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90% of brain growth happens by age 5. So your child's most important teacher is YOU.

Reading, Talking, and Playing with children develops healthy brains. UWNU's Read. Talk. Play. Every Day! is a Box Elder Coalition effort designed to help parents support their children in developing communication skills, relational skills, emotional skills, and vocabulary to help them be successful in school and life. 

Caregivers play a vital role by helping children develop these essential schools through everyday interactions and campaigning for early childhood literacy.


What Parents Can Do

Below, we break down activities and tools you can utilize to prepare your child for kindergarten. They are organized by Read, Talk, or Play, and by age group.

Other UWNU resources for early childhood:

Reading to young children inspires a joy in learning, strengthens parent-child bonds, promotes early literacy, and introduces basic learning concepts like turning pages.

You can engage in many reading activities to prepare your child for kindergarten:

  • Look at pictures in books and talk about what you see. 
  • Ask "What's going to happen now?" and encourage your child to speculate.
  • Create stories of your own. 
  • Head over to your local libraries - usually, there you can find local activities for all ages.
  • Explore vocabulary while reading a book! 
    • Define and talk about words your child may not know
    • When re-reading books, ask your child if they remember what newly learned words means. Use new words throughout the day to reinforce knowledge.
    • Turn to random pages in the book and see if children can name and point to the letters themselves.
  • Have your child make their own ABC book, finding or drawing pictures for each letter.
  • Refer back to your child's comfort books.
    • The repetition will help develop literacy skills.

Further resource: "24 At-Home Learning Activities to Share with Parents of Young Children," Brookes Blog.


Talking to children - even before they can talk back - helps then learn words and build communication skills.

You can engage in many talking activities to prepare your child for kindergarten:

  • Encourage your children by using positive language/words: "You can do it!" 
  • Talk about daily activities as you do them. 
    • Let your children help you with "real work." They enjoy it, and it will enforce the value of cooperation. Your child can help you prepare dinner, set the table, do the laundry, pick up the house, etc.
  • Listen and respond to your child.
  • Sing songs or make up rhymes.
  • Math-up mealtime & gardening
    • Your child can count, measure, estimate, compare, and recognize shapes while they help you in the kitchen or garden. Have them measure and count cups of ingredients or measure and count water and seeds out loud. Together, figure out who has more or less of each food.
  • Have an imaginary adventure 
    • Have your child describe to you where you are visiting, and help them build a story about your adventure. Invite their creative participation: "Look, there's a unicorn! Can you see what color his tail his? Where is he flying to?" 
  • Engage with the Thirty Million Words Initiative!

Further Resource: Talk to your baby | My Education, Our Future (Youtube Video)


Playing teaches children to get along with others, supports cognitive growth, and helps children understand the world around them.

You can engage in many playing activities to prepare your child for kindergarten:

  • Roll a ball, play with blocks, solve a puzzle, sort objects...
  • Stickers on paper. 
    • Draw large shapes, letters, or numbers on paper, and you child  can line the shape with stickers.
  • Use common objects, like pots + pans.
  • Play simple games, like "I Spy, and "Peek-a-Boo." 
  • Encourage make-believe, such as building a blanket fort, the floor is lava, or being a neighborhood animal.
  • Have a dance party
  • Make a museum
    • Have your child arrange their treasures/toys in themed displays using shoe boxes, joars, egg cartons, or whatever else you have on hand.
    • Help your child label their treasures (a great way to practice letter writing and recognition!)
    • Build their language skills by encouraging them to give "tours" of their personal museum to visitors.
  • Put on a play
  • Enjoy the outdoors
    • Collect rocks or leaves and sort them by size, color, and shape
    • Dig in the dirt (don't forget your tools!) 
    • Play with sidewalk chalk
    • Paint with water - fill a cup with water and give your child a brush to "paint" the sidewalk, door, etc. 
    • Blow bubbles
  • Watch a movie and ask the child to describe what they liked and how they felt.

Further resources:






Preschool Resources for Box Elder County

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Kindergarten Readiness

Read. Talk. Play. aims to prepare children (0-5) for kindergarten by basing our tools and activities on the Utah Education Network's Kindergarten Readiness Checklist. We want all children in our community to enter the school system ready and excited to learn.

Regardless of how you choose to educate your child - homeschool, preschool, montessori, etc., these are the skills kindergarten-ready children are expected to know:

Read the full UEN Checklist here!


Box Elder Early Childhood Coalition

The Box Elder Early Childhood Coalition is a partnership between community members and organizations who work with children (ages 0-5) and their families. They find areas where the community can work better together to prepare children to be social-emotionally ready to engage with others and developmentally ready to learn when they enter Kindergarten.

Partners in the Box Elder Early Childhood Coalition: