Kid Activities
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Literacy Fun for Young Children Page 1

January 1, 2012 17:28 by Barbara Shelby

 Click here for all four early childhood literacy pages linked together...Fantastic!

This page has 'Tips and Ideas' for daily reading, book talk, and literacy in dramatic play. Although page 1 has ideas that are helpful to parents, it is a page that is more suited to early childhood teachers. 

 Parents AND teahers... Be sure to look  at page 2... there are more than 70   'FUN ACTIVITIES'  ---- that promote reading, writing and communication!


Introduction: Definition of 'LITERACY'

Thinking is fundamental to literacy! Literacy is most commonly defined as the ability to read, spell and communicate through written language. However, in a more general sense, literacy is more than just the ability to read or write. It means being able to view, listen, read, comprehend, evaluate, speak, and write effectively and systematically.

Literate children approach reading and writing as fun and exciting activities. They use reading to learn about a wide range of subjects, and they use writing to share their own ideas. Literacy stretches imagination and stimulates interests. Youth who lack a comprehensive and enjoyable introduction to the world of literature tend to see writing and reading as work--something they have to do. Literacy broadens a person's world as surely as illiteracy narrows it.

Literacy is empowering.  It is one of the most important skills a person can have! How skillfully and successfully children develop their reading skills and grow towards literacy may influence their beliefs about their personal worth and abilities for a lifetime!

Because literacy develops along a personal continuum, same-age children may display varying levels of skills.  Because of this, both literacy activities for day care and preschool settings -- as well as literacy activities for the first grade levels-- may all be appropriate for each age group. So when planning activity lessons, look for activities geared from pre-k through first grade.


There are tons of ideas in the following sections--but most of all----'WE' as teachers and parents... need to  model our love for the written word and reading!


• Label everything; write notes; keep a calendar and daily planner; post rules.
Post lists of snacks; schedule; upcoming events; and children's responsibilities.  Children observe adults using print materials!
• Teachers and Parents...introduce new vocabulary words during routine conversation and book reading.



1. Ensure that children have 'daily experiences' of being read to and are independently reading meaningful and engaging stories, as well as informational texts.

 2. Help children learn how to choose appropriate books for independent reading.
3. Encourage children to join in reading by letting them complete rhymes or tell favorite parts of stories. After you have read the book a few times, stop when you come to the second word that rhymes, and let the children fill in the word.

    •"Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see? I see a yellow fish looking at ____"

    •Use the fill-in-the-blank technique: For example, "Old Mother Hubbard went to her ____." This method also can be used with non-rhyming books.
4. Provide opportunities for children to talk about what is read and to focus on the sounds and parts of language as well as the meaning. 

5. Provide repeated readings of stories so children can gain mastery of the narrative, ideas, and language.
6. Actively engage the children. Example: "Do you know anyone who acts like that?"

7. Take time to answer children's questions about reading.

8. Allow children to choose the stories to be read during story time.

9. Encourage children to: compare and contrast, predict, ask why and how, and check their understanding of stories.
10. Guide discussions that help children summarize and relate texts to their lives; help them develop a deeper understanding of characters.
11. Listen attentively when children begin to read emergently, pretending to "read" aloud from a book.
12. Include: Songs, flannel board stories, finger play, poems, games, and stories with alliteration, rhyme repetition, and patterns.

13. Share several versions of the same story. For instance, there are two versions of the Little Pigs. The traditional version and then the 'True Story of the Three Little Pigs' from the wolf's perspective.

• Read a few to the children and let them choose their favorite version.
• Be sure to ask them why it is their favorite.

14. Have big books available for single or partner reading.

15. Play reading tag by choosing a book with many words that the child knows. Each time you want your child to read a word, tap him or her on the shoulder.

16. Ensure that the classroom/home library is well stocked with a variety of reading materials: Books, magazines, and newspapers. Allow time for children to enjoy the library area independently.

17. Try using a puppet with children. Many story telling kits have puppets included. The puppets can host your story time; the puppet can open the story time with a favorite finger play, song or rhyme. This can become a favorite ritual. A puppet can also serve as a role model for preferred behavior such as sitting quietly and listening to the story. Let children make their own puppets and use them to act out a story.


