Talk

Talk about colors with your tot while you do laundry. "The clothes in this pile are all blue or black. Which pile has red clothes? Do you see any white socks?"

Read

Reading should be fun. If your baby doesn’t want to read, it’s ok to stop reading and try again later or keep reading while they play.

Write

Get silly by making letters with your body. Can your preschooler copy you as you make L, T and V with your arms?

Read

Read things you see with your toddler like road signs and food names on containers. This helps connect meaning to letters and words.

Write

Make a sensory board for your baby. Use things you have at home. Babies learn a lot through feeling different textures.

Sing

Sing OLD MACDONALD with your preschooler. Start with an animal that starts with A, then B, and continue through the alphabet.

Sing

Make music with things you have in your house. Tap a pot or a box with a spoon. Sing a song as you make music with your toddler.

Play

As you play with your baby, make different noises for toys like trucks, dolls, or animals. Hearing different types of sounds helps develop language.

Talk

Before bed, ask your preK-er to tell you about their day. This will build their confidence for talking in school and talking about events in order.

Write

Outside, write letters in the dirt with a stick. Name the letters for your child as you write them. Let them try too. Cover the letter shapes with rocks.

Talk

When you dress your baby, talk about what you are doing. “We are putting your arm in your shirt.” This helps your child learn new words.

Read

Listen to stories & books on CD. Your preschooler will learn to form pictures to go with the stories & develop an imagination, important reading skills.

Play

I SPY helps your toddler work on listening skills. Give your child two hints “I spy something red you can eat.”

Sing

Sing favorite songs over and over again. Repeating songs is a fun way to help baby get ready to learn words. Find songs here.

Play

Add excitement to reading by acting out the story with your preK-er. They'll understand the story better and learn how stories work.

Talk

Move a toy from place to place. "Where is it?" Teach your toddler to use words about where the toy is like "Under the table" or "Behind the pillow".

Read

Check out an ABC book to read to your baby. Seeing the letters and pictures helps them enjoy reading with you.

Write

Find a stick outside & write the words "Bug", "Rock", and "Sun" in the dirt. Have your preschooler say them aloud & then explain what the words mean.

Read

You don’t have to read the words in a book to share it with your toddler. Look at the pictures and talk about what is happening. Make your own story!

Write

Lay baby on a safe surface when folding laundry. Dangle socks or sleeves just above baby. Let them grab and try to pull the clothes. Vary textures.

Sing

Sing Itsy Bitsy Spider with your preK-er. Add verses for a big spider, a slow spider, a fast spider, and more.

Play

Hide a Cheerio under a cup and see if your baby can find it. This helps baby understand that objects still exists, even if they can’t see them.

Talk

When you & your preschooler are cleaning up, take turns giving directions. They will have fun telling you what to do! Practice doing things in order.

Write

Keep plastic jars with small lids & hide safe items inside. Give your toddler one jar at a time. They build writing muscles as they take the lid off & on.

Talk

Play airplane while feeding baby. Say “Here comes the banana!” and fly the spoon to baby’s mouth. Repeat with each food to teach baby new words.

Read

Ask your preschooler questions as you read “Did you think that was going to happen?” It helps make reading fun and your child to want to learn to read.

Play

Move like different animals with your toddler. “Can you leap like a frog or swing your trunk like an elephant?” Build large motor skills and vocabulary!

Sing

Empty food containers and wooden spoons can be used as drums for older babies to explore rhythms and sounds. Turn on favorite music and drum with the beat.

Play

Put an object in a box or bag and have your preschooler try to identify it. Shake the box or bag. Talk about how heavy it is and the sound it makes.

Talk

Walk around your home & talk about the things you see. Tell your toddler how the fridge & stove work.Talk about shapes & colors you see in the kitchen.

Write

Hang a toy that makes sound within arm distance of your baby. If they do not touch it, guide them or demonstrate until they do.

Write

Write your preschooler’s name on 2 pieces of paper. Cut into individual letters. Let child match the letters to the correct places.

Read

Help your toddler make connections to the story and/or pictures as you read. “Look, the boy is playing with a blue ball like yours.”

Read

Let your baby help you read. Help them turn the pages. Talk to them about what you see in the book and listen to their babbles about it.

