Here are some activities you can do with your child at home during the Covid-19 Lockdown. They use things you will have at home - and if you haven't you can improvise!
Why not raid your recycling box and find some interesting shaped boxes, tubes etc. preferably of different sizes so that you can talk about long, short, thick, narrow etc. This is a great activity to do outdoors where you can have more space. Give your child a roll of maksing tape (cheap!) or cellotape and/or a pot of glue. Don't 'direct' what they make; children often construct something and then decide afterwards what it is! If you have paints you can add them into the activity for even more fun.
Remember, that for children, it is the 'process' not the 'product' which they enjoy so they probably won't be upset if after a couple of days their creation disappears back into the recycling box!
On a similar theme but this time you will need recycled plastic bottles (small ones are best). Put some small amounts of different things into the bottles and shake. Good fillers are rice, popping corn, small stones, dried beans etc. Seal the tops so that your child can't take it off. Then you are ready to form a bank! Sing well - known songs (lots of ideas on our website) and see if your child can keep to the beat - lots of practice needed as this is harder than it sounds!
You could try singing - to the tune of Old MacDonald -
Our family had a band e-i-e-i-o,
And in that band we had a shaker, e-i-e-i-o
With a rustle, rustle here
A rustle, rustle there etc.
At this time of year there are lots of mini beasts in the garden. Children usually love finding them in the nursery garden, but they will enjoy finding them at home with you.
You can make a Bug Hotel with a box (preferably wood, but a thick cardboard one will do nicely). Put into it sticks, straw, corrugated cardboard, pine cones, if you can a piece of wood with holes drilled into it. The box can then be mounted on a wall facing the sun. You are now ready to sit and watch who comes to stay!
Hold a small number of marbles in your hand and slowly drop them one-by-one into a container. Get your child to listen carefully without looking and tell you how many you dropped. This activity encourages listening and attention.
Discover nature after dark.
Get to know your nocturnal neighbouts - from hedgehogs and badgers to moths and owls..
From May 23rd join in on social media.
Make some ice cubes in the freezer. If you don't have a cube tray make bigger blocks in plastic containers. You can freeze letters (e.g. scrabble, magnetic), numbers or small toys in the water.
Let you child melt the ice and release the items using warm water and calpol syringes.
Put some well-known objects in a small bag e.g. a toothbrush, a phone, an apple.
Take turns to look in the bag and choose an object. Don't let anyone see! Describe the object e.g. 'its green', 'it's very long' 'its bristly at one end'. Keep adding information one sentence at a time until your child guesses what it is. Then swop and let them have a go.
This is good for building attention and vocabulary.
Sit together as a family and take it in turns to say something about another family member - e.g. 'They are kind'. Others have to try and guess who the compliment is for.
You could describe how they look or something about their personality.
Practice receiving a compliment as much as giving.
You will need your phone or a kitchen timer and maybe a pen and paper.
Choose a particular category e.g. clothes, food, animals (you may need to explain the category e.g. clothes are things we wear).
Get your child to help you to set your timer for 1 minute and get your child to name as many items in the category as they can. Count them on fingers or by making a tally chart. If they get stuck give clues such as 'what do we wear when its really cold?'
This simple maths activity will teach your child about numbers. Children often struggle to match number to quantity correctly. You can do lots of variations on this simple activity to consolidate their understanding.
First, write the numerals 1-2-3 etc on separate pieces of paper or chalk them on the floor outside. Add the corresponding number of dots on each sheet.
Its good to start with 1-2-3, but if your child finds that too easy add in 4 and 5 or even up to 10.
To make it harder:
Make the numerals different colours and get children to find the number of items in the corresponding colour
Put the numbers in a random order eg 3-5-1-4-2 Can your child still match them correctly?
Can they name the numerals correctly when they are in a random order?
Can they do it without the dots?
Make a sorting game out of some things that you have at home. it could be some objects that you sort by colour or pattern and then by size (socks are great for this!) Or you could sort things by a category such as fruit or vegetable, rough or smooth, hard or soft. Try to introduce new words when you are describing objects.
Play Number Bingo when you go for a walk.
Write the numerals 1 - 9 on a sheet of paper or card (cut up a cereal box).
When you go for your daily walk, take it with you and get your child to tick off (or use stickers) any numerals you see on the way. What number is your house? What numbers are on the car plate? etc.
Your child may well confuse numerals and letters on signs so take the time to explain the difference.
This activity gives lots of scope to talk about shapes, size and numbers.
Use a dinner plate to draw a large circle on a piece of paper or on the path outside.
What can your child find that is a smaller circle? Can they draw a free-hand circle?
