Hooray for Scarf Play!

Playing with scarves is a lot of fun, but did you know that it can also help your child prepare for learning to read?

Play is one of the Every Child Ready to Read program’s five early literacy practices that build valuable early literacy skills, and it can frequently be overlooked. It is easy to see how Reading, Talking, Singing and Writing will apply to a child learning how to read, but how does Playing benefit them?

When children play, they begin to make connections between language and the world around them, explore their imaginations, and find new ways to express themselves.

Scarf play is a great way to introduce these concepts to your child. When they pretend their scarf is a cape, or a tail, or a butterfly, they are using their imagination, which leads to critical thinking and problem solving. As they listen and follow along with the rhymes, they gain a sense of how words can be broken down into smaller parts, and can feel the rhythm with their bodies as they move along to the beat. And not only are they developing their gross motor skills as they raise and lower and shake their scarf, but also their fine motor skills as they pinch and scrunch, using the same muscles they will need when holding a pencil.

Playing scarf games is also a fantastic way to build your connection with your child. After all, you are their first teacher, and the person they learn the most from—is you!

If you don’t happen to have any scarves at home, there are many other items that will work just as well:

  • cloth napkin
  • pillow case
  • paper towel or tissue
  • tee shirt
  • dish towel

… the possibilities are endless. Grab whatever you have on hand and get to shaking!

You can also incorporate scarf play into your regular reading time. Here are a few books that will work perfectly with scarf play–pretend your scarf is a paintbrush or a pumpkin on a vine, or that your arm is the trunk of an elephant. Explore, experiment and most of all, have fun!

I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont Request

Up, Down, and Around by Katherine Ayres Request

A Parade of Elephants by Kevin Henkes Request


For more early learning activities, check out our Early Literacy in Action page.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.