Keeping your child engaged whilst building their literacy skills is very easy if not pushed all the time. It has to be fun! Often, if a child is enjoying quality time with a person and having a great time, then they will not even realize that they are learning!
* Using their favorite books and nursery rhymes teaches them the pattern and layout of words - makes it fun! My little one's favorites are The Tiger Who Came to Tea, Dr Seuss (great for literacy!) and The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson. Favorite nursery rhymes are Humpty Dumpty, Once I Caught a Fish Alive etc.
* Flashcards are always great for literacy - the ones with pictures on one side are ideal for the younger ones, and the more you repeat them the better. Make it into a game by forming a story with the pictures, or matching items together i.e. fork and spoon, cat and fish.
* Catching a ball - do the Alphabet ball game - either take turns to catch and go through the alphabet, or for the older ones, every time you catch the ball you pick an animal or object for that letter i.e. A for aardvark, B for bear, and C for Crab. Great fun and practices hand-eye co-ordination too!
* Anything can be a tool for writing with - you can practice letters in sand, bath bubbles (foam letters for the tiles are an awesome product, my kids love them) when you are baking, on paper, anywhere on the go! Make it fun and it will become second nature to you all, and teaching them young is very important. Any head start you can give your child the better!
We had a sunny day in the garden last week, and I let my boys loose with the chalk on our patio - they loved it! No mess, no fuss and they are learning whilst having a blast, and I got to sit in the sun for a while too!
Libraries often have reading schemes to join for free for the children, and have a special one for over the summer - great incentive for your kids to use the library, practice reading and writing, and learn to love books. Libraries often have story time sessions too - check local press for details.
* All kids love movies and computer games - use this to your advantage and download educational apps - but limit the time they spend on them of course. There are a great variety of quality free apps to teach children. Movies are often born from books, capitalize on this by getting books that tie in with the movies - i.e. children love the new Lorax film? Take this opportunity to introduce them to the full Dr. Suess library. Fairy tale classics are timeless, and children will always love them, i.e. Shrek and Puss and Boots are all born from fairy tales.
Practically any game can be used to improve literacy skills if engaged correctly - have fun, experiment and most of all, enjoy spending time with your child.