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Parenting10 Engaging Early Literacy Activities for Babies

10 Engaging Early Literacy Activities for Babies

Motherly Collective

As parents, we want to give our babies the best start in life, and one of the most crucial areas of development is early literacy. Building a strong foundation for language and literacy skills early on can have a lasting impact on a child’s future success. Engaging your baby in literacy activities not only fosters a love for reading but also promotes cognitive development, vocabulary acquisition and bonding moments. As a certified reading specialist, I have compiled 10 interactive and fun reading activities that will help you lay the groundwork for your baby’s lifelong journey with language and literacy.

10 engaging early literacy activities for babies

1. Storytime snuggles

Cuddle up with your little one and make storytime a regular part of your daily routine. Choose colorful board books or soft cloth books with simple, repetitive texts and vibrant illustrations. Engage your baby by using different voices, facial expressions and gestures as you read. Even though they may not understand all the words, your baby will start associating reading with love and affection.

2. Sensory play with textures

Babies learn through their senses, so provide them with opportunities to explore different textures. Create a sensory bin filled with soft fabric books, crinkly books, and books with touch-and-feel elements. Let your baby touch, feel and interact with the textures as you talk about the different sensations they experience.

ABC by Xavier Deneux

Xavier Deneux


This sturdy board book has extra-durable pages and tactile cut-outs for little fingers to explore to their heart’s content. The hyper-graphic designs also appeal to art lovers big—and small.

3. Rhyme and sing

Expose your baby to the musicality of language through nursery rhymes and songs. The rhythmic patterns and repetition in nursery rhymes help develop phonological awareness—a critical skill for future reading success. Sing nursery rhymes, play finger games, and use hand puppets to make the experience more engaging. Your baby will love the interaction and the soothing melodies.

4. Peek-a-boo with books

Babies love surprises! Use peek-a-boo books to capture their attention and build anticipation. Lift the flaps, uncover hidden objects or reveal characters as you play peek-a-boo. This activity not only keeps your baby engaged but also introduces them to the concept of cause and effect.

5. Picture talk

Take your baby on a visual adventure by engaging in picture talk. Choose books with colorful, large and clear illustrations. Point to objects and name them, talk about the colors, shapes and actions you see. Encourage your baby to imitate sounds or gestures from the pictures. This activity enhances their vocabulary and language skills while strengthening their visual comprehension.

6. Puppet storytelling

Bring stories to life with puppets! Use finger puppets or hand puppets to act out simple stories or engage in interactive conversations. Your baby will be captivated by the movement and voices of the puppets, fostering their imagination and creativity.

Lovevery Post & Play Peg People



Another simple toy that gets an impressive amount of mileage! The Post & Play Peg People from Lovevery are a traditional Montessori pick that invites little ones to make their own rules. They’re sized perfectly for little hands to take in and out as they match, line up and play pretend.

7. Splashy stories

Make bath time educational and fun by introducing waterproof books into your baby’s bath routine. These books are designed to be used in water and can be a delightful sensory experience. Encourage your baby to explore the pages, splash water and engage with the colorful illustrations while enjoying their bath.

Mudpuppy I Love You Baby Color Changing Magic Bath Book



Baby animals and their parents come to life at bath time! The bright bold colors appear with water in this waterproof bath book that is sure to delight them all the way through toddlerhood.

8. Word discovery with flashcards

Start building your baby’s vocabulary early on by using flashcards with simple pictures and words. Show them the cards and name the objects or animals depicted. Encourage your baby to touch or point to the pictures. Repetition is key, so aim to make it a part of your daily routine.

Mudpuppy Baby's First Words Flash Cards, a great toy for baby language development



From car rides to waiting in line at the grocery store, these colorful first word flashcards are a fun and educational distraction. The chunky design (which is totally rip and drool-proof!) features a different image on each side and a removable plastic ring that keeps them all together.

9. Rhyme time riddles

As your baby grows, introduce them to simple riddles and rhymes. For example, say, “I have a tail and I say, ‘meow.’ What am I?” Encourage your baby to guess the answer and respond with excitement when they get it right. This activity boosts their critical thinking skills and builds their ability to make connections between words and concepts.

10. Family story creation

Involve the whole family in creating a personalized story for your baby. Each family member can contribute to the storyline or take turns narrating different parts. This activity not only promotes family bonding but also exposes your baby to different storytelling styles and perspectives.

A note on early literacy activities for babies

 Engaging your baby in literacy activities from an early age lays the foundation for a lifelong love of reading and learning. These 10 interactive and enjoyable activities are designed to stimulate your baby’s language development, cognitive skills and imagination. Remember, it’s not just about the words on the page—it’s about the joy, connection, and shared moments that will shape your baby’s literacy journey. So, grab a book, unleash your creativity and embark on this exciting adventure together!

This story is a part of The Motherly Collective contributor network where we showcase the stories, experiences and advice from brands, writers and experts who want to share their perspective with our community. We believe that there is no single story of motherhood, and that every mother’s journey is unique. By amplifying each mother’s experience and offering expert-driven content, we can support, inform and inspire each other on this incredible journey. If you’re interested in contributing to The Motherly Collective please click here.

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