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GreatStart activities – learning with your child

Everyone celebrates birthdays differently, sometimes there is cake.

What would happen if there were twins? Would you make one big cake or lots of little ones?

How many cakes will we make? How many of the cakes will be red and how many will be yellow? If we make 12 cakes will there be 6 red and 6 yellow?

We are going to make lots of little cakes for the twins. They have just turned three and love red and yellow, and all things chocolate. Most of all they love to help.

There are many different ways to grow more plants. They can grow from cuttings, seeds, seedlings, bulbs or rootstock.

Next time you do your fruit and vegetable shopping with your child see if you can predict which ones will have seeds inside. If they have seeds inside you could try and grow them.

I think the pumpkin will have seeds inside that we can try to grow.

A pumpkin has lots of seeds inside but the avocado only has one big seed.

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.

Eating out at a cafe or a restaurant is an opportunity to talk and sit together as a family.

You can explore all the different types of writing and print you can see around the restaurant. Do they have a menu on the table? Is there a long list on the wall that shows the food you can order? Where else can you see words and print?

The label on the water bottle has writing and words.

What do you think the words and numbers on the door say?

Is there a park with a pond near where you live? Are there ducks at the pond? Next time you visit take some duck food 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.

Let’s make a sandcastle that reaches to the sky with turrets and bridges and a moat for boats to sail in.

Before starting, talk to your child about what you will need. Will you use a bucket and wet sand to make the main building of the castle? Can you just pile lots of sand in the middle and then smooth it over?

Let’s use the very big bucket to make the main castle building. We need to dig down to get the wet sand buried under the ground. Keep filling the bucket with sand up to the very top.

Next time you get a bill, talk about it with your child. What is it for? It might be for work you had done, something you ordered online or from when you last ate out as a family.

Explain that the purchase or service received will be described using words, symbols and numbers. These help to tell you how much you have to pay, what you are paying for, when you need to pay and the quantity you are buying.

This is the bill for dinner. It says that we ate 3 serves of fish and chips, 1 serve of pasta, an entree of squid and a bottle of sparkling water.

What will you be having for lunch today and how will you serve it?

Ask your child to help you serve the food. This might include making decisions around how to cut up the fruit or the sandwich. Talk about what type of bowl or container to use. Can your child remember what tools you use to serve the spaghetti from the bowl or whether you put ice-cream into a bowl or a cone?