TIP: “Old school” toys like blocks, cardboard boxes, dress-up clothes, and crayons cultivate children’s creativity much more than anything battery-powered.
TIP: Before an outing or activity, invite children to make predictions about what they might see or do. Write these down and see which predictions come true. “What do you think we’ll see at the park?”
TIP: Once or twice a week ask children to draw a picture about their day in a special notebook. As they explain their drawing, print a few sentences under the picture. Children love to read these journals.
TIP: Comment positively on qualities and work ethics that can be cultivated – like effort or persistence rather than on “fixed” traits like smart or pretty. “Wow! You worked really hard on this.”
TIP: Create turn-taking stories with children. Start a story, like “Once upon a time there was a small brown bear…okay now it’s your turn to say what’s next…”
TIP: Read your book while children read their books. Ask them to tell you about their book. Talk about your book.
TIP: Read – Read – Read to children.
TIP: Recycle junk mail for creative play. Children love the post cards, blank credit cards, and stickers adults usually throw away – and they’re playing with print and language!
TIP: Instead of turning on the TV, pull out an art box with glue sticks, yarn, greeting cards, old magazines, washable markers, buttons, cotton balls, paper, and round-edge scissors.
TIP: Save cardboard boxes for “creations” before recycling them. Offer markers or crayons and round-edge scissors.
TIP: Brainstorm with children “after the fact.” What else could have made that tower taller?”
TIP: Brainstorm with children while waiting in line. “What are things that make you happy?” OR “Let’s think of things we could make with play dough.”
TIP: Point out the print that is all around. Invite children to guess what is written on signs or labels. Ask what “clues” help them figure out what is printed.
TIP: Limit “baby talk” and overly simple language. Even throw in a few bigger words! Children’s vocabulary increases as they figure out what words mean in context.