Games and Activities (Unplugged)
There are plenty of online games and literacy activities to help our children build their skills, but “screen free” time is a critical component of brain development.
Enjoy this collection of activities and games that help you “unplug” and help your child, but more importantly create memories and laughter. You can find even more ideas here.
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MUSIC & SONGS
10 Literacy Activities About Monsters by Katie Fitzgerald @ Story Time Secrets
100+ Songs to Sing with Your Child (and the Books that Go With Them) by Vanessa @ Silly Eagle Books
Creative Prompt for Kids – Start with Music by Susan @ The Book Chook
A Dad’s Survival Guide to Children’s Music by Todd Hoffman @ The Father’s Life (magazine)
Literacy in the Playground series by Susan Stephenson @ the Book Chook – Singing, rhyming, repetition … and lots of laughter all add to literacy. Susan Stephenson pulled together some tried-and-true playground activities.
Nursery Rhymes and Lullabies has the lyrics for some of the most popular tunes we share with our babies and toddlers. via @ Parent Magazine website.
Top 50 Nursery Rhymes on the ABCKidsInc page not only gives you lyrics, but also the origin of the nursery rhyme and a video to go with it.
LETTER AND WORD GAMES
Acrostics by Joyce Grant @ Getting Kids Reading. Acrostics is a game where you take the letters of the first word in a sentence and form a “hidden” word from it. Joyce has examples and ways to play acrostic games with all levels of readers.
Alphabet Game by Brian Shephard. In his post at Literacy Log, Brian explains what the game is and how to play it. There are lots of ways to play the game, including dictionary searches, categories, or literary themes, to name a few.
Bathtub Fun – One of our favorite “pre-reading” activities was playing with foam letters in the bathtub. William would line them up from A to Z and then hide his eyes. I would remove a letter and he would try to guess which one was missing. Sometimes instead of removing a letter I would rearrange them. As he got older, we would spell words for each other and then read them. (Tricia Stohr-Hunt, post at The Miss Rumphius Effect)
Construct-a-Word Game by Brian Shephard @ Literacy Log. In this game, readers build words by combining letter and letter blend “tiles.” This helps them recognize and understand letter sounds, how one letter can change the sound of another, and also build vocabulary.
Erase the Face: Hangman Edition by Brian Shephard @ Literacy Log. This game supports vocabulary and spelling initiatives, and can be fun for students from elementary to middle school.
Erase the Face: Crossword Puzzle by Brian Shephard @ Literacy Log. Readers of all levels can enjoy this game, but it does lend itself to more sophisticated activities for advanced students, too. Crosswords are great for helping kids understand synonyms, antonyms, and idioms.
Fun with Words – Spell with Flickr by Susan Stephenson @ The Book Chook. This great little application generates an image for every letter of the word you put in.
Homophones, Homonyms, and Knock Knock Jokes @ Chronicles of an Infant Bibliophile. Kids love silly words and words used in silly ways. What better way to let them “play ” with words than to try their hand at knock knock jokes.
Letter Art – Kids love to make art using all kinds of media. I invested in alphabet rubber stamps [link to amazon.com] so that William’s art could be adorned with letters and words. In the beginning, the artwork contained his just his name stamped on the page. Then, the objects in the scenes were labeled. Now, the art is fully described or sometimes forms the pages of a story. by Tricia Stohr-Hunt,post at The Miss Rumphius Effect
Riddle Me This – Mindi has a great idea for bringing together reading and fun in a game where you create a seek-and-find game to collect and read riddles and their answers. She has detailed instructions on how it all works at B.A. Bookworm
Spelling Lists that Entertain the Brain by The Bookworm @ B.A. Bookworm
Word Sneak: A Game Inspired by the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon – Caitlin Turner created this vocabulary game for her classroom that is easily adaptable at home. It can be a dinner game or a family game for your next road trip to Grandma’s. Caitlin has a prepared list, you can skip to the part where everyone creates a list with X words and then gives it to a partner (or everyone picks out from a pile). @ CaitlinTucker.com
OTHER GAMES & ACTIVITIES
Book Festivals – The Library of Congress publishes a list of state and national book festivals and fairs. This is a great way for kids to hear people telling stories and meet their favorite authors and illustrators.
From Catalog into a Classroom – In this post from Susan Stephenson, the Book Chook offers examples of ways to explore catalogs for reading, concepts, stories, and math.
Create Stories – When you find a book or character your child loves, try to imagine together what the next adventure might be. This is an activity you can do in the car (storytelling) or at home (writing stories). (Tricia Stohr-Hunt, post at The Miss Rumphius Effect)
Keep a Reading Diary. There are lots of ways to keep a running list of favorite books or authors in your house. Paper journals; spreadsheets or table; or online resources like LibraryThing, Goodreads, or Shelfari (among many others). Use your diary at the library and bookstore. Tell the librarian what you’ve liked in the past and they’ll give you recommendations based on your likes. (recommended by Valerie Baartz)
Light Up the Night – Buy your child a flashlight or book light and let him/her read under the covers. William will actually go to bed early if I tell him he can have time reading AFTER lights out. Reading undercover is fun and helps build independence. (Tricia Stohr-Hunt, post at The Miss Rumphius Effect)
Literature in the Lives of Today’s Children – This page on the Rutgers University site offers ideas on engaging kids with real-world reading (a la cookbooks) and also talks about the role of books in our kids “media saturated lives” (via BookChook)
Make your own bookmarks. We love this idea (and how-tos) from Erica at What Do We Do All Day: Summer Reading Bookmarks to Color. She’s got the links to free printable templates, too!
Open a library at home – Mom and former librarian Mandy Miller has created Little Librarian, a kit that has everything your child needs to make a home version of their library. It has everything from file cards and bookmarks to sample overdue notices. You may also find Dawn Little’s article helpful: Setting Up a Home Library @ Literacy Toolbox blog.
Read Across Riverside is a resource for parents and caregivers looking for ways to bring literacy concepts into their home. The focus on children in Kindergarten and first grade. There’s also a tab with events, too.
Sign Poetry – Travel is actually a very good time to practice reading skills. We keep a pen and paper in the car and often play a game where we collect words and phrases for poetry. We read and write (not me silly, I’m driving!) words we find on signs, billboards, bumper stickers, license plates, etc. Once we have a decent list, we make up silly poems using the words. . (Tricia Stohr-Hunt, post at The Miss Rumphius Effect)
Thursday Three: Reading Games by Pam Coughlan at PBS Booklights
Who’s the Baker? – Valerie created this game when she was a student teacher. (The Almost Librarian blog)