When I think back to when my children were young, eldest is 32, I wonder how did I prepare them for school and literacy? It was the messy things. It is the messy things that give children the cognitive and physical things they need to perform well at school.
My children had blocks and toys, dress ups, old bits and pieces everywhere and they were busy all day, a basket in each area was quickly filled at the end of the day to tidy up. There was a backyard with a sandpit to play in and water tub to play in when the weather was fine. More mess inside from the sand on shoes. I had lots of paper, pencils, crayons, paint and scissors for them to play with. What a mess! But I knew they were happy and that they were learning.
We went to playgroup where they got to play with other children and do more art and craft activities. Our house had glitter everywhere for years that came off their art projects, more mess! We met other parents at the park for play and parent get togethers, we brought our own coffee and food as no one thought of making a child sit still in a cafe back then and who could afford it anyway. The children ran around, got tired out and the parents got to share stories and support each other. Messy clothes were thrown in the wash when we got home.
None of our houses looked like magazine pictures but our children went to kindy able to hold a pencil or a paintbrush, use scissors, could talk fluently and follow a teachers instructions, take themselves to the toilet, many could tie their shoes and share toys with the other children. These children used what they learnt while making a mess to excel at school because play is where the child has an opportunity to develop the appropriate pathways in the brain. These pathways lay the foundation for future learning.
If you would like your child to do well at school and beyond then encourage them to explore, be physical, create and make a mess. A mess can be cleaned up but undeveloped brains can lead to unhappy children growing into unhappy adults.
Using modern technology builds very few basic skills and remember those that created the computer technology had never even seen one before. It was their non technology experiences that gave them the brain power to create this exciting technology.