Games & Activities

Games & Activities

Sharing books, playing games, singing songs, and talking to your child are all ways to give your baby or toddler the skills they need to become successful readers.

Lady reading with child
baby laying down surrounded with books
Lady reading book to child
baby toys
Baby with headphones
bonding with baby
Claremont Library

Games & Activities at Your Library



Fingerplays and rhymes are fun tools that you can use to help your child build early literacy skills! Enjoy these videos of our early childhood librarians demonstrating some of their favorite rhymes.

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Early Literacy Activities for Babies & Toddlers

Listed below are fun all-year. Visit your local County Library to discover activities, programs and books for your baby or toddler.

Baby with headphones

Music & Movement

  • Say or sing the alphabet.
  • Share a nursery rhyme.
  • Sing a short song together and clap hands for each word of the song.
  • Listen to a children’s music CD with your child.
  • Share a fingerplay, like the Itsy Bitsy Spider with your child.
  • Make up a silly song & sing it to your child.
  • Name body parts with your child. Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes is a great song to start with.
  • Do a silly dance with your child.
Lady reading book to child

Reading is Fun

  • Snuggle up in a cozy chair and read a book together.
  • Point out new words in books and name new things you see.
  • Let your child turn the pages of a book while you read together.
  • Read a new book or an old favorite to your child.
  • Act out a story or a favorite book together.
kids looking at elephant in zoo

Places to Go, Things to Do

  • Visit a library.
  • Attend a Summer Reading Program.
  • Walk around your neighborhood and talk about what you see (trees, trucks, signs, flowers, buildings, etc.)
  • Go to the grocery store and talk about colors, shapes, and textures of things.
  • Attend a library storytime program.
  • Point out different animals that you see and say the sounds they make.
bonding with baby

Time Together

  • Playball! Roll a ball between you and your baby or toddler. This helps with tracking.
  • Sit on the floor and play with your child. Talk about the toys and what you are doing with them as you enjoy your time together.
  • Talk to your child about the things you do together.
  • Ask your child questions, and listen closely as she/he answers (even if it’s just babbling!)
baby laying down surrounded with books

Six Early Literacy Skills – Activities to share: (PDFs)

The National Research Council recommends that children enter school with six “early literacy skills” that serve as the foundation for learning to read and write. Use the activity sheets below for a variety of ideas to help your child develop these skills.
  • Vocabulary: Knowing the names of things
  • Print Motivation: Being interested in, and enjoying books
  • Print Awareness: Noticing print, knowing how to handle a book, and knowing how to follow words on a page
  • Phonological Awareness: Being able to hear and play with smaller sounds in words
  • Narrative Skills: Being able to describe things and events and tell stories
  • Letter Knowledge: Knowing letters are different from each other; knowing their names and sounds; and recognizing letters everywhere
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Looking for more . . . try these! Word Builders (PDFs)

For quick and easy early literacy activities to share with your child, check out the Kid Builders series from the Children and Families Commission of Orange County.

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