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8 Ways to Use Refrigerator Magnets

Here are eight fantastic ways to develop pre-reading skills using alphabet refrigerator magnets (with no mess or fuss)! And if magnets don’t stick to your fridge, you can do these same activities using a metal baking sheet or the front of your dishwasher.

  1. Alphabet Soup

    Pour all your letters into a sauce pan or soup pot. Have your little one give the soup a stir and dish up some “Alphabet Soup”! Hold out your bowl while your young chef serves you up some “G Soup” or “Q Soup” (or whatever variety is the special of the day!).

    Refrigerator magnets in a pot
  2. Alphabet Train

    Mix up the letters in random order. Show your child how she can make a “train” by placing the letters in alphabetical order, singing the Alphabet Song as she goes.

    Refrigerator magnets in alphabetical order
  3. Letter Lookout

    Help your child recognize that there are letters everywhere! Pick out a few picture books or boxes of food. Have your child choose a magnetic letter from the fridge and try to find that same letter in the book or on a box.

  4. Mix-n-Match ‘Em

    Arrange the letters right side up and have your child organize the letters in matching sets. For example, can she find all the letters that have long sticks? How about short sticks? Can she find letters with circles? How about letters with dots? Sort out all the red letters. Can she find the letters in her name? How about the letters in a friend’s name?

    An arrangement of refrigerator magnets
  5. Hide-n-Go Letter Seek

    Scatter your letters around your school room or living room. Give your child a basket and encourage her to say the name of the letters as she collects each one. You can use this activity to increase phonological awareness by calling out the sound of each letter instead of the name of the letter. Download our free Letter Sounds app if you need to refresh your memory on the sounds of the 26 alphabet letters.

    Playing hide and seek with refrigerator magnets
  6. Dig for Buried Letters

    Bury your letters in a large bowl filled with dried lentils, rice, or cracked wheat. Have your child dig for the letters with a magnetic wand. As she finds each letter, have her shout out the letter’s name and the sound it makes.

    Refrigerator magnets in a bowl of rice with magnetic wand
  7. Go Fish

    You can use your magnetic wand for this activity too! Make a fishing pole by tying a string to the end of a yard stick and then tying the magnetic wand to the end of the string. Spread your refrigerator magnets on the floor, and it’s time to go fishing! Have your child dangle the magnet wand to catch “fish.” Have her say the name and/or sound of each “fish” she catches.

  8. Word Wranglers

    This activity is perfect beginning readers. It will help your child learn that you can manipulate sounds to create new words. Build a three-letter word on the fridge. See how many new words you can make by changing the beginning and/or ending sounds. Here’s one using beginning sounds: Start with cat. Change the beginning sound to make fat, pat, and hat. Now create new words by changing the ending sound.

    Refrigerator magnets spelling the word 'cat'

Looking for a complete program to get your child ready for reading? Check out the All About Reading Pre-reading program! Your child will enjoy special games, crafts, and story time read-alouds, and you will love how it’s all planned out for you.

All About Reading Pre-reading set-up

How do you use letter magnets with your little one? Share in the comments below!

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Cindy

says:

Great spelling ideas!

Erma

says:

Playing games is the best way to learn!

Judy

says:

Lots of great ideas!

courtney b

says:

these idas! I love the abcs soup idea

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Courtney,
It does sound like a fun game to play to practice letters, doesn’t it!

Kath

says:

These are wonderful ideas! Can’t wait to try them with my struggling learner. Thank you!

Tracy Barron

says:

I’ve used a few of these ideas before, but some are new to me. It’s amazing how simple and creative learning can be! :)

Kori

says:

I love anything that can make learning hands-on. Thank you for these fun ideas!

Carolyn

says:

So many great ideas!

Kendra S Mackenzie

says:

I remember when my child was younger I would hide alphabet flash .by things that would match the begging letter like letter L by a lamp.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

That sounds like such a fun way to learn letters and their sounds, Kendra! Thanks for sharing this idea.

Angie

says:

Have 2 sets of magnetic letters – thanks for all the suggestions.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Angie. Have lots of fun playing with them!

Lauren

says:

How fun! Can’t wait to share these ideas with the littles. Thank you!

Rachel

says:

Thanks for the great ideas! I’m really excited to try AAL for the first time this year!

Tammy Brackley

says:

SO many great ideas!!

Alison

says:

Great activity ideas to encourage more exposure, practice, and letter play to grow phonetic awareness.

Lauren

says:

Love these ideas! I’ve also hid magnet letters in a bowl of colored elbow pasta and let my kids find them with plastic tweezers. Then thy identify the letter before putting it down. Great motor skill practice, too!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Ooo, I love this activity, Lauren. One of my kids struggled with fine motor skills, so we did fine motor skill activities all the time but I never thought of anything like this. Thanks for sharing this idea.

