Your child has spent the afternoon running, jumping, swimming, and playing catch. Now it’s time to slow down and spend some quality time as a family. It’s time to exercise your child’s brain by playing with words, stories, and songs. You can do these activities almost anywhere with just a few materials.
1. Write down the titles of your child’s favorite books from home or the books you just got at the library on slips of paper. Put them in a bowl and then have your child pick a slip and see which book to read first.
2. Use a puppet or a stuffed animal to pretend to tell a story or read a book. Make up a new voice for the character that doesn’t sound like your normal reading voice.
3. Empty out the change in your pockets daily into a jar. When you have enough money, go with your child and buy a book of your child’s choice.
4. “Read” your family photo album together. Start with the baby pictures of your child and tell stories about the photos. What happened and who was there? What does your child remember? Tell the story of how you picked out your child’s name.
5. Help your child write and illustrate a letter it to send to grandma and grandpa or to a favorite author. You could also make your own greeting cards with your child for special occasions like a birthday or holiday.
6. Play a rhyming game. Say a word and have your child say a word back that rhymes, even if it is a nonsense word. Then reverse. You can make a little song with the words.
7. Write down all the things you will be having for dinner into a play menu. Help your child draw pictures of the foods next to the words. Use the menu at the table to “order” dinner like you would in a restaurant.
8. When you go on a trip or just on errands during the day, make a journal of your activities by writing them down as you go in a blank book.
9. Sing your favorite song together and let your child stand on your feet as you dance. Make up new verses of the song and sing it together.
10. Develop a secret hand signal that means “Let’s read!”