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GreatStart activities – learning with your child

Birth to 5 years
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.
Birth to 5 years
There are many different activities that you can do at the beach and talking to your child about what they would like to do will help you to decide what type of beach you will go to.
The beach can be a very relaxing and restful place where you can talk, read, build sandcastles and lie on the sand. It can also be very active and involve going for long walks, running, playing or swimming.
Birth to 5 years
Jump like a kangaroo, hop like a frog Next time your child is up and moving around, challenge them to a game of imagination.Can you jump like a kangaroo? How does a frog jump?How many different animals can you and your child pretend to be?Try and think of ones that move in different ways. Some are really tall. Some move on two legs and some on four. Some move slowly and some are fast. Some are big and some are small. How will your child need to move their arms and legs to be a tall creature? What about a scary one?
Birth to 5 years
Your child can learn a lot when cooking with you. Why not make a cake together?What does the recipe ask for? Do you have all the ingredients?Can you see if we have some milk and 4 eggs in the fridge? How much flour do we have? Is the jar full or getting empty? While you are making the cake, read out the recipe for your child to follow. Show them the numbers and words in the recipe. 
Birth to 5 years
Most children love to challenge themselves physically and explore the different ways they can move around, through and over different objects. You might find your child likes to try and balance on or along lines or other surfaces.Next time you are outside with your child or walking somewhere, encourage them to try a bit of balancing. Can they balance along a line on the footpath, on a low brick wall or on one leg?
Birth to 5 years
Let’s build.
What shall we create? Will it be a zoo for the wild animals or a house for the snails from the garden to hide in? Maybe we can stack and stack and stack the blocks until they reach the sky!
Talk with your child about what they want to make. What resources will they need? Can your child use the blocks and toys they have or do they need different things?
Let’s build a cave for the bear to sleep in. We will need to collect sticks and stones to make the cave.
Birth to 5 years
A cardboard box car can be as simple or as fancy as you like. You’ll need a cardboard box that is big enough for your child to get inside.
Which box can you fit in? Is it too big, too small or just right?
Seal up the box with masking tape. If you want to paint the box now is a good time to do it. Make sure you let it dry before you add the other parts of the car.
What colour would you like your car to be? Can you cover every bit of the box?
Birth to 5 years
Children are naturally inquisitive and want to know about the world and what is happening around them. The way they express their wonder and curiosity is by asking questions.
Your child might ask questions about what they see and hear or about where you are going.
Where does the sun go at night?
Birth to 5 years
When calling your family together to share a meal talk about when they need to come. Will dinner be ready in five minutes or in half an hour? Talk about what they need to do before they come to eat together. Let them know where the meal will be served.