Robyn

says:

These are some great ideas! My mom gave me a giant bag of these from a garage sale and I never really knew what to use them for.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Now you have lots of ideas for using this great find your mom gave you, Robyn! I hope you and your little one have fun.

Jessica Delgado

says:

Great item to try!

Jack

says:

Fun yet informative ideas :) This is gonna help children’s to have an interest in learning something new. I would highly recommend these ideas to others and of course i’ll pass to my kids also.

Natalie

says:

My 4 & 6 yr old sons separated the red and blue letters and played war with them. I’m not sure what they’re learning, but that’s one way ours get used. I also like to spell out family members’ names in a Scrabble/crossword style.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Natalie,
I love the “war” with the letter magnets!

Great ideas! We still don’t have magnet letters but I could buy at some point.

Amy

says:

Thanks for the ideas! My son had all his letters/sounds in both upper and lowercase learned but we’ve had to take 8 months off from homeschooling due to a medical emergency, and he’s kind of rusty. These activities will definitely help refresh his memory without making him feel like we need to learn over again what he knew.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amy,
We have quite a few blog posts and free downloads to make learning letter recognition fun and active.

Ana Tham

says:

Wonderful ideas!! I’ll try them as well.
My son played Chef pretending to fry the little eggs from the lesson practicing the sounds he was learning. He loved it!

Today we played postman delivering mails to the “families” th sh ch…
So fun to !!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Ana,
Playing postman as a part of reading lesson sounds like it would be fun! Great way to keep things lively for your son!

Aleisha

says:

My daughter missed not being able to play with her alphabet magnets when we bought a new fridge a few years ago. These are great ideas!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Aleisha,
We got a no refrigerator a couple years ago and magnets don’t work on the front of it. However, I found that magnets work fine on the side, as does chalk. The side of my fridge is gray, not black, but it works just as well as a chalkboard. It depends on the configuration of your kitchen, but that might work for play for your daughter.

Tammy

says:

Very good ideas

Katie

says:

I don’t have any new ones, but I have used these ideas. The kids enjoy them.

Anita Flinchum

says:

I like these ideas.

Andrea

says:

Wonderful ideas!

Cindy

says:

Love these ideas. Can’t wait to try some of them.

Heather

says:

I am a homeschooling mother and I just bought All About Spelling! I am hoping to get All about Reading soon. My son is 8 in second grade failing and Dyslexic. I just found out about this program and it is my last hope.Thanks

Deb

says:

I’ve gotten so many great ideas from this blog. Thank you!

Lydia

says:

I’m glad to find this blog with lots of great tips. We recently purchased primary arts of language writing program which comes with all about spelling level 1. I found it’s an excellent spelling program. We will definitely continue to use it as part of our homeschooling curriculum in the future.
Thank you and best wishes,

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lydia,
Thank you for letting us know that All About Spelling 1 is working well for your homeschool!

deann reinke

says:

love the chapter books

Lindee Scales

says:

Great ideas!

Susanne

says:

All about spelling is a wonderful curriculum! Love these ideas as well!

Love these ideas, fun to mix things up!

anita

says:

Great ideas! My son really loved the magnet letters…and so did my daughter!

The are all clever ways of teaching that are fun as well. Great ideas! Gracias

Carmen Olfert

says:

These are fantastic ideas, thank you!

Merry

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome!

Grace

says:

great ideas! I could use these everyday with my little friends.

Heather M

says:

These ideas are so fun!

Cristi

says:

Thanks for the great ideas!

Liz Reyes

says:

We love these refrigerator magnets!!

Great ideas for younger children. I’m hoping I learn how to help a grand-daughter (age 8) who doesn’t seem to recognize correct/incorrect spelling.

Merry

says: Customer Service

Hi Judith,

How wonderful that you can help your granddaughter! Let us know if we can help in any way.

Laura

says:

These are so great! Thank you!

Autumn

says:

Thanks for the fresh ideas! These are great!

Merry

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, have fun!

Nikki Howell

says:

Love these ideas! Will be trying some with me son as we work on letters this year

Roberta D

says:

This are all ideas I will try with my daughter!

Jennifer G

says:

Wonderful ideas! We will give them a try.

Lisa Blankenship

says:

These are great ideas.

Erica Marshall

says:

What an awesome list of ideas!! Thanks! I know the dig for letter would be a huge hit!

Claire

says:

These are great ideas! I think my son will really enjoy digging for letters.

Lorrie

says:

What great ideas!!! I’m sure my girls would love each one of them. I’m shopping for quality magnet letters now!!! Can’t wait to get them on the fridge. 😀🎉

Deb

says:

Your ideas are so creative! Can’t wait to try them!