Sing

Help your preschooler find the alphabet in the grocery store, one letter at a time. Look as you move through the aisles and sing them aloud as you go.

Sing

Songs can teach your toddler new words. Show them a picture of a grandfather clock when you sing and act out HICKORY DICKORY DOCK.

Play

Babies don't need fancy toys. Make silly sounds while you toss, roll or bounce a ball to baby. You will both laugh!

Read

Read a picture book to your preschooler. Then ask your child to retell the story using the pictures as a guide to build reading skills.

Write

Have your tot use string or yarn & cheerios to string a bracelet. This activity strengthens their hand muscles & hand-eye coordination.

Talk

Help your baby learn numbers as you wash baby's hands. Count aloud "1, 2, 3, 4, 5! Where's the other hand? 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 clean fingers!"

Talk

Ask your child “How did you do that?” or “I wonder why…” to help your preschooler get ready to share ideas aloud and on paper in school.

Play

Line 3 toys up by size: big, little and in-between. Rearrange them. Have your toddler put them back in order to build memory and math skills. Try again!

Write

Let baby use fingers to pick up cereal and move it from a bowl to the high chair tray and back to build hand muscles needed to write when baby is older.

Play

Put couch cushions & pillows on the floor in a line. Have your preK-er get from one end to the other & use movement words like "jump, balance, walk, etc."

Talk

Go for a walk with your toddler and talk about the trees, birds, bugs, and plants you see. Your child will learn new words about the world around them.

Sing

Sing to your baby as you do daily activities. “This is the way we put on your clothes.”

Read

Babies repeat sounds they hear and learn about language when you read aloud to them. Click here for booklists!

Write

Write the letter “A” on an empty box. Go outside & have your preschooler find items that begin with that letter, like an acorn, then put the item in the box.

Read

Young children mimic their parents so let them see you enjoying reading newspapers, magazines, and books!

Play

Give your little one a small ball to squeeze and roll. This builds hand strength for writing when baby grows up.

Sing

Sing nursery rhymes with your preschooler to help them develop rhythm. Click here for a list of songs to sing together!

Sing

Take a break, put on some kid's music, and dance around with your toddler. Movement to song helps build muscles and brain pathways!

Talk

Count your child's fingers and toes, crackers at snack time, or steps you take walking from room to room in the house to build math skills for school.

Read

When a big, new word appears in a book you are reading to your child, say the word and stop to explain its meaning in words your child understands.

Talk

Take a walk in a park. Talk about the shapes & colors you see. Ask your child questions: what do they see, hear, and smell?

Read

Read aloud to your baby in your native language from any book, even cookbooks & textbooks. What matters most is hearing the sounds of spoken language.

Talk

As your preschooler washes up ask: "What sound does sss-oap start with? What else starts with the sss sound?" Together, list words like sock and silly.

Write

Write letters on paper and have your toddler paint over them with a Q-tip. They will strengthen the small muscles in their hand needed for writing.

Play

Hide a toy in a visible spot, while baby watches. “I’m hiding the toy, can you find it?" When baby finds the toy, choose a new hiding place.

Read

Once your preschooler has favorite books or pages, ask them to read them to you! Even if they recite from memory, this builds their reading confidence.

Play

Give your toddler a big bowl of water & some plastic containers. Let them practice pouring. Have a towel ready for spills.

Talk

You can help your baby learn language by having quiet time. Turn off the television & music so baby can focus on the sounds they make.

Write

Use cooked spaghetti to shape letters. Help your preschooler spell their name. Sing through the alphabet while making letters together. Let them eat their name!

Read

Let your toddler turn the book’s pages. It’s OK if they skip pages or like some pages better than others. Your child will get used to enjoying books.

Read

Babies need to be surrounded by books. Keep books in the car, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and wherever baby hangs out during the day.

Read

In your home, tape the name of objects to the object, such as "chair, table, bed". Point to the word & ask your preschooler to read it with you.

Talk

Talk with your toddler while you are traveling in the car, on the bus, or walking. On your way, describe shapes you see. Say "That sign is square."

Play

Bang on pots with spoons. Making noise together is fun! It also trains baby's eyes and hands to work together for eating, drawing, writing.

