Christmas and other gift-giving times provide the perfect opportunity for you to give your children (and other children in your lives) the gift of literacy by giving them books, games and puzzles.
Most of these are available in toy stores (Scholars Choice, Mastermind, Toys R Us), department stores (Walmart, Target) and book stores (Chapters/Indigo) or on Amazon.ca. Age guidelines provided are just approximate. Don't get worried about the rules; in many cases, the games can be played differently to vary the experience or make them easier. Just have fun! Instead of buying them, you can also make your own that provide the same skill building opportunities.
These are all perfect for family games nights or family reading times, and ulitimately they give your children the most precious gift of all - your time and love!
Here are a few of our favourites:
Tell Tale - Use the image cards as prompts, tell the best story individually or as a team. This game is great for storytelling; builds communication skills and imagination.
Spot It! - There is only one matching symbol between any 2 cards. Spot it and win! This game is perfect for matching, attention to detail and communication skills.
Speedeebee - Pick a card, roll the dice and be the first to call out a word. This game is great for building vocabulary and spelling skills.
I Never Forget a Face - Classic concentration game with matching faces from around the world. This game is great for matching, attention to detail, memory, communication skills and taking turns.
Zingo - Bilingual bingo encourages children to match words and pictures. This game helps in the development of matching, listening, communication skills and taking turns.
Bananagrams - Create words and be the first to use all your letter tiles. Develops thinking skills, social development, spelling skills and builds new vocabulary.
Nada! - Roll the dice, match, snatch and win! This game promotes focusing, attention to detail and matching.
Scrabble - Classic spelling game. Build on each others words. This game is great for spelling, vocabulary, thinking and communication. Not to metion it builds numeracy skills by adding up your points. Scrabble comes in many different versions including Scrabble Junior.
Word A Round - Unravel words in this fast paced and challenging game. This game develops thinking skills, communication skills and word recognition.
Smart Mouth - Reveal 2 letters and think of a word that begins and ends with them. This game fosters thinking, communication, vocabulary and spelling skills.
Hi Ho Cherry-O - Cherries are added or taken away from a bucket. First person to 10 wins. There is no-reading required in this game and it helps in the development of counting skills, simple arithmetic and fine motor skills.
Boggle - Connect letters in all directions to build words. This game develops thinking skills, social development, spelling and new vocabulary.
Swish Jr. - Race to flip, rotate and stack matching transparent cards. Develops spacial skills, problem solving and communication skills. Also look for Swish for ages 8+.
Man Bites Dog - Score points by coming up with outrageous headlines. This game is great for vocabulary building, parts of speech and communication skills.
Puzzles - Puzzles are great for problem solving, spatial awareness, patterning and communication skills.
Books - Consider timeless read-alouds and non-fiction titles. Check out our reviews section for suggested titles, as well as the London Public Library.
Magazine Subscriptions - Magazines are a great way to encourage reading with short, high interest articles and new material delivered on a monthly basis. It's like getting a new gift every month!