Learn Together Every Day with 15 Minutes of Fun

Kids cooking

Playing with your children for as little as 15 minutes a day is a great way to learn together. We are often faced with the challenge of fitting everything into our family’s busy schedule between extra curriculars and our own careers.  However we often forget that learning can happen in everyday moments: on the bus, at the park and even washing dishes. This is what family literacy is all about!

As an example, a family nature hike can cover all of your bases. While you are walking, point out and discuss the things that you see along the way. The energy you are burning physically can focus and redirect your children’s attention to a state perfect for absorbing new information. Did you know that being in nature is one of the best ways to reduce stress?

 For more examples on how to incorporate 15 minutes of fun, ABC Life Literacy Canada has a few more ideas to get you started:

  1.  Lights out, talk on: After your bedtime story, turn the lights off and talk about new endings to the story you just read together.
  2.  Surfing Snacks: Go online together to find out how your favourite foods are made. Are they something you can make together at home?
  3.  Find A-B-C: Have an alphabet scavenger hunt to look for things that begin with each letter of the alphabet. If you can’t find some letters, go outside or try looking in books and magazines.
  4.  Travel the World: Use your library card as your passport to check out books on different countries. Learn about their traditions and celebrations.
  5.  Float in a Boat: Work together to fold a family fleet of origami boats. (Find all the steps in the FamilyLiteracyFirst.ca sample module!)
  6. Let's Go Shopping: Have kids write the family grocery list out themselves, then bring it to the store. Let them check each item off the list. (Hmm, wonder how jelly beans got on the list…)
  7. Number Walk: As you put on your shoes, choose something you want to count during your walk. It could be dogs, trees, stop signs, cars—anything you want! On your walk, count how many you can find.
  8. Word Wall: Learn one new word every day. Display them by creating a family word wall with Bristol board and markers. Can you make a sentence with the words on your wall?
  9. How was your day today? Exchange notes (or write a journal) with your child telling each other about the best part of your day. Or switch it up: what’s the best thing you expect to happen tomorrow?
  10. A Course of Course: Build an obstacle course through your family room, and draw a map of how to go through it from beginning to end.
  11. Sing chat: Sing a conversation with your kids to the tune of your favourite song. Bonus points if you can make your song rhyme!
  12. Snow You Tell Me: Use emptied dish soap bottles filled with water and food colouring to write messages and draw in the snow.
  13. Know it All: Together, look online for the meaning of funny words like “collywobbles” and "onomatopoeia." Test your parents' word power!
  14. Have a Book-nic: Organize an indoor picnic with books and tasty treats. Choose a theme – try honey-flavoured cereal and read Winnie the Pooh.
  15. Game On: Start family board game night and play a different game each week. Family members can take turns reading instructions and game cards as well as keeping score.


Target Age
0-3 , 3-6 , 6-12 , 12-18
2000 Words to Grow , Current Research , Engagement , Skill Development