Wear different hats during story time.
Example: Construction hats, Beach hat, Cowboy hat, Gardening hat, Minnie/Mickey mouse hat, Train Engineers hat, London Fog rain hat, etc.


PROVIDE A PRINT RICH ENVIRONMENT where children can see the purpose and use of the written language.
Label everything in the room. Rooms should be set up where children can read the room. Make word lessons and word walls that display words on a classroom wall that are part of phonics being used. Before you put the words up-show the children. Review the words on the wall and different areas once they are placed.

NOTE from KidActivities:

Be sure to make labels large enough where they are noticeable. Tour the room with the children and go over the words. I once was hired to consult with a Kindergarten program. The suggestion was made to provide a print rich environment.

When I returned to see how the group was doing~ I asked if labels were made.  They were...however labels  were on tiny scrap pieces of paper (one to two inches long and a half inch wide) and placed were they could not be seen. Additionally, the children were not told about the labels...where they were...or what they said. (Barb)


 1. Have child take turns in helping select reading material to read aloud to the class.
2. Ensure that all children have the opportunity to read aloud to someone with whom they are comfortable for at least 10 minutes each day; this reading may be done with volunteers, older buddies, or as a take-home reading program. Some children will still be reading emergently, particularly early in the school year.
3. Provide many ways for children to re-read books through shared reading, buddy reading, and small group reading.


1. Have children ask their own questions about stories and respond to classmates' questions.

2. Allow class time for regular sharing of each child's thoughts, ideas, and experiences.

3. Enrich the conversation by responding to children, asking questions, and expanding on children's words.
4. Help your child see the story from the character's point of view. After reading a story aloud, ask a few simple questions:

• Which character is most like you?  How?
• Which character is least like you? How?
• What happens in the story that you wish could happen to that you wish could happen to you? Why?

5. Enrich children's vocabulary by providing pictures and discussions that relate to stories.



If shelf space is not available, books can be put into tubs.
The tubs are labeled and a sticker is placed on the label. All of the books have a corresponding sticker. When finished, children place the book back in the correct tub. (This is also good for shelf use)
Example. Science tub has a red sticker and each book a red sticker. You can also have a theme tub that changes as the theme changes.

•LISTENING CENTER:  BOOKS AND TAPES - Use read-along books and CD's/cassettes in your listening center. If you don't have a tape/CD for a big book or familiar book - make one.


Remember back to your days playing cowboys and indians or house?  It's still the same for kids today!!! Encourage creativity and language development in your children by providing a creative dramatic area in your center. Ensure the classroom has "special materials and play areas geared to encourage children in particular domains while appealing to their interests."

• Some examples of centers are:
Art center, music center, puppets, science center, home center, doctor's office, or other real-world play areas. Consider changing your dramatic play area every month to reflect a different theme.

Example: One month set up a doctor's office with real stethoscope, x-rays, doctor's scrubs, dolls for patients, ace bandages, gloves, and play- doctor kits. The following month change the theme.

1.  Encourage children to use literacy materials in their dramatic play.

• In a block area, provide maps and labeled photos of buildings and construction sites.
In a woodworking area, provide tool catalogs, home improvement magazines, and picture reference books about building.
In a home area, provide food packaging, menus, (use a collection of cereal boxes and take-out menus) phone book, and appliance instructions.
In an office area, provide plane tickets, travel brochures, and computer keyboards.
In a drugstore area, provide magazines and books, play money, checkbooks, paper bags for prescriptions, labels for bottles, empty medicine boxes, and prescription pads.
In a store area, provide checkbooks and play money.
Shopping - laminate sentence strips and bind into books - pictures of food, toys, clothing, and anything else you can find.
 All pictures should be clearly labeled; Include writing utensils and "list paper", small memo books and list type of paper (long strips of lined paper).

2. Provide time for children to create scripts for dramatic play. This will take at least 30 minutes to create and carry out the scripts.
3. Put on a play with a pre-written or well known script. Dress up in costumes and act out a simple story.  Provide simple props and let children act out their favorite stories. Simple folktales like the Three Little Pigs and The Billy Goats Gruff are fun to act out. If children are over fours years old...pop popcorn for a snack afterwards.

4. Have staff take part in the dramatic play to model ways of using literacy materials and show children ways of dramatizing.

5. Have pretend phone conversations with the children asking what they did yesterday, are doing today, and want to do tomorrow?

6. Puppet Theater- Make puppets (bag, paper plates and sticks, socks, mittens, lunch bags, foam or felt).
Make Puppets, Write a play, Produce, Practice, Perform...

7. Masks: Make and play




Have the children sing songs and play games that encourage language play. (Visit the two pages of Early Childhood Songs)

1. The ability to pick out rhyming words is one of the first skills in phonemic awareness. Children who have been exposed to lots of music and nursery rhymes have a huge head start on these skills. 

There are many songs that play with sounds.
• "allaby, Woo" by Raffi is a wonderful way to play with initial consonant sounds. Children go around a circle and playfully insert a child's name into each verse.
• "The Name Game" by various children's artists is another.

2. Make up songs or rhymes using the children's names.  Let children add motions to the songs as you sing them.

3. ABC's sung frontward and then backwards...Have a poster of the alphabet and point to the letters starting with "Z" and go from there...

NOTE: When I consultd and observed one school site, a child actually starting singing the alphabet backwards as she was playing at 'choice time'. She wasn't thinking about it...she just started singing.

4. Sing a simple song with the children.  Count the words that rhyme. Make up a new song of your own using words that rhyme.

5. Lettercize to Music (music, movement, the alphabet)

• Children stand in a circle. A music CD with ABC's, using Rocky theme-music is played.    
Children call out 'A aahh'(while doing a boxer punching motion with fist into the air)    
Then 'B and b  sound'(making each letter sound after the letter name.) This is done all the way to Z. At intervals, the Rocky music will play and children aerobicsize to it(punching, jumping rope, etc.)  The alphabet starts again ---until the next Rocky aerobicsize movement.

6. For a transition activity, call each child's name using the same letter. Example: If the letter of the day is 'B'-Call Byrone, Beremy, Bita, Biane, Bal, etc.

7. Play the game 'Snap'!

One player says two words. If the words share a sound (first, middle, or last), the other players say, "Snap!" and snap their fingers. If the two words do not share a sound, the other players are quiet. Begin with first sounds and move into the other sounds as the children are ready. (You may have to work on teaching children how to 'snap' their fingers!)

8. Play a listening game in which the children blend an onset sound and rhyme that you pronounce separately. Example:, bat. When you first play the game, begin by using words that are in the same family, such as: hat, cat, and fat. When the children become proficient at this type of activity, change it so that you keep the onset sound and change the rhyme: s...and, sand; s...un, sun; s...eal, seal.

9. Create or purchase a set of pictures and letter cards that have children sort pictures by the letter they begin with (beginning sound). Start with one letter and ask the children to help find the pictures that begin with that sound. Gradually add more letters to the sorting activity.

10. Play word games that help children hear syllables in words. Example: Clap syllables in children's names.

11. Print out two sets of alphabet letters: one upper case (capitals), one lower case (small letters).  Cut the letters out, mix them up and play a match-up game with your children (A-a, B-b, C-c).

12. 'Jumping Bean' game
Children take turns picking a letter from a container, and are to think of one or two words that start with that letter. If they pick out the word or picture of a 'bean' instead of a letter, children all get up and jump around like Mexican jumping beans!

13. Place a ball on a table in front of the class. Explain that there are special words that can be used to tell someone about the ball. Give two adjectives that describe it.

Example: red and round. On the chalkboard, write "It is red and round." Help the children read the sentence. Remove the ball and place another item on the table. Invite the children to think of two words that tell about the item. On the chalkboard, write "It is_____ and_____." Give each child a turn to read the sentence and complete it with his or her words that tell about the item.

14. Make large flash cards using words of your choice based on the children's level of ability. Laminate these cards. Laminate or cover the cards in plastic; the cards are now ready to use.


This is page sure to continue onto page 2 for more than 70 wonderful activities the promote and encourage learning. Most are ideas where the children don't even realize they are learning!


