Fun learning ideas easy for doing at home, all linked to reading, talking, listening and making marks.

Some useful links.

Reading Section

Whatever Next – Read or watch the story ‘Whatever Next’ by Jill Murphy. Once you’ve watched or read the story, have a talk about what happened in the story. Perhaps you could go to the moon? Do you have a box? If not, use cushions or whatever is available to make a spaceship. Gather what you need to make your trip to the moon and have a picnic! There are more ideas for this story here.

Word WavesVisit this link to the BBC bitesize ‘Word Wave’ site. There are many stories and poems. Children are encouraged to follow the wave which helps makes links between sounds, letters and the spoken word.

Stay Safe With Thomas – A completely free downloadable Thomas Story, from Network Rail.

Makaton Thinglink 

Dig, Dig, Digging – Read or watch the ‘Dig Dig Digging’ story. Pretend to be different kinds of transport. Use lots of describing words when you play. Can you go fast, slow, backwards, zig-zag ? 

Favourite Stories – Listen to / read / watch some of these favourite stories below. Why not act out the stories afterwards? 

Free books to read online – just click on the link to read the stories. No downloads or sign up required. 

Storyline OnlineThis site has a huge range of stories being read by famous people. 

Julia Donaldson/Axel Scheffler Free learning packs for home based on the books.

Sound Museum – Make a sound museum. Collect objects from around the home which start with a certain sound, for example, make a collection of objects which start with ‘s’ 

Tips for Story Tellingwatch this video

Matching Sounds – Matching letters and sounds – This is a simple literacy activity for children. Give your child a letter of the alphabet (written on a card) and have them place it on something they can see that begins with that letter. For example the Letter C could be placed on a cup. 

Questions – Read a story together. Ask simple questions as you read along. Start with the cover. “What do you think this story is about? What will happen next? What characters would you like to meet in real life? Would you change anything about the ending? Don’t be scared to get bits of the book wrong on purpose. Put in some silly ideas of your own. Ask them to tell you about the best and worst bits of the book. 

Treasure Hunt – Letter Treasure Hunt – Hide alphabet cards around the house. Have your child find them, say the letter, say the sound and bring it to you. This is fun and an easy way to see how they are going with their letters and sounds. 

Reading At Home – A leaflet on how to develop reading –  ideas at home with your little one. Easy to do, from Early Years Scotland.

World Book Day Website – free story videos and resources. 

Free ebooks from Oxford Owl for 3-4 year olds. (Free login required) 

Free ebooks from Oxford Owl for 4-5 year olds. (Free login required) 

Free reading activities for download from Clickety Books. 

Here’s a free story about a dragon which helps explain ADHD 

Talking Section

Make a Story – Choose three toys and use them to make up a story. Take turns to add new sections to the story. Ask questions like “What do you think will happen next?” and “Can you tell me why that happened?” 

Action Songs – Enjoy singing some action songs together and do the actions while you sing them. 

Remember This – Talk about a real trip from the past, for example, a walk to the shops, a trip to the park, a holiday. Try to remember lots of details (what was the weather like, sights and smells, the order of events). Talk about trips you would like to take in the future. Add lots of detail! The more imagination the better.

Nursery Rhymes – Visit The Mother Goose Club for songs and nursery rhymes to say and sing together. 

Sign Language RhymesThe Owl and the Pussycat. Click here.

Sound Bag –  Have a bag filled with objects that make sounds. The objects could be toys such as animals, a car etc. Encourage your child to reach into the bag and choose an object. Then engage them by making the objects sound. E.g: “ring” for the telephone, “moo” for a cow and “brmm” for a car. You can encourage your child to copy the sound and ifor older children, ask them what the object is and what sound it makes without prompting first. You could extend this language by adding an adjective such as a big ball or a red car.

I Spy Time – Look out of the window and play ‘I Spy’. Make is as simple or as difficult as you need to. Ask questions while you play, “What can you see in front of the red car?”. Play I-spy with colours or shapes, for example ‘I spy, with my little eye, something coloured blue’ or ‘something square’ 

Picture Talk visit this website and choose one of the interesting pictures. Can you make up a story about it? What’s happening in the picture? What will happen next?

Hide and seek! – Choose a toy or favourite object. Take turns hiding it around the house. Use descriptive words as clues (it’s under something furry; it’s close to something purple and soft) and use phrases like “you’re getting warmer/colder or closer/further”. 

Talking time – Talk to your child and let her talk back to you in different intensities of voice: softer, louder and with different intonations. 

More Questions – While looking at a picture in a story book, say, “I see something that is blue, brown and red.” Ask your child to identify what you are looking at. 

Rhymes – Try to make up some rhyming words. Make it as silly as possible. Focus on the sounds; the words don’t even have to make sense! 

Rhyming – Twinkle have produced a downloadable content sheet with this rhyming activity.

Ready Steady Go – can be played in many ways depending on the child’s interest; you could roll a ball or push a car. Show your child the object and ask them to name it. Then before rolling or pushing the object say “ready, steady, go” try to encourage the child to repeat, if they are struggling, just encourage waiting. While the child has the object encourage the child to wait for you to say the words before rolling or pushing it back.

Create a Tale – Make up a story using pictures from an old newspaper or magazine. 

Puppets – Puppets are a really fun literacy activity for children. They are a great tool for oral language and can also be used for children to retell a favourite story. These can be made using a wooden spoon and felt pens, or old socks and children can cut out eyes, mouth etc and stick on. 

Guessing Game – Get a bag and put some household objects or toys inside. Your child has to put their hand in the bag and guess what they are touching. Encourage them to use describing words. You can use descriptive words to give clues. 

Find Me – Play the ‘find me’ game. Ask your child to find you something… 

Something to wear on your feet.

Something to mix with.

Something to clean with. The possibilities are endless!

Word Game – Play ‘The cook’s cat is an amazing cat/beautiful cat/clever cat/daft cat…‘ and so on, and then make up your own versions (for example, ‘The doctor’s dog…‘). 

Memory Game – Play the memory game. Put five or six objects on a tray. Cover them with a towel or blanket. Sneak one of the objects away. Reveal and ask, what’s missing? This is good for developing concentration, for using lots of words and questions and it develops problem solving skills. 

Ideas For Developing Listening & Talking At Home – An excellent leaflet from Early Years Scotland.

Ideas For Puppets – Another great resource from Early Years Scotland.

Listening Section

Make your own story spoons, creating characters from your favourite story book. Use these to re-tell parts of the story or to create your own story. 

Look for smooth stones outside which you can use to paint or draw characters of your favourite story. When they are dry, you can use these to re-tell or create your own story. 

Read your favourite story then see if you can tell what happened at the beginning, middle and end of the story. What was your favourite part? 

Can you make your own story book creating your own story and characters or using characters that you know? All you need is paper, pens or pencils and your imagination ! 

Can you dress up as any characters from a book that you know? Can you pretend to be them and act out parts of the story or re-create your own story line.

Can you make characters from your favourite story using playdough or clay? Can you paint or draw any characters or create your own? 

Create a hungry caterpillar for your lunch or snack using cucumber, tomatoes and lettuce.  What did the caterpillar like to eat?

When you go to the park, why not use the equipment to act out We’re Going On A Bear Hunt? Try and go over it, try and go under it, then run right through it! Bridges, balance beams and stepping logs are wonderful props for acting out the story of the Billy Goats Gruff. Trip trap trip trap!

Goldilocks And The Three Bears – Makaton

We’re Going On A Bear Hunt – Makaton

Brown Bear, Brown Bear – Makaton

The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Makaton