Talk

At bedtime, ask your preschooler to tell you the story of their day. Get them talking by using Wh- questions: "When? What? Why? Who? Where?"

Write

Put flour on a baking sheet and write letters with your finger. Have your toddler write a message on the sheet. Ask them to tell you what they wrote.

Talk

Build baby’s vocabulary by saying aloud the day's activities. Say “Put on socks” as you help them dress or clap your hands with them & say “clap clap!”

Play

Play with your preschooler at the kitchen sink. Wash some dishes or items you use in the kitchen. As you wash, talk about how you use it. Chores can be fun!

Sing

Read books that are songs to your tot, such as these! The pictures will add meaning to already familiar songs.

Sing

Music is a great way to develop the brain & explore sounds. Every day choose a different place & sing the ABCs to your baby.

Write

Have your preschooler make a shopping list using either made-up spelling or drawing pictures. “What do we need from the store today?”

Play

Find a doll or stuffed animal and help your toddler tuck it in to bed. Make-believe play helps your child’s social & brain development.

Talk

As you feed your baby, use words to describe what foods taste, feel and look like. "This yogurt is smooth," "that yellow banana is sweet."

Talk

Talk about shapes with your preschooler. Draw some & ask "How many corners on a square? How many points on a star?"

Read

Read the name on a cereal box, pointing out words as you go. Your toddler will connect the idea that written words tell us important things.

Read

Babies like to put books in their mouths. That’s ok! You can clean a board book with a wipe, let it dry, then let baby have fun.

Play

Count with your preschooler how many red cars you see on the way to the store. "How many white trucks do you see?" Try other types of vehicles.

Talk

Every time you walk up or down stairs, count each step aloud with your toddler to teach numbers & counting.

Play

Put pillows on the floor and encourage baby to crawl around them to you. Use words like "around," "over," and "faster" to build math and language skills.

Write

Before preschool or work, invite your preschooler to watch you, as you write a note. Say: “This note is to remind you I love you, to go in your pocket."

Write

Pretend your toddler is a waiter & tell them to write down your order. Scribbling on paper is a great way to build writing skills & converse.

Sing

Hold your baby close during bedtime & sing a favorite song again & again. Singing the same song can help baby feel calm & safe.

Play

Play with a few bowls of different sizes with your toddler. Stack the bowls inside each other & them take them out & talk about sizes, like big & small.

Read

Try reading a bilingual board book to baby. Hearing the sounds of a different language will expand their knowledge of conversation, an important skill.

Talk

Help your preschooler put sounds together as words. Say each sound by itself & ask your child to say the word. Say SP & OON. Your child will say SPOON.

Read

Next library visit, ask for short picture books that are bilingual. Hearing new language sounds will grow your toddler’s verbal skills.

Talk

Talk with a calm voice when baby first wakes up. As you change their diaper or feed them a bottle, make eye contact & let them see your happy face.

Read

While prepping for dinner, help your child read the labels of the boxes, jars, stickers, or cans.

Talk

Everywhere you go, talk about what you see. A stop sign, a traffic light or a tree might seem boring to you but it’s a whole new world to your child.

Play

Place toys/books just out of your baby's reach. When they reach or move toward the items, clap & tell your baby that they did a good job.

Talk

Talk with your child about what they're going to do today. At the end of the day, talk about what they did. Planning & reviewing helps develop their thinking skills.

Play

Using a mirror is a great way to play with your toddler! They learn by watching the mirror & listening to you describe their face.

Write

The sense of touch is important in brain development. Use your finger to gently draw letters on your baby’s belly, while you say the letter aloud.

Read

While prepping for dinner, teach your preschooler the steps of making the meal. Use words like "first, I'll measure...next, I'll stir."

Read

Find a magazine or newspaper & cut out letters and pictures. On a piece of paper, glue the letters down & then the pictures that start with that letter.

Play

Babies love the sound of paper. Build listening and motor skills by helping baby rip up scrap paper. Crinkle into a ball for more fun!

Talk

Ask your child “How did you do that?” or “I wonder why…” to help your preschooler get ready to share ideas aloud and on paper in school.

Sing

Tie ribbons or strings to a stick. Play music & have your toddler move the ribbons to the beat. Your toddler’s mind & body will learn to work together.