You may also be interested in:


Activities to Improve Literacy Skills Page 2

January 1, 2012 10:06 by Barbara Shelby

 Back to page 1



1. Teach SIGN LANGUAGE or a FOREIGN LANGUAGE. (Visit the 'Literacy for School Age page' for ways to say 'Hello' and 'Thank you' in many different languages. It is 1/4 down the page with the word written in the foreign language and then the phonetic pronunciation in English.)


2. Having children sign in for attendance each day, by printing their names on a sheet of paper. (The Caregiver/teacher would still take attendance.)


3. BE ENTHUSIASTIC!  At group-time spell children's names and words out 'cheerleader' style.
'I see the name Adam' (as Adam stands holding his name card)'Give me and 'A' -'A'!!!!  'Give me a 'D'- 'D'!!! etc.


4. KNOCK-KNOCK JOKES!  Children this age love them!!! (They usally don't understand standard jokes-but do think Knock-Knocks are fun.  Check out our Knock-Knock Jokes


5. Choose TRANSITION MUSIC  with thought. A transition CD played at one observed school was a 'catchy' song-- singing the months of the year in English... and then in Spanish.


6. To indicate transition, have a child walk to each group of children as she/he holds a sign saying, 'Five minutes left'.  This is to remind the children 'free play' is about to end. Each child acknowledges with a 'thank-you'. Each child will have an opportunity to do this during the year.


7. Make a variety of story cards from which the children may find sets of three for making and telling stories.



• Alphabet puzzles
Word puzzles
The States
Help children make puzzles.  Cut up a pretty card or magazine cover in large pieces. Glue to card-stock and encourage your children to put the picture back together.

TIP: Put magnetic strips on the back on the puzzle pieces. Have children put puzzles back together on a magnetic board or refrigerator. Also...keep individual puzzle pieces in a baggie with puzzle title.


9. ALPHABET STAMPS -- Upper/lower case-- 1-inch grid paper for sequencing. Have word families to copy, children's names to copy and strips of paper to stamp words and sentences.


10. Provide a variety of MAGNETIC letters, strips, and boards.
Make a name card for each student with their name and picture; add a magnetic strip to the back.
Word cards and name cards - also alphabet strips should be placed in centers.


11. THE MATCHING GAME- a sentence strip has a word and a picture of what that word represents. You can use rubber alphabet letters and real objects to match words. The children can match letters, words, pictures, or all three.


12. 'HANDWRITING WITHOUT TEARS'  - this activity has become an alphabet staple in many classrooms - especially for children who are tactile learners. They are shaped like letter parts- straight lines, curves, half circles etc. Children use them to make letters or words. (Children can make word searches). These pieces are rather large - smallest is about 6 inches - so they are easy for kids to handle. 


 13. Plan an indoor 'PICNIC' for lunch-- or if weather permits, plan an outdoor picnic. When everyone has a comfortable place to sit and can hear you easily, tell a story. You can also have children bring some favorite books to read!


14. OUTDOORS --Invite children to pair up and sit back to back so they can each see a different part of the grounds.

Have children spend 2-5 minutes carefully drawing what they see, in silence. Then give them a few minutes to share their drawings and tell their partners about two or three things they saw.

 15. Write a GROUP POEM about being outdoors.

Suggest that  children lie on their backs and focus for 30 seconds on what is above them. Ask them to report details of what they noticed. If it's a nice day, take out a bucket of books and read under a tree! Do often!


 16. Lie on the ground and describe the SHAPES OF THE CLOUDS. (Oral language & descriptive vocabulary skills)


17. Take a NATURE WALK. When you get back to the room (or home), have children write or draw the things they saw or collected.


18. As you play OUTDOORS, PLAY 'I SPY'. Look around your world and say, 'I spy something that starts with the (m) sound. What is it'? You can add clues such as 'We use it to cut our grass. (mower) It's where we put our letters. (mailbox)


19. When children have completed an activity or lesson, have an area with a 'BOOK TUB' where they can go and read-out the transition before the next scheduled activity begins.



Ensure that children know how to spell their full name, street address, town, city, and phone number.  Show, repeat, and practice this information often so that they can memorize it.


21. Have a 'FAMILY NIGHT' and share stories with children and parents.


Walking is good for your physical health-- but it's also a terrific activity for early literacy health.
This activity will practice the alphabet while identifying surroundings at the same time. The 'Alphabet Walk' can be played two ways.

1. Pick a letter of the alphabet and try to find as many things on your walk that begin
with that letter (bird, bush, bakery, etc.).
2. Use the entire alphabet and try to find something during your walk that begins with every letter (apple, boy, car, dog, etc.).



 Provide opportunities and teacher support -- explore different styles writing such as poems, lists, stories, and letters. Can you get high school and university students to visit and share reading time? Emphasize the importance of literacy and an education! Not only do the students attain a rewarding experience, but they are models of the importance of an education


  23. ENCOURAGE  scribbling and pretend writing, but provide support and encouragement when children begin forming actual letterand words.


24. MAKE A BOOK. For the youngest children, make tactile books. Preschoolers will enjoy making alphabet books. Older children will love making pop-up books.

25. Help the children write and SEND LETTERS to friends. Decorate each one with markers or crayons.


26. Help children to remember and write words they know by playing the 'WHAT GOES TOGETHER GAME'.

Say a noun, such as 'flower'. Next have the child say or write three to five words that tell about the word. For example, for flower they might say: pretty, blue, tiny, tall, or smelly.


27. Have children make their own DICTIONARIES to collect words for use in writing and other activities. This is a long-term project for children. Young writers can draw the objects and adults can label the drawings with the 'book' spelling of the words. Collect these words in a writer's journal.


28. Help each child make a book for someone special - drawing pictures showing what each child likes about their special person.  Write down what the picture is about.  When possible, ask them to share it with the person they selected.

29. Make BOOKMARKS... (Visit the Bookmark Making Category


30. COOKBOOKS - Thanksgiving is a good time for this! Ask each child to bring a favorite Family recipe from home ... Compile all and make a cookbook for each family!

 • Cookbook Idea #1
Have children write or dictate their own recipes for a Thanksgiving feast. Write each recipe on a large index card and ask them to illustrate their recipes. Then mount the recipe cards below the pictures. These are often a riot!

Cookbook Idea #2
Put the recipes together and make a 'Class Feast Book' to give out or display at your parents' center.

Cookbook Idea #3
Give each child a clip-art decorated page and have them write or dictate their favorite recipe. Compile all into a Center Cook Book.


31. Dippity-Do WRITING BAGS (or tempera paint bags)--Use Small Ziploc storage bags, food coloring and thick styling gel (dippity-do gel)  Measure about 4 tablespoons of styling gel into a Zip-loc bag and add several drops of food coloring. Close bag--remove any air - and then have kids mix food coloring around until gel is all one color. When mixed, children lay the bags on a flat surface and practice writing their letters or numbers. Good for improving fine motor skills.



Supplies: Wax paper and non-menthol aerosol shaving cream
Directions: Lay out wax paper flat on a table. Children spray a large pile of shaving cream on the area. Have them spread out the cream and practice their writing skills.

This activity will be very helpful with fine motor skills- also visual and tactical learners will benefit. The more senses you use, the more you learn. Do this activity to practice letters, writing words, writing cursive, numbers, and doing addition.




Play Dough Idea #1...

Put out play dough and encourage the children to make letters and numbers in their play. Use as you would use play-dough. Review shapes, letters, sounds, vocabulary, numbers, etc.


Play Dough Letters #2
Make large flash cards, using words of your choice that are suited to the children's ability. Laminate the flash cards, or cover them in plastic. When done, the cards are ready to use with the children.
First, say the word on card.
Next, have the child make small "ropes" out of clay. The children can use the "ropes" to trace over the laminated sight word card. This will enhance tactile stimulus and reinforce learning.


  33COUPONS from kids who don't yet write
Supplies: Paper, markers, scissors, old magazines. 
Directions: Ask the children to think of something they can do to help mom or dad around the house. They can cut pictures from the magazine and paste them on paper strips to make coupons. Example: I will dry the dishes" can have a cup, saucer or dish detergent on the coupon... Package up in an envelope as a gift...




34. Make pancakes, and spell out words on them in chocolate chips or blueberries!



 35. When making pancakes, instead of pouring the batter to make round, traditional pancakes, pour the batter in the shape of a letter.


