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GreatStart activities – learning with your child

Being active

Jump like a kangaroo, hop like a frog Next time your child is up and moving around, challenge them to a game of imagination.Can you jump like a kangaroo? How does a frog jump?How many different animals can you and your child pretend to be?Try and think of ones that move in different ways. Some are really tall. Some move on two legs and some on four. Some move slowly and some are fast. Some are big and some are small. How will your child need to move their arms and legs to be a tall creature? What about a scary one?
If your baby has started to crawl, this game will challenge them and introduce them to lots of textures.

Lay out a course using things from around your home. You can use things like different textured bathmats, some cushions to crawl over, a large box to crawl through, a footstool to crawl around or an old shower curtain or fluffy blanket to crawl on.

Encourage your baby to crawl around the obstacle course and talk to them about what they are doing.

Does that feel bumpy? Go over the cushions. You are going under the table. There you are!
Most children love to challenge themselves physically and explore the different ways they can move around, through and over different objects. You might find your child likes to try and balance on or along lines or other surfaces.Next time you are outside with your child or walking somewhere, encourage them to try a bit of balancing. Can they balance along a line on the footpath, on a low brick wall or on one leg?
Can you run and touch that tree?Next time you are all outside you can play a game with lots of actions. Ask your child to follow your instructions, but keep it simple at first.Can you run to that tree? Can you walk to the fence? Okay, now crawl back to me.Try to think of lots of different ways to get your child moving. Younger children can walk, crawl and run. As they get older they can add more actions like hopping, jumping and skipping.After a while you can make your instructions more challenging.

Word play

Your baby could hear you talking even before they were born. They recognised your voice right from the start. They might not understand the words that you say, but they will be listening and learning.You can talk about what you are doing right now and what you are going to do.It’s time to change your nappy. Here we go - onto the change table. Let’s take off that wet nappy. I’m putting it over here in the bucket. Here’s a lovely dry one. All done.
Children are naturally inquisitive and want to know about the world and what is happening around them. The way they express their wonder and curiosity is by asking questions.
Your child might ask questions about what they see and hear or about where you are going.
Where does the sun go at night?

Play

Blowing bubbles can be a fun activity to do on a very windy day. Watch the wind catch the bubbles and lift them high into the air. Try and track an individual bubble. As the wind catches the bubble and lifts it higher make predictions as to how high it will climb.
Will it climb over the fence or even over the roof of the house?
Hold and point the bubble blower differently and watch to see if the bubbles travel in different directions. Does it make a difference or will the wind still catch the bubble and float it quickly up into the air?
Let’s build.
What shall we create? Will it be a zoo for the wild animals or a house for the snails from the garden to hide in? Maybe we can stack and stack and stack the blocks until they reach the sky!
Talk with your child about what they want to make. What resources will they need? Can your child use the blocks and toys they have or do they need different things?
Let’s build a cave for the bear to sleep in. We will need to collect sticks and stones to make the cave.

Celebrations

There is so much to remember in a day, a week, a month and a year. How do you keep track of what needs to happen and when? One way is to record an event on a calendar.Talk to your child about all of the different events that happen over the year. Explain that some things we can remember because they are regular events and happen every day or week. Other things are harder to remember because they are irregular, changing or one-off events. When you record an event, time and place on the calendar it helps you to remember and plan what you need to do.

Food

When calling your family together to share a meal talk about when they need to come. Will dinner be ready in five minutes or in half an hour? Talk about what they need to do before they come to eat together. Let them know where the meal will be served.Dinner will be ready in five minutes. You need to wash your hands and pack away your toys.

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