Literacy PK-3

Systems Change
Literacy PK-3 > Strategies > Playful Literacy Activities

Playful Literacy Activities


Playful activities, including pretending, games, and other child-led activities, can support the development of learners' Metacognition and also inspire their narratives and writing. A creative task helps students brainstorm and develop their ideas prior to engaging deeply in the writing process, easing the demand on Working Memory. Unstructured pretend play in which children can mimic authentic literacy activities, such as writing restaurant orders or playing teacher, can enrich their Foundational Writing Skills and support literacy development overall.

Use It in the Classroom

Watch as these elementary school students use Legos as an aid in their narrative writing. Students use the Legos to brainstorm, try out different ideas, and add details to their writing. Their delight in play increases Motivation and positive Emotion towards writing.

  • Teachers can support student creativity through guided play and allowing free time for pretend play. Teachers can provide hands-on materials, like Legos or modeling clay, that capture student Attention and increase Motivation. After creating a scene or story with the materials, students can use these physical objects as inspiration for their writing.
  • Design It into Your Product

    Videos are chosen as examples of strategies in action. These choices are not endorsements of the products or evidence of use of research to develop the feature.

    Learn how Night Zookeeper, an online game, can help students play individually and with others to create their own zoos. Students can create their own characters and are shown game options to help them play while working on emergent literacy skills. This program is aimed at elementary students, particularly those who already know how to read, however, younger students can use this application with assistance from parents and educators.

  • Products can incorporate playful activities, for example, with videos prompting students to act out stories, or click and drag pictures that allow students to create their own stories. Apps can also include games or crafts to accompany digital stories and literacy activities.
  • Factors Supported by this Strategy