Dinner will be ready in five minutes. You need to wash your hands and pack away your toys.
Birth to 5 years
Can you run and touch that tree?Next time you are all outside you can play a game with lots of actions. Ask your child to follow your instructions, but keep it simple at first.Can you run to that tree? Can you walk to the fence? Okay, now crawl back to me.Try to think of lots of different ways to get your child moving. Younger children can walk, crawl and run. As they get older they can add more actions like hopping, jumping and skipping.After a while you can make your instructions more challenging.
Birth to 5 years
Cleaning our teeth is something that we do at least once every day. Some families have a routine of cleaning their teeth after every meal while other families may clean their teeth in the morning and then at night before they go to bed. Talking to your child as you clean their teeth - or as they try themselves - is a wonderful opportunity to use positional and directional language. Talk about where you will start cleaning.
Birth to 5 years
There are many different ways you can move about. You can crawl, run, jump, roll or climb.You can climb up, over, under and through things. Next time you are outside, at the park or moving about talk to your child about the different things they can climb.We are going to the park with the big trees and logs. When we get there you can climb up the trees or over the logs.The cup is on the shelf. You will need to climb onto the step to reach it.
Birth to 5 years
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.
Birth to 5 years
Your child can learn a lot when cooking with you. Start with a family favourite that you all like to eat.Talk about what you are going to make and what you will need. Ask your child to help you find the different utensils you need for cooking.We are making pita. We need to find the sieve for the flour, a large bowl for mixing, and a cup for measuring out the flour.Once you have all the utensils and ingredients, talk with your child about what will happen.
Birth to 5 years
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.
Birth to 5 years
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.
Birth to 5 years
Sitting together as a family to share food can be a great opportunity to talk about what happened during the day or what might happen tomorrow.If the weather is nice you could pack a picnic and sit outside or go to the park and share a meal together. If it is cold and wet you could still have a picnic, but have it inside by the fire or heater where it is nice and warm.
Birth to 5 years
Summer is a wonderful time to encourage children to eat fruit and a fun way to do this is to add fruit to iceblocks. Fruit iceblocks can be a refreshing and healthy afternoon snack on a hot day and if your child is reluctant to eat fruit it may encourage them to try.
Birth to 5 years
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?
Birth to 5 years
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.
Birth to 5 years
Quick! It’s time to go. We will be late for school. But where are your shoes and socks?
Encouraging your child to find their shoes and socks helps them to develop listening and navigation skills.
Talk to your child about where their shoes and socks might be. Is there a special place where all of the shoes are kept?
Your shoes are by the front door. We took them off before we came inside.
Birth to 5 years
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.
Birth to 5 years
Getting a new pet is an exciting event and your child will learn a lot. First you need to discuss what the most suitable pet for your family is. A large dog might not be great in a small flat, but hermit crabs might be perfect. You also need to think about how much a pet costs to buy and look after. Once you have decided to get a pet it's time to find out a bit more - write down a list of what you want to know.
What kind of pet would be good for your family? You could look online, go to the library or ask other people.
Birth to 5 years
Ask your child to help you find the food or ingredients you will need for the meal. Talk with your child about what you are doing. Is the meal ready-made or does it needs to be made from scratch? If it is ready-made where is it kept? If it is not ready-made where are the different ingredients stored? What order will you need to collect the ingredients in?

