Reading, Writing, and Number for Kids - baby reading book

Why is it Important for Our Kids to Play With Reading, Writing, and Numbers?

Some might say developing personal communication skills is even more important now in our information age than ever before. It is vital that our children learn how to read, write, decode, and break apart written ideas as well as how to communicate their thoughts, emotions, and ideas in the written word.


By playing with words and numbers, children learn communication skills, vocabulary, critical thinking skills, spatial skills, logic, concrete and abstract ideas and how to manipulate them. Children who are creative problem solvers make better engineers and are more likely to be fully equipped with the skills they need in our changing world.




These free play activities are just the beginning. There are more activities on the It’s All Kid’s Play blog as well as on Pinterest. And sometimes I share ideas on Twitter, too! Oh! And be sure to check out the book I wrote, too. It includes even more travel games as well as over 1,000 other play activities so no matter where you are and what your interests or age, there is something in there for you–guaranteed! Check it out!


Why It's Great to Be YOU!

Make a list of all the reasons why it is great to be you. Good lookin’? Family? Healthy? Good at Piano?

Favourites List

Make a list of all the things you looooove.

Ideas:  What is your favourite ice-cream? What is your favourite thing to do? What is your favourite time of year? What is your favourite colour? What is your favourite book?

Pet-Peeves List

What bugs you? What don’t you like? Write it down!

Write a Story

Make it up in your head, write it down, or tell it to someone. (P.S. There are more story games on this page. There are some great ones for creating stories a group.)

Read or Trade a Comic/Cartoon/Manga Book

If you are tired of your comic books, trade with a friend (you may need to ask you parents first).

Even better–make your own!

Write a Book Review / Book Report

Write a review for your favourite book or a book you’ve just read. Explain what you liked about it, and what you didn’t like about it. How did it make you feel? What did it make you think about when you read it?

A book review is meant to be shared with other readers to help them decide whether to read the book or not. (Book reviews don’t have to be long.) Do you want to share your book review? There are websites that are always looking for book reviews from readers (have your parent help you). As well, local newspapers, the local library and school newspapers may be interested in reading and sharing your review as well.

Crossword Puzzle

Work on a crossword puzzle made for kids… or make your own! (The only problem with making your own is that you already know all the answers–so make one with a friend and trade!)

Materials needed: graph or plain paper, pen, ruler.

If you use graph paper to make your crossword puzzle, you can use the lines that are already there by tracing over the ones you want to use with pen or pencil. It’s way easier.

There are also free programs on the Internet that will make crosswords puzzles for you. You type in the words as well as the clues and it organizes and creates your puzzle. Print it out and see if you can do it!

Word Search

Find a kids word search puzzle or make your own.

Materials needed: graph paper, pen.

Making this on graph paper helps keep your letters evenly spaced. Start by writing the words you want to hide in the puzzle on the graph paper. Write one letter in each square. Write them up, down, across, and diagonally. Write down your hidden words in a list so you or a friend will know which words to look for.

Now fill in all the empty spaces left on the page with random letters from the alphabet.

Note: There are also free programs on the Internet that will make word searches for you. You type in the words you want to hide and it will organize and create a word search for you. Print it out and see if you can find all your words.


Everything is Better When Done Outside - picture of a girl reading a book under a tree.Curl up somewhere comfortable and get swept away in a good book. (Outside is good, too.)

Want a bit of a challenge? Read to the moon! One page equals one km/mile. Okay, that’s a really long way… how about reading to somewhere a little closer to home.

Read the Local Newspaper

What’s happening? Do you see some ideas on things to do?

Pen Pal

A pen pal is someone that you share letters with. You send them a letter you have written and they write one back! It’s awesome getting mail!

Send an E-mail

Does your grandma or grandpa have email? Send them a letter! They’ll love to hear from you. And they will probably email you back!

Look Through Your Parents’ Old Yearbooks

Don’t your parents look different? See if you can spot them easily or if you really have to look hard.

Speed Read

How fast can you read? I can read pretty fast, but I’m no speed reader!

Read Your Book or Newspaper Upside Down

The book–not you! Although you could do that too. My dad used to always read the newspaper when we’d got to McDonald’s and he’d always be across the table from me. I wanted to read the paper too, so I learned to read it from where I was–even though it was all upside down.

Find your Name in the Newspaper

Can you find your first name in the paper? How about your last name? Sometimes you can find people who have the exact same name.

Change Your Signature 

(The way you sign your name.) Can you make it super fancy? How about a serious, grown up looking signature?

Invisible Writing

Materials needed to make invisible writing for a secret code (or just for fun!): lemon juice, cup or jar lid for the juice, paint brush, paper, candle or blow dryer.

Pour a small amount (about 2 tbsp) of lemon juice into a cup or an old jar lid. Using your paint brush, write a letter or draw a picture. Once the juice has dried, ask a parent to hold the paper over a candle, just close enough that the heat makes the lemon turn brown. As it turns brown, you will be able to see what you wrote. Sometimes a blow dryer will be hot enough to turn the juice brown. (You can also buy invisible ink pens that are invisible.