36. Serve alphabet soup as a snack; look for certain letters.

Along the same line...Make CRACKER MESSAGES
Choice or Peanut butter, Jam, Honey, Cream cheese or Cheese spread
Crackers or Small rice cakes
Alphabet cereal
First...Spread a filling on the crackers.
Next...Children can write their names or short words on the crackers using the Alphabet cereal.
Younger children can just have fun by randomly placing cereal letters. Eat and enjoy


37. Cook with the children- where they read, measure, pour, dump, cook, eat, enjoy!


38. Use graphing where numbers are tallied as each child writes their name and casts their vote on a whiteboard or blackboard.


39. Have children try to name five things that start with the letter "F," then five things that start with "U," then "N."  Write down the words the children mention.  Then write the letters "FUN" to show children how much fun letters are!


40. Cold Weather SNOW PICTURES and WORDS

Materials: spray bottles filled with colored water food coloring and snow.
Gather several spray bottles.

Fill each with water and add food coloring to tint it. Use colored water to paint pictures in the snow. You can add a winter twist to vocabulary lessons by having children illustrate vocabulary words in the snow. Select one student at a time and demonstrate his or her vocabulary word. The child can draw it in the snow for the rest of the group to guess. The child who guesses correctly gets the next turn.

TIP: Small spray bottles are difficult for even adults to do this--try larger spray bottles. Additionally, plastic containers such as 'dishwashing detergent bottles' and 'ketchup bottles' work great for this acitivity!


41. WATER PAINTING...Warm Weather take children outside with a bucket of water and a paint brush to "paint" their names on the sidewalk or wall (be sure to tell them that it's only OK with water, not with real paints!).  They can also draw shapes and letters with the water.


42. MORE WATER PAINTING...Similar to the above- Have children 'paint' their names with water on a hot sidewalk, then watch the letters disappear!
This can also be done using 'ice-cubes'. To add some science, have children guess how long it takes for wet letters to evaporate, then time it.


43. Have 'OUTDOOR LESSONS' where children can 'finger paint' the alphabet using sand, garden soil or playground pebbles.



An activity that helps children recognize letters while engaging their senses.
You will need: construction paper or other heavy plain paper (6 sheets), box lid, pencil or pen, liquid glue, flavored gelatin power.

1. Cut each 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper into quarters.
2. Place several sheets into the box lid.
3. Print one alphabet letter onto each sheet using a pencil or pen.
4. Squeeze a thin line of liquid glue over each line.
5. Have the child sprinkle fruit-flavored gelatin powder on the glue letters. Tap extra gelatin into the box lid.
6. Repeat with the remaining paper quarters until you have used all the letters in the alphabet.
7. After the glue dries, the children will have a 'sniffy' alphabet they can see, touch and smell!


Print each letter of the alphabet on a sheet of paper. Have the children help decorate the letters with crayons or markers.
Choose ten letters and arrange them in a hopscotch pattern on the floor.
Play hopscotch, saying the names of the letters as you land on each square.
Play again, this time saying the sounds the letters make as you land on each square.


46. Help each child write a poem about his/ her FAMILY.  Be creative. Start each line with a letter from the word 'family'. Encourage children to draw pictures to go with their stories.


47. SENSORY LEARNING...Use movement, touch and texture whenever you can to make learning more meaningful. Children can build letters or numbers with clay, play dough, blocks or their own bodies. You can write words together in the sand, in a tray of rice or stamp them with plastic letters into rolled-out play dough.


 48. BREAD PAINING SNACK, and writing: Need bread, milk, food coloring, cinnamon sugar, butter and or jam, small paper cups, thin brushes or cotton-tipped swabs.
Mix 'paint' by combining food coloring with milk. Paint letters and name on one side. When changing colors be sure to remind children to use different brushes or swabs. When complete-toast in toaster on light or under broiler. (adult supervision) Children can eat their toast as is----or while it's still hot-- butter it and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar or spread with jam.

IMPORTANT: Be sure kids do not 'soak' the bread but paint lightly. If too wet the bread won't toast well. There is a large sample image in the 'Valentine Snack Category' towards the bottom of the page...three versions of painted, painted and toasted, and then spread with jam!


