Home Activities: Early Childhood
Our librarians have gathered resources and suggestions for keeping boredom at bay—and practicing early literacy skills!
Messages from Ms. Adrian
Our early childhood specialist shares short videos of rhymes, fingerplays, and flannel board stories for little ones at home on the Library’s YouTube channel
Watch the first video here, as Ms. Adrian shares a storytime favorite: “Zoom, zoom, zoom!” Find all the episodes at this playlist. Be sure to look for other early childhood video programs on our YouTube Channel.
Early Literacy Activity Calendar
Build your child’s early literacy skills with fun activities you can do together! This calendar, created by the Public Library Association, includes suggested activities for each day that incorporate Every Child Ready to Read practices: reading, writing, singing, talking, playing, and counting.
Sing and move along to songs
Read and listen along to books and stories
- TumbleBooks — Animated picture books and read-alongs from the Library’s Digital Branch
- Storyblocks — Short, 30-60 second songs, rhymes, and fingerplay videos in 9 different languages
- Storyline Online — Picture book read-alouds narrated by celebrated actors
- HarperKids Storytime Read Alouds — Picture book read-aloud videos
- Scholastic Learn at Home: Grades Pre-K – K – Informational texts are paired with a story, video, and activity on the same topic.
- International Children’s Digital Library – The best of children’s literature from around the world, in many languages.
- Between the Lions – early reading library of videos from the popular PBS children’s literacy show.
- Make a paper bag or paper plate puppet! Use items you have in the house to create a creature or person and make up a story to act out.
- Cut out geometric shapes and glue them to paper to create a collage, an animal or an outdoor scene. Add color with crayons or markers to finish your masterpiece. Take a photo and share with family and friends!
- Write your child’s name in block letters on a piece of paper. Give them cereal (like fruit loops or cheerios) to glue down on the letters to make a picture. Great for fine motor skills!
- Use masking tape to spell your child’s name (or make a house or other object). Let your child paint all over the paper. When the paint dries, remove the tape and amaze your child! (If your child does not like the feel of paint, add paint to the paper, then lay a sheet of wax paper over the top. Your child can finger paint without getting their fingers messy.)
- Use a muffin tin to sort objects – fruit loops, buttons, beads, pasta – be creative! Sort by color, by shape, by number.
- Use a cardboard box or box lid to create a parking lot for your child’s toy cars. Have your child draw parking spaces on the cardboard and number them. Then you can park the cars, count them, count how many spots have cars, how many do not, etc.
- Writing in shaving cream – on a sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil, spray enough shaving cream to cover most of the surface. Have your child practice writing their name, letters, or small words. Once they have, mix it all up and start all over again.
Explore from home
- Reading Rockets – activities for reading and writing fun
- Virtual Museum Tours – Tour some of the world’s most famous museums with a virtual tour.
- The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis – Videos, blogs and live chats from the museum.
- kidlist – activities for kids and families in the west and southwest suburbs of Chicago.
- DuPage Forest Preserves @ Home – ways to experience the preserves online or in your own backyard.
- Daniel Tiger’s “Things May Change” – a short song to help young children adjust to change
- Zero to Three Tips for Families: Coronavirus – age-appropriate responses, activities, and self-care
- How to talk to your Kids about Coronavirus – from PBS Kids
- Coronavirus: A Book for Children – download this free book for young readers from Candlewick Press.
- Fussy Baby Network – help from the Erickson Institute is only a phone call away – no judgment!
- The Genius of Play – benefits of play explained, as well as some activities to do at home.
- Talking is Teaching Indoor Activities Kit – download this kit full of indoor fun to boost literacy – in English and Spanish.
- Caring for Each Other – Sesame Street offer ideas to help your family find ways to breathe, laugh, and play together.
- Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning – family tools to support early childhood.
- Covid-19 Free eBooks – a collection of free eBooks in multiple languages on coronavirus/Covid-19, curated by NYC school librarians.