Children learn through little things every day like talking, playing and going about your daily routine.
Children in the early years learn best through play as the impacts on a child’s life can be tremendous but remember it should be fun for everyone!
Playing helps develop their physical, mental and emotional skills which teaches them to work in groups, settle conflicts, develop their imagination and try out different roles. They also practise decision making, learning to stand up for themselves, create, explore and lead.
Tips for parents:
- Choose an activity that suits you, your child and your day.
- Adapt activities for your child depending on their age – you know your child best.
- Have fun!
Here are some ideas and activities to help your child learn through play at home:
Other activities provided by Lancashire:
- Tummy Time – a great activity to do with a non-mobile baby.
- Endless Possibilities and Loose Parts - Play with objects you can find - a great substitute when you're out and you haven't packed a bag of toys.
- Storytellers - Storytelling is an engaging activity that can be done anywhere with your child. It is reading aloud, but you don't necessarily need a book to tell your child a story.
- Exploring New Places - Exploring and visiting new places is exciting for your child, it opens their eyes to the world they live in.
- The Great Outdoors – Use these ideas to make the most of being in the great outdoors with lots of opportunities for learning.
- Listening Carefully - Activities for children of different ages to help them tune in to different sounds, an important part of communication.
- Fun with Words - Make building your child's vocabulary fun with this obstacle course game.
- Little Scientists - Inspire curiosity and learn about colour mixing and patterns with this simple experiment you can do at home.
- Curious Objects - Looking at artefacts or objects from the past can help spark your child's curiosity about history.
- Little Chefs - Cooking with your child is the best way to teach your child about eating the right types of food.
- Outdoor Games - Find out more about what your child can learn from playing outdoor games and try these three ideas.
- Making the Story come Alive – Sound Effects - Create an interactive story-time with your child.
- Washing the Car - Water play is an accessible activity that your child can learn a great deal from. If you don't have a car, wash the children's outdoor toys such as the slide or their bikes.
- Planting and Growing - Gardening offers so many fun and interesting opportunities for your child.
- A Gift for Someone Special - Teach your child what a heartfelt thank you feels like with this paper pulp pendant activity.
- Making a Card and Posting it - A fun way to engage your child in making marks (early writing).
- Going on a Journey - Going on a journey with your child on public transport let's your child see the world they live in alongside you.
- Homes for Minibeasts - Help develop your child's knowledge of the natural world they live in. This is a project that will take time, lasting a weekend (on and off) but you can use these ideas to teach your child about nature at any time.
- Den Making - Encourage your child to get creative and develop their problem solving skills with these den building ideas.
- Tinkering - Hands-on tinkering with tools and old electrical equipment is great for exploring, inventing and developing fine motor skills.
- Hide and Seek or Peek-a-boo - Did you know that children learn lots of skills from these simple games?
- Follow my Leader - A fun way to teach your child new physical skills. You don't need any resources for this game.
- Make a Leaf Crown - Celebrate the changing seasons and connect with nature by making a leaf crown.
For more activities, you can also visit the Hungry Little Minds website.
Tiny Happy People – Helping you develop your child’s communication skills. Explore the simple activities and play ideas and find out about their amazing early development.
For more information about helping your child to learn and develop, see What to expect in the Early Years Foundation Stage: a guide for parents – from The East London Research School.