These activities have no-cost, no calories and require no batteries! Many of the things you do to help your child learn to read are easy, free and fun. You probably do many of these things without even knowing it. Just 20 minutes a day makes a big difference.
You count! Everything families do to nurture and protect their children makes a difference. No matter when a child enters school, parents and other family members are the first people in a child’s life to appreciate who they are and what they do. By encouraging curiosity, communicating family values, and genuinely appreciating the child, families establish a strong foundation for learning that lasts a lifetime.
The people in the child’s home are their first teachers. By talking, telling stories and singing to and with young children, adults help children learn language. Young children are more likely to thrive in school when they know lots of words and are able to express their ideas and needs. Spending time talking, reading and playing with your child helps increase their vocabulary, makes them feel good about themselves, and helps them begin school eager and ready to continue learning!
Fun-by-the-Month Learning Activities Guides
These monthly activities, developed by a team of Boston parents, childcare providers and kindergarten teachers are "kid tested" and most can be done with things already in your home!
Activity PDF Downloads
Places to Visit
There’s a lot for young kids to do in Boston with their families and friends, and much of it is free or low-cost. Many examples are listed below. Call for their latest schedules.
For additional information on youth and family activities, call the Mayor’s Youthline (617) 635-2240, or try the City’s Youth Zone website. You can also look in the calendar section of local papers, or read the monthly Boston Parents Paper (call (617) 522-1515 to find out where to pick it up for free.)
Boston Public Library
27 locations in Boston!
Movies, story hours, and special concerts.
Boston Community Centers
43 sites throughout Boston!
Free or low-cost swim lessons and family swim times.
Playgroups at some sites.
Dance/music classes at some sites for small children.
Boston Parks and Recreation Department
287 parks and playgrounds!
Festivals, parades and concerts.
ParkARTS: free activities in neighborhood parks.
The Frog Pond on the Boston Common: ice-skating in the winter and a wading pool in the summer.
The Swan Boats at the Boston Public Garden, open from April through Labor Day.
Mayor’s Office of Special Events and Tourism
Free concerts, parades and festivals year-round.
MA Dept. of Conservation and Recreation
State-run public swimming pools, playgrounds, tennis courts, and parks.
Try one of their 7 skating rinks.
Call for directions to Castle Island, a real castle, beach and boardwalk.
The Children’s Museum
Friday night admission is just $1. Free passes are available at the libraries.
Try out PlaySpace for young children, a parent resource room, and attend parent workshops.
Museum of Science
Free passes are available at the libraries.
Try their Discovery Center, a two-story play area for children under 6.
Museum of Fine Arts
Children are always free. Passes are available at the libraries.
"Children’s Room": Free drop-in activity program for children 6-12 years old, with art projects, drama, poetry and music. Call for dates.
Zoo New England (in Franklin Park)
A new playground, a rainforest with gorillas to see up close, lots of other animals, and a new children’s zoo!
New England Aquarium
Passes are available at the libraries.
Children’s activity center with storytelling and arts and crafts included with admission price, located in Exploration Center – call (617) 973-6563.
Suggested Books to Read with your Child
- Jamaica’s Blue Marker
- by Juanita Havill
- A My Name is Alice
- by Jane Bayer
- When a Line Bends... A Shape Begins
- by Rhonda Gowler Greene
- Arf! Beg! Catch!: Dogs from A to Z
- by Henry Horenstein
- Mouse Paint
- by Ellen Stoll Walsh
- How Big is a Pig?
- by Clare Beaton & Stella Blackstone
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
- by Eric Carle
- Amazon Alphabet
- by Martin Jordan & Tanis Jordan
- Uncle Nacho’s Hat
(El Sombrero del Tío Nacho)
- by Harriet Rohmer
- We Share Everything!
- by Robert N. Munsch & Michael Martchenko
- Morris the Moose
- by Bernard Wiseman
- Eating the Alphabet
- by Lois Ehlert
- Giraffes Can’t Dance
- by Giles Andreae & Guy Parker-Rees
- When I Grow Up
- by Mercer Mayer
- Little Blue and Little Yellow
- by Leo Lionni
- Mama Always Comes Home
- by Karma Wilson
- Shape Space
- by Cathryn Falwell
- Bear’s Picture
- by Daniel Pinkwater
- De Colores: Bright with Colors
- by David Diaz
- Minji’s Salon
(El Salón de Minji)
- by Eun-hee Choung
- Oh! The Places You’ll Go!
- by Dr. Seuss
- I Love Saturdays y Domingos
- by Alma Flor Ada
- The First Strawberries
- by Joseph Bruchac
- Lily Brown’s Paintings
- by Angela Johnson