Do you need something a little different to refresh the homeschool scene at your house? Or are you looking for a fun way to practice literacy skills over summer break? Literacy games to the rescue!
Every once in a while we get in a rut, and just need to reboot everything. This has been one of those weeks! Nothing’s going quite like I planned, and we just needed a break from the same old, same old.
So, I decided to bring some fun literacy games into the equation. They’ve been a great way to let the kids learn through play.
- Are simple to learn
- Use common household materials
- Focus on key literacy skills
- Are kid approved!
The four literacy games we’ve been working on are:
- The Story Bowl
- Who Am I?
- The Fairy Tale Act
- The One Line Story Builder
Ready to get started? Here are directions and a materials list for each game.
1. The Story Bowl
This game allows children to practice essential story telling skills. They will work on planning, sequencing, and story elements.
To play, grab a large mixing bowl, and ask your children to gather small items to put in it. You can put in anything you’d like, but here are some ideas to get you started:
- Toy animals
- LEGO mini-figures
- Toy cars/planes/boats
Pick a volunteer to create the first story. This person closes his or her eyes, and reaches into the bowl, pulling out five items.
The story told must incorporate all five items in some way. They need to be creative!
The items can be elements for the setting, a character, or even props for another character.
Once the first story teller is done, deposit those five pieces back in the bowl and let someone else take a turn. You’ll be amazed at the stories your children can come up with!
I wrote a whole post about this game. It shares pictures and additional details. If you’d like to check it out, go here.
2. Who Am I?
This game encourages kids to think critically and practice formulating questions. You don’t need any supplies!
One person goes first. They secretly select a person or character. Everyone else works as a team to figure out who this person is.
But, the people guessing can only ask questions that can be answered with a yes or a no. Here are some of our go-to questions:
- Are you a girl?
- Are you in a movie?
- Did we learn about you in a history book?
- Have we read a story book with you in it?
- Are you an adult?
- Do you have any pets?
And so on…use the answers to each question to help you narrow down the choices. If desired, consider playing this game within a theme. You could have each person select:
- A character from a television show
- A real person you know today
- A famous person from the past
- Someone from the Bible
- A character from a book
This game is super flexible. And my kids all love it. The little kids get to practice asking questions, and the older ones seem to love picking hard things that take us a while!
3. The Fairy Tale Act
In this game, your children will boost their creativity, retell a story, and sequence events.They also get to dress up, which my kids absolutely adore doing.
To play this game, first pick a fairy tale. Ideally, it’ll be one you can tell from memory. Otherwise, you can use a book of fairy tales, or print off a copy from the Internet.
Then, assign parts. If you have fewer players than parts, let a couple of your older children play two parts. Once everyone knows who he or she is, grant 10 minutes for costume creation. The short time limit will increase creativity, and help keep the game moving.
For the costumes, your kids must use things you already have on hand. These don’t need to be elaborate—with a little imagination, scarves can turn into wings, blankets make a covering of fur, and a stick covered with aluminum foil transforms into a beautiful wand. Encourage your kids to be creative and repurpose things from the house.
Once the time for creating costumes is over, gather everyone in a central location. Now it’s time to begin narrating the fairy tale as your children act it out.
Here are five fairy tale ideas to get you started:
- Three Billy Goats Gruff (narrator, troll, baby goat, medium goat, big goat)
- Three Little Pigs (narrator, straw house pig, stick house pig, brick house pig, wolf)
- Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Narrator, Goldilocks, baby bear, papa bear, mama bear)
- Hansel and Gretel (narrator, Hansel, Gretel, witch)
- Jack and the Beanstalk (narrator, Jack, Mother, Giant)
Once you’ve successfully narrated the story, encourage your kids to retell it on their own. They can say “their” parts to help move the story along.
4. The One Line Story Builder
Without any required materials, this game is perfect for playing on the go. One person begins to tell a story. He or she can only say one sentence. (Once upon a time there was a ……) is a classic way to start, but feel free to change it up!
The next person adds a sentence, continuing the story. When appropriate, feel free to add in new characters, change the setting, or introduce a problem to your story. Keep taking turns until your story reaches a conclusion.
This game teaches children about word choice, using complete sentences, and comprehension while listening.
Want to Teach Reading Through Play?
If your kids love literacy games as much as mine do, consider teaching them how to read through a play based curriculum. I’m a homeschooling mom of nine with a master’s in elementary reading and lit, and have been creating a curriculum called Teaching Reading Through Play.
If you’d like me to let you know when it’s done, please leave a comment below.
This post was originally created in 2016. It’s been updated and refreshed for you!