Get Ready Activities

Girl cutting paper

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 Websites:

Talk, Read, Play
Read a Book.  Give a Book ( just read online and support Jumpstart)
Scholastics Activities
Scholastics Book Wizard
Jumpstart to Kindergarten
Foundation for Early Learning

Activity PDF Downloads

FREE Summer Activities Guide
ReadBoston’s Storymobile Summer Schedule
FREE “Fun Fridays” Schedule

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
(617) 635-4505
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
(617) 635-3911
Free concerts, parades and festivals year-round.

MA Dept. of Conservation and Recreation
(617) 626-1250
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
(617) 426-8855
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
(617) 723-2500
Free passes are available at the libraries.
Try their Discovery Center, a two-story play area for children under 6.

Museum of Fine Arts
(617) 369-3300
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)
(617) 541-LION
A new playground, a rainforest with gorillas to see up close, lots of other animals, and a new children’s zoo!

New England Aquarium
(617) 973-5200
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

Find any of these titles with the Boston Public Library Kids Find-a-Book or visit your local Boston Public Library branch!

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
Learn About Our Readiness Programs!
Play to Learn Playgroups Talk, Read, Play
Focus on Children: Boston Public Schools