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GreatStart activities – learning with your child

Birth to 2 years
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!
Birth to 2 years
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.
Birth to 2 years
Next time your baby needs their nappy changed use the time to sing songs and to talk to them. As you change your baby’s nappy, name the different parts of their body and talk about what they can use them for.
Here are your feet. They are good for jumping and kicking the ball.
Birth to 2 years
Next time you are dressing your baby talk about what you are doing. 

Let’s get you dressed and ready for the day. It’s cold outside so we need warm clothes. 

As you move your baby around to put on their clothes, name the different parts of their body. After a while you might notice that your baby begins to help you by turning with you. 

First we put on your top. Over your head it goes. One arm, now the other arm. There you go.

You could talk about what is going to happen next. 
Birth to 2 years
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.
Birth to 2 years
Babies love to be outside. There is so much for them to experience all year around.In spring you could show your baby flowers growing in gardens or parks. Talk with them about the colours, the size and the smell of the flowers. Brush their fingers in the petals. Listen to their babble and respond to it.Look how pretty this rose is. It has soft, pink petals. It smells beautiful.
Birth to 2 years
Next time you have a few minutes or you are waiting for the bus to arrive play peekaboo with your baby. You can play using your hands to cover your face. You can also hide behind a book or a paper and pop out from behind it.
Before you start make sure you are facing your baby and have their attention. Try and keep your baby’s attention by changing the noise you make and your facial expression.
Encourage your child to join in by helping them to cover their own face with their hands.
Birth to 2 years
It is never too early to begin singing to your baby. You can even start before they are born.
Sing songs that you know. Your baby won’t mind if you are not a great singer. You can sing about what you are doing or looking at. At bath time you could sing:
Five little ducksWent out one dayOver the hill and far away
You could make up songs or add your baby’s name to the song.
Little Maggie had a farmEe i ee i oh! Ee-i-ee-i-o!
You can also sing lullabies to help your baby sleep or settle.
Birth to 2 years
Treasure baskets are wonderful ways for babies or children to explore sensory materials. Just put some items in a basket and let your little one explore them. Stay close by but let them choose which item they want to explore and for how long. You can talk about what they are doing with each one.How does the wool feel? Is it soft on your face? What else can you find in the basket?