Building Early Literacy at Home 

Do you have children between the ages of 0-5 staying home with you right now? It can take a lot to keep these little wiggleworms engaged! That’s why I’ve compiled a list of easy, low-cost activities just for you 

I’ll be using the Every Child Ready to Read program as a guide, encouraging you to interact with your children using five practices that build early literacy: singing, talking, reading, writing, and playing. 

1. Singing 

  • Check out Jbrary on YouTube to learn new songs and finger-plays to sing with your children, from two awesome children’s librarians in Canada.

Dany Rosevear on YouTube

  • Also on YouTube, consider giving Dany Rosevear a listen. Ms. Dany will teach you all sorts of new folk songs to sing with your children, and she always has fun props, too!
  • With your library card, use the library’s subscription to the hoopla database to listen to music and sing along with your child!

2. Talking

  • Many aquariums and zoos have livestreams on their websites. Look at the animals on the streams, and talk about what they’re doing, what kind of homes they live in, and what they eat.  Here are a few cams to check out:
  • If you can, try to visit a low-traffic nature trail or take a walk around your block. Talk about the new life that is happening at the beginning of this spring season. Try to spot some spring flowers coming up through the soil and look for buds on the trees.

3. Reading 

  • With your library card, take a look at the TumbleBooks database on our website. This resource is packed with eBook content for children.
  • Ask a friend if you can do a book share and trade a bag of children’s books with each other to keep things fresh. Don’t forget to wipe down your books to avoid spreading any germs!
  • Look for authors reading their picture books online. Here are a few to get you started:  

4. Writing 

Break out all of the play-doh! Try just two colors at one time to increase focus and avoid too much color mixing. Building and forming with a clay-like material is very beneficial to a child’s hand muscles. Using those little muscles in the hand in this way will, over time, allow your child to hold a pencil and make precise movements.

Photo Credit: The Imagination Tree

  • For homemade play-dough, look for recipes online like this, this, or thisYou can add food coloring and even scents like lemon, lavender, or cinnamon!
  • Ask your child to draw a picture and/or write a letter to family or friends who don’t live with you. Have them help you put the stamp on the envelop and put it in a mailbox. 


5. Playing

Photo Credit: Montessori In Motion on Instagram

  • Go on a house hunt! It’s like a 3D ISpy around your house. The possibilities are endless.
  • Try this hidden color experiment with baking soda and vinegar, which will engage your child’s senses!

    Photo Credit: Creative Play Ideas on Instagram


  • Collect “loose parts” around the house in some boxes or an old drawer organization, then let your child have some open-ended fun creating, building, and letting that imagination run wild.

And remember, you don’t have to keep your children busy every moment of every day. Take some time to relax and slow down, and just enjoy this extra time spent together. Even just involving your child is more everyday activities, like putting away the clean dishes or helping bake cookies, can be a source of enjoyment for both of you. 

I hope this post gives you some new ideas on how to enjoy building early literacy skills together at home. Have fun and stay healthy!  

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