Creating a Pre-reading Environment

As a nanny, you have an incredible opportunity to help introduce young children to the joys of reading. Reading is a critical skill that lays the foundation for success in both the academic and personal lives of children. By creating a pre-reading environment in the family home, nannies can help set children up for a lifetime of learning, curiosity, and exploration. In this article, we will explore tips and strategies for nannies to help toddlers and young children get excited about reading and create a pre-reading environment in the family home.

Benefits of Reading to Toddlers and Young Children

Creating a Pre-reading Environment

As well as the obvious benefits of boosting children’s ability to read when the time comes and providing a pleasurable pastime, there are many benefits of promoting pre-reading skills which impact on  children’s overall wellbeing and different areas of development. Here we explore some of those:

Enhances Language and Cognitive Development

Reading plays an essential role in the language and cognitive development of young children. It exposes them to a broad range of vocabulary, sentence structure, and syntax, which helps build their language skills and comprehension abilities.

Develops Imagination and Creativity

Reading provides an escape from reality and opens up new worlds of imagination and creativity. It allows children to explore new ideas, places, and perspectives, nurturing their minds with a deeper understanding of the world around them.

Creating a Pre-reading Environment

Cultivates Critical Thinking

Reading promotes critical thinking and problem-solving. Through reading, children learn to analyse information, draw conclusions, and apply knowledge to specific situations, all of which are critical analytical skills that will benefit them throughout their lives.

Sparks Curiosity and Love for Learning

Reading helps foster a love for learning and a thirst for knowledge in children. It encourages them to explore new interests and topics, expand their minds, and pursue lifelong learning.

How to Create a Pre-Reading Environment in the Family Home

Nannies have the unique position of providing children with early care and education in a home environment. There are many ways that the home environment can be leveraged and enhanced in order to support pre-reading skills. These are some of the ways that nannies can create a pre-reading environment in a family’s home.

Provide Age-Appropriate Books

Provide age-appropriate books for children to read, engage and immerse in stories. Ensure that you have a variety of books that cater to different interests, reading levels, and genres to promote curiosity and exploration.

Create a Dedicated Reading Space

Creating a dedicated reading space in the home helps to set the tone for reading as a consistent activity. The reading space can be cosy with colourful pillows, comfortable chairs, or bean bags in a quiet and well-lit room, warding off distractions and maximising the reading environment.

Creating a Pre-reading Environment

Read Aloud

Reading aloud to children helps develop their language skills, increase their vocabulary, and develop their comprehension and critical thinking skills. Encourage and engage children to participate in the reading process by asking them questions and allowing them to interact with the story.

Set a Positive Reading Example

As a nanny, setting a positive reading example within the family is crucial! Children tend to be influenced by the behaviours of their caretakers, seeing them reading and enjoying books helps encourage children to become avid readers themselves.

Creating a Pre-reading Environment

Encourage a Love for Libraries

Visiting the library is a perfect way to show children the world of literature, offers access to an abundance of books, and is an excellent way to expose young children to the world of literature. Encouraging visits to the library, borrowing books and attending library programmes can further foster a passion for reading in children.

Make It Fun

Making reading fun is the key to keeping children engaged and excited about it. Incorporating fun activities like puzzles and colouring pages related to the books they’ve read, costumes or acting out scenes from books, and drawing and writing their own stories based on their favourite books, all of which promote imagination and creativity in children.

Activities to Encourage Reading in Young Children

Creating a Pre-reading Environment

If you would like to plan and carry out some specific activities to support children’s pre-reading skills in your role as a nanny then here are some good ideas:

Role-playing and Storytelling

An excellent way to engage children in reading is through role-playing and storytelling. Encouraging children to act out scenes from their favourite stories, or even create their stories, helps them to develop their imagination and helps in language development.

Library Scavenger Hunt

Going to the library and organising a scavenger hunt can help children discover new books and exploration of the library while having fun. Children can search for specific books, and find different genres of books, topics, or authors, to promote curiosity and exploration.

Educational and Interactive Apps

Interactive and educational apps for phones or tablets can be a fun and engaging way to introduce new stories and promote reading skills. There are various reading apps available that help children improve their reading skills, vocabulary, and comprehension abilities while making learning fun.

As a nanny, creating a pre-reading environment in the family home is a crucial step in fostering a love for reading in toddlers and young children. By providing age-appropriate books, creating a dedicated reading space, reading aloud, setting a positive reading example, encouraging a love for libraries, and making reading fun, nannies can ignite the spark of curiosity and imagination in children. Engaging in activities like book clubs, role-playing and storytelling, library scavenger hunts, movie nights, audiobooks, and educational apps can further enhance the reading experience for young children.

By investing in developing literacy skills, nannies can help set the foundation for a lifetime of learning, encourage critical thinking and imagination, and help preschoolers and young children become well-rounded individuals. This is a vital part of your role when working as a nanny. If you want to become more confident and knowledgeable when supporting children’s development in a range of different areas, our Early Years Childcare course will help you gain insight into the different areas of learning and how these can be supported at various ages and stages of development. Visit us today at to learn more.

International Nanny Institute

Let’s Go on a Nature Walk!

