This year, International Literacy Day is on the 8th of September and will highlight the challenges and opportunities in promoting literacy in a digital world. As pioneers for rich, hands-on play experiences, we’ve put together five of our favourite activities to support literacy skills at home.
Make letters with Playfoam®! This tactile, mess-free sculpting material is perfect for practising letter formation. Simply pick a colour and sculpt it into your chosen letter or word. The sensory nature of the Playfoam® beads will keep children engaged and build fine motor skills whilst they are learning essential early skills. The Playfoam® Shape and Learn Alphabet Set includes 13 double-sided letter cards that children can use as a guide to construct the letter in easy-to-follow, numbered stages.
“I actually rolled this along the carpet and it didn’t collect anything, lose any stick or stick to the floor. There really is no mess with this.”
– Jo, Pickle and Poppet
Phonics teaches children to identify the phonemes that make up each word and is essential for developing reading and spelling skills. Practise phonological awareness at home with Vowel Owls, the literacy sorting set. Complete with 100 picture cards and six vowel owls (five vowels and one blank), there are lots of different activities to play. To differentiate between long and short vowels lay out the ‘a’ vowel owl and the ‘blank’ vowel owl. The ‘a’ will represent the short vowel sound and the ‘blank’ will represent the long vowel sound. Lay out the cards and ask your child to find all of the pictures that have an ‘a’ vowel. Then, work together to sort them into their matching sound owl.
Sight Words and Vocabulary
Sight words refer to approximately 150 words that are likely to reappear on almost any page of text. Children are encouraged to memorise them so they can read them without having to use decoding methods. Sight Word Swat brings sight words to life as children use colourful swatters to find and swat fly shaped sight word cards. The words are colour-coded so parents can easily distinguish between different levels of difficulty and pick cards suited to their child’s reading level. The game can be played in a group of up to four people. Read a card aloud and then encourage players to race to find the word and swat it with their swatter! The person who collects the most cards is the winner.
“This game is the most fast-paced sight word game we’ve had, and Big Girl loves it. Sight Word Swat makes it so much more fun and natural for me to talk about sight words at home.”
– Tine, Mummy in the City
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar
Sentences are made up of many parts including nouns, verbs, pronouns, adjectives, conjunctions, prepositions, adverbs and punctuation. Practise parts of speech with Sentence Building Dominoes, a re-usable set that includes 114 double-sided, colour-coded dominoes. Lay the dominoes out and talk through any words that your child doesn’t recognise or finds tricky. Remind them that a sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with a punctuation mark and point out those dominoes. Finally, point out the dominoes with the word endings ‘s’, ‘ed’ and ‘ing’. These can be added to others to make new words and change tenses. Challenge your child to create as many sentences as they can!
Inspire creative writing at home by providing tools for imaginations to run wild! Plot Blocks™ Story Building Activity Set includes different settings, characters, objects and actions to give young learners the confidence to write their own story. 18 picture cubes feature six each of ‘who’ ‘what’ and ‘how’ images and six double-sided setting mats include real-life photography and illustrated scenes. Four transparent mats also allow children to draw their own settings and bring their picture to life. Young learners select two of each of the cubes and a setting mat. Roll each cube before placing it within one of the allocated spaces on the mat. Simply add a little imagination, and let the story begin!
“This resource was so interactive, fun and tactile! A fabulous resource to develop understanding and use of ‘narrative’ and story- telling.”
– Belinda, Hitchin Speech Therapy