15 Early Literacy Activities for Kids (Toddlers & Pre-School)
A list of fun early literacy activities for kids from toddlers to pre-school including lots of language and literacy activities for kids to learn while having fun.
What is Early Literacy For Kids?
Literacy is the ability to read, write, understand and express language.
Early literacy is this type of language development from an early age, e.g. a toddler or pre-schooler.
Children are exposed to literacy from a very young age without us even realising it. However there are also things we can do, and steps we can take as parents to expose them to more and help to develop their language development.
Importance of Early Literacy For Kids
There are many benefits and advantages of early literacy. Because literacy is the foundation to all other learning, it is one of the most important aspects of early childhood development.
Early literacy helps children to communicate.
Things such as exposing children to a range of different reading and writing materials from a young age can benefit children in their early years, even if there is no formal learning.
Children who do not have access to these tools and opportunities may find it difficult to find means of communication and it can affect their behaviour due to not being able to express their needs and wants.
Early literacy is also important for children who are starting school. The more children are exposed to reading and writing activities at home, the more prepared they will be to start a formal education.
Early Literacy Activities for Kids
Here you can find a list of fun early literacy activities for kids including:
- 5 Early literacy activities for toddlers
- 10 Early literacy activities for kindergarten / pre-school
5. Early Literacy Activities for Toddlers
It is never too early to start with early literacy activities, however for young kids, especially toddlers, they learn best through play. You can try to incorporate these early literacy activities into your usual daily routine. Here are 5 early literacy activities for toddlers.
1. Songs & Nursery Rhymes
Even if your toddler isn’t forming proper sentences yet, singing and reciting nursery rhymes is a great way to learn new vocabulary. Kids love repetition. Listen to music, sing songs, read nursery rhyme books and follow the words along together. Here is a great list of NURSERY RHYME LYRICS.
2. Looking at picture books
One of the best early literacy activities for toddlers is looking at picture books. They may not know how to read yet, however learning to turn the page from right to left, and guessing what is happening from the pictures is all helping with their literacy skills.
3. Reading to
You should start reading to your little one as early as possible, even from birth. Read a range of different books so that your toddler hears different vocabulary and words that they would otherwise not hear on a day to day basis. Even if they are not talking back, they are taking it all in and storing this information in their brains for later use.
In order to start to write, children’s hand muscles need to be strong enough to hold and control a pen. Playdough, or any activity where kids can manipulate a material with their hands is perfect for learning early literacy skills. Don’t have playdough? Make it at home with our PLAYDOUGH RECIPE.
Give your toddler a crayon or pencil with some paper and let them start scribbling away. Teach your child how to hold the pencil properly and practice together. This will help their fine motor skills and strengthen their hand and finger muscles so they can really start to write and draw.
10. Early Literacy Activities for Kindergarten / Pre-school
Early literacy activities for kindergarten and pre-school kids are important for school readiness. Once kids get to school formal learning starts and kids will start to read and write on a regular basis. Preparing before kids get to school with fun early literacy activities at home can be a great help in giving kids the confidence they need once they get to school.
1. Pretend Reading
Most pre-schoolers won’t be fluent readers yet, however they can pretend to read by guessing what is going on with the pictures. If you provide books with just a few words on each page they can also start to guess them.
2. Reciting the alphabet
Before children can learn to read and write, they must first learn to recognise the letters of the alphabet. One of the best early literacy activities for kids is reciting or singing the alphabet. Once they know the letter names, you can then also start to teach them the letter sounds, pointing at objects that start with that letter.
3. Colouring in
Another early literacy activity for kids to improve their strength is colouring in. Print off their favourite super hero or princess, or purchase a colouring book and they can colour in as many pages as they like. Initially they will probably scribble, but eventually they should learn to control the pencil and colour in the lines.
4. Tracing & practicing letters
Tracing letters of the alphabet is really important but fun early literacy activity for pre-schoolers and kindergarten kids. This can be done in many ways. It can be done finger painting on paper, it can be done making letters out of playdough, or you can set up a plate of sand, and kids can use their hands to practice letters.
5. Listening to stories
Listening to stories is another early literacy activity for pre-schoolers. It could be on a parents lap reading a bedtime story, or it could be using an audio book.
6. Letter matching
There are various different letter matching activities and games. It could be matching the capital letter with the small letter, or it could be matching the letter with an object. Both are great early literacy activities for kids to learn the letter sounds. You could even do a SCAVENGER HUNT.
7. Drawing shapes
Before children are able to draw letters, they need to be able to draw different shapes. Drawing circles and lines, and then connecting them to make triangles and squares is a great literacy activity for practicing this skill.
8. Connect the dots
You may find these activity books at your local store, or online. Otherwise you can also prepare a page yourself. Connecting dots to make pictures or letters helps kids practice their writing and drawing skills and improves their muscle strength in their hands and fingers.
9. Learning to write name
One of the main things children work on in kindergarten and preschool is learning to write their name. With many of the early literacy activities for kids in this post, they are preparing to help this happen. Once your child can control a pencil, draw lines and circles, and connect them together, they should be able to start practicing their name. It may not look perfect to start with but they will get there with practice.
10. Word games
Word games are a fantastic early literacy activity for pre-schoolers once they know their letters. I spy is a great one to start with to help them find things around starting with a certain letter. Once kids learn to write letters you can also play games such as hangman. Here you can find a list of fun WORD GAMES FOR KIDS.
Early Literacy Activities for Kids Should be Fun
The idea of literacy and early literacy can seem like daunting for many parents however it doesn’t need to be. Early literacy activities for kids should be fun and come naturally. Play games and create an enjoyable environment and it won’t feel like you are teaching.
Hopefully these early literacy activities for toddlers, and early literacy activities for pre-schoolers have given you some ideas of things you can do at home to teach your kids valuable skills before they start school.
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