Say the words ‘early literacy’ and many parents often feel a little lost. As if we weren’t busy enough, we also need to squeeze in activities to extend our child’s literacy skills… but where to start, and how do we find the time?
A child learns best from those around them, so you are the most important teacher your child will ever have. And research has shown that up to 90% of a child’s brain development happens in the first five years! So, these early years hanging out with Mum and Dad really are critical in their early literacy learning.
Thankfully, in a community such as ours, we are surrounded by literacy – and it’s not just books. From signposts and menus to billboards and playgrounds, the everyday streets we live in are filled with easy opportunities for a little early literacy fun.
Turn a simple trip to the supermarket into a fun literacy excursion by playing games as you roll around the aisles. These games also keep the littlies occupied whilst shopping, making the experience easier for Mum and Dad!
There’s so many unique words and interesting adjectives to be found on a simple trip to the park!
Reading signs when you are out and about, on the bus or on the way to school, is another way of sprinkling a little literacy into your day without kids even realising!
Baking together is a great way to boost those literacy skills (and get a delicious batch of biccies at the same time!)
For younger children – reword the recipe together first in basic language so they can follow it. If it helps, have them draw pictures of the steps.
Older children can read the recipe, measure and count out quantities.
Use plenty of words along the way, such as gooey, sticky, delicious and tasty… and don’t worry about the mess!
The weekly chore board is a great support for everyday literacy. The repetition of seeing the words coupled with completing the action every week will have those new words learnt in no time! For younger kids, includes an image on the chart next to the words so they start to link the word to the action.
Going on a long journey? This is a great game for a road trip as it can be played repeatedly, and with several players.
The game is simple. Kids look for the letters on their bingo card on license plates, and cross them off when they spot one. First one to get a full row is the winner!
Cut a pool noodle into sections of around 15–20cm.
Stand the pieces up and write an alphabet letter on the front of each piece of noodle.
Spread them out around the room.
Shout out a letter and kids have to ‘bowl’ over the letter using a soft ball.
Take it one step further with older kids, where they take the knocked-down letters and make up simple words from them.
This game is super-messy, but a lot of fun and kids love it!
Write a selection of sight words on the large piece of paper.
Shout out a word and kids race to splat the word with a paint-covered fly swatter!
Tip: Play outside and wearing messy clothes, the paint gets everywhere!
For a less messy version, use ink and stamps rather than paint and fly swatters.
This simple game teaches rhyming words in a fun way – the kids will never know they are learning and it’s an easy way to keep them occupied and engaged.
Choose four sets of rhyming words, such as: cat, hat, bat; fun, run, sun; take, cake, rake; and head, led, bed.
Lay one hula hoop in each corner of the room.
Write one word on each plate. Then place one plate from each rhyming group into the centre of a hula hoop and hide the rest of the words!
Kids hunt around to find the missing words and when they find them, they put them in the correct hula hoop.
For more early literacy ideas, simply head down to your local library or visit first5forever.org.au.