Play with letters and numbers

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There are all sorts of games you can play with letters and numbers, from their shape and sound, to learning new words that share the same first letter. It will help get your child ready for reading when they’re older.

You can look out for numbers your child will recognise, such as your door number or their age, and see if you can find these numbers on buses, shops or road signs. Remember that letters and numbers are everywhere!

You can download this information in 13 different languages:

Arabic

Bengali

French

Gujarati

Kurdish

Lithuanian

Polish

Portuguese

Punjabi

Romanian

Somali

Urdu

Yoruba

Top tips

Count aloud with your child. You could find out how many steps you need to take to get to the front door or the number of lampposts you pass as you walk to the park!

  • Talk about the letters you can find in junk mail and old magazines. Cut some of the letters out and make a collage. See if you can find the first letter of your child’s name. If they can’t recognise the letter yet, draw it together and see if you can spot it when you’re out and about.
  • To encourage your child’s early reading, use letter sounds instead of alphabet letter names. Using letter sounds when you play games like ‘I’m going to the park’ or ‘I spy’ together will help them sound out words as they learn to read.

Going to the park

Play a game taking turns saying what you’d take on a trip to the park. The rule is that you can only take things with a ‘p’ sound (for example, ’I’m going to the park and I’m going to take a picnic/parrot/pencil’). You can have more fun by changing the place you are going. For example, to the seaside, where you can only bring things beginning with ‘s’.

How to make your own play dough letters

Have a go at making letter shapes together out of plasticine or make your own play dough.

Mix together:

  • two cups of plain flour
  • ½ cup of cold water
  • three tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • one tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
  • any food colouring or glitter