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GreatStart activities – learning with your child

Being active

Hop, hop, hop and stop Help your child to draw a hopscotch course with chalk on cement. You can make the course as long as you like, but it usually has about 8 or 10 squares. Draw a set of single and double squares - like a ladder, but with extra bits. Write a number on each square of the course.Let’s write 1 on the first square and 2 on the next square. What number comes after that?Once the hopscotch course is set up you’re ready to go. Talk about the game with your child as they play.

Getting ready

It’s time to change the sheets and make the bed. This time, you could ask your child to help you.
Where will you start? Will you ask them to take off the sheets or put the fresh, clean ones on?
As you work together, talk about what you are doing and where you will start.
We are going to start at the base and work up. Let’s put the fitted sheet on first and then we will do the quilt cover.
When we put the quilt cover on, the buttons go at the top of the quilt, closest to the pillows.

Working it out

Children are natural noticers and collectors of bits. It might be a feather found at the park or a pebble from the beach. They may have a special interest in something and collect as many different bits and pieces as they can.
The toy catalogue has arrived in the letterbox. Hunt through it and see if you can find any pictures of cars you can add to your collection.
Talk to your child about what they have collected and the different things they liked about it. It might be the colour or the shape or how it feels on their hand.

Play

Are we digging to China or a tunnel under the sea?
Digging can be done just about anywhere. You can do it in your backyard, at the park or the beach, or in the kitchen when you dig out a scoop of ice-cream.
You and your child can get creative and make tunnels that travel from one country to another. Your child could help you dig a hole to plant a new lemon tree, make a trench for a stormwater pipe or get a new garden bed ready for the veggies.
Children explore how things fit and connect together from a very young age. You might see this when your child tries to slot the car keys into different locks around the house or when they pull everything out of the cupboard and try and fit it back in.

Word play

There’s something in the letterbox!Junk mail that arrives in your letterbox might look like rubbish to you, but children love it. Next time you find catalogues in the mail take some time to look at them with your child.Let’s see what these are about. What can you see on this page?You can use food catalogues to plan your meals for the week. Talk with your child about favourite foods and new foods.What should we have for lunch tomorrow? Do you want strawberries or mangoes?
Many cultures share and tell their stories through the colour, designs, placement and patterns printed or woven into their fabric and cloth.
The fabric can tell you the story of where a person lives, what animals or food can be found in the environment and who they are connected to. It can even tell you the age and status of the person wearing the cloth.
Next time you are out and about try to find some interesting or unusual fabrics to talk about. You can also look in a book.

Food

As you feed your baby it is a wonderful time to talk to them. You can do it when you snuggle up close to feed them or when they are sitting in their highchair.Talk to your baby about how much, how fast and what they are eating. As you feed your baby describe the colour and the texture of the food. You can also talk about things that are happening around you or that you can see.

Out and about

Is there a park with a pond near where you live? Are there ducks at the pond? Next time you visit take some bread with you to feed the ducks.
It’s a sunny day. Let’s go and feed the ducks down at the pond. I wonder how many ducks will be there today.
Talk about the location of the pond. Is it in the middle of the park? Or is it on the edge of the park next to the car park?
We are going to the park with the pond in the middle. We will park the car on the road next to the entrance and then walk to the pond.

Celebrations

All year round many different festivals are celebrated. Some are community festivals that celebrate the harvesting of local produce. Others are cultural or religious festivals that are celebrated across the world. There are also festivals that are small and celebrate what is happening with a small group of people.Talk with your child about what the festival is for and who celebrates it. Is it a religious festival that is celebrated as a holiday and dates back hundreds of years? Is it a festival that celebrates local artists? Talk about how they are different.

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