10 Ways to Create a Literacy Rich Environment at Home for Your Toddler
Turn your home into a place of learning for your tot. It doesn’t take too much time or energy to put these ideas together for your little ones.
Create a home library and always make books available to your toddler
Organize your books at home so that kiddos have easy access to them. We keep children’s books in every room of the house that our son plays in. We have two main bookshelves, one in the living room and one in the nursery. But we also keep 3-7 books in each room in case he feels like snuggling for a story.
Make Books Together
Toddlers love to create –especially special projects with mom or dad that focus on the tot. We save holiday photo cards of family and friends and put them in an ABC scrapbook. We just use a simple scrapbook with sticky pages. I put a letter on each page. It is super simple to stick the new pictures in and my son loves seeing his favorite people.
Color books, counting books or a family vacation storybook can be great ideas for books also. Your tot will love putting them together and reading them over and over again.
Make educational toys available and valued
We keep our downstairs a “battery free zone”. This means that our main play areas only have toys such as books, blocks, dress up clothes, a play kitchen and workbench that don’t flash, beep or make noise. This encourages David to investigate, build, and make believe. Nothing is fighting for his attention with flashing lights and beeping noises.
Label items around the home
Simple labels on everyday items such as couch, table, window, and cabinet are a great way to help tots make connections between the item, spoken word, and written word.
Put up alphabet and word posters
These posters can be handmade or store bought. As your child looks around he will be exposed to words, letters and pictures over and over again. We talk about them from time to time and often my son will ask, what’s that? Or explain to me what the poster is about.
Have a drawing and writing center
Keep paper, coloring and activity books, dry erase or chalk boards and crayons available for your tot to explore on their own or use as part of a learning lesson. Your tot will want to practice during free play ideas you learned about together.
Keep old magazines or mailers for tots to look at and craft with
We keep a basket of a few magazines and advertisements for David to flip through. These have great real life photography like people, animals and food. Plus having them available makes sure you have resources if you are working on an ABC book or need to find a picture with 5 items in it, for example.
Create a space for make-believe play
Make-believe play is a great way for tots to use language they hear at home or in books. They get a chance to make up stories and manipulate language on their own. It can also be great for them to act out specific stories to add to their comprehension of the story.
Save examples of environmental print
Environmental print refers to items that kiddos see all the time like the Pepsi logo, a stop sign, or a Dairy Queen sign. They may be able to recognize and say what the sign is without realizing the letters and words on the sign. Use your examples of these to point out the letters in it. Glue an example of the sign or logo on a piece of paper and print the letters underneath it with your tot.
Involve your toddler in every day literacy tasks
Ask your kiddo to help you make the grocery list by giving you ideas while you write them down. Follow a recipe together for a special treat. Google a question that comes up in your day such as “how do chickens lay eggs?” These every day literacy activities teach tots that literacy is useful and valued and gives them the beginning steps of using such strategies themselves.
Interested in learning more about developing your child’s language and literacy skills?
Written by Lindsay Drewes
Lindsay Drewes is a former 4th and 5th grade teacher and current stay-at home-mom and Momprenuer of KiddoKorner.com. Lindsay holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education. As founder of KiddoKorner.com, Lindsay followed her passion of mothering to research and offer the best educational, Eco-friendly and innovative products made for babies and toddlers.