Fun ideas:age 4-5

Your child will probably have started synthetic phonic activities at school so finding time to enjoy playing with letters and sounds in games and activities will really help to support these new skills. And obviously find time to continue all the other types of games too:

Top ten games and activities:

1. Rhyming games

  • Listen to and join in with rhyming stories, e.g. The Gruffalo (Donaldson).
  • Play rhyming games .
  • Make silly rhyming jokes, e.g. What do you call a smelly elephant? A smellyphant! What do you call an elephant watching TV? A tellyphant!

2. Phonic games

  • Play snap and lotto games with letters and sounds.
  • Use homemade letter flashcards, add a paperclip to each, tie a magnet to some string and a stick and ask your child to ‘fish’ for a particular sound.
  • Play ‘I spy’ games, e.g. ‘I spy something beginning with a...’ using the letter sound when you are out and about. For help with letter sounds, take a look at our sound chart .

3. Memory games

  • Play Kim’s game: put a few items on a tray, look, cover, remember and check!
  • Talk about, photograph or write out some ‘events’ from something you have done together – can your child remember the correct order?
  • Go shopping – try to remember the list together!

4. Listening games

  • Play games such as ‘Simon says’ – party games are often good learning value!
  • Listen to music and talk about the instruments being played – find pictures on the internet together.
  • Play bingo using letters and simple words.

5. Action games

  • Make a puppet theatre with cardboard boxes or a towel over a chair and encourage your child to make up or retell a story to you or any willing family members!
  • Have lots of fun dressing up with clothes and props at home (charity shops are a great source!) so that your child can dress up as a character and act out favourite stories.
  • Play games such as ‘What’s the time Mr Wolf?’, but instead of saying the time write the times down for them to read.

6. Tactile games

  • Use magnetic letters to spell names and simple words on the fridge or radiator.
  • Use modelling clay to make your child’s name or simple words like mum.
  • Enjoy jigsaws together and chat about finding the right pieces!

7. Screen games

  • Watch TV programmes linked to books and then read the books afterwards. Talk about what they like or don’t like about the characters.
  • Find story-telling sites like Little Kingdom , TV programmes or find story apps for your phone.
  • Look at DVDs from picture books together, e.g. Penguin (Dunbar)

8. Car journey games

  • Play ‘The curate’s cat is an amazing cat/beautiful cat/clever cat/daft cat... etc. and then make up your own versions (The doctor’s dog...).
  • Look for letters of the alphabet in registration plates – keep a tally to see which letter is most frequently spotted!
  • Take it in turns to make up stories – Once upon a time there was...

9. Out and about activities

  • Ask your child to find the things you need to buy when out shopping by reading the labels on products together.
  • Check out your local library or community centre to find out what special activities or clubs are running in term time or holidays
  • Try to do a few visits or find some information together to link with the topic or project work at school.

10. Reading books of all kinds together

  • Carry on reading books of all kinds to and with your child: picture, words and pictures, pop up, information, poetry, eBooks, print books... and the levelled books brought home from school. Video or record your child reading it for fun!

Why not choose a book from our library to share on-screen now together?

Print this page

Choose an age group: