Fun ideas: age 3-4

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.

1. Songs, rhymes and funny names

  • 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), Dr Seuss.
  • Make up nicknames for family members ‘daddy duck’, ‘mushy mummy’...

2. Letter fun

  • 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 .

3. Memory 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.

4. Listening games

  • 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).

5. Action games

  • 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!

6. Tactile games

  • 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.

7. Screen games

  • 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.

8. Car journey games

  • 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).

9. Out and about activities

  • 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.

10. Reading books of all kinds together

  • 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?

Print this page

Choose an age group: