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Kids’ Early Learning

shutterstock_116454334Children who have early learning experiences from birth have a great advantage when they enter school. Parents can help set their children up for school success with easy and fun activities at the library and at home.

There are five skills you can emphasize with your kids from the time they are born.  These skills help them build early literacy and prepare for school.  The Library offers you many simple tips, resources, programs and ideas to help incorporate these activities into daily life.

The Library supports your child from birth through grade school in developing early literacy skills!  We’ve listed just a few of our many resources under each of the categories below.  Make sure you sign up to receive our newsletter, which contains dozens of opportunities for fun and learning every month.   


Talk to your baby or toddler as you go about your day – shopping, doing dishes, changing diapers, driving in the car. Engage your preschooler in conversation by asking questions and getting them to talk about the stories you read to them.

What this does: Listening and talking are the ways your child learns new words, learns about the world around them and learns to put his or her own thoughts into words.

Library Resources:

  • Audiobooks: you can search and download recorded children’s books to play on your computer or mobile device with Overdrive.
  • Movies: while movies don’t replace “live” interaction, they are another useful way to help a child learn vocabulary and language skills.
  • Playaways: these players contain complete book recordings.  They’re perfect for the car or for quiet time at home.  All you need is a headset!


Sing to your baby and watch how the baby pays attention, whether you sing well or not! Make up a song for picking up toys, for brushing your teeth, for taking a bath, and let your child change the words to match the activity.

What this does: Singing develops listening and memory skills in young children. Singing slows down language and helps children hear the different sounds that make up words.

Library Resources:

  • Free downloadable music: search our Freegal music database for children’s songs that teach vocabulary, rhyming, and much more.
  • CDs and DVDs: we have a great collection of children’s music in these formats.
  • Children’s Concerts: the Library offers children’s concerts throughout the year.  Check our newsletter for upcoming events.


Read with and to your child every chance you get. Talk about the book and the pictures and occasionally ask your child about the story as you read.

What this does: Reading is the most important activity will help your child be ready to learn to read when they enter kindergarten. Children who enjoy being read to are more likely to enjoy learning to read and reading themselves.

Library Resources:

  • Storytimes at the Library:  fun learning for children and great early literacy tips for parents. Take away ideas and easy activities you can do at home to help your child get ready to read. See the Library calendar for dates and times.
  • Book Packs: several books along with a digital player with recorded audio. You and your child can read the books together, listen to the books, or else your child can listen to the audio, follow along in the books, and turn the pages. There are many different ways to use and enjoy Book Packs!
  • Downloadable books: you can search for and download fantastic children’s books for all ages.  Use Overdrive to access these books from your computer or mobile device.


Give your child plenty of chances to scribble and draw, as well as to work with building blocks and toys that help develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

What this does: Reading and writing go hand in hand. In kindergarten, your child will write letters in order to learn to read, and scribbling and drawing will prepare them well.

Library Resources:

  • Magazines: you can download free children’s activity magazines through Zinio.
  • Drawing: the Library has many resources for learning to color and draw.
  • Crafts:  the Library has regular craft times that can engage your child in creativity.  Check the Library calendar for dates and times.


Give your child space and time to play, especially playing “pretend.” Play time is a great time to talk back and forth and make up stories using puppets, dolls, action figures or stuffed animals.

What this does: Imaginative play helps children learn to put thoughts into words and learn about how spoken and written words can stand for real objects and experiences.

Library Resources:

  • Launchpad Learning Tablets: Take-Home Technology! Launchpads are pre-loaded with high-quality learning apps, grouped together by theme (Animals, Transportation, Dinosaurs, Space, Fantasy…) and grade level – Pre-K and K-2 (ages 3 to 7). The apps have been selected to support learning objectives in math, science, language learning, critical thinking, creativity, and more – but (shhh!) don’t tell your child!
  • Ring a Ring O’ Roses: this book of finger plays is great for creative play.  As an added bonus, each copy sold benefits the Library!  Purchase your copy here.

Tinker Table and KidsTinkering @ FPL – Playing to Learn!

Parents, did you know that hands-on play builds early literacy skills in your little one? Visit the Children’s Learning Place at FPL to tinker and play with your child with our new Tinker Table for Tots. Thanks to our library patrons and Friends of the Flint Public Library for funding this great addition to our Children’s Learning Place.

More Early Learning Resources

Daily Vroom

Join this free online site or download the app to get daily early learning tips customized to your child’s age. Vroom calls these “brain builders” and lets you know how the activities help your child learn.

Genesee Preschool

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha advises Flint parents to enroll their children in preschool to help develop their growing brains. There is additional funding in our community for preschool. Find out about Head Start and the Great Start Readiness Program at this web site.

Ring a Ring O’Roses

Fingerplays and songs compiled by our expert librarians. Purchase this book to help support our children’s programming.