Sharing a meal with our families is not only a time to fuel our bodies and connect with our loved ones…it can also be a time for learning! In this blog, I will share a few games you and your children can play together at dinner. Don’t worry, no pencil or paper is required! The game ideas I will share with you in this blog will strengthen rhyming, listening, storytelling, and letter sounds which are all critical parts of the literacy puzzle! Let’s get started!
Get in the Mood to Rhyme with your Food
Did you see what I did there? Have some fun with your kids by calling out the name of a food. Each person at the dinner table has to think of a word that rhymes with it. If someone can’t think of a rhyming word, that person thinks of a new food to rhyme with!
Dinnertime in our house is often the only time during the day when my family is physically together in the same contained space. As my kids get older, schedules get busier and I want to hang on to every moment I can before my kids are completely out of the house. I’m sure many of you can relate! So, we use dinner time to talk about the events of our day. Each person at the table shares the highlight of their day. With younger children, I would suggest introducing them to transition words like first, then, next, after that, and finally. This not only helps them stay focused while orally sharing their story, but these temporal words are super important for retelling stories they read or write in school.
We often play this game while on a road trip, but it can be played at dinnertime as well. First, you select a category such as states, cities, animals, etc. Then, as a family, the goal is to go through the entire alphabet matching each letter to the chosen category. The challenge is to see how far through the alphabet you can get! (By the way, if you choose animals as a category, and you end up with the letter X, a xenops is a type of bird that is found in Central and South America. You’re welcome!)
In closing, the dinner hour is often a special time for families to reconnect refuel, and recharge. It can also be a time for learning and even a few laughs by incorporating some fun literacy activities.