Julie G.

says:

Thanks for new ideas for ways to use letter magnets. I can see both my kids enjoying these.

Angela

says:

Love the fishing idea! Great kinesthetic activity, too.

Kaile R

says:

We loved using Alphabet magnets when my kids were little.

Jessica

says:

My older daughter would still love doing some of these at level 2.
We have also used the inside of the tailgate for magnets when we have been on a job site with my husband. Since starting All About Spelling and Reading I find myself observing anything we can use magnets on and anything dry erase capable.

Merry

says: Customer Service

LOVE the tailgate idea, Jessica! That’s so cool!

Holly Hayek

says:

Cool idea!

Kate

says:

These are great, low stress options that would engage the most reluctant pre-reader!

Fiona

says:

I love these ideas. I have a 7 and 5 year old who are both struggling on the reading front. I can’t wait to put these ideas into action while I wait for our AAR kit! I have recently decided to homeschool my children and I can’t wait to get started with AAR. Thank you very much for the ideas in this post :)

Merry

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome! And let us know if you have any questions as you work through All About Reading. We’re always glad to help!

Anna

says:

Love these ideas!

Ashley

says:

These are great ideas!

Heather

says:

Great ideas that I can use with our magnets! Both of my boys (even my oldest) would enjoy doing these!

Anne

says:

I’m always impressed with how many great ideas you all come up with. Thanks for sharing!

Shawna Jansen

says:

Love these ideas! My youngest loves to do letter scavenger hunts!

Tara S.

says:

Love these ideas for playing with letters and will implement them with our youngest.

Deidre Swan

says:

I will share these strategies with my sister-in-law. She has a 3 year old at home and he is a sharp cookie! Thank you

Marivi

says:

Wonderful! A lot of varieties way of learning.

Suanna Sears

says:

Thanks for all the great ideas! Sometimes we’ve traced around them on a white board or piece of paper to help them learn how to recognize and spell their name.

Gale

says:

I love magnet letters. Even letting a child pick any combo of letters and sounding them out (or trying to) helps them. Its a great way to show them the rule about needing vowels… “Oops…I can’t say that…there aren’t enough vowels!”

Merry

says: Customer Service

Cute idea to show that every word needs a vowel, Gale!

Kandy Newman

says:

Love these ideas. My son gets board easily so I’m looking forward to using these!

Michelle W.

says:

These are great ideas. I will definately be using these ideas with my pre-readers.

K Spencer

says:

I definitely want to try use our letters for building words since our little man knows his letters well. Thanks for the inspiration!!

Merry

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome; enjoy!

Jessica McKenzie

says:

Great ideas!

Krista

says:

My daughter will love these ideas. She loves her alphabet magnets!

Amy M.

says:

These are the times I wish my fridge was magnetic!

Merry

says: Customer Service

Do you have any metal doors? Our front and back doors are, and work great for magnets!

Ivy

says:

Great to discover this post! Just ordered a set of magnetic alphabets to bring more fun to phonics learning. Thanks!

CHRISTINE

says:

Such fun ideas for my preschooler!

Yuna Park

says:

I’ve been putting off getting magnetic letters because magnetic numbers have ended up all over the kitchen floor driving me nuts. But all the fun ideas from this post makes me want to get them now.

Merry

says: Customer Service

LOL, yes! Great chore for a little one to pick them up though!

Tara M

says:

Love these ideas- my refrigerator isn’t magnetic, but I had been given a bunch of these letters- so this will be very nice.

I just ordered refrigerator letters and numbers this week and the kids love them! (Minus the littlest wanting to eat them… it’s been a problem)

Your Alphabet Soup idea will be a hit with my 3 year old! Can’t wait to try it out :)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amy,
Have fun with Alphabet Soup!

Diana

says:

My two kids are reading like champs, so they take turns scrambling a word and letting the other one unscramble it. Sometimes they get it right away, and sometimes it takes a few days to figure it out.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Diana,
This is an important skill for becoming great Scrabble, Bananagrams, or Words with Friends players! Fun.

Shannon

says:

There are some great ideas here I’ll have to try with my boys!

Tammy

says:

Thanks for posting looks like some great ideas to try!

Shannon S

says:

The ABC snacks from the other day look like fun!

Amanda Snow

says:

I’m so glad you’ve posted this! We have TONS of magnets, but I’ve never quite known what to do with them, other than spelling out words. This was perfect for us!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

I’m glad the post was helpful! You’ll be able to put the magnets to good use! (Have fun!)

shannon

says:

These are brilliant. Can’t wait to try them as my almost 2 yr old daughter becomes more aware of stuff like this.

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