5 Simple Indoor Activities That Build Your Child’s Literacy

There are so many things you can do with children to spark their imagination at home and keep your little ones busy on rainy or cold days. Pretend play has so many benefits for children, one of the key ones being that pretending helps children to learn, organically. They don’t even realise they’re building new skills as they play.  Here are some fun indoor activities to keep them busy whilst building their literacy skills:

Play Shops

Child plays at toy supermarket cash register

Children love to role play, and shops are one of the most accessible things for them to act out. You could set up a small shop with toys or a few food items. Don’t feel pressure to buy brand new play-food either, you can practice bal taschit, not wasting, by reusing packaging and cleaned out tins from some of your regular grocery items.

Get your children to pretend they’re going to the shop and they need to plan what they’re going to buy. They could practice writing out a shopping list, whilst another child writes labels for the items being sold in the shop. (If your child is not at the age where they can write on their own, encourage them to draw pictures or use stickers to make lists instead). Children love to tick things off lists as they find them and it’s a great way to practice both writing and reading.

Play Hide and Seek with Words

Boy in orange striped shirt hides underneath a gray table

Write down words on bits of paper and hide them around the house, before sending your children off to see how many they can find. Ask them to shout out each word as they find them. You can make this as easy or difficult as your children need, depending on their age and stage of learning, and you could choose the words from some of their favourite books. Give this game a special twist by hiding Hebrew or Yiddish words as well. You can learn a few from PJ Library books such as by Bara Bat-Shem by Harriet Cohen Helfand & Ellen Kahan Zager.

Bring Stories Alive

Girl in overalls and purple tutu dances with dad in gray shirt and pink tutu

Allow your children to choose a favourite story book and get them to look at each page in turn. Ask them to read out the page, or to describe what’s happening in the picture, and then encourage them to act out each scene in turn. They could even dress up as the characters from the story too.

Keep “Holiday Diaries”

person drawing in journal

During the holidays, encourage your kids to keep a diary of what they’re doing. Depending on their age, this could be as simple as doing a drawing, or sticking in an item, but if they’re a bit older they can write out words or sentences. As they get older still, they can build up the level of detail they put in their holiday diary and take photos to stick in etc. Consider also making family scrap-books for , Tu B’Shevat, as well as “year in review” books for and your own family for Passover. (You can make a customised Haggadah online at ).;

Cook Together

Dad with son and daughter baking at kitchen island

Children love to get involved with food and there’s a lot they can learn from baking. Allow them to look through some baking books and talk about the different bakes you could make. If they’re very little, they can be led by the pictures and you could ask them to read out numbers and then help you weigh the amounts of each ingredient together. If they’re older, ask them to check if you have all the ingredients on the list and then take turns reading out the instructions for each other. You can also find some of PJ Library’s favourite .


Which of these activities do you think your family will enjoy most? Tell us about it on Facebook!