When working on individual letter-lessons, help children find those letters of the alphabet in the newspaper headlines or a magazine cover.  They can find and cut out those letters and then make a collage. Letter pages can be compiled into a booklet. To add to the lesson, items that begin with THAT letter can be cut out and glued to an additional page.

50. Routinely have the children write thank you NOTES and make birthday and holiday CARDS.


 51. Show children how look up phone numbers and find destinations in an atlas, write lists, and visit the library/media center of your school or program.


52. Writing (Literacy) and KINDNESS LESSON

Trace each child's hand on a piece of paper. Ask children to think of different ways people can be kind to others. Write their ideas on each finger of the hand drawing...The tracing can be completed as described, or cut out, mounted, and decorated.


ADDITIONAL IDEAS for Promoting Communication and Learning


Talk with  children about the differences between hot and cold, big and small, open and closed, in and out, before and after, yesterday and tomorrow, first and last, and other opposites. Help children find or think of examples for each word.



Pick something to count (cars, signs, flowers, birds, bikes) and as you walk, keep track of how many you see.


55. When you walk with the children, POINT OUT THE DIRECTIONS-- you are going: turning left or right, going uphill or downhill. Point out which direction is north, south, east or west.


56. Play the 'SILENT WALKING GAME'...when you're walking in your area of park, woods or neighborhood. Walk quietly for a few minutes, or until the children just can't stay silent any longer. Then have each child recall the sounds they heard during the walk. Repeat as long as you are having fun. (Phonological awareness) This can also be done walking the halls of the program building.


57. Play a game of LEAP FROGMeasure how far the children can "hop."


58. Review SHAPES in an interesting way.

Have children point out all the round-shaped things nearby.  Have a round snack of banana slices, crackers, cookies, or tortillas!


59. Learning the VALUE OF COINS

Put a few coins on the table.  Count the coins together. Sort the coins into groups: pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. Talk about their shapes and colors and about the figures on each side. Play 'I Spy' using the coins. Example: I spy a coin worth 10 cents. Can you find it?


60. ALPHA COLLECTIONS... This could be a center activity.

A few children at a time are given a shoebox, plastic tub or other container. Ask the children to go on an 'Alpha Hunt'. They can fill the container with items that start with the sound of a certain letter: (B) buttons, balls, bell, bottle, barrette, blue marker/crayon, bunny, etc.  Items can be displayed--or have children put items away with their group.



Different people celebrate different holidays.  Talk about children's favorite holidays. In their own words, what does each holiday celebrate and mean to them?



For those that cannot read yet, make a scavenger hunt list with pictures you have drawn on a sheet of paper.

Some ideas that you could draw for them: a feather, small stone, acorn, maple leaf, oak leaf, various leaf designs in your area, small twig or stick, dead bug (draw him with legs up) pinecone, flower (only if they can pick one), worm, pieces of grass, clover leaf and any other ideas you can come up with. Discuss the pictures on the list to assure that the children understand what you have drawn.


63. Make up a story with the children as the main characters.  Let the children retell the story to you.



Outside Alphabet Scavenger Hunt!
Form groups or teams and go for a walk --- trying to find one item that begins with every letter of the alphabet. Make a list from "A to Z" and see which group can come
up with the most items in the allotted time. With young children this can be an ongoing activity.


65. INSIDE ALPHABET SCAVENGER HUNT!  (The same as above --but indoors)
Form groups or teams and go for a walkabout of selected area--- trying to find  one item that begins with every letter of the alphabet. Make a list from "A to Z" and see which group can come up with then most items in the allotted time.


66WHAT I THINK... Either have the children write--or pre-write the words, 'I think' on their papers.

1. Below the phrase, 'I think'-- Have them write (or you pre-write) a few phrases about what they may think about. (My friends; My pet; About school; My birthday; etc.)

2. Next have the children trace over what they wrote (or was written for them) with a marker. They cut out the marker words-- and glue each phrase on a separate sheet of paper. This may be done anyway they choose to do it--but one phrase to a sheet or paper.

3. When complete, the children follow this with finding pictures in magazines and newspapers of things they like or think about. They glue their pictures on the appropriate pages. The pages are then put together into a booklet. The children share their books and pages with one another. This project can be done in two or three stages.
'I think' about my friends. (Glue pictures of children).



If possible- Take young children on outings in the community. Include time for lots of questions, comments, and discussion to expand vocabularies.



Light weight cardboard such as from cereal boxes
Uncooked Alphabet shaped noodles
Hole puncher

  • Cut out a piece of cardboard that is about ½ inch wide and long enough to fit around child's wrist. Spell out child's  name -or any other word - with the alphabet noodles. Be sure to place your word in the center of the cardboard strip and glue them in place. Allow the glue to dry; when glue is dry punch, a hole in each end of the cardboard.
  • Cut a piece of yarn that is about six inches long and string each end up through each hole on the bracelet and tie the bracelet to fit the wrist.

Tip: You can leave as is...or before you tie the bracelet - paint it using acrylic paints or spray paints. Make sure to apply thin coats of either paint and allow the paint to dry. If using acrylic paint make sure to use a sealer as well.

 Another choice is to dye the pasta; directions are at page bottom of Pasta Category.



 69. Get a box of alphabet pasta and let the kids have fun!

 • They can write their name or  a message to a friend.
 • The children can test their spelling.
 • Try mirror writing!



70. Sort and count  pasta pieces by color. Place or glue the pieces on matching colored paper. (Dye directions page bottom of Pasta/Noodle Category)



1. Writing tools including colored, medium and soft lead pencils, pens with variety of ink colors, markers, crayons and chalk in variety of colors.

2. Lined and unlined paper in assorted colors, textures, sizes and shapes.

3. Other materials such as index cards, printed forms, postcards, magic slates, erasable marker boards, chalkboards and clipboards.

4. Book making and greeting card making materials, such as wallpaper, contact paper, wrapping paper, used greeting cards, staplers, hole punchers, envelopes, stickers, yarn and glue.

5. A word computer with word processing and a printer.

6. In addition to the above materials, creative teachers and parents will find many unusual writing materials that appeal to children such as: scented markers and letter shaped cookie cutters.

7. Office and art supply stores sell a variety of writing materials that can adapt to early childhood use.



FOUR TO SIX AGE bracket:
Buy books that combine bright, interesting pictures with a story line that keeps children interested. Popular books for young children include books with stories about families and day-to- day events. This is because children enjoy associating what they read with their own lives.


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Writing and Language Center Ideas

July 5, 2009 17:41 by Barbara Shelby


  • Chalk
  • Colored, medium, and soft lead pencils
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Paper:
    .....Lined and unlined
    .....Assorted Colors
    .....Textures, Sizes and Shapes
  • Pens with variety or ink colors
  • Envelopes


  • Alphabet and Word Puzzles
  • Alphabet Stamps
  • Black Boards
  • Clip boards
  • Computer/Printer
  • Erasable marker boards
  • Etch-a-sketch
  • Index cards
  • Journals
  • Magic Slates
  • Magnetic Letters and Boards
  • Puppets & Scripts
  • Printed forms
  • Post cards
  • Sand/Salt Tray
  • Shaving Cream
  • Stencils
  • Tape Recorder/Player
  • Type Writer/Computer


  • Contact Paper
  • Picture Cards
  • Wallpaper
  • Wrapping Paper
  • Used Greeting Cards
  • Tools for Book/Card Making
  • Envelopes
  • Glue
  • Hole Puncher
  • Stapler
  • Stickers
  • Yarn
  • Old Greeting Cards fronts


Provide a print rich environment where children can see the purpose and use of the written language. Also, label everything in the room!

Provide a well stocked library. If shelf space is not available for books, consider using tubs. Label the tubs with a sticker that corresponds with stickers on the books. When  children are done reading their books—they return them to the correct container. Example: Animal books and tubs each have a blue sticker.



  • Drama Club click here for ideas
  • Foreign Language Class or Club All you need is one semester to facilitate a Language theme Club! Teach greetings, numbers, simple phrases.
  • Reading Clubs
  • Sign Language Classes
  • Themes Built around a Book click here for ideas
  • Place literacy materials in play centers

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