Literacy development is a lifelong journey that begins at birth.
Exposure to books, songs, rhyme, and conversations are crucial components of developing literacy in children from a young age. Spending time with your children talking, playing reading games, writing, drawing, and singing means their literacy skills develop right before your eyes.
Toddlers are in the Emergent Literacy stage. Does your toddler:
- "Pretend read" familiar stories?
- Recognise the first letter of their name?
- Recognise text examples in everyday life – such as shop logos and road signs?
- Sing their ABCs with some mixed-up sounds?
- Know some letter names, mainly from words that have meaning to them, such as their name or family members' names?
These are common early Emergent Literacy skills and could be considered a simple literacy progression checklist for your toddler. When they scribble with crayons, point to pictures in a book, or repeat a song rhyme, they build their literacy skills.
Play-based literacy activities are most effective for children at this stage.
Spending time with your toddler playing literacy games such as alphabet puzzles or storyboards and sharing books helps your child make meaning, share their ideas, and express themselves. These skills are the foundation of your child's literacy journey when they begin formalised education.
Why is literacy important?
- Literacy gives children access to information.
- Literacy allows children to explore and understand the world around them.
- Literacy is crucial to emotional well-being.
- Literacy helps boost children's imagination and creativity.
- Literacy enables children to engage with others.
Read on to learn more about the benefits of our play-based literacy activities for toddlers that you can enjoy with your child.
Reading with your toddler is time well spent. Reading together develops connection, communication, and imagination. Books with rhyme, rhythm, and repetition are fun to read aloud and help build your toddler's love of learning.
Three popular rhyming book series for toddlers include:
- The Hairy Maclary series, by Lynley Dodd
- Pig the Pug series, by Aaron Blabey
- The Very Cranky Bear series, by Nick Bland
Books that explore daily life with familiar characters are reassuring for toddlers and help them make sense of the world. My First Possum Magic Collection is a treasury of 4 board books that explore colours, numbers, opposites, and actions with a favourite Australian storybook character.
Pop-up books are interactive and offer toddlers a sense of wonder and curiosity. Many popular toddler books have been reprinted as lift-the-flap or push-pull-slide books to develop fine motor skills and literacy skills!
Here are some timeless pop-up books to look for:
- Dear Zoo, by Rod Campbell – available as a lift-the-flap and pop-up book
- What the Ladybird Heard, by Julia Donaldson – available as a lift-the-flap, push-pull-slide, and sound book
- Peepo, by Allan and Janet Ahlberg - a peek-a-boo book with rhyming text and a question on each page
Our interactive books for toddlers include Magic Water Doodle Book – Dino World and My First Dot-to-Dot Drawing Book. These books encourage curiosity, fine motor skills, and alphabet recognition. Check out our other interactive books here.
Engaging in conversation with your toddler as you read helps consolidate their understanding of the text.
Here are some things to talk about with your toddler as you read together:
- Ask your toddler to name the objects they see in the pictures (observation)
- Ask your toddler to describe the actions they see in the pictures (observation)
- Discuss how the characters in the story are feeling based on the images in the book (comprehension)
- Ask your toddler what they think will happen next (predicting)
- Ask your toddler for an alternative ending to the story (imagination)
Puzzles benefit your toddler by helping with shape recognition, concentration, and hand-eye coordination - all essential skills for reading and writing later on.
Alphabet puzzles are a fun place to start your toddler's letter recognition journey. Chunky alphabet puzzle pieces are perfect for tiny fingers to manipulate into position. We have both uppercase and lowercase alphabet puzzles in our range.
A floor puzzle is fun for kids because of its size and visual impact. Our Alphabet Express Floor Puzzle and Animal Alphabet Floor Puzzle incorporate a toddler's two favourite things – animals and puzzles – for hours of literacy fun.
Felt storyboards allow toddlers to explore ideas, try new character roles, and increase their vocabulary. Felt storyboards are a tactile, visual, and creative literacy activity for toddlers and their grown-ups to engage with together.
Our felt storyboard range develops:
- fine motor skills (for pencil grip later on)
- storytelling skills (vocabulary is an essential component of literacy development)
- imagination (enhances engagement and makes literacy learning fun)
Writing Pads support children at the pre-writing stage. Pre-writing skills are a foundation literacy skill that children need before they begin formal writing.
Pre-writing skills include:
- Good posture and core strength – to be able to sit and write with feet flat on the floor
- Fine motor control – to be able to hold a pencil
- Ability to cross the midline – to be able to move from the left to the right of the page
- Bilateral coordination – to be able to write with one hand and hold the page with the other
- Form and follow basic patterns – to be able to identify shapes in letters
My First Writing Pad enables your toddler to practice their pencil grip, follow patterns common in letter formation, and develop a sense of achievement in a fun and creative way. Throw in some coloured pencils, and your fridge will soon be covered with colourful masterpieces of pre-writing perfection!
Browse Our Range of Literacy and Language Toys Today!
In addition to the above resources, we also stock storytelling kits, flashcards, and literacy games that offer further literacy support] to your curious toddler. Check out our range of language and alphabet toys to support your toddler's learning journey and give them the best opportunity to succeed and shine.