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! 

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. 

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. 

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’ 

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! 

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

Sound Guessing – Play these guess the sounds games with your child. Develops listening skills! 

Olden Times – Have a look through some old photos and have a chat about them. Focus on listening to each other and reminding each other of details and what each of you have said.

Simon – Play Simon says; make it as easy or hard as you need to.

What Is It? – Ask children to close their eyes, or use a blindfold. Make a range of sounds around the home, and ask them to identify the noise they hear. Examples might include, closing a window/door, dropping a book on the ground, tapping on a table, turning on a light switch, or opening and closing a drawer. 

Sentences – Ask the child to finish your sentences. You can use popular children’s songs, poems, or everyday phrases, e.g., “Twinkle, twinkle little…” 

Sound Memory – Make sound sequences using objects from around the home (blocks, spoons, pots, pencils) by tapping or banging the objects on the ground or a table. Encourage children to repeat what they hear in order. Begin with an easy sequence then make it harder!

Learn a new language Visit this site for resources and ideas.  

Mark Making Section

Threading – Beads on a string – Encourage them to play with beads, either threading them onto string or sorting them using tweezers. If you don’t have beads try using macaroni or penne pasta on a string. This helps by building finger control. 

Role Play – Literacy activities for children should be fun! Set up a Shop, Café, Doctor’s Surgery or a Vet (the ideas are endless) and have your child serve you. They can make signs, forms, lists and menus and have fun while playing with literacy. 

Fine Motor Practise – Anything that will strengthen your child’s fine motor skills is incredibly helpful when they start school. A child with weak fine motor skills tends to feel exhausted by writing and can then make learning more challenging. Here are some ideas:

· Paintbrush, water and the back fence or the ground. 

· Using crayons and pencils and blank paper 

·  Chalk on a concrete space outside 

· Lego 

· Playdough and Sand 

· Cooking – kneading, stirring, whisking, rolling 

· Using scissors (you can buy scissors that are safe for little hands) supervise the use of scissors closely. 

Shopping – Making a Shopping List – We all have to shop for food and making a shopping list is a fantastic literacy activity for children. Give your child their own notepad and pen and have them make a shopping list. The spelling doesn’t have to be correct, the words don’t even have to make sense. That is ok. This is the beginning of writing and understanding the purpose of writing. Have your child bring their list with them, get their own little trolley or basket and shop with you (unfortunately not at this time due to the coronavirus but something to consider once we back to normality!) 

Ideas for Toddlers – Visit Hungry Little Minds – a UK government site with lots of ideas for home learning with babies, toddlers and young children. It’s divided into age sections. 

Mark Making & Writing Ideas Leaflet – excellent ideas, easy to do, from Early Years Scotland.

Useful links

National Literacy Trust        

Bookbug App for Android and Apple 

Communication Trust – free information and resources          

Cbeebies stories and rhymes  

Activities related to Spot stories       

Learning Corner: songs, vocabulary, communication and rhyme 

South Lanarkshire Libraries free sign up – ebooks and audiobooks for young children 

Great site with some free phonics games.  Choose Phase 1 activities    

Nursery rhymes and songs 

Lots of literacy activities 

Skills for improving muscles in hands 

Baby sound activity 

Activities for babies 

Free stories to listen to 

More free stories 

Free story explaining Coronavirus for young children 

Free resources from Nosy Crow books 

Scottish Book Trust 

Play, Talk Read 

Reading Rockets, tips for parents 


There are also other learning links on the useful links page