Playing to Support Early Literacy Skills

What is your child’s favorite game? Play peekaboo, hide and seek, or dress up. Make up a game! Children learn through play while developing spatial, fine and gross motor, language, and social skills. Playing, pretending, taking apart and putting together nurtures confidence! Be sure to ask open ended questions for even more interaction and skill-building.

Activity: Household Play
Set out safe, everyday household objects as a way to nurture curiosity. Even clean-up time can be a fun way to grow skills.

  • Tupperware
  • Pots and pans
  • Empty cardboard boxes
  • Spatulas and whisks 
  • Old computer keyboard (remove any cords and batteries) 
  • Empty plastic bottles
  • Blankets & pillows to build a fort

Activity: Block Play
Something as easy as stacking and knocking over blocks allows toddlers to discover math and science concepts, including shapes, gravity, balance and counting.

  • Count along! How many blocks can you stack before they fall over?
  • Sort and build by color.
  • Create a pattern of shapes – circle, square, triangle, and let your child repeat.
  • Use open ended statements to help your child use descriptive language like, “tell me about what you are making.” 

Activity: Outdoor Play
Aside from the health benefits, children who play outside also develop their senses by experiencing the sights, sounds, smells, and physical sensations of the natural world.         

  • Scoop sand, pebbles, or water
  • Watch leaves fall
  • Taste frozen snowflakes
  • Splash in a mud puddle
  • Smell damp earth or grass
  • Listen to rain, wind, and birds