Ideas to keep the children entertained and learning while at home!
1.Read together every day
- Look at the pictures together
- Talk about ‘who’ the story is about
- Talk about ‘where’ the story takes place
- Talk about ‘when’ the story takes place
- Create a new ending for the story – use your imaginations
- Act out the story with your family or using toys from home
2. Have a song or rhyme of the day
- Sing a favourite song or say a rhyme together – or learn a new one
- Once your child knows it well try missing out rhyming words for them to put in
- Make up nonsense rhyming words, get your child to do this too
- Use your child’s name in the song/rhyme
- Have lots of fun
3. Keep fit together every day
- Try out Cosmic Kids Yoga online https://www.cosmickids.com/
- Go for a walk in the garden
- Play hide and Seek in the garden
- Hide a ‘treasure’ in the garden for your child to find, talk about ‘where’ it could be e.g. under a stone, behind a bush, on a branch etc.
- Play ball games: throwing, catching, kicking.
- Make up your own games and play them together.
- Dig in the garden, make mud pies and decorate them with sticks, stones and leaves.
- Build a den using string, old sheets, canes, your washing line etc.
4. Care for the environment
- Feed the birds
- Create a bird bath out an old ice cream tub
- Watch the birds and try to name them
- If there are any you don’t know try the RSPB bird identifier online https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/identify-a-bird/
- https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/PDF/Minbeasts%20pack.pdf " >Go on a minibeast hunt – look for spiders, insects and other creepy crawlies. Watch them closely, learn to name them
5. Music Making
- Use old empty and dry juice bottles – add some rice or lentils – put the lid back on and you’ve made your own maraca which you can shake along to any song!
- Old tissue boxes with elastic bands across the opening make great guitars especially if you add a kitchen roll handle! You can pluck the elastic bands to make different sounds.
- Pots and pans upturned, loose lids can all be hit with wooden spoons to make your child their own drumkit! (have earplugs ready – in nursery they play very enthusiastically).
When you’re needing a rest – cbeebies is great!
Watch together and then talk about what you have seen and heard, this helps to reinforce learning of new words, as it gives real meaning to watching television.
- At all times encourage your child to be independent – hand washing, changing shoes, getting dressed, choosing clothes for the day ahead.
- If they have younger siblings encourage and praise them for helping them.
7. Dressing Up/ Roleplay
- You don’t need a fancy dressing up box with lots of costumes – try using squares of fabric, scarves and hats.
- Be creative – in nursery we tied scarves around heads for pirate, long pieces of fabric became wings when knotted in the middle. Use your imaginations.
- Children love being ‘mum’ or ‘dad’ and wearing your shoes and trying on clothes that don’t belong to them.
- A basic apron (from your kitchen) can turn them into a shop keeper – get out your tins and packets of food, loose change and a purse – they will roleplay shopping for hours!
8. Being builders
- If you have Duplo, Lego or wooden blocks set challenges for your child and compete against them. E.g. who can build the tallest tower without it falling over?
- Create all different sorts of models – use your imagination – can you create boats, aeroplanes, helicopters, dinosaurs, magic castles etc?
- Don’t worry if you don’t have building toys it is really easy to recycle household items – use kitchen roll tubes, empty cereal boxes, egg boxes, empty cleaned yogurt pots etc. with glue or Sellotape or masking/brown tape, and string (or wool) to create your models.
- Big empty cardboard boxes are great fun with children loving to make them into dens – with cushions toys and covers from their rooms. If the box is big enough you can cut doors and windows in it to create a house.
9. Household tasks
- Doing your washing
- Your child can help sort your laundry into coloured, white and dark fabrics
- Your child can hand you the correct number of pegs for use on the washing line (I used to get my boys to give me matching colours too).
- When the washing is dry your child can put the socks into matching pairs.
- Setting the table for meals
- Your child can set out the correct number of mats, cups, cutlery etc. at each place.
- Selecting the menu – give your child a choice between two options. Do you want _____ or ____?
- Clearing the table – your child can help tidy up after meals
- Washing/drying/putting away dishes – your child can help with these tasks too!
- Preparing meals (if you’re brave enough) your child could help prepare meals too. Just keep a close watch on hygiene and ensure they wash their hands correctly.
10. Other activities
- Drawing pictures – you could use crayons, chalks, pens or pencils
- Painting pictures – you could use makeup brushes and cold tea/coffee or muddy water if you don’t have paints.
- Create treasure maps of rooms in your house or the garden. Mark where treasure is hidden and then go to find it!
- Explore cutting with scissors – use old magazines and newspapers. Children love snipping! Help your child by holding the paper or gently positioning their fingers in the holes (remember the thumb goes on top, and the sharp scissors point away from their body, some children find it easier to put 2 fingers into the bottom hole to start with).
- Once they are skilled at cutting out you can look for specific pictures, words or even letters (especially those moving into Primary 1 – they love to find the letter at the start of their name).
- Kim’s Game – take 6 small toys or objects from around your house, sit them on a tray or in a bowl, cover them with a tea towel. Can your child remember all the things under the tea towel? Once they are familiar with this you can take one object away as you lift the tea towel up – your child has then to think hard about ‘what is missing?’ Take turns as a family to take an object away, you can make this harder by taking 2 away!
- Hide the Thimble – I loved playing this with my Granny as a child! If you have a thimble show it to your child, get them to cover their eyes (or leave the room) while you hide it. Don’t worry if you don’t have a thimble just choose a small object with your child to use for the game. You hide the thimble and your child must find it. As they move closer to the object you say, ‘You’re getting warmer’ as they move away from the object you say, ‘You’re getting colder’. Take turns to hide the object.
- Build a jigsaw together. Talk about the picture you are building naming the colours and shapes you see. Use positional language to describe what you are doing e.g. I think I need to turn this piece around, so it fits. Use words like turn, flip, rotate, twist etc.
- Play any games you have in the house:
- Card games - pairs, snap
- Dice games – snakes and ladders, Ludo, Frustration etc.
- Picture lotto
- My children have always loved traditional dominoes – great for number recognition and counting skills
- Encourage your child in all of these to take turns, follow rules, count, match etc.
- https://www.orchardtoys.com/ for great ideas. You can often get them second hand off ebay for less money! " If you are unsure of how to play, make up the rules with your child – they will have great ideas – although sometimes they bend the rules to suit!
11. At the end of the day
- Bath time can be great fun, and a good way to help wind down. Have a lovely bath with bubbles, bath toys or even old washing up liquid bottle full of water for squeezing and squirting.
- A bedtime routine allows you time with your child to reflect on the day, revisiting the activities you have done together by talking about them. Sharing a story allows your child to switch off from the excitement of the day and draws their attention back to a shared focus.