Pancake Alphabet

Writing doesn’t have to be just on paper, and what’s better than being able to eat what you’ve written or drawn!

LET’S GO!

What you need:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 3 tbsp. butter, melted
  • blueberries or chocolate chips (optional)

What to do: 

  1. In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients.
  2. Make a well in the centre and add wet ingredients; stir until still a little lumpy.
  3. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan.
  4. Adults – pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle in the traditional round shape.
  5. When pancakes start to bubble, flip and brown on the other side.

DO IT TOGETHER!

Let your child help you measure and mix the ingredients. Show them the recipe and talk about how you know how much you need of each ingredient.

If you are using chocolate chips or blueberries, you can use them to spell words on the pancakes after you have flipped them over once.

If you are feeling adventurous, place pancake batter in a turkey baster or old ketchup or mustard bottle, and spell out letters or words.

WHY?

Cooking together gives you a chance to have some great conversations with your child. There will be new words, ideas, and fun along the way while you make something together.

Pancakes add to the fun by being able to make different shapes! By including your child in your cooking, you will also make them feel like they are helping you get things done.

To get over 120 of the best activities to do with your children to boost and build key literacy skills from birth to 5 years, download the Centre for Family Literacy’s FREE Flit app (Families Learning and Interacting Together).

Click here for the iOS version.

Click here to download the Android version.

Share Button

Paper Plate Puzzles

Puzzles are full of early numeracy ideas and making one together makes it fun!

LET’S GO!

What you need:

  • Paper plate (plain or patterned)
  • Crayons, paints, or markers
  • Scissors
  • Magnetic tape (optional)

 

What to do:

  1. Decorate the paper plate. If using a patterned plate you can leave it if you like.
  2. Cut the plate apart into different shapes.
  3. If using magnetic tape, place a piece on the back of each piece.
  4. Put the puzzle back together. If you have used magnetic tape, you can do it on the fridge or a cookie sheet.

DO IT TOGETHER!

Let your child decide how they want to decorate the plate. Help them use the scissors to cut out different shapes—they don’t have to be the same.

Talk about how many pieces you want to have in the puzzle and whether you should cut them bigger or smaller.

When it’s done, let your child put the puzzle together. If they are having difficulty, help them complete it.

WHY?

Puzzles are a great way for your child to start thinking about shapes, sizes, colours, and matching. Making your own puzzle is easy and might mean more to your child since they made it.

To get over 120 of the best activities to do with your child to boost and build key literacy skills from birth to 5 years, download the Centre for Family Literacy’s FREE Flit app, (Families Learning and Interacting Together).

Click here for the iOS version.

Click here to download the Android version.

 

Share Button

Writing in the Air

Big body movements are a fun way to do writing and help your child remember the shapes of letters, numbers and more!

LET’S GO!

What you need:

  • Piece of ribbon or string about 2 feet/60 centimetres in length
  • Wand (popsicle stick, twig, pencil, pen—whatever you have)
  • Masking or scotch tape

What to do:

  1. Tape one end of the ribbon or string to one end of the wand
  2. Let the other end of the string or ribbon hang free
  3. Wave the stick around so the ribbon or string follows it in the air

DO IT TOGETHER!

Help your child make their tracing wand. If you want, you can make one for yourself too.

Have your child try waving the tracing wand to make the shapes of letters or numbers. They may even want to try to spell out their name or phone number!

Have some fun with it by pretending to be magicians or fairies while you write in the air.

WHY?

Giving your child different ways to write makes it more interesting and fun to try. Air tracing is a physical activity that will help them practice the shapes of letters or numbers and remember what those shapes feel like.

To get over 120 of the best activities to do with your children to boost and build key literacy skills from birth to 5 years, download the Centre for Family Literacy’s FREE Flit app (Families Learning and Interacting Together).

Click here for the iOS version.

Click here to download the Android version.

 

Share Button

Message from our Co-Executive Directors


 

 

UPDATED March 31, 2020:

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centre for Family Literacy is taking precautionary measures to do our part in slowing the spread of the disease. We are suspending all in-person programming and closing our office until further notice.

Our staff will be working remotely, emails will be answered, but it may take longer to respond to phone calls. We would recommend email as the most efficient way to connect with us. If you have general questions, please email info@famlit.ca.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a rapidly changing issue, and we recommend staying informed about developments. Please refer to information from Alberta Health Services, and City of Edmonton for local updates. The Government of Canada for national updates.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Sincerely,

Kim Chung, Co-Executive Director, Programming & Training

Donna Lemieux, Co-Executive Director, Development & Community Engagement

 

Share Button

Popsicle Puppets

Making puppets together to help act out a story is fun and a great way for your child to understand the story even more!

LET’S GO!

