Babies: Books are great first toys for babies.
Begin with books that:
- can be propped up for a baby to look at.
- have pictures in bright contrasting colors.
- are made of cardboard or cloth to withstand a little chewing and make page turning easier.
Toddlers and pre-schoolers: Toddlers are just able to sit and listen to a complete story. Try books that:
- have repetitious text about familiar objects.
- Involve activities such as counting, identifying colors, objects or letters.
- are about subjects that interest the child.
- deal with topics that relate to the child’s life such as toilet training or new siblings.
- are interactive, such as having lifting flaps.
Babies: Even a baby can prepare for writing. Let her:
- hold a rattle to develop grasping skills.
- play with magnetic letters.
Toddlers and pre-schoolers: To get her interested:
- give her safe writing props to incorporate into her play, like crayons, blank paper, newspaper and construction paper, thick sticks of chalk and thick magic markers.
- promote the development of her fine motor skills by letting her cut paper or trace letters.
- allow her to draw freely and creatively.
- Talk and read with him at every opportunity.
- Sing nursery rhymes and read books that play with word sounds.
Toddlers and pre-schoolers:
- Whether at the grocery store, the park or the zoo, point out objects, signs and people.
- Engage your child in conversation and ask a lot of questions.
- Play with words by making up funny names for people and objects. Making nonsense out of language helps children appreciate the rhythm and musicality of language.
- Play rhyming games with words.
Activities you can try with your child:
- A narrated version of hide-and-seek. When the child hides, the caregiver “thinks aloud” about where she could be. “Where is Laura?” a parent might say. “Maybe she’s in the refrigerator—did I put her next to the milk?” Such silly discussion within earshot of the hiding child will encourage her to listen as she waits to be found.
- Singing songs. Children love to listen to songs. Try adding new words to her favorite songs to pique her interest.