- Why use literacy games?
- What are some home literacy activities?
- Fairy Tales Remixed
- I Spy
- Monster Maker
- Snap Words
- Word Fish
- Opps! Sticks
Literacy is about reading and writing, two of the most crucial skills your child needs to succeed! The sooner kids learn to read, the sooner they can read to learn. Learning to read, write and handle words should be fun because it opens up so many different worlds for your kids. Making reading and writing an enjoyable activity encourages them to put energy into practicing and perfecting their abilities. So, how can you make literacy entertaining for your little ones?
Why use literacy games? 🎲
Literacy games are a fun and effective way to help your child improve their literacy skills without them even realizing they’re learning. Literacy games for kids can engage them thoroughly and inspire them to use reading and writing skills in creative and exciting ways. Literacy games can be played alone, with Mum and Dad, or with siblings and friends. If your kid is the competitive type, so much the better!
Fun reading games can focus on essential everyday words, words they need to learn for school, or interesting new words to enrich their existing vocabulary.
What are some home literacy activities?
Here is a selection of the best fun and free literacy games and instructions on how to play them:
Writing and reading games for kids 🏠
- Pure imagination
This literacy game can be played absolutely anywhere.
For younger learners, it’s good to use noun categories like animals or household objects. For older, more advanced players you could choose adjectives, verbs, or adverbs instead of nouns.
How to play:
- The first player says a word beginning with A.
- The second player must say a word in the same category beginning with B, the third with C, and so on until someone reaches Z. If a player can't think of a word, the turn passes to the next person.
- Whoever comes up with a word for Z gets to choose a new category by saying the next word beginning with A.
Fairy Tales Remixed 🧚🏽
- Colouring pencils, crayons or markers
Kids choose a story they know well and retell it. But they get to change whatever parts they want - the characters, the setting, or just little details. The possibilities are endless! This is a great game for learning to read, kids can let loose and indulge their imaginations.
- Instead of a wolf coming to blow down the straw, wood, and brick houses of three little pigs, a shark could come and try to bite open the sand, shell, and coke can houses of three little crabs!
- Red Riding Hood could become Blue Skating Cap!
- Rather than Hansel and Gretel finding a witch’s house made out of gingerbread in the woods, Harry and Greta could find a robot’s house made out of chocolate bars in the multi-story car park!
Once they've dreamt up their remixed story, they can have great fun writing it down and drawing pictures to illustrate it.
This is one of the best games for reading comprehension.
- Cut up at least 36 little squares of paper.
- Write the 26 letters of the alphabet on one square each.
- You will need more vowels than consonants for this literacy game; so write at least two copies of the vowels A, E, I, O, and U on the remaining squares.
How to play
- Put the squares on a table with the letters facing up.
- Mix them around to randomize them.
- Arrange the letters in a grid pattern.
- Set a timer, for example, for one minute (or longer for younger players).
- Kids see how many words they can make from letters appearing beside each other. Words can be made from letters running left to right, up and down, or diagonally.
- When time is up, players compare which words they have found. Each letter in a correct word gets one point, so the more words they have and the longer they are the more points players get!
- Once the points have been added up, mix the words again and put them into another grid pattern, start the timer and go for another round.
- The player with the most points at the end wins!
I Spy 👀
I Spy is one of the classic literacy games, an oldie, but still a goodie!
- Pure imagination
- The first player chooses something in the room or landscape everyone should be able to see, a lamp for example.
- They say “I spy with my little eye something beginning with…” and then say the first letter of the name of the object they have chosen. For the lamp, it would be “I spy with my little eye something beginning with L”.
- Players take turns guessing the name of the object.
- The first person to guess correctly gets to choose the next object and the game continues until everyone has had a turn at least once.
- A more challenging version could replace giving the first letter of the word with the last letter. For the lamp, it would be “I spy with my little eye something ending with P”.
Monster Maker 👾
- Coloured pens, pencils or crayons
- Cut up some paper into many little slips.
- Write the name of lots of individual body parts on some of the pieces. Write only singular body parts, if you want more than one eye or handwrite them on multiple slips.
- Write individual adjectives on lots of other pieces of paper e.g. big, huge, green, scary, etc.
- Put all the slips of paper into a bag.
How to play:
- Shake the bag to shuffle the slips.
- Players take turns to pick one piece of paper out of the bag at a time.
- Each player should take about 10 pieces of paper.
- When everyone has their slips they should put adjectives and body parts together e.g huge eye, green hair, blue feet, etc.
- The players then set about drawing a monster who fits the description given by their slips.
Snap Words 🃏
- At least 20 cards with target words written or printed on them.
Prepare at least 20 cards. The more cards you have, the more fun the game will be! You can write your target vocabulary on the cards yourself with markers or you can download flashcard packs from websites like Twinkl. If you have 20 cards, write one word on two cards. So, in total, you will have 20 cards with 10 different words.
How to play:
- Put the cards together in a deck like regular playing cards.
- Shuffle the deck thoroughly with the words face down and hidden.
- Deal one card face down to each player one after the other. Continue until there is one card left. Turn this card face up and place it in the centre of all the players.
- The first player puts their card face up on top of the centre card.
- If the word on a card matches the word on the centre card the first player to shout “Snap!” and put their hand on the cards wins those cards.
- Players continue to take turns putting one card face up in the centre and watching for an opportunity to shout “Snap!”
- The winner is the player who holds all the cards at the end of the game.
- Lollipop sticks
- A mug or other container
- A dice
- Write one word on one end of a lollipop stick. You can write important words on more than one stick for more chances to practice it.
- For every four lollipop sticks with a target word, write Oops! on one more stick. So, if you have eight word-sticks, you should have two Oops!-sticks, if you have 12 word-sticks, three Oops!-sticks, and so on.
- Put all the sticks in the mug with the word ends at the bottom so they are hidden.
How to play:
- Roll the dice to decide who goes first. The highest number starts!
- The first player takes a stick from the mug and reads the word to the player to their left. The player on the left must spell the word correctly.
- If they’re right they get to claim the stick.
- If the player on the left doesn’t spell it correctly, the stick is put back in the mug.
- The game continues with the next player taking a lolly stick and challenging the player on their left to spell the word correctly and so on.
- If a player picks one of the sticks with Oops! written on it they have to return all their sticks to the mug.
- The player with the most sticks at the end is the winner!
Word Fish 🎣
- To start preparing this reading learning game, cut small pieces of paper into little fish shapes.
- Write your target words on the paper fish.
- Cover both sides of the fish in sellotape to make them waterproof.
- Attach paper clips to their noses.
- Prepare kid-sized fishing rods by tying one end of a string around the point of a stick and the other end around a small magnet.
- Put the paper fish in a small container like an old ice cream tub and fill it with water to make a little pond.
How to play:
There are different ways to play this game:
- Kids could point out one fish, read out the word on it and challenge another player to catch it with their fishing rod.
- Alternatively, players can take turns trying to catch any of the fish. Once they have caught one, they must read out the word written on it. If they read it successfully, they get to keep it. If not, they must put it back in the little pond.
- The player with the most fish at the end wins!