Let’s get out the vegetables first but wait to get the cheese out as that needs to be kept cold.
Birth to 5 years
What’s the time? Is it time for bed?
Getting ready for bed is a wonderful opportunity to explore time and to look at the way we combine events together into a sequence. As bedtime approaches talk about what time your child will go to bed and how they know when that is. Is their bedtime 6pm - at the end of a favourite program? Or is it at the end of the evening meal?
Birth to 5 years
When you read a party invitation together you will be looking at what time the party is being held, the location of the party, whether it is indoor or outdoor and what will happen at the party.
Birth to 5 years
Is it smaller or bigger? Will it fit or not? How will I know if it fits in the box?When you are doing things with your child point out the different sizes of objects. Get them to compare them to things that they know are really big, like an elephant, or really small, like an ant.Which is taller - the building with 100 windows or the tomato plant?Would an ant’s feet be smaller or bigger than yours?
Birth to 5 years
Is it full, is it empty, is it nearly to the top, can you squish one more in before it pops?​When you are unpacking and putting away the shopping with your child, talk about the capacity or volume of the jars you have bought. Which jar is bigger and holds more? Are all of the jars full to the top or could some of the jars hold more? How do you know what size the jar is? Sometimes a jar or container can look bigger than another, but is it? How do you know?Once all of the jars have been unpacked, talk about your own storage containers.
Birth to 5 years
You can help your child learn about growing by measuring their height over time.
Have your child stand next to the door jamb. They need to stand straight and tall. Rest a ruler or book on your child’s head - touching it lightly against the wall - and use a pencil to mark their height. Measure the distance from the floor to the mark using a tape measure or a ruler. Write your child's height and the date next to the mark on the wall. Don’t forget to measure everyone in the family - even the grown-ups and the dog!
Birth to 5 years
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.
Birth to 5 years
I spy with my little eye something that is green, soft and found outside!
Next time you are waiting for an appointment, have some spare time, or travelling on the bus, play I-spy with your child.
There are many different ways you can play I-spy. You might play using the first letter of the word, the colour and shape of the object or what you use it for. How you play will change depending on your child’s age and how interested they are.
I spy with my little eye something I can drink with.
Birth to 5 years
The weather has changed and it’s time to see if last year’s clothing still fits.
Summer has finally ended and the nights are getting cold. I think it is time to change to winter pyjamas. We will have to see if last year’s still fit.
Talk with your child about the different ways you can work out if their clothing will fit. Do they need to try it on? Can you just hold it up against them to see if it is still big enough?
Birth to 5 years
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.
Birth to 5 years
The rain has fallen, the sun is out and everyone’s keen to get out the door and go.
What do you do when you get out and everything is wet and damp? You could go on a discovery walk. Talk about the different things you might see or find.
The rain is dripping off the tip of the leaf.
Are there different creatures that come out after the rain? Have things fallen out of the trees that you would not normally see? Are there puddles with floating leaves or sticks?
Birth to 5 years
The weather has changed and the wind is blowing a gale.What do you do? Do you stay inside where it is warm and toasty or do you go outside and brave the wild weather?If you stay inside, look out the window and talk together about what you notice. Can you see the wind lifting up the leaves and blowing them high into the sky? Are the branches on the trees moving and bending in the wind? What else can you see?The wind is so strong that it’s blown over the pot plant by the barbecue.
Birth to 5 years
It’s raining it’s pouring, everything’s wet and boring…The weather has changed and winter has arrived. Often when this happens and the rain rolls in it is hard to find things to do outside to keep your child busy and active. Rain puddles are just made for jumping. You can try jumping over puddles with your child.
Birth to 5 years
Children are natural movers and shakers. As they grow, your child is constantly exploring how to move their body in different ways.Sometimes they are exploring how to move through an object, such as a tunnel. Other times they might be exploring how to move their body in time to the music and the beat.It’s really fast music - I can’t jump as fast as that.
Birth to 5 years
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:
Birth to 5 years
Look, up in the sky - what can you see?

Take some time to encourage your child to stop and look up while you are out walking or lying on the grass.

Talk about what you see. Clouds are always changing. Sometimes they are white, sometimes shades of grey.

There are lots of clouds today. Are they big, fluffy clouds or long thin ones? What colour are they?

You can also talk about why the clouds are different colours or about how they are moving.
Birth to 5 years
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.
Birth to 5 years
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.
Birth to 5 years
Making your own playdough is easy and your child will be learning as they go. Ask your child to help you find the ingredients in the cupboard. They can measure them out ready to mix.Fill the measuring cup right to the top. That makes one cup. Now we need another cup of flour. That makes two cups of flour.
Birth to 5 years
Getting the family to agree on what to eat can be tricky sometimes. Why not create a family cookbook to help everyone decide.Gather the family together and talk about how you will organise the book and what you will put in it.There are many different ways you could set up the cookbook. You could organise it by:
Birth to 5 years
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.
Birth to 5 years
When you and your child are playing outside see how many different ways can you move your body.
How many jumps or hops can you do on your right leg and can you do the same amount on your left leg? Can you keep a ball or balloon in the air for one minute before it touches the ground?
How quickly can you crawl to the back fence and then hop to the side gate?
Did you do it faster yesterday than today?
Birth to 5 years
We went to visit the city one day and caught a tram along the way. What do you think we noticed that day?Lots of different noises – car horns tooting, trucks reversing, clocks chiming, people talking, water rushing and tram bells sounding.Lots of shiny windows – different shaped ones, reflective ones, open ones, ones with writing and ones you can see through.Lots of signs – traffic signs, pedestrian signs, advertising, stop signs and shop signs.Lots of people moving – quickly, slowly, riding, driving, holding hands and carrying bags.
Birth to 5 years
Talk to your child about what they might want to eat when at kindy or childcare.How many things is that? Will they fit inside the shape of the lunch box? Do some of the things need to go into the fridge