Talk

Notice what your child is watching. Say aloud what baby sees so baby learns that everything has a name. “Look at the puppy’s tail wag. He’s happy!”

Sing

Build your baby's knowledge of sounds & rhythm in words. Do some knee bounce rhymes. Here are some fun examples.

Write

Trace your toddler's hand on paper with a pencil. Trace a book, trace the lid of a jar. Talk about shapes to build vocabulary. What else can you trace?

Read

Write the letters of the alphabet on scraps of paper, hide them, & let your preschooler hunt for them. "You found letter F. What sound does it make?"

Play

Explore science at bath time. Put everyday objects like a sponge, cup, spoon & colander in the tub. Ask, “Which objects sink? Which float?” Now find out!

Play

Matching games help your toddler develop thinking skills. Pull shoe pairs from your closet, mix them up, and ask your toddler to match them correctly.

Read

Babies like to open and close books, hand them to you, or stack them like blocks. This makes books fun and trains baby’s eyes and muscles to work together.

Write

Spell out the word “DOG” on a piece of paper. Have your child copy the letters below your word; talk about the sound a dog makes.

Talk

Ask your child to imitate you, such as wiggling your fingers, pretending to be asleep, etc. They're learning to follow directions & building vocabulary!

Write

Give your baby a ball to squeeze and roll. This teaches baby how to use their muscles and eyes, which will help later on when they write.

Read

Books with high-contrast pictures & bright bold colors are easier for babies 3 months & up to focus on and see.

Read

When reading a book to your preschooler, stop occasionally & ask what they think will happen next. Ask "Why do you think that?" & give them time to think.

Read

Take a walk & read street signs to your toddler, pointing at each letter. This activity will help your toddler notice text all around them.

Sing

Sing any song you can think of, even if it's only part of a song. Whether it's Motown, hip hop, or a new Adele song! Baby will love bonding with your voice.

Talk

Talk with your child when you go grocery shopping. Talk about types of food. Ask your child about meals they would make. Talk about taste, smell, color, etc.

Write

When your toddler draws a picture, listen to the story that goes with it, write down the words you hear. Now read it aloud together!

Read

If bedtime is too late for your baby to listen to a whole book, read aloud anytime during the day--lunchtime, bath time, in line at the store!

Write

Let your baby hold a crayon & write. Say the alphabet while they scribble. Patiently wait while they make the connection between sounds & writing.

Sing

Play a song & pause it. Sing a line again, changing the last word to another word that rhymes.

Sing

While driving in the car, turn off the radio & sing the ABCs to your child. Sing it fast, sing it slow. Your child will soon sing it with you & alone.

Read

When reading to your preschooler, ask if they can find "the" or "and" on the page. As this becomes easier, have them find other short words.

Talk

If you go apple picking, talk about the 5 senses. “I hear bees buzzing, see families smiling, smell doughnuts, taste sweet apples, and feel warm sunshine.”

Write

Write a letter on the sidewalk with chalk. Have your child place stones over the shape of the letter.

Read

Read the clothing tags aloud at laundry time. "This tag says wash with like colors, so I'm putting it in the pile with other clothes that are red."

Play

Baby can learn new words during bath time. Take turns dropping toys in the water. Say, "watch it sink" or "it floats" or "splash!"

Talk

If you go apple picking, talk about the 5 senses. “I hear bees buzzing, see families smiling, smell doughnuts, taste sweet apples, and feel warm sunshine.”

Read

Ask your child to pretend to read a story to their stuffed animal or doll. Practice turning each page & have them say what's happening on each one.

Play

Draw letters on paper & put inside a storage bag, sealing it. Put rice on top. Help your child spy the letters & make the sound the letter makes.

Sing

Sing or just hum to your child. They love to hear the sound of your voice & will try to echo your sounds, building connections in the brain.

Play

Teach your child letters by playing with blocks. Lay out blocks on the floor in a circle to make an O, then cross two rectangles to make an X.

Write

Fold some paper together to make a book, have your child write the letter “A”, then have your child draw objects that start with an “A” like an apple.

Talk

Talk during bathtime, put some bubbles on different parts of your baby. Say, "Fingers! Toes!" This is a fun way to help baby learn new words.