As a nanny, you have the opportunity to play a vital role in your child’s growth and development. One way to do this is by taking them outdoors and going on a nature walk. Nature walks offer numerous benefits to children, including enhancing their cognitive and physical development, boosting their creativity and curiosity, and providing opportunities for bonding and quality time. In this article, we will explore the benefits of taking children on a nature walk and provide games and activities that nannies and children can do together on the walk.

Benefits of Taking Children on a Nature Walk

Nature walks can benefit children;s health, wellbeing and development as well as being a lovely activity to engage in for everyone involved. Here we take a look at some of the ways that taking children on a nature walk can positively impact their development.

Enhances Cognitive Development

Nature walks provide numerous opportunities for children to learn about the world around them. They help children develop their observational and critical thinking skills while engaging in hands-on activities. Children who regularly go on nature walks tend to have better attention spans, memory, problem-solving abilities, and awareness of their surroundings. These cognitive benefits can extend to their academic performance and overall personal growth.

Boosts Creativity and Curiosity

Let's go on a nature walk

Nature walks can play an essential role in fostering creativity and curiosity in children. The outdoor world presents numerous opportunities for children to explore, inquire, and get inspired by the natural environment they connect with. Through activities like sketching and identifying animals or plants, children can develop their creative skills while nurturing their passion for nature.

Offers Physical Activity

Nature walks offer excellent physical activities that can help children develop their physical abilities, endurance, and motor skills. Walking, climbing, running, and jumping activities keep kids active and help in maintaining an active lifestyle. The varied nature of outdoor terrain provides children with the opportunity to practise their balance, coordination, and locomotion abilities.

Builds Bonding and Quality Time

Nature walks provide an opportunity for nannies and children to spend quality time together. Although nannies are responsible for caregiving, engaging children in hands-on outdoor activities, and conversational exchanges during nature walks help build a nurturing relationship centred on mentorship and trust.

Games and Activities to do During a Nature Walk

As well as just getting out and about in the fresh air and experiencing nature there are plenty of games and activities that can be introduced during nature walks to enhance the activity, and children’s development, even further. Here are some examples of that:

Nature Scavenger Hunt

A scavenger hunt is a great way to engage children in nature walks. The nature scavenger hunt involves creating a list of items that children can discover on the walk, such as specific flowers, rocks, bugs, fallen leaves, or animal tracks. One can customise the type of scavenger hunt based on the season or walk location. A scavenger hunt is a fun, interactive way to develop cognitive and observational skills while sparking curiosity.

Let's go on a nature walk

Picture Bingo

Picture Bingo involves making a game sheet filled with pictures of various items that children can find during the nature walk. These might include things like sticks, acorns, snails, or coloured leaves. Children fill in the pictures on their sheets as they discover them. It is a fun and exciting activity that promotes cognitive development and can be modified as per the child’s preference.

Leaf or Rock Painting

Leaf or rock painting is an excellent way to combine creativity with a nature walk. Children can collect fallen leaves or rocks on the walk, take them home or dry them, and later paint them, showcasing their artistic skills. Making art out of natural materials is a great way to promote creativity and connect with nature.

Scavenger Hunt-inspired Trail

A scavenger hunt-inspired trail creates a personalised series of clues that children follow on their walk. Each clue leads the way to the next one, and once they reach the end, a treasure or a surprise is waiting for them. It is a perfect activity to incorporate teamwork and cognitive development while having fun exploring and solving riddles.

Firefly Catch and Release

Let's go on a nature walk

Firefly Catch and Release is an excellent evening activity that adds magnificence to a nature walk. Children can catch fireflies using jars with small air holes to collect them safely. After enjoying the glow of the fireflies, children can release them back into the wild. Children will get the chance to witness one of nature’s most fascinating creatures while enjoying time outdoors during their nature walk.

Wildlife Watch

Wildlife Watch can be a thrilling way to spot animals that might be nearby. Children will have the opportunity to notice animals like squirrels, birds or rabbits in their natural habitat. Identify and encourage children to photograph or draw the animals they spotted so they can learn more about their characteristics and life cycle.

Nature walks offer numerous benefits to children, including cognitive and physical development, creativity, and bonding with their caregivers. The activities mentioned above promote physical activity, as well as enhance creativity, cognitive skills, and develop life skills such as problem-solving and critical thinking in children. 

Nannies can nurture children by engaging them in nature walks, encouraging them to explore, discover and learn. Incorporating games and activities during a nature walk further enhances the child’s experience and ensures they have a fun and exciting time outdoors. It is important that nannies and caregivers always ensure children’s safety, and make it part of their responsibility to educate the children about the importance of caring for natural resources.

If this article has sparked your interest in how getting out in nature can help to support children’s wellbeing, learning, and development, then you may be interested in learning about the Forest School approach in early education. Our Alternative Approaches to Early Years Care and Education course will introduce you to a range of approaches that support children’s development, help you to explore the underpinning theories and philosophies of these approaches, and has been specifically designed to help nannies integrate these ideas into their day-to-day work with children. If you’d like to have knowledge of various educational approaches you can use in your day-to-day life as a nanny, visit us today at to learn more. 

International Nanny Institute