What you need:

  • Thick paper (construction or card stock)
  • Crayons or markers
  • Scissors
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Glue/tape
  1. Draw and colour the characters from your favourite book
  2. Cut them out
  3. Glue the popsicle stick to the back of the characters

DO IT TOGETHER

Draw the characters of the story you’ve chosen together. Don’t worry if they don’t look exactly like they do in the book.

Help your child use the scissors to cut out the drawings. Glue or tape the characters to the popsicle sticks.

Optional: add yarn for hair and buttons for eyes.

If using glue let it dry, then use the puppets to act out the story.

You can set it up like a puppet show, with the puppets performing on the back of the couch or chair while you hide behind, or just have the characters with you as you read the story.

WHY?

Books can provide the starting point for other fun activities that take the story further, such as acting it out. Puppets are a quick way to bring some of the characters to life.

To get over 120 of the best activities to do with your children to boost and build key literacy skills from birth to 5 years, download the Centre for Family Literacy’s FREE Flit app (Families Learning and Interacting Together).

Click here for the iOS version.

Click here to download the Android version.

 

Share Button

Rhyme Time

Playing with language is a fun way to learn different sounds and rhymes!

LET’S GO!

Play with language by rhyming words.

DO IT TOGETHER!

Start out with a word that describes what you are doing and then find a word that rhymes with it. For example, “walk” “talk”.

Let yourself be silly and see where your child takes it. Take turns back and forth until you run out of words, and then start with a new word.

WHY?

Playing with language is fun! Rhyming and other kinds of word play help your child to hear differences in sounds, and to understand that words are made up of sounds. Even if it becomes nonsense, playing with language will help your child learn to read and write.

To get over 120 of the best activities to do with your children to boost and build key literacy skills from birth to 5 years, download the Centre for Family Literacy’s FREE Flit app (Families Learning and Interacting Together).

Click here for the iOS version.

Click here to download the Android version.

Share Button

Family Stories

Many oral traditions have been lost, but you can bring them back. Your child will love to hear your own family stories about themselves and people they love!

LET’S GO!

Tell your child how you picked their name.

DO IT TOGETHER!

Sitting with your child on your lap or near you, tell them the story of how you picked their name. Tell it in your own way and don’t worry about not telling it “right”.

WHY?

Oral storytelling is a great way to pass on family traditions and information. Your child will love to hear stories about themselves and your family and it will help them practice using language and to tell their own stories.

To get over 120 of the best activities to do with your children to boost and build key literacy skills from birth to 5 years, download the Centre for Family Literacy’s FREE Flit app (Families Learning and Interacting Together).

Click here for the iOS version.

Click here to download the Android version.

 

Share Button

Family Literacy Day

Monday, January 27, 2020Board_game

Family Literacy Day — created by ABC Life Literacy Canada and held annually on January 27 — highlights the “importance of reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities as a family.”

Literacy is the foundation for learning, and it begins at home. Family Literacy takes place during daily routines in life as parents, children, and family members use literacy at home and in their community. Research tells us that we can set kids up for success as learners when we engage them in conversations, read together regularly, provide meaningful writing experiences, and let them see us reading and learning too.

Positive parent-child interaction every day is key at every stage of a child’s language and literacy development. As a parent, grandparent, or caregiver, you’re likely already engaging the children in your life in meaningful family literacy activities.

Looking for fresh ideas? Inspired by ABC Life Literacy, here are 10 ways to engage your family in literacy and learning on Family Literacy Day, and every day:

  1. Start the day with a story. It beats the morning grumps every time.
  2. Write a note for another family member. Leave it somewhere you know they’ll find it – in their favourite box of cereal, their sock drawer or lunch box. (We know a mom who writes on bananas: “Have a great day! Now eat me.”)
  3. Search online for fun things to do. Plan your next family day.
  4. Hunt in the newspaper together for a “good news story,” enjoy the comics, or see how your favourite sports team is doing.
  5. Start a family communication book. Leave a blank notebook out in a common area where anyone can leave a message for other family members. Messages can range from “Thanks for tidying the play room” to “Remember to buy cheese!” In the short term, it can help with communication and increase family connectedness. In the long run, it might just become a family heirloom.
  6. Create a story with your family around the dinner table. Take turns writing one sentence at a time, then read the whole story aloud when you’re done. If you illustrate it, even the youngest can help.
  7. Older kids? Have a laugh with mad-libs. Use a published book or create your own!
  8. Driving? Try the alphabet game. Work together to find the letters of the alphabet — in order — on signs and license plates.
  9. Play a board game together.
  10. End the day with a new book or an old favourite.

Learning can happen at any time. “Practicing literacy together every day has tremendous benefits for both children and parents.” The possibilities are endless. Why not add a few  new activities from over 160 available on our Flit App to what you’re already doing as a family?    

Share Button

Numbers are Literacy Too!

Mother and daughter in kitchen making a salad smiling

Numbers are everywhere. They can be the first and last thing we see every day. From clocks and phones to money and preparing meals—they are a part of our everyday lives.  Yet a lot of adults lack confidence in teaching their children numeracy skills.

