A struggle that I went through on a daily basis when my son was in preschool – how to get my little monster less interested in painting every wall in the house with that damned box of crayons Aunt Julia gifted him on his birthday, and more interested in reading books that mommy keeps buying for him off and on.
Since I have always been an avid reader myself, I was appalled that my little one did not share my passion.
On top of it, when my neighbor just couldn’t seem to resist telling me ALL the time how her little one had already started reading four letter words, my stress levels soared like never before.
I obviously didn’t expect my son to become a Shakespeare overnight, but a three-year-old who could read simple words enthusiastically (without me having to bribe him with cookies every single time) wasn’t too much to ask for, was it?
Enter these exciting preschool reading games and my little champ was hooked! I thanked my lucky stars and practiced them religiously with my preschooler.
My son hasn’t exactly turned into a Shakespeare (not yet, at least), but he’s well on his way! Or so I am telling myself. Read on…
1. Fun with alphabets
If your child can recall all the alphabets in order, this is a cool game to play.
Just tell her that instead of saying A B C D, she has to say Apple, Ball, Cat, Doll and so on. Further still, you can restrict the words to one category, such as foods or animals or names of boys and girls.
Help her out if she gets stuck on letters like Q and X.
Mine proved out to be much smarter than I thought when he gave me ‘quite big cookie’ for Q, ‘xtra cheese pizza’ for X and ‘zero Coke’ for Z.
2. What starts with —?
Being a mom to a preschooler is certainly one of the most tiring jobs in the world (I’m ignoring my husband who’s reading this and shaking his head!).
There are nights when you just can’t wait to hit the pillow. But what about that reading session with your preschooler that you promised yourself you wouldn’t EVER miss?
Take heart! Here is a super fun game that will keep your little one occupied while you put your feet up after another regular day of screaming cleaning, yelling cooking and howling washing.
Just pick a random alphabet and ask your child to name all the objects she can think of, that begin with that particular letter.
I had a pretty relaxing evening playing this game with my kiddo…until he came up with knife for letter ‘N’!
3. Find the Letter
Make a list of things that are easy to spell and can be easily recognized by your tiny tot. You could include things like jam, fish, bat, cap, pen etc. Make sure each starts with a different letter of the alphabet.
Now take some sheets of paper. Draw the picture of each object on a sheet of paper and write down the alphabet it starts with on top. If you suck at drawing like me, get them printed.
Now give your child another sheet with jumbled alphabets.
Let your little one get to work by finding out the alphabet that corresponds to the picture and then coloring it with his favorite crayons that Aunt Julia gifted!
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4. Jumping jack
There never was a preschooler who didn’t love to jump! So why not put all that jumping to some constructive use?
Take a few sheets of construction paper and write simple three or four letter words on them that your child is familiar with. Now paste them on the floor at some distance from each other.
All you need to do is call out one word, let your little one recognize it and then jump on it to his heart’s content.
After all, a tired child = an early night = a super happy mom.
5. The ‘Word Family’ game
Word families are groups of words that share the same sound and spelling. Usually, their ending sounds are similar (like can, pan, fan, tan).
You can choose some common word families (-at, -an, -og, -ap etc.) and encourage your child to come up with at least five words from each.
Once she gets the hang of it, introduce her to the ones with a little higher difficulty level like -eel, -eat, -ack, -ain etc.
You can find some of the most common word families here.
6. Put ’em in the right mug
This is another interesting way to make your child familiar with word families. Just take 5 mugs and label them with different word families.
Now take 35 slips of paper and write words on them – 7 words from each word family. Neatly fold them and put them in a basket.
Ask your child to take them out one-by-one, read them and put them in their respective mugs.
This simple game will keep your young one hooked for quite some time as you sit back and enjoy a glass of red wine sparkling water.
7. Match the alphabets
This is another fun game to keep your tiny tot happily engaged. What’s more, it doubles up as a memory game too!
Make 52 index cards with all the letters of the alphabet written on them in pairs.
Shuffle the cards and then spread them out randomly. Ask your child to select two cards. If they match, she gets to keep them and goes again by turning over two more cards.
If they do not match, she puts them back and now it’s your turn. In the end, the one with the maximum number of cards is the winner.
A gentle reminder: Tone down your competitive spirit and let your child win a few games if you do not want a grumpy face looking at you for the rest of the day!
So these exciting and fun reading games are the secret behind my little one’s transformation from a read-o-phobic preschooler to a reading enthusiast.
All thanks to the efforts of a tireless, super efficient mom who’d move mountains (of dirty laundry, maybe?) to have him match up to the skills of her neighbor’s daughter!