Here's some ideas I've tried with my kids and others to help them learn to read, or get ready for reading. These activities help the eyes get accustomed to seeing difference in color and shapes, like they would in learning phonics and letter or numbers.
1. Teach the child colors, use nature, or put up colored shapes on your walls.
2. Make some dot to dot pictures for the child to do, they are a lot of fun. The child can then color them in with the colors you call out! They will also learn some numbers! Also make a game by using little cars to go from number to number
3.Have the child copy a sequence of colors that you make, example : draw with a crayon three different colors on a piece of paper, next have the child pick out the right crayon colors and do the same thing. Use socks, blocks, marbles, buttons, etc.
4. Make a poster or scrap book of each color, let the child color pictures of that color or cut out pictures and place them on the poster or in the scrap book.
5. Draw the child some shapes like square, triangel, circle, rectangle etc. Let the child identify them with words or another object of the same shape.
6. Make some easy puzzles with different shapes and let the child put them together.
7. Once you've gone over different shapes with child ask him to visulize in his mind the shape and then draw it on a piece of paper, once the chilld can do this you can add color to the object your telling him to draw.
8. Put a bunch of colored objects on a tray or table and ask the child to pick out the colors you call out, this works for shapes also.
9. Hiding objects around the house while child is watching and then doing another type of lesson for 10 min. When done with that lesson ask the child to find what you have hidden. Also can have the child hide the objects. Do another type lesson and have him find the objects when done.
10. Placing 4 or 5 objects on a counter, ask child to look the other way while you take an object away. Then ask child what object is missing. You can make a game out of this and both of you can play it!.