Seven key activities that can stretch a child’s mind

Parents often ask us what they can do to encourage and support their children at home.

We have put together a mini guide on areas and ideas you may find useful in providing a good home learning environment, activities you can do with your children which definitely have a marked impact on children’s learning.  Have fun!  (we all do)

Seven key activities that can stretch a child’s mind

Going on visits

Local community activities like fetes and galas are good fun and offer lots of talking points, as well as family bonding time

Take time to really listen to what your child is trying to tell you.  Tune into their non-verbal gestures as well as their language.  Talk to them and use language with a high information, descriptive language to develop their vocabulary. Use adult speak, not baby babble, so train not choo choo.  Why have to learn it twice!

Top tip… create ‘phone free time’: put mobiles away and concentrate on interacting with your child.

Reading to and with children

Use a variety of books and repeat favourite stories.

Provide opportunities for storytelling and using props to make stories come alive.

Top tip… include all family members, make story time part of your family routine.

Have you tried… bedtime stories with a different family member if you are busy?  Using props with stories, e.g. real fruit with ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’?

Painting and drawing

Encourage children’s own ideas, provide choice and encourage independence.

Top tip… praise children’s early attempts at mark making and writing.

Have you tried… painting and drawing outdoors using a variety of media, e.g. paintbrushes and water on the path, or sticks in mud?  In the snow use squeezy bottles filled with warm water—it will warm cold hands and create patterns in the melting snow.

Going to the library

Give your child time to choose books about things they are interested in, and involve them in the process of taking them out.

Borrow a mix of fiction and non-fiction books.

Top tip… make sure you pick up your child’s ‘Book Start’ pack. It’s free!

Borrow books from our nursery library (feel free to bring in any unwanted books to add to it)

Creating opportunities to play with friends

Make use of our ‘stay and play’ type sessions arranged throughout the year

Top tip… arrange for children to have friends round to play.

Have you tried… meeting friends at the park to play group games like ‘Tig’ or ‘Duck, duck goose’?

Playing with letters and numbers

Make numbers and letters part of daily life.  For example, looking at house numbers on the way to the park, spot letters whilst shopping.

Top tip… play with underwater crayons at bath time, or add foam numbers to the bubbles.

Have you tried… including your child when you write a shopping list, or maybe let them write their own?

Singing songs, poems and nursery rhymes

Find songs and rhymes to match experiences as they happen, e.g. ‘Dr Foster went to Gloucester’ when you are splashing in puddles.

Top tip…  get the whole body moving by using action songs and finger rhymes. (they will know some from nursery)

Have you tried… making up your own silly rhymes and songs?

We hope you find this useful. 

Give feedback on some of your fun times at home to your keyworker so they can create a discussion and let your child chat about their experiences in group sessions.  Children love telling us all about their exploits and we can build on their out of nursery learning experiences too.

Don’t forget, you can use your parental ‘eyLog’ to upload photos and share home learning with us

Have fun!