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GreatStart activities – learning with your child

Play

Playing with a big block of ice can keep your child interested for a long time.
Get a large container like a plastic basin and fill it three quarters full of water. Freeze it for about 12 hours. The next day take the ice out of the container and put it outside on cement, the deck or the lawn. Give your child some tools to use with the block. You could use a toothbrush, a fork, a butterknife, or even some cups to pour water over the block… use your imagination! Even a toy hammer and chisel would be great.
Children delight in finding surprises and these blocks are a way of keeping your child interested as they try to free the surprise in the iceblock.
Partially fill a milk carton or small plastic container with water. Add a plastic creature or other surprise such as a shell, leaves or even flowers. Freeze it overnight and turn out the iceblock in the morning. Talk to your child about the different ways they could free the surprise.
How can you get the surprise out of the iceblock?

Celebrations

The Christmas pageant has been and gone, Father Christmas has arrived and it is time to decorate the Christmas tree.What kind of Christmas tree will your family have? Will it be a real pine tree that you buy from a special place or a branch from a gum tree? Does your family have an artificial one that you take down and put up every year? Do you have an inside Christmas tree or one that you decorate outside?It’s the first Saturday in December. It is time to put up the Christmas tree.
The first day of starting anything new can be a very stressful time your child. As the big day approaches, talk about what might happen, who will be there and what they can do if a problem occurs. Creating routines and having a dry run can help to reduce anxiety as your child will begin to understand what to expect.
Spring is nearly here and September is show month.Explore with your child all the different types of shows that are held. Explain that there are country shows and big city shows. Talk to your child about what they might see at a small local show compared to a big city show.If you are going to go to the show with your child make a plan of what you want to see, do and eat before you go.
Instead of buying wrapping paper and gift bags this year you could try to make your own. Your child could help you.Talk about what kind of wrapping paper you want to make. You could draw pictures, create dotty paper using stickers that are round, or use paint to create different designs. Will you use lots of different colours to create a rainbow? Would you rather use just one or two colours to make it match the decorations on your Christmas tree?Our Christmas tree has red and green decorations. We can make paper that will match.

Being active

Let's party! Friday night could be party time at your house. First set the scene. Where will the dance party be? Do you need to move some furniture? Have you got music? Do you have some coloured lights?Let’s move the chairs out of the way. They’re heavy so we’ll need to push hard.Put the music on and dance with your children. Think of lots of ways to move and let the music guide you.This is slow music. Let’s move slowly. Now it's jumpy and fast - so let's go!
Most children find it fun to play - seeking out adventures and actively exploring the world with their bodies.Playing at a park or a playground will give your child an opportunity to use all their big muscles and experiment with how to move their bodies in different directions. They can run as fast as the wind or roll down the hills like a spinning top.There are other ways that you can encourage your child to be physical and active. You could try:

Working it out

Yesterday you planted new seedlings in the garden and today when you look they are not there.
Where do you think they went? Did a giant rabbit sneak into the garden at night and take them home for dinner?
The insects and bugs have been eating our seedling during the night. We need to go bug hunting in our garden to find them.

Word play

Use photos of your child and their adventures to make special books for them. Choose some photos together and print them out. Glue them on pages so they make a story. Your child can help to add decorations like stickers or drawings. Write the story in the book together and then join the pages with cable ties or ribbons. Your child will love hearing you read a story about them.

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