Welcome to the Bright Idea Zone!

One toy, many ways to play.

Discover a multitude of bright ideas for each placemat and keep the fun fresh. Designed by educational experts and sorted by age and ability, these activities help keep little minds engaged and growing.

For offline play, click to download the printer-friendly version of this page, as well as your bonus printable tools, and begin your learning adventure today!

In this sentence alone, there are more lowercase letters than uppercase – so they’re obviously important, right? Absolutely! The majority of what we read are words composed of lowercase letters. That said, it’s typically easier to learn uppercase first! Uppercase letters are mostly lines whereas lowercase are curvy and not so uniform. Tricky little boogers! We’ve taken that into account when making this mat and, not to brag, we’re ready to help teach these little letters to your child! 

abcdefg, Come and Learn Lowercase with Me!

Many parents and educators choose to introduce the alphabet to their children starting with lowercase letters. If you would like to follow this method, please refer to the section outlining how to do so on the opposite side of the placemat

  • Point to an image on the trim of the placemat and ask your child to identify the initial sound. Now ask the child to identify the letter by name and find the corresponding D&J ABC Find & Fit puzzle piece. Challenge them to match the puzzle piece to the lowercase letter on the mat, knowing it’s perfectly okay to model this for them if needed!    
  • Match it! Scramble your D&J ABC Find & Fit puzzle pieces on the table and ask your child to match them to the correct lowercase letter. 
  • Detective time! Have your child cover their eyes. Swap 6 of the letters around onto the wrong lowercase letters and ask them to find the mistakes and fix them! 
  • Letter Sensory Bin! Put your D&J ABC Find & Fit puzzle pieces in sand or water and encourage your child to find the letters and match the correct lowercase letter on the mat.

Level Up Little Letter Learners!

  • What’s that sound? Ask your child to tell you the first sound they hear in the pictures on the mat. “What is the first sound you hear in leaf?” /l/
  • I spy! Using the keyword/pictures, play “I spy” using initial sounds. For example, “I spy a picture that begins with the sound /t/.”  Another way to play – “I spy a picture that begins the same as bat.” “Bike!” “Yes, bat and bike begin the same!”
  • Letter search! Point to a letter on the placemat and encourage your child to find the corresponding beginning letter sound on the trim. If you are doing the entire alphabet, encourage your child to cover the picture with a D&J bingo chip or a snack as they go. 
  • Point to an image on the placemat trim and ask your child to point to the letter that makes the initial sound. For example, for “Lamp,” point to the letter L.        
  • Grab the phonics printable and match to the correct letter on the placemat.

Tip Top Fun for Lowercase Legends

  • Write it! Point to a picture on the trim of the placemat and ask your child to write the corresponding uppercase letter on paper or a dry erase board. Once they have written the letter, have them point to the matching lowercase letter on the placemat and write the lowercase letter on their paper/board. 
  • Role the Die! Play Roll the Trim. Using a bingo chip or Lego figurine, roll a die and move that many images around the border. Then say the letter that you land on. Whoever gets around the border first wins! Say the word/picture and then the skill you are working on.