15 Literacy Activities For Preschoolers

15 Literacy Activities For Preschoolers

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Three-year-old Willie loves scribbling in his book, even though most of it is gibberish. He also likes it when his mom reads to him at night. Often, he sits with his storybooks, looking at the images and pretending to read. He loves reading and writing.

And so do most preschoolers. Toddlers have a keen appreciation of print, which you can make the most of to improve the child’s literary abilities. MomJunction helps you achieve that with these 15 literacy activities for preschoolers.

15 Best Literacy Activities For Preschoolers

We divide the activities into two categories: reading activities for preschoolers and writing activities for preschoolers.

Reading activities for preschoolers

1. Alphabet tree

This activity for a preschooler helps develop the necessary skills that a kid needs to start reading.

You will need:

  • Sketch pens
  • Chart paper
  • Post-its

How to:

  1. Let the toddler draw an illustration of a large tree with 26 tiny branches, representing the 26 letters of the English alphabet.
  2. Take 26 post-it notes and write down a letter each on each one. Stick the post-its on the branches of the tree, in an order.
  3. Every time your kid posts a letter, make him say it out loud so that the toddler can connect the sound and the appearance of the letter.
  4. Once that is done, let the toddler read them out loud right from A to Z.

[ Read: Activities For 15-Month-Old Baby ]

2. Letter on the block

Letter on the block

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It is an excellent literacy activity that teaches toddlers the correct order of letters in the alphabet.

You will need:

  • Playing blocks with a letter each on a block
  • Sketch pen

How to:

  1. You can purchase playing blocks that have a letter each on them. Otherwise, you can use the existing playing blocks and paint a letter each on each of them.
  2. Starting with the block with the letter A, arrange all the blocks on top of one another. Pile up all blocks to make a tower that stands. Every the kid places a block, ask him to read the letter on it aloud.
  3. Once done with the order, dismantle the blocks. Start again with block A and this time, try arranging the blocks in a different fashion/order.

After a few rounds, the toddler should be comfortably aware of the alphabetical order.

3. Circling the letters

Circling the letters

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This focuses on identifying a specific alphabet in a word.

You will need:

  • A pencil
  • Toddler books

How to:

  1. Pick a storybook and sit with the toddler next to you.
  2. Give the pencil to the child and tell him that he has to circle a letter (like A or D) every time it appears in a word they read.
  3. Begin reading slowly, allowing enough time for the preschooler to identify and circle the letter. In case he seems confused, prompt him.
  4. Keep choosing different letters to make sure the little one is thorough with the entire alphabet.

[ Read: How To Teach Your Toddler To Write Better ]

4. Random reading from cards

Random reading from cards

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You can use flashcards for this reading activity.

You will need:

  • Flashcards or picture cards with letters on them

How to:

  1. Place the cards face down, in an array.
  2. Turn one card and show it to the toddler. Read out the card with the toddler and then place it back in its place.
  3. Continue until you are done with all the cards.
  4. Repeat the activity. This time let the toddler say the letter.

Play as many times as you want to help the child revise.

5. Saying letters in groups

Saying letters in groups

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This is an outdoor literacy activity that toddlers can enjoy during spring or summer.

You will need:

  • A group of preschoolers

How to:

  1. Make the toddlers sit in a circle or stand in a line.
  2. The first toddler in the group says aloud the letter “A”, and the next toddler says “B” and so on until all the letters are done.
  3. This can be repeated with a different toddler starting the game each time, for as long as the kids want to play.

[ Read: Easy Learning Activities For Toddlers ]

6. Reading one letter at a time

Reading one letter at a time

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Your toddler is still far from learning words, but you can lay the foundation for it through this literacy activity.

You will need:

  • A preschooler storybook

How to:

  1. Pick a book that has simple and easy-to-read words.
  2. Sit with the toddler and place the book in front of him.
  3. Ask the toddler to read each letter of a chosen word and then try saying the word itself. If the first word is “Cat,” then the preschooler reads out the letters C, A, and T individually to learn the spelling and then pronounce the word.

7. Tasty Jell-O letters:

Tasty Jell-O letters

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Nothing fascinates a preschooler more than some colorful, edible letters made from Jell-O.

You will need:

  • Ice tray with letter-shaped molds
  • Jell-O mix

How to:

  1. Mix the Jell-O powder with water and follow the instructions on the packet for heating.
  2. Pour the liquid into the ice molds and freeze them till they are squishy yet solid.
  3. Remove the Jell-O letters from the mold, place them on a tray and you are all set.
  4. Ask the toddler to read out all the letters and place them in the correct order before gobbling them up.

[ Read: Language development Activities For Toddlers ]

8. Feel the letters

Feel the letters

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It is essential to remember the shape of each letter to make sure the preschooler has a comprehensive understanding of it.

You will need:

  • Plastic letters
  • A pouch or bag with opaque fabric/material

How to:

  1. Place all the plastic letters in the bag.
  2. Ask your preschooler to hold the bag, close his eyes, and put his hand in the bag to pick a letter.
  3. He must feel the letter with his hand instead of looking at it to identify it.
  4. If he gets it right, the letter comes off the bag, and he picks another letter to continue the game. Otherwise, the letter goes back into the bag and he begins again.

