Here are some great activities that parents and caregivers can easily work into their preschooler's day to help with language and literacy development.
What do you do?
Have your child draw pictures and tell stories of things they do in the morning or at night. For example, I get up and eat breakfast, then I brush my teeth. This works on sequencing and memory.
Show your child how to fold and cut paper to create a snowflake, circle, or heart using instructions that he or she can follow. Then allow the child to follow the instructions to make his or her own snowflake or other shape. This activity helps with memory, following directions, sequencing and hand coordination for writing.
Using a book or magazine, show your child pictures and ask him to make up a story about the picture. Encourage your child by asking W questions … who, what, when, where … and why. Again, this develops sequencing as well as observation and imagination skills. Write your child's story down to illustrate that words can become permanent records of stories.
Ask your child a silly question like, why do frogs hop? As your child answers, have fun by asking additional how, where and other open-ended questions to build language. Take turns asking quirky questions and making up answers.
What Happened Next?
Read a story to your child, or tell your child a story. Then ask your child to tell what happened at the beginning, middle and end of the story. This helps with memory and sequencing.
Have your child make part of your grocery list, then allow him or her to get the items at the grocery store. Even if the child can not write the words for things, he or she can draw a picture to represent the items that need to be purchased. This helps with developing a connection between written words and real items and ideas.
Using an old magazine or newspaper, have your child circle the letters of his or her name in the magazine or newspaper. This helps with developing letter recognition. When your child starts to recognize different letters, also have him or her search for those letters.