ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: An ABC Staircase

Thursday, August 2, 2012

An ABC Staircase


Let's face it: Life is busy. Between play dates, meal prep and running errands some days leave little time to breathe let alone give your child ABC practice. So when I saw this photo of a staircase in one Singaporean primary school, I was immediately struck with excitement. By covering each step with a fact or visual of the solar system, teachers discovered a simple way to turn an ordinary staircase into a teachable moment.


So I decided to create my own version of this magical staircase. To start, I gathered a few supplies: 26 blank index cards, a pack of colorful markers and a roll of tape. On each card, I wrote a different letter combination like this one.  

Then I taped one card to the side of each step on our stairwell.

Since we have 13 stairs, I posted the first half of the ABCs on one side and the second half on the other.

When my son woke up in the morning he was thrilled to discover his alphabet surprise. We slowly marched up the steps as we sang the ABCs. "A" (step) "B" (step), "C" (step)...   Then we counted the letters as we marched up and back down.   He was thrilled to discover his very special first letter {C} and he LOVED hunting for his brother's special letter {G}.  

Other Ways to Play

  • Call out a letter and invite your child to race to it.
  • Invite your child to trace each letter as she walks up the stairs.
  • Say a word and have your child listen to the first sound she hears. Have her climb to the letter on the stairs.
  • Give your child a short word like {cat}. Invite your child to sound it out slowly and hop to the letters she hears. In this example, she would race to the {c}, then the {a} and then the {t}.

Find more playful ways to help your child learn to read on Playdough to Plato's blog and Facebook page.  


  1. What a fun idea. We use our front walkway in a similar way. I wrote about it at if you care to take a peek.

  2. Clever and simple! Love this idea! Thanks for sharing it here today!

  3. I love this idea and wish I had stairs to do it!!!!

  4. What a creative way to practice the alphabet. I appreciate any activity that encourages movement.

  5. this is such a fantastic idea. I'm trying to help goblin learn numbers at the moment, i must try this one.

  6. What a wonderful idea! There are so many easy ways to incorporate learning into your everyday activites. I had my son practice alphabetizing by giving him an ABC poster and the spices from the spice cabinet. He did not even realize that he was "working".

  7. Love this idea! My children will be thrilled that I'm going to encourage them to play on the stairs. :)

  8. I LOVE this idea!! I have an active 4 year old boy who would rather do AnYThiNg than sit down and learn! Total opposite of his smarty pants sister who would rather learn than do anything. Lol. And I've been overwhelmed with trying to trick him into learning while getting all my daughter's lessons done with her each day. We can totally do this though. I think jumping up the stairs while singing will be fun enough for him. :) Maybe he'll know the letters of the alphabet before he's five afterall.

  9. This is such a great idea! I can see this helping a lot of kids and families! And I love that you can use it to teach anything. I need more stairs :)