9. Letter hopscotch

Letter hopscotch

Image: iStock

Hopscotch is a classic childhood game that can be used to teach the alphabet.

You will need:

  • Colored chalks

How to:

  1. Make the hopscotch boxes on the ground with letters in each of it.
  2. The toddler stands on a letter and then jumps on to another letter as instructed.
  3. The toddler finishes the game when he has hopped on all the letters without error. Wipe out the letters and then write a new set of letters and play the game again.

[ Read: Fun IPad Apps For Toddlers ]

Writing activities for preschoolers

When the child is familiar with the alphabet, writing them becomes easier.

10. Join the dots

Join the dots

Image: Instagram

A simple pre-writing activity for preschoolers to improve their literacy skills.

You will need:

  • Paper
  • Pencil

How to:

  1. Make a dotted outline of all the letters.
  2. Hand over the pencil to the toddler and ask him to connect all the dots to form the letters.
  3. Once your toddler is done with the activity, you can ask him to copy the letter for further practice.

11. Letters on the flour

Letters on the flour

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Baking during Christmas is fun with the kids around to help. Letters on the flour is an excellent Christmas literacy activity for the preschooler.

You will need:

  • Baking tray
  • Wheat flour

How to:

  1. Pour a large quantity of flour on the baking tray and spread it evenly with your hand.
  2. Write a letter with your finger leaving some space on the right.
  3. Now ask the toddler to write the letter next to the one you wrote. Write both lowercase and uppercase letters.
  4. Increase the difficulty level by writing the letter once and then leveling the flour to erase the letter. Then ask the toddler to write the letter on the flour.
  5. Remember to say the letter out loud so that the toddler knows what he is writing.
  6. You can also make the toddler write his name, thus making this an excellent name writing activities for preschoolers.

[ Read: Alphabet Activities For Preschoolers ]

12. Learning with stencils

Learning with stencils

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Stencils are an excellent way to teach the toddler the correct shape of letters.

You will need:

  • Alphabet stencil
  • Paper
  • Color pencils

How to:

  1. Choose an alphabet stencil that has both uppercase and lowercase letters on it.
  2. Give a pencil and a paper to the preschooler and let him trace out the letters in uppercase and lowercase.
  3. While he traces, let him say the letter out loud.
  4. This is an excellent emergent writing activity for a preschooler who has begun rudimentary scribbling of the letters.

13. Cookie-cutter painting

Cookie-cutter painting

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Since you will be using 26 tiny cookie-cutters, you can play this game with several preschoolers, thus making it an ideal small group activity for preschooler’s literacy.

You will need:

  • Cookie-cutters in the shape of the letters
  • Watercolors
  • Large color palette
  • Chart paper

How to:

  1. Mix some watercolors in the palette.
  2. Place the cookie cutter on the palette so that the entire rim of the letter is dipped in color.
  3. Stamp the cookie cutter on the chart paper to make an impression of the letter.
  4. The toddlers can then use sketch pens to trace the impression, to revise their writing skills.

This makes for an exciting early writing activity for the toddler when he is still figuring out letters.

14. Letters on the string

Letters on the string

Image: iStock

A fun writing activity that lets you retain the creation of your preschooler forever.

You will need:

  • Chart paper cut into small card-like pieces
  • Sketch pens
  • A colorful nylon string
  • Colorful cloth clips

How to:

  1. The toddler writes a letter each on a card.
  2. Tie a string to the wall of the toddler’s room. Use a clip to hang each card on the string.
  3. Once you have placed all the letters, you have an exciting wall decoration ready for your toddler’s room.

[ Read: Thanksgiving Books For Preschoolers ]

15. Learning through keyboard

Learning through keyboard

Image: Shutterstock

The computer keyboard can be an excellent medium to teach your toddler the alphabet. Read on to know more about this digital literacy activity for preschoolers.

You will need:

  • A personal computer

How to:

  1. Open notepad or any other word processing application on your computer.
  2. Press a key and show the toddler how to type a letter.
  3. Let the toddler type the letters on his own and see the results on the screen.

This tests the toddler’s knowledge of the letters while teaching him the basics of computer usage.

Three Tips For Preschooler Literacy Activities

Here is how to help your preschooler learn better:

  1. Say what letters sound like: During writing activities, ensure that you read aloud each letter of the alphabet.
  2. Introduce both uppercase and lowercase letters: Do not forget the lowercase letters! Your toddler is quite likely to begin learning with uppercase block letters, but will eventually have to learn the lowercase letters.
  3. Gradually introduce the toddler to simple words: Once you notice that your toddler has adequate knowledge of letters, you can introduce him to simple, basic words.

Literacy training can be fun-filled and exciting when it involves games & activities. It also lays the foundation for future language and communication skill development. Try these fun literacy activities today and tell us how your preschooler liked them.

Use our comments section to tell us about other literacy activities that have worked well with your preschooler.

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Rohit Garoo

Rohit Garoo took writing as a profession right after finishing his MBA in Marketing. Earlier he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Botany & Zoology from the autonomous St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai. Rohit has also done a Stanford University certification course on breastfeeding. This botanist-zoologist turned writer excels at life sciences, and at MomJunction he writes everything about pediatrics and maternal care. In between writing and being overly curious, he spends time cooking, reading, and playing video games. LinkedIn profile – linkedin.com/in/rohit-garoo-263115aa
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