In this case study, situated in a preschool classroom within an early childhood Spanish/English dual language programme, we examine how an emergent bilingual child engages with multimodal resources to participate in sociodramatic play discourses. Guided by sociocultural and critical discourse perspectives on multimodality, we analysed ways in which Anthony, a four-year-old emergent bilingual child, engaged in meaning-making during play through verbal, visual and actional modes and in conjunction with additional subcategories in his transmodal repertoire (e.g. translanguaging, sentence types, actual versus signified use of artefacts). Our results revealed differences in the ways Anthony engaged his verbal modes (e.g. monolingual languaging versus translanguaging; varying sentence types) together with actional and visual modes to accomplish adult-centric tasks versus creatively engaging in child-centric play. His translanguaging furthered his communication in tandem with the affordances of his visual and actional resources, depending on his play purposes and collaborators. Anthony’s case illustrates how emergent bilingual children access a variety of modes to participate in literate discourses in complex and varied ways. This article concludes with a discussion on the importance of thoroughly accounting for the contexts and multimodal supports in interactive learning spaces.