Help your child to write numerals in the circles so that you can score. Colour in the different bands. Then stick your target to the fence and shoot arrows at it (make a bow and arrow from stick) or put it on the floor and throw or roll on coins or pebbles. Ask your child what number they have scored and help them to record the score using a tally.
Here are lots of ideas from 'Wild Times'.
If you have it, read 'Going on a Bear Hunt' with your child. If you don't have the book, find it on you-tube. Join in the 'can't go over it' .....etc bits with your child
Find a tray/cardboard box/tin lid or other flatish container.
Find some small characters (any will do) and a teddy.
With your child add some grass, mud, sticks, etc to the tray and retell the story with the characters.
Why not decorate an egg (either blown or hard-boiled). You can use paint, pens or stick feathers or paper on.
Or you could make a cute chick with scraps of wool. Wind the wool around a fork, tie around the middle tightly to hold the wool together. Cut the ends of the wool to create a pom-pom. Add eyes and a beak. It doesn't have to be yellow!
It is important for all of us to take care of our mental health during these strange times.
Here are a couple of activities you can do with your child at home.
Think of 6 simple things which your child will be able to find in your garden or on your daily walk e.g. a blade of grass, a stick, a pine cone. Make a list of them and put it in the lid of an egg box. You could get your child to help you draw the pictures and write the labels if they can.
Include things your child may not know the name of e.g. a bluebell or buttercup; always good to introduce new vocabulary!
Take the box with you on your walk and help your child to find the items. Afterwards, decorate your egg box (draw on it, paint it, stick things on it) and let your child use it for their ' treasures'.
Nursery Playdough Recipe
2 cups of plain flour
1 cup of salt
1 tablespoon of cooking oil
1 teaspoon of cream of tartar (if you can't get this use 1 tablespoon of vinegar)
2 cups of cold water
Mix ingreadients together well, then heat in a large saucepan on a medium heat, stirring continuously until it thickens and your have a ball of playdough. Turn out and allow to cool, then knead until smooth. Enjoy!
[You can add food colouring to the water before mixing to make coloured playdough]
Here is an activity to help with listening skills.
Start off telling a simple story. Your child has to stop you when you have said something silly. For example
"Johnny was a 3 year old on his way to nursery. As he left, he grabbed his car keys and buckled himself into the driver's seat ..."
If they don't stop you, you keep going with the story.
Make the story as easy or as tricky as you like. Then swap and let your child tell the story. Have fun with words and ideas. Agree a fun and safe time to stop the game.
You will need - a piece of card or paper, pens and cars.
Work with your chld to draw a road map and parking spaces. Talk about features to add and what colours to use, what number to draw on their houses etc. You can label parking spaces with coloured spots to sort the 'red' cars from the 'green' etc.
This can be extended by putting a red letter 'R' and a green letter 'G' to encourage children to think about initial sounds. To progress this further put a 'C' for car spaces, 'V' for vans, 'F' for fire engines etc. Encourage your child to park them in the correct spaces.
With your child, create a memory box or bag of all your favourite things / people you are missing. For example, collect objects, photos. anything that reminds you of Granny, their friends etc and save them. Decorate the box however feels good for you. Then you can take out the objects one a time and talk with your child about their special people and what they would like to do when they see them again.
This one is good for concentration.
You will need - a tray and a tea towel (or similar)
1. With your child, gather together a number of objects and put them on the tray. Start with 4 or 5 and add objects at a time as your child (and you!) get better at the game!
2. Cover the objects with the tea towel and take one away. Can your child tell you which one is missing?
3. Swap over so that your child takes away one item for you to guess.
You can extend this by getting your child to help you find 6 red objects to put on the tray or 8 objects which begin with B. Each time, try to include one object which is new to your child so that they have to remember a new word.
Make the most of the bright spring sunshine and clouds to explore our natural world and encourage children to use their imaginations.
You will need - paper, pencils, pens and camera.
1. Go outside and lie down on the ground together on your backs, looking up into the sky (you may need a rug or floor covering to lie on).
2. Look up into the sky - what can you see?
3. Talk about the clouds, their shapes and their movement. How do they think clouds are made? Where are they travelling to? How are they moving? Why are they white?
4. Encourage children to use their imagination e.g. "Oh, look at that cloud, I think that looks like a fierce dragon breathing fire" etc.
5. Encourage the children to draw the clouds or take photos and record what the children said they looked like by adding speech bubbles with the children's words.
To extend the activity use the internet to research different cloud types and how they are made. Watch videos about clouds - there are lots on YouTube.
Here are some useful websites for you and your chilld.