5 Outdoor Activities that Improve Literacy Skills

outdoor kids reading

Outdoor activities are a great opportunity for children to get some fresh air, stretch their legs and enjoy a change of scenery.

Many children can be reluctant to sit down and read a book every day. But there are many outdoor activities you can do together to improve important reading and writing skills while having fun. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Nature walk

Nature walks are a wonderful way to encourage your child’s appreciation for the natural environment. Talk about the things you see, hear, feel and smell. Bring a camera along and take photos of birds, plants, trees, rocks and bodies of water.

When you get home, gather your images and attach them to a large sheet of construction paper. Ask your child to label each photo and write a few sentences to describe them. Reflect on the things you talked about during your nature walk, like the sound of different birds, the texture of certain leaves and the colours of interesting flowers. Older children can try to describe each photo by writing a poem.

2. Scavenger hunt

Scavenger hunts are a widely successful game for young children, and even adults! This is an activity that the whole family can do together. Choose a place to have the hunt, such as the park or in the backyard, and decide what kind of prizes to have at the end. Create a list of things for your children to find. It can be anything, such as a pencil, ball of string, a skipping rope, a book, a toy – the possibilities are endless!

Divide each team into groups of at least two people. Give each group a list of items and a time limit. Your children should have enough time to read the items on the list and find them. You can even be extra creative and write cryptic clues for older children to decipher!

3. Go shopping

Ask your child to help you write down what you need to buy at the supermarket. You can write down all of the items together, or you can even tell your child the items and ask them to try and spell them on their own. This activity is also a helpful way to introduce your child to writing numerals if you’re buying specific quantities of items. You can then go shopping and pick out each item on the list, demonstrating to your child what these words represent in real life.

4. Act out a poem or song

When children act out a beloved poem or song, they learn to appreciate rhyme, rhythm, and the images it paints with a few carefully chosen words. Children grow as readers by connecting feelings with the written word, which sets them on the path towards a lifelong love of reading.

Read a poem or the lyrics of a song with your child. Suggest acting out one particular section or the whole piece. Encourage your child to make facial expressions that convey the character’s feelings, and don’t worry too much about making mistakes – be enthusiastic and keep things fun.

5. Cook together (indoors or outdoors)

Does your child enjoy learning how to whip up their favourite cakes or desserts? Get your child in the kitchen to create their favourite dish, or ask them to help you prepare dinner. Cooking together is not only a lot of fun, but also allows your child to see you following recipes from cookbooks and reading instructions on packages. Before you start, you can sit down with the recipe and reword it in a way that is easy for your child to understand. While you cook, ask them to read out which step comes next.

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Travelling with Kids: Reading Games for the Road

car reading games

Holidaying with kids can be lots of fun – but the actual travelling part of it can be far from it! Children can often get bored and restless on long car rides, but luckily, there are some ways you can keep them entertained, all while building important reading skills.

Play ‘I Spy’: This classic car journey game is perfect for helping your child with phonics (i.e. developing an ear for sounds). Pay attention to your surroundings and take turns giving clues about an object you have spotted. For example, “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with mmm.

Sound Lotto: Developing strong listening skills is important for your child’s reading skills too. Make a list of the sounds you expect to hear on your travels, such as trucks, motorbikes, laughter, high winds, or a particular instrument in a song played on the radio. Each time someone hears the sound, they can shout ‘Bingo!’ Older children can play a more sophisticated version using the sounds in certain words.

Find a word that starts with the letter…: Word games help your child think about word structures and increase your child’s awareness of letters and sounds. Take a few minutes to search for words that begin with a particular letter, such as ‘B’. Kick the game off by giving your children a few examples, such as ‘barn’ or ‘baby’ and ask them to find more.

Make time for rhymes: Rhyming is a powerful way to develop phonological awareness. You can start off by taking your child’s first name and match it with words that rhyme. Then take turns finding other things you come across and coming up with words that rhyme with these too.

Put things into categories: Vocabulary is one of the five essential components of reading instruction. Pick a theme such as ‘red’ or ‘animals’ and have every family member find ten words that fall under this category. This game will aid in your child’s vocabulary development after they eventually hear someone’s suggestion and ask, “What does that word mean?”.

Licence plates and signs: Go on a letter hunt and have your child spell a word that they know, such as their first name. Start by trying to find the first letter on licence plates or road signs. “The first letter in your name is ‘S’, can you find a licence plate or sign with an ‘S’ on it”, and so on.

What would you do if…:  This game is a great way to spend your time together and get to know how your children think. It also uses the same processes of comprehension, analysis and expression applied when children are reading. Think of interesting scenarios and ask your child what they would do in that situation. For example, “What would you do if you discovered hidden treasure?” or “What would you do if you got lost in the shopping mall?” You can also stock up on riddle or joke books, or some educational apps on your phone or tablet device to give your child some positive educational screen time on your travels.

Do you have any other fun games you play with your children while travelling?

Reading Eggs is the multi-award winning online reading program for children aged 3-13. With a comprehensive range of self-paced lessons and activities, the program is a highly interactive and fun way to build your child’s reading skills.Start your free 2 week trial today.

5 Fun Easter Activities to Help Your Child’s Reading

easter reading activities

Easter is a great time to get crafty and creative with your kids, and you can do it while building important literacy skills too.

To help you celebrate, we’ve put together some fun and easy activities to inspire some reading and writing fun this Easter. Plus, don’t forget to download your FREE Easter activities to practice important sight words with your children.

1. The Easter Hunt

The classic Easter hunt is a fantastic opportunity to practice reading and comprehension skills. Hide your Easter eggs around the house or in the garden. Write some fun clues on a piece of paper, for example, “I’m bound to get wet in the place I’m hiding” (shower, sink, near the hose), “You might find me admiring my reflection” (by the mirror), or “Flowery and green is where I can be seen” (plants).

Hand out your written clues to your egg hunters and encourage them to help each other read and decipher each one. You can also print out our Reading Eggs Egg Hunt activity sheet.

2. Fun with Easter Puns

Experiment with words that begin with the ‘ex’ letter combination and sound like ‘eggs’ in words like ‘eggs-cited’, ‘eggs-plode’ and ‘eggs-perts’. Provide a large, egg-shaped sheet of paper. Have your child turn it into a character based on their preferred ‘ex’ word (e.g. “Mr Eggs-pensive” or “Ms Eggs-pert) by using crayons and other craft material to create a face, hairstyle and outfit that matches their ‘ex’ word.

For example, “Mrs Eggs-pert” might be wearing glasses, holding a book and sporting an academic dress. “Mr Eggs-pensive” might be wearing expensive jewellery and driving in a fancy car. Let your child create their egg puns and use their imagination to invent quirky new characters.

3. “When I think of Easter” Poem

Encourage your child to sit down and think about all of the things they associate with Easter, such as eggs, the Easter Bunny and hot cross buns. Write a poem titled “When I think of Easter”, made up of three stanzas that include six lines each. Write the beginning of each line for your child and have them fill in the end by inserting specific words.

Begin the first line for your child with ‘When I think of Easter, I think of’ and have them write two special features of Easter. Then begin the following lines with prompts such as ‘I see’, ‘I feel’, ‘I pretend’, ‘I wonder’, ‘I try’ and so on. Close the poem by repeating the first line.

For younger children, try writing an acrostic poem by putting the letters in ‘Easter’ down the side of the page. Then go back to each letter and have your child write a word, phrase or sentence that begins with that letter to describe Easter.

4. Hatch and match

Here’s one for preschoolers. Draw several medium, egg-shaped ovals on a large sheet of paper. In each oval, draw a zigzagged line in the middle to create a crack. On one side of each egg, write an upper case letter and on the other side, write the corresponding lower case letter. Cut each egg half out and scramble your eggs. Have your child pair each upper case and lower case letter. You can also download our Reading Eggs alphabet and sight words activity sheets.

For older children, you can mix and match compound words such as ‘armchair’, ‘barnyard’, ‘nothing’, ‘racehorse’, ‘milestone’, ‘toothbrush’ and ‘wheelchair’.

5. DIY Easter Wreath

Take some sheets of construction paper and create eggs by folding the paper then cutting out an egg shape. Make sure to keep one side folded so that the eggs can open like a greeting card. Then cut out a sizeable ‘wreath’ using a sheet of green construction paper.

Inside each egg, have your child write an Easter wish such as ‘Help a friend’, ‘Talk to grandma’ or ‘Make hot cross buns’. Decorate the front of each egg using crayons, magazine clippings or glitter. Attach the eggs to your wreath and hang it up on the wall.

Happy Easter from the Reading Eggs Team!

Reading Eggs is the multi-award winning online reading program for children aged 3 to 13. With a comprehensive range of self-paced lessons and activities, the program is a highly interactive and fun way to build your child’s reading skills. Start your free trial today.

3 Fun Phonics Games

phonics games for kids

Letters Race

For this game you will need a magnetic board, magnetic letters and some open space. Set up the magnetic board on one side of the room, and place the magnetic letters on the other side. Call out a letter, or sound, or even a word starting or ending in a particular letter, and ask your child (with a ready, set, go!) to pick out the correct magnetic letters and run over as fast as they can to stick it on the board.

Matching Rhymes

You’ll need a corkboard or something you can stick pins into for this one. All you have to do is write down a list of words on one side of a sheet of paper, and on the other side write down words that rhyme with these words, but in a different order. Then stick pins next to each word. Give your child some rubber bands and ask them to match the rhyming words on each side of the page by placing the rubber bands on the pins to connect the rhyming pair.

Phonics Hop-Scotch

This is a great game that helps children develop their skills with matching letters to their sounds. All you need is some chalk and the ground. Simply draw hopscotch markings on the ground (how many squares and in what shape they are arranged is up to you). In each square draw a letter of the alphabet (you may want to draw both the upper and lower case letters in each). There are many ways you can play this game, you can call out a letter or combination of letters and ask your child to jump on those letters, and as they do, for them to sound out each letter. Or you can ask your child to jump on the letters in alphabetical order, sounding them out as they go along. You can also roll dice and ask your child to jump to the square that matches the number rolled, counting the squares as they jump and sounding the letter out at the end.

Visit www.readingeggs.com to see how your child can learn how to read while having fun with Reading Eggs!