Six Games with Toys to Promote Your Infant’s Literacy Skills

6 Games with Toys for Your Infant's Literacy

Using simple, colorful baby toys and/or home toys (which is which?), you, loved ones & your infant can enjoy talking, singing & playing together. Start small & simple. Maybe you need to wait until your baby is a little older to begin this type of play. You can start just by naming the toys & their colors.

Remember these few tips:

  • start play for just a few minutes
  • build & repeat
  • change the sequence & toys
  • talk, sing & touch
  • keep face-to-face & eye contact
  • colors to use: red, blue, yellow, green, black, white
  • shapes to use: circle, square, triangle
  • fussiness, blank stares and/or fidgeting are “I’m bored!” signs.

If you’re new to  baby game play or want some different ones to try, here’s a few Games with Toys ideas. I’ve, also, included a Toy list, the How-To process, Vocabulary words to include, some “Starter Talk and the Literacy Value for each activity. Let me know how the learning through play happens for your  infant, especially if changes bring more results.

Building with Blocks 

Toys: wooden &/or plastic blocks in various sizes & colors with images, small animals, other small toys

Process: building towers, walls, houses, pens/fences

Vocabulary: colors, shapes, sizes, numbers, top/bottom, around, large/small, big/little, in/out, animal & toy names, first/next/last

Talk: Let’s build a _________. We can put _________ in the_________. The ________block is on the _________. This __________is_________ We used _______blocks to make a __________. This __________ goes around the_________. This block is ________that this block.

Literacy Value: problem solving, sequence/order, cause/effect, following directions, details, characters, setting, compare/contrast

Telephone Talk 

Toys: play phones, stuffed animals, dolls

Process: ring sound to answer, dial- saying numbers, begin conversation with other person on phone

Vocabulary: hello, good-bye, relatives’ & friends’ names, animal & toy names, Mommy, Daddy & siblings’ names, foods, time, places for play-dates, please, thank you

Talk: Hello,_______! May I please talk to_________? How are you today ? Would you like to_________? Guess what happened today at__________? Would you please pick up_________at the store? Thank you for___________. Have you heard from______? When are you coming over,_____________? Want to go to________?

Literacy Value: tone differences for ! & ?, response/reply, cause/effect, prediction, characters,  settings, details

Surprise & See Game

 Toys: balls, blocks, big plastic rings, spoons, cars, trucks, books, plastic keys, toy animals, rattles, dolls

Process: Wrap several of your baby’s toys in solid-colored paper. Do not use tape or string. Make the same, unwrapped toys available. You can play a matching game or guessing game.

Vocabulary: surprise, wonder, guess, match, same/different, big/little, shapes, noises, colors

Talk: Which of these toys is in the paper? Is _________big or small? Is ___________round or square? Is the _________in the (color) paper or the (color) paper? Guess which toy is in here?

Literacy Value: problem solving, prediction, cause/effect, shapes, fine motor skills

Hide-A-Toy Game

 Toys: blocks, big plastic rings, spoons, cars, trucks, books, plastic keys, toy animals, rattles, dolls, squeeze toys

Process: Lay out 2 or 3 toys. Take a similar or look-alike toy & hide it behind your back. Use simple words to describe the toy you are hiding. Point & ask which toy is hiding.

Vocabulary: hide/find, colors, shapes, soft/hard, noisy/quiet, big, little, where, look, see, same/different

Talk: I’m looking for a toy that is________&_________. Is it _________ or __________? (Use a named toy-like Baby Bear) is looking for_________. Where can it be hiding?

Literacy Value: details, problem/solution, cause/effect, compare/contrast, prediction, inference

What’s in the Bucket ? 

Toys: bucket or some type of container, blocks, big plastic rings, spoons, cars, trucks, books, plastic keys, toy animals, rattles, dolls, squeeze toys

Process: Lay out several different toys. Use color, shape & names to describe the toy to be put in or taken out of the container.

Vocabulary: toy names, colors, shapes, in/out, full/empty, numbers, first, next, last, choose

Talk: First, choose a _________ __________. Next, put the________ in the bucket. Take out the _______ ________. Look, the bucket is____________. How will do you empty the bucket?

Literacy Value: following directions, sequence/order, direction words, cause/effect

Color & Size Sort 

Toys: a variety of toys with the same shapes & colors & different sizes, several containers, muffin tin

Process: Lay 2 (can increase later) toys that are 2 different colors/shapes/sizes/kinds. Ask baby to choose (be specific about color, shape, size. kind) and put in the container.

Vocabulary: colors, in/out, big/little. shapes, full/empty, toy names

Talk: Put all the (same color)___________ in the __________. Put all the (same size)___________in the ____________.  Put all the (same shape or kind)__________in the ___________. Take out all the (color) __________. Take out all the (same size)_________. Take out all the (same shape or kind)___________.

Literacy Value: problem/solution, following directions, compare/contrast. patterns, details, grouping/sets

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