14 Jul, 2024

DIY Literacy with Library Make

19 mins read

Want to learn about fun, easy literacy activities? Then it’s time for Library Make, a video tutorial series brought to you by Plano Public Library! See the full playlist on our YouTube page here.

Here you’ll find step-by-step instructions for creating fun literacy activities used at the library for your own home. We’ll also help keep your child learning with extra activities and examples on how to use them at home and on the go. 

To see more Library Make activities and tutorials, check out all our posts tagged “Library Make” or browse the list below.

happy making graphic

Letter Dig

What better way to help your child learn the alphabet than playing with toy letters in flour? The identification of letters in an important part of your child’s ability to read and write. In this activity we will create a letter excavation station!


Music is a fantastic way for children to develop their language skills and have a lot of fun in the process. This activity inspires musical creativity and boosts reading readiness with DIY instruments your child will love!

Story Cubes

Building narrative skills, such as setting scenes and sequencing, make way for more complex skills such as understanding feelings and the relationship between actions and consequences. These story cubes engage your child in the process of understanding how stories are expressed!

Pipe Cleaner Caterpillars

With your child, thread on cereal o’s or pony beads onto a pipe cleaner caterpillar, count how many beads or cereal o’s will fit, and make different patterns! This fun activity will help your child gain strength in their hands that will be essential when learning to write!

Moon Sand

Play is vital to the development of young learners as they explore the power of imagination and unleash their creative abilities. Moon sand is perfect for all ages for squishing, molding, and creating, and it’s a great way for your child to get involved with measuring, pouring, and mixing ingredients!

Shoe Box Flannel

Felt board storytelling is a fun way to help your child increase their vocabulary and develop language skills, such as listening and talking. Your child can share stories, and you can incorporate counting or rhyming during this early literacy play!

Life Cycle Book

This life cycle flip book will help tell your child a story about how nature works and help introduce your child to a sequential way of looking at and understanding the word around them. As you and your child flip through the book, you’ll also be surprised at how fast they can “read” the book themselves!

Rhyming Eggs

This DIY game makes rhyming and reading fun while combining motor skill practice for little hands! Rhyming words are easier for children’s ears to understand, and short three-letter words are also more manageable for them to read. Use these rhyming eggs to match different rhyming pairs!

Salt Tray

Using a salt tray is a fun sensory activity to incorporate writing during playtime! In the salt, children can begin the writing process by drawing lines and shapes, which is a fundamental step in learning how to write letters in the alphabet.

Fabric Book

This DIY book is an engaging and fun way for you and your child to play together while learning new letters, numbers, shapes, and colors! And by incorporating different textures and sounds in your book, sensory needs can also be met to create a richer experience.

Word Book

Are you ready to write your book and read it too? Working together, you and your child can create a word book that fosters discussion and collaboration. Coming up with and reading descriptive words together will also help increase your child’s vocabulary!

Song Cube

Here is a fun activity you can do with your little one to get them singing and moving to the rhythm! Singing songs and reciting rhymes help children recognize and work with sounds in spoken language, building their phonological awareness. You can also help them learn to listen for and keep a steady beat!

Sight Word Rubbing Cards

This texture rubbing DIY project adds literacy learning that is perfect for both pre-writers and emerging readers! In this activity, children can either rub or outline the shapes of the letters onto paper to create their own words, which reinforces their writing skills.

Say it Fast! Say it Slow!

Combining and separating sounds as you read words to your child is an effective way to practice early literacy skills and to develop your child’s phonological awareness. Coloring pictures and saying the word at different speeds in this activity makes learning fun!

Blue Bird Song

Singing is a great way to learn language, develop listening skills, and practice repetition, which strengthens memory and attention. We will be making simple props to help emphasize our Blue Bird song and introduce colors!

Squishy Sensory Bag

For learners who are just starting to write and draw, this craft is a sensory experiment in trying something new without the stress of putting pencil to paper. With your squishy sensory bag, have your child press, trace, and draw shapes, numbers, and letters!

Color Search Game

Your child will learn about language through play with this Color Search game! With this color wheel, you and your child can search for, identify, and discuss objects that match each color. This helps them use color as a means for creative thinking and language!

Word Family Sorting Station

This early literacy activity will help your child practice word pattern recognition using word families! Make a word family sorting station with craft sticks to boost your child’s self-confidence and willingness to decode new words as they learn more word family bases!

Rhyming Peg Board

This craft is a literacy game that combines practicing fine motor skills with learning rhyming and non-rhyming words. Playing is as easy as connecting the dots; just stretch a rubber band to link the rhyming words!

Busy Board

This DIY busy board is ideal to combat travel boredom and uses materials you probably already have at home! We list instructions for five different learning areas, but the adaptability of this board allows you to explore other options for activities that might also work for your child’s interests and skill level!

Braided Crowns

Understanding patterns and sequences can have wonderful effects on your child’s pre-literacy skills. These braided paper crowns and bracelets are not only a cute accessory for your child’s dress-up gear, but they’re also a way for your child to learn about patterns while improving their dexterity!

Clothespin Puppets

Creative play is so important to development and early literacy skills of little ones. This DIY puppet has plenty of opportunities for creativity! From making the puppet, to playing with it, this puppet is also excellent to create as a group activity.

Giant Dice

Did you know that dice are great for early literacy development? But dice are small and hard to read and pick up for kids, not to mention very easy to lose, so try making giant dice from materials you already have at home!

Sensory Mystery Box

Every child loves a good mystery—which is why this sensory box is a great DIY craft to keep your kiddos guessing and having fun. Plus, this is a simple project that kids can easily participate in, adding their own decorations to the box!

Chocolate Play Dough

Playing with clay or play dough is a great sensory activity with plenty of benefits for kids, and this homemade chocolate play dough is the perfect combination of both! Plus, this non-toxic play dough won’t dry out as quickly and is good for use after use.

Gingerbread Baby

This craft is inspired by the holiday book Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett. We recommend reading it in combination with the craft for maximum fun and early learning! By involving yourself in your child’s creative play, you create memories that will last all year long.

Board Game

Playing together not only strengthens your family, but it contains great lessons for kids like counting, patience, taking turns, and fair play. This activity will show you how to make this simple board game that will have your child practicing literacy skills while having fun as a family!

Sensory Learning Cards

Traditional learning usually involves just sight and hearing, but in this craft, sense of touch is also used to learn shapes, letters, and numbers. By using three senses instead of one, learners are more likely to retain new information and use it in daily life!

Mini Puppet Stage

Did you know that playing pretend helps develop literacy skills? This mini puppet stage (plus some simple puppets) is easy to make, uses items you already have at home, and will have your child creating stories in no time!

Learning Clock

This craft is a fun way to teach smaller children numbers and shapes and older children how to read time. Literacy skills aren’t just limited to reading—they go hand in hand with other life skills that are important for growth in every child’s life!

Letter Monster Game

Incorporating play while learning the alphabet is a great way to increase your child’s letter recognition. This letter monster game does just that, helping your child recognize letters and letter sounds in the names of everyday objects!

Rhyming Dominoes

This domino game is meant to get your child reading and making decisions on what rhymes and what does not. And since play is a great way to boost literacy skills, this craft is a win-win! It’s quick to make and will have your child occupied with endless rhyming fun!

Grumpy Bird Feelings Puppet

This craft combines the skills of reading comprehension and naming emotions into a birdlike feelings puppet based on Jeremy Tankard’s book Grumpy Bird and will have your child discussing feelings as well as the book!

Puzzle Flowers

These simple puzzles will engage your child while practicing recognizing words, numbers, shapes, colors, and even patterns—all while developing their problem solving skills. These puzzles are extremely easy to adapt, making them suitable for all ages!

Threading Crafts

Threading crafts are a fantastic way to improve fine motor skills, an important pre-writing skill for kids. In this activity, we show you how to make a threading grid, some yarn-wrapping decorations, and a threaded paper plate bag!

Light Table

Encourage your child’s sensory play by using a light table! Your child will love tracing patterns and letters on this light table using beads, beans, and more, which will aid in learning letters and improving dexterity.

Mitten Matching Game

Teaching literacy essentials like opposites, shapes, and colors can be important stepping stones to being a fully fluent reader and writer. For these cold winter months, mittens are a cute object to outline and use for this matching game!

KABOOM! Sight Word Game

To keep learning fun and include younger family members or friends, try our sight word game, “KABOOM!” It’s simple to create, easy to modify, and will have your child practicing letter and word recognition while learning to take turns and play fair.

Name Turkey

Learning how to spell your name is essential and is a great way to practice early literacy skills. This craft helps your child break down their name letter by letter and incorporates fine motor skills to get your child really involved in the process.

Monster Mash-Up!

Pretending develops a child’s storytelling abilities, also known as narrative skills, an important early literacy stepping stone. This monster sock puppet is great for playing pretend; plus, it’s great to use with a set of flannel shapes for a fun shape recognition game!

Literacy To-Go!

Two crafts—an alphabet plate and clothespin sight words—are fun games that can be taken on the go and can be created with everyday items that will boost number and letter recognition and sight word confidence!

Popsicle Memory Game

If you’re trying to beat the heat by thinking cool thoughts, this craft is for you. A memory game made of popsicle-shaped cards is not only cool; it can also help your child develop necessary skills such as recognizing patterns, shapes, and symbols!

Word Tube

Allowing children to combine letters into words makes them more aware of the unique sounds each letter can make. A word tube is a simple tool to help emerging readers create and recognize sight words and work towards these important literacy milestones!

Story Stones

Storytelling, or “narrative skills”, teaches your child the structure of sentences and narratives as well as improves vocabulary. Try building your child’s narrative skills by making these story stones, a simple prop for a fun storytelling game!

Peppermint Playdough

Playdough is a great and easy way to engage in sensory play. By actively exploring different textures, smells, and colors, your child is strengthening their fine motor skills, building their vocabulary, and exercising their creativity!

Heart Finger Puppets

Finding ways to encourage your child to play pretend is important in order to develop their narrative skills. These easy heart finger puppets are great for playing pretend and practicing color recognition; plus, they make a great Valentine to give to a friend and share a love for literacy!

Alphabet Bunting

Bunting is often thought of as passive decoration. By adding letters to the triangles, you can make bunting into an interactive literacy craft to help your child identify letters, start recognizing and spelling simple words, and increase their vocabulary!

Holiday Mailbox

If your child is distracted by holidays, then try turning learning into holiday-themed play! This DIY mailbox and holiday card-making station will have your child writing and play-pretending in no time. You can even post some of these cards in your real mailbox to share holiday cheer with your family and friends!

Flannel Story Box & 5 Little Pumpkins Flannel

In this activity, we’ll create a fun fall flannel and a flannel box to take your creations on the go, so your child can practice counting and storytelling anywhere!

Button Snake

Try making this button snake, an easy DIY toy that will help your child practice their clothes-buttoning skills while developing their hand-eye coordination, an important skill they need to learn how to write!


Skipping lines is a common frustration among early readers. Help your child get comfortable reading by creating a mini-maze with them! Your child will build necessary hand-eye coordination and eye tracking skills while also having fun.

Activity Cube

Teaching your child to read is tough when they simply will not sit still! This die includes movements and activities for your child to act out, which will teach them to make connections between words, symbols, and actions, all while getting rid of some extra energy!

Paint Chip Word Families

Learning to read can be daunting. Rhyming helps your child notice patterns and rules in words, a critical skill to get your child ready to read. One way to teach this skill is by creating word families with paint chips!

Leaf Puzzles

Early literacy can be more than just learning letters: it also includes recognizing numbers, shapes, and patterns! These leaf matching puzzles combine all of these ideas into a fun activity and game, which will have your child matching upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and leaf shapes!


Knowing what comes next is an important part of reading comprehension. Pattern recognition helps your child predict what happens next in a story, a critical skill to get your child ready to read. One way to teach this skill is by creating stamps!

Two Little Blackbirds Puppets

Nursery rhymes teach children valuable literacy skills, like the rhythm of language and new vocabulary. You can make nursery rhymes extra fun by making props like our felt finger puppets for the rhyme “Two Little Blackbirds”!

Name Puzzle

Before you can spell, you need to be able to identify letters. This knowledge is called letter recognition, and it’s an important skill to get your child ready to read and write. One way to teach these skills is by creating a name puzzle!

Life Cycle Cards

At some point, everyone has to learn how to tell a story. This knowledge is called narrative skills, and it’s an important skill to get your child ready to read. These cards use the life cycle of a butterfly in order to teach your child about story structure!

Green Square, Green Square

Learning shapes is a great way for kids to start recognizing shapes and then start recognizing letters, a key skill on the way to reading. This set of flannel shapes is great to use with a rhyme or for a shape scavenger hunt!

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