find ones for short vowel sounds (e.g., for short i – a small plastic iguana, insect or igloo).  Many objects for these activities can easily be found around the house (especially if you have small children).  Others can be found at party good stores or 99 cent stores.  If you can’t find a small enough object to fit in the pocket of the apron, then mount a small picture of the object on a piece of cardboard or card stock, and use that instead.


Now for the apron itself:

I had my seamstress make this one for me, as I don’t know how to sew.

1.  Construct (or purchase) a full-length children’s apron. 

2. Then cut out fabric for making 26 pockets (one for each letter of the alphabet).  The pockets need to be approximately 3 ¾ x 4 ½ and should be of a heavy weight fabric.  The apron pictured here is 23 inches wide. The pockets (burlap) are 3 ½ inches x 3 ½ inches. But, with the extra fabric on either side of the pocket that is sewn under, the cut pieces of fabric for pockets were actually 5 inches in width.

3. Sew three sides down to the apron or attach in some other way. 

4. Write a letter of the alphabet on each pocket using colored puff paint or fabric paint.   


What the kids do for this activity:

One child wears the apron (or if working with a tutor such as an upper grade student/cross-age tutor, the older student may wear the apron).  One or two other children place the objects in the pockets. To ensure that the kids are sorting the objects and placing them correctly according to their correct beginning sound, all 2-3 children should agree as to the object being placed in the pockets, or the “tutor” can monitor that the activity is being done correctly.