It’s never too early to introduce literacy activities to your little one. You can help form the foundations for reading and writing with everyday activities like singing, rhyming, talking, playing word games and drawing.
We’re sharing 17 brilliant literacy activities that will help prepare your little ones for school with some letter recognition, sorting word family activities and much more. It’s as easy as ABC!
This is a fun literacy activity for preschoolers to learn phonic sounds and to further their letter learning. The aim of the game is to match the letters to corresponding objects beginning with that letter. You can start with a few letters and progressively add more.
You'll need: white card, black marker pen, scissors, items/toys from around your home
How to make your match up game: start by writing each letter of the alphabet onto the card and cut them out-make sure they are big and bold so they are easy to read. Then go on a hunt around the house to find recognisable items to match up with each letter. Place all of the items on the table along with the letter cards and work your way through each one. Concentrate on the phonic sounds and repeat each one a few times before you move on to the next.
2.Fish For Letters
Preschoolers will love this magnetic fishing game and its great for developing fine motor skills and letter recognition. Lay out the lettered fish and ask them to fish for a specific letter or let them fish and tell you which letters they’ve caught.
You’ll need: a stick, wool/string, a bead, small round magnet, paperclips, card, scissors and a black marker pen.
How to make your fishing letters game: first off you need to find a stick to use as your fishing rod-collect one next time your out on a walk. Tie a piece of string or wool to the end of your stick. Now at the end of your string attach a bead to keep it weighted down then attach your magnet. Cut some fish shapes out of your card and use your marker pen to write letters A-Z on each one- you can concentrate on common letters first and then expand to the full alphabet later. On one side of the fish write the letter in uppercase and on the reverse write it in lowercase. You can jazz up your fish with stick-on gems, googly eyes, and stickers. Use a hole punch to make a hole in the top of each one and then attach a paper clip. Let's go fishing for letters!
3. Shopping List
Children love to help mum and dad and feel like they are doing a grown-up job. Next time you're writing out your weekly shopping list get your little one to help. Sound out the words and ask them to think about which letter each item starts with. Start with simple items that are easy for them to sound out, write the words and encourage them to copy.
4. Alphabet Blocks
If your kids are mad about building blocks and Lego then this is a great activity to incorporate learning with play. Use your building blocks to build words, sort into word families and work on those early literacy skills.
You'll need: a selection of building bricks or Lego bricks and a black marker pen
There are many different ways that you can use these blocks, here's a couple to try:
Single Letter Recognition- use your marker pen to write letters onto your blocks, try starting with 3 of each vowel and common consonant and 2 of every other consonant. You can add more if you need to. Practice phonics and see if your child can recognise common letters then work your way up to the whole alphabet. You can start sounding out and building simple words.
Sorting Into Word Families- make a selection of word family bricks, try these: mat, cat, hat, rat, pen, hen, ten, pig, wig, dig. Sound the words out together, see if they can recognise the rhyming sounds and sort them into the correct word families. You can extend this activity by writing only the last letters of the words and using single bricks to try and build words together.
5. Letter Collage
This is a great eco-friendly activity for preschoolers to help develop literacy skills and enjoy a bit of crafts at the same time.
You'll need: some old magazines/newspapers, white card, PVA glue and a paintbrush
How to make your letter collage: choose a letter and then go on a hunt through old magazines and newspapers and cut the letters out. Stick the letters on to your piece of card with the PVA glue and your letter collage is complete. You can make your way through the letters of the alphabet and put together an alphabet booklet.
6. Labelling Your Home
Labelling items around your home is a simple literacy activity to help familiarise your child with words and prepare them for reading. You can label items like the door, chair, bath, fridge, stairs- whatever you want. Seeing the words each day and sounding them out will help to make the words become familiar and help with reading readiness.
7. Salt Tray Writing
This is a great preschool activity to practice early writing skills. All you need is a shallow tray filled with salt and some letter cards or simple word cards for your little one to copy. Using their finger or a pencil encourage them to trace the letters/words into the salt, once they’ve had a go shake the tray and try again!
8. Alphabet Car Park
If your kids love playing with cars then this is a great literacy activity to sneak into their normal playtime.
You'll need: a piece of cardboard, a ruler, a black marker pen and 26 toy cars
How to make your ABC toy car park: start by writing the letters of the alphabet onto the top of your toy cars. To make your car park use a large piece of cardboard, a ruler and a black marker pen to draw out a grid. Inside each car park space write the letters of the alphabet. Your car park is complete, help your little one match up the letters and park their cars into the correct car park spaces.
9. Secret Letters
This is a super-fun way of exploring letters and words with your preschooler.
You'll need: white paper, a white crayon, watercolour paints and a paintbrush
How to make your secret letters: simply write letters, their name or simple words onto a piece of white paper with a white crayon. Pass the watercolour paints to your little one and let them paint over the page to discover the hidden letters! Preschoolers will love how the letters and words magically appear on the page.
More literacy activities for kids:
Sing Some Rhyming Songs - Rhyming is a great way for little ones to develop language, communication skills and to develop those early literacy skills.
Story Time - Reading to your child is a fantastic way to encourage early literacy skills. Whilst you're reading use your finger to guide your child's eyes to the words your reading.
Word Family Ball Toss- This is a great activity to develop phonological awareness and help children to spot patterns in reading. You'll need some ping pong balls and small buckets to play.
Pretend Play - A fantastic way to spark imaginations and creativity in young children. Try different scenarios like a hospital, vets, supermarket, airport to encourage new vocabulary.
Train Track Word Building - Make learning fun with this great early literacy activity. Connect letters on your train track to build words or just practice letter recognition.
Story scramble - Photocopy pages from your preschoolers favourite books and see if they can put them in the correct order.
Rainbow Egg Letter Matching Sensory Bin- Help children to learn upper and lower case letters with this hands-on sensory bin.
Name Tracing - Try these free printables to help your preschooler learn to write their name.
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Kidadl provides inspiration for everything from family days out to online classes, arts, crafts and science experiments. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.
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