Learn a New Word

Open the dictionary to any page and find a word you don’t know. Or, look up a word you have heard or read but don’t know what it means. Try and use your new word three times today.

Learn to Say Something in Another Language

You can ask someone to teach you, you can borrow language tapes from the library, find a language teaching website, or you can learn from a language dictionary.

Add a Line Poem

Someone starts a poem by writing down one line. The next person then adds a line, and it goes from person to person until you have a whole poem. To make it trickier, cover all the lines except the last line that was written before the next person writes their line. That way the person adding their line can’t see the whole poem before they add their line and the poem gets really strange!

Remember: not all poems have to rhyme.


Bookcrossing is where people leave a book in a public place so other bookcrossers (or people who might become future bookcrossers) can find the book. It’s a neat way to share a book once you are done reading it. Find books that have been ‘released’ near you on the free Bookcrossing website. See if you can get to the released book before another person does!

Once you find it, read it, then release it in a new place for someone else to find it.

Mail a Postcard to Yourself

Everyone likes to get mail, so why wait for someone else to send you some? Buy a postcard or make your own. Mail it from down the street or when you go on a trip. How long does it take to get to you?

Write a Letter to Your Favourite Teacher

Tell your favourite teacher why they are your favourite. Is there something that they do that makes you smile, or makes your day? Are there activities that you do in class that you really like? Do they have a special way of teaching that makes learning easy and fun? Let them know! I’m sure you would make their day.

Write Thank-You Letters

People love to be thanked when they have given someone a gift. Did you receive a gift recently? Why not write a letter to the person saying how much you liked the gift. They are sure to appreciate it!

If you didn’t get a gift recently, but someone did something that made you feel good, write them a thank you letter for that. It’ll be a nice surprise for them.

Write to the Government

Tell the government what you think. You can write to the municipal government (local—like your town or county), the provincial government, or to the federal government. You can get the addresses you need from the library or find them on government websites.

Write With Your Opposite Writing Hand

Write with your left? Use your right. Write with your right? Use your left.

Can you read what you’ve just written? Isn’t it amazing how awkward it feels? Unless, of course, you are ambidextrous–able to use both hands equally well.

Count Pictures

How many pictures do you have hanging on the walls or sitting out in your house? You can count paintings, photographs, posters–your choice. You can even count them all and compare–are there more photos than anything else? No photos?

Count Clocks

How many clocks are in your home? This is an interesting one. It doesn’t seem like there are many… but then you start looking around… there’s one on the microwave, stove, thermostat, phone… Can you find them all?

Find Ten Red Things in Your Room

It doesn’t have to be red, you can choose any colour. Your rules: do the things you are searching for have to be all red, mostly red, or just have a little bit of red on them?

Count Doors

How many doors are in your home – don’t forget closets and cupboards too!

Count Things to Sit On 

Couches, chairs… do toilets count? If you had a party, how many people could you seat?

Count Bugs and Other Creepy Crawlies 

Head outside and see how many bugs you can count. Score if you find an ant hill!! Look at them all!

Count Your Teeth

How many teeth do you have? Do you still have the same number if you count them a second time? It’s hard to keep track while counting teeth! (Especially if you use your tongue to count.)

Spend a Million Dollars ($1,000,000)

Get a piece of paper and a calculator. Look through catalogues and flyers to help you make a list of things you want to ‘buy’. See if you can spend a million dollars. Hmmm… I wonder how much a motorized scooter and a swimming pool would cost?

How far?

How far can hop on one foot? Two feet? How far can you jump? How far can you run?

Measure Yourself

How big are you, really?

How tall are you? How long is your hand? How big around is your ankle? How long are your toes? How long are your legs? Your nose? Your hair? (How long is Dad’s nose hair and Grandpa’s ear hair?) Are any of your two ‘sizes’ the same? For example, some people say your foot should fit on your forearm–the space between your elbow and wrist. Does it?

Dare to Compare

Waiting somewhere? Maybe just looking out your window. Dare to compare what you see. How many people are wearing boots? How many are wearing shoes? What about hats? How many people are wearing shorts? How many aren’t wearing shorts? What else can you compare?

Find a Coin from the Year You Were Born

That coin is the same age as you! How cool is that?

Speed Clock

Start at 1 o’clock and work your way around the clock, adding all the numbers. See how fast you can go. For example: start at 1 o’clock, move on to 2 o’clock. 1 +2 = 3. Move on to 3 o’clock. 3 (from before when you added 1 and 2) + 3 = 6. Move on to 4 o’clock and add it to your 6. How fast can you go? Race people!


Looking for more? Try these pages:

+ More Reading and Writing and Numbers Play From the Blog

+ Play Activities Home Page

+ More on Pinterest

Might I also suggest this time-saver…

Get the Book: 1,001 Boredom Busting Play Ideas for families and kids.

Never be bored again! All of this website’s great content and MORE!

Affordably available in ebook from these online retailers:
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Amazon AU
Barnes and Noble

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