We talk about the importance of reading and writing all the time, but not about numeracy. In fact, when we hear the term literacy, most adults think of reading and writing, though literacy is so much more. Literacy is a part of everything we do—from answering a text, to driving, to going to the grocery store—it surrounds us from the moment we wake to the moment we go to sleep.

So why are we so afraid to talk about numbers? Teaching children about numeracy doesn’t have to be scary. You can start talking about numeracy with babies. Scaffolding language—adding descriptive words when naming objects, is a great way to bring numeracy to your children. Colours, shapes, and amounts are all early numeracy vocabulary. Whether you are talking about the round red ball or the striped socks, the two green triangles or the three orange cats—you are teaching your children about numeracy. You are creating the foundation for matching, sorting, and grouping—numeracy skills we use throughout our daily lives.

Almost any activity you do with your children can incorporate numeracy. We often forget that our day-to-day activities are filled with great opportunities to include our children and show them what we are doing. In this way, we are teaching them the skills they will need throughout their lives to solve problems and become quick thinkers.

2 Easy Ways to Include Numeracy in Your Day:

  1. Include your children in preparing meals—cooking and baking are filled with opportunities to teach numeracy. Ask them how many plates or spoons you need for everyone, talk about the amounts of each ingredient needed, and get your children to help adding them and mixing. Cooking is also helpful in teaching about sequencing, following directions, and problem solving. For example, if you skip a step in the directions, what will happen? How do we fix it? Can we fix it?
  2. When reading books, try asking your children about the pictures; for example, can they find the red balloon? How many puppies are there on the page? Talking about the pictures and what is happening in the story will also help children comprehend the story better—remembering more of the details and what the story was actually about.

For more ideas on engaging activities that are numeracy based, you can visit our 3,2,1,Fun! program this winter, or try our Flit app, available on both Google Play and the App Store.

For more information and the schedule for 3,2,1,Fun!, please visit the Centre for Family Literacy website: www.famlit.ca


Click here to download the free iOS version of the Flit app.

Click here to download the free Android version.

Watch the app demo: https://youtu.be/N9z8Cazu03w  

Share Button

7 Crazy Fun Family Games to Play Over the Holidays

Have you ever watched Minute to Win It types of games and thought it would be fun to play them with your family? Family games are a great way to bring everyone together over the holidays, or any time, to have a little fun! The games can be simple or complex, depending on the participants, and you can often use things you have around the house. Try to encourage all family members to play, no matter their age. Games are also a fun way to incorporate family literacy into your holiday activities by talking, following directions, counting, etc.
 
The Games:
 
Try to split everyone who would like to participate into two teams, trying to keep both sides as even as possible. The great thing about these games is that they only last for one minute, so participants only have to make it through 60 seconds.
 
img_2933-11. This first game involves stacking cups so they look like a tree. Remember you only have 60 seconds. To make this activity more difficult for adults, have them put one arm behind their back and use their non-dominant hand.

 

 

 

 
 

 

img_2936-22. This game requires mini marshmallows, straws, and cups (or other containers). Using the straw, you must get as many marshmallows into the cup as you can in one minute. To make this game harder for adults or older kids, do not allow them to hold the straw with their hands.

 

 

 

 

 

3. Our next game requires two pairs of pantyhose with the toes cut out and a hole for your face, as you will be making antlers on your head. This game takes great team effort as balloons are stuffed into the pantyhose legs. An option can be that the winner is whoever finishes first, instead of having a one minute time limit.

 

img_2945-3
img_2948-4

 

 
img_2955-94. This game is about making a Christmas Tree. We used long ribbon, however you could use toilet paper and make a snowman, or wrapping paper to wrap a present (the entire person). Once again you could time the teams or just judge them after the first one is done.

 

 

 

 
 

 

5. Starting to get hungry after all this work? How about a cookie challenge? Place a cookie over one eye and try to get it into your mouth. For the younger kids, if the cookie falls off they could pick it up and try again. For adults and older kids, I suggest no hands and if they fail then another player from their team has to try until at least one person is successful.
 
img_2956-5
img_2957-6

 

 
6. On to some full body movements you will need two more pairs of pantyhose without holes, two tennis balls (or heavy balls) and some targets to knock over. Putting the nylons on your head with the ball in each leg, try knocking down as many of the targets as you can. We used paper cups but water bottles or pop cans work too.
 img_2959-7

 

 
img_2969-87. Lastly we have the candy cane pick up. Stack up a bunch of candy canes, and putting one in your mouth, hook as many candy canes as you can and transfer them into a cup. For little fingers, just let them use their hands instead of putting the candy cane in their mouth.

 

 

 

 
These are just a few of the hundreds of games available on the internet, so grab your family and friends, be creative, and have a great time!
 
Find more game ideas, as I did, with these sites:
 
 
 
 

 

Share Button