Thursday, October 23, 2014

Early Literacy in Everyday Places: The Park

Like many families with small children, mine spends a lot of time at the local park. Though the park is a lot more fun than the elevator, you can still make your time even more fulfilling by sharing some early literacy activities with your child.
  • Teach your child the words “stop” and “go.” Little Miss Muffet is still a bit young for most playground equipment, but she loves to swing. To make it an interactive experience, I stop the swing periodically, calling out, “Stop!” and then begin pushing again when I say “Go!” You can also play this game using the ASL signs for stop and go to reinforce their meaning.
  • Sing on the swings.  There is something about singing and swinging simultaneously that makes both activities more fun. Once you get your child started, don't be surprised if other kids join in and start suggesting songs to add to your repertoire.
  • Draw letters in the sandbox. Using your finger, or a stick, help your child practice recognizing letters by drawing them in the sand and asking your child to name them. Also encourage your child to write letters - or even his name - on his own. 
  • Read the playground’s posted rules. Most of the local parks I’ve visited have at least one sign about safe use of the playground. As you enter the park, take a look at this sign. Are there letters or words your child recognizes? Are there new words you might want to learn? Your child will delight in finding familiar pieces of print and may recognize them in other contexts later in the day.
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