Today is Family Literacy Day in Canada. This year the focus is on learning through play….right up our alley don’t you think! Here’s an article Joan and I wrote for Babyvibe.

Thursday, Jan. 27, is family literacy day in Canada. According to¬†ABC Life Literacy Canada, this year’s focus is on learning through play.

There are two reasons that play is such a powerful learning tool. Children are meant to learn through play. Think about all the important life lessons that your children have learned through play. In addition, play is a great way to take the pressure off and make something dry (or boring) entertaining, if you don’t believe me – put on some great tunes and dance your way through doing the dishes tonight, we suspect you”ll notice quite a difference.

Here are 10 really simple and fun reading and writing games to play at home with your children:

  1. For children who are learning the alphabet, making letters out of play dough is a fun and tactile way to experience the alphabet.
  2. In the car, simple games like “I-Spy” are great for practicing letter sounds and entertaining young minds while you are navigating rush hour.
  3. Create a family play night. Have your children write a short play, give everyone a part, have fun dressing up and put on a performance in your own home.
  4. Setting up a treasure hunt is a game that you can adjust to work with almost any age. Set it up yourself to practice reading or have your child set it up for you to have them practice writing the clues. At the simplest level, use one word like “oven” on the clues.
  5. Children love to put on a performance, so next time, have them create an entire show to present to you. Writing out programs and creating tickets are just some of the sneaky ways that writing works itself into this idea.
  6. When reading stories to young pre-readers, have them guess what they think will happen next before turning the page. This simple game engages children in the story and helps build their imagination and curiosity, which are vital in building the desire to learn to read in children.
  7. Involve your child in the weekly grocery shop. Make a list for you and give your child items for him to write on his list too. When you are at the store let him be in charge of finding the items on his list.
  8. Another fun letter game to entertain children in the car is to make funny phrases out of the letters on car license plates that you pass. For example “ALA 168” could be “Angry Little Aardvarks.”
  9. A really fun writing activity (which can also tie into the next activity) is to have your children run a restaurant for the night or for lunch. They are the servers and they set and write the menus. They can help prepare the food and even provide entertainment. This is a really great rainy day activity.
  10. Without a doubt, our favourite reading activity is cooking. Find simple recipes for early readers to follow. Casseroles with lots of ingredients are great for more advanced readers. Cooking also sneaks in some math skills and at the end of the day you have a child who can cook for you! For young ones, putting raisins on gingerbread men help with fine motor movement and finger dexterity.

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