Encouraging early language and literacy in young children can set children up for success later in life. “Early literacy development begins the moment a child is born and continues throughout the early childhood years and beyond. Early literacy is not only about teaching children to read and write; it is about creating a love of reading and writing within each child.” ( Jodi Scott) There are so many ways that you can help your child develop language and literacy skills; talk to your child, read to your child, give them rich experiences. Encourage curiosity and foster an active learner. Music, art and craft projects, and spending time out in nature all build language skills.
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Games That Encourage Early Language
and Literacy Development in Young Children
We like the kids to laugh as they learn so we play a lot of games. We have found some awesome games that encourage early literacy and language development in young children. Playing games with the kids is a great way to model good communication skills, introduce new vocabulary, and work on language concepts.
Some of our favorite games for early language and literacy development:
Guess Who? Board Game is one of our favorite games. It is simple to play and encourages children to ask questions. Players need to ask questions to figure out who the mystery person is. Best for children ages 6 and older.
Zingo – Bingo with a Zing Game “Zingo is a matching game that encourages pre-readers and early readers alike to match the pictures and words to their challenge cards. The Zinger dispenses tiles and fun as young minds quickly race to be the first player with a full card and yell “ZINGO!” With two levels of play, this matching game builds language skills through fast-paced play.” Best for children ages 4 and older.
Hello, Sunshine Game is a wonderful for teaching Teaches positional concepts: behind, front, in, next, top and under. This is a fun game that encourages active play. We love games like these that get kids moving and help teach skills in a playful and meaningful way. Best for children ages 18 months and older.
The Cat in the Hat I Can Do That! is another game that gets kids moving and learning in fun and meaningful ways. Get silly while working on memory, following directions, vocabulary social skills and turn taking! To start, a player picks one of each of the three color cards. Taken together, the cards create a fun and funny activity the player is challenged to do. For example, Card 1 could read “Take Four Giant Steps,” Card 2 “With the Cake,” and Card 3 “On your head!” Each card also has one, two, or three stars on it for score keeping purposes. If the player wants to take the challenge, he says “I can do that!” and takes a turn. Best for ages 4 and up.
What’s In Ned’s Head Game
What’s In Ned’s Head is, well, a little gross but the kids do enjoy things that are gross. Take turns reaching into Ned’s Head where he has a bunch of weird and sometimes disgusting items up in there. Reach in Ned’s Head through his ears or his nose! Feel with your hands…can you tell what it is? A rat? A brain? A TONGUE?? It’s a lot of fun and great for deductive reasoning, vocabulary development, and social-cognitive skills like joint attention and turn taking. Did I mention it’s a little gross? Best for children ages 4 and up
Very Silly Sentences is, well, silly. Colour-coded cards will help your child learn parts of speech and sentence construction with hilarious results. Children who don’t read yet will be able to understand by referencing the pictures. It’s an easy way to introduce children to sight words and sentence construction. Best for children ages 3 and older.
Pop For Sight Words Game will get the kids excited about learning sight words. It’s an easy game to play while it helps build early literacy, increase vocabulary, and improve fluency. We changed the rules so that when a “POP” card is picked we jump up and down. Best for children ages 5 and older.
There are also so many free online game sites for building early language and literacy skills:
- Starfall: Starfall has been teaching children to read with phonics for well over a decade. They want you to subscribe but they have a variety of games that you can play for free.
- FunBrain has a variety of fun reading games. One of our favorites is Grammar Gorillas.
- Kids Spell has free online spelling games. They even have a feature where you can choose your own words to practice.
- The Story Place has free online stories the kids will enjoy.
- Learn English Kids plays a short tongue twister and then asks the kids to repeat it.
- PBS Kids has many fun free learning games including games that build vocabulary skills.
- Turtle Diary has a collection of adjective games the kids will enjoy.
Do you have a favorite learning game? Please tell us about it!