Children at this age absorb so much and are eager to learn so learning through play is a great way to develop their language and have real fun! Play games inside and outside and even on the move. Here are some easy things you can enjoy doing together:
Top ten games and activities:
3 – 4 year olds
Listen to, say and sing nursery rhymes and rhymes with actions.
Listen to, say and read repetitive rhymes and stories with language patterns, e.g. Each Peach Pear Plum (Ahlberg), Dear Zoo (Campbell),
Make up nicknames for family members ‘daddy duck’, ‘mushy mummy’...
Play alphabet games and sing alphabet songs, e.g. a for apple, b for banana, etc.
Play with magnetic letters on the fridge. Focus on the letter sound not name (so sssss not suh).
Play with flashcard games.
Play picture snap games and play picture lotto games.
Play list games ‘I went to the market and bought an ant.... I went to market and bought an ant and a balloon....’ (make it as silly as possible to make it fun).
Use alphabet cards with pictures and lay them out in the correct sequence then take a couple out and ask your child to say which ones are missing.
Listen to stories, CDs, music, nursery rhymes and songs.
Go on a sound walk; try recording some of the sounds on your phone and then, when you are home, ask your child to listen and remember what made the sounds.
Play sound lotto games such as Cock a Doodle Moo (Orchard Toys).
Retell or act out favourite stories and make new ones too, with toys, puppets, teddies, train sets and cars.
Help your child to set up role play games using teddies and other toys; a café, a shop, a library...and visit as a customer.
Encourage your child to play independently, using bricks or other construction toys, train sets, pegs and sheets!
Thread beads or painted pasta to make sequenced patterns with colours and shapes. This later helps them spot patterns in words/language etc.
Squeeze paint onto a hard surface and help your child to finger-write letters and patterns, encouraging a left-to-right direction to reflect reading and writing.
Read pop-up books, books with holes, textures, fabrics and sounds.
Watch television programmes together such as Olivia, Little Princess, Harry and his Bucketful of Dinosaurs and then read the original picture books afterwards.
Play games on the computer together, for example Cbeebies. Discuss the instructions and ask your child if they like the game.
Find some phone apps that make stories fun.
Take it in turns to ask questions, e.g. Who can see the first bridge/horse/red truck?
Play games such as ‘I spy’ but instead of something beginning with a letter say something that is a colour ‘I spy something that is blue...’.
Listen to story and nursery rhyme CDs, e.g. Winnie the Witch (Thomas/Paul), Doing the Animal Bop (Ormerod/Gardiner).
Spend some time choosing books from the library.
Join in with free library rhymetime or storytime sessions.
Make choices together at the shops – ask your child about what to buy and why.
Read books of all kinds to and with your child; picture, word and picture, pop up, lift the flap, eBooks, print books... even ‘make your own’ books.
Why not choose a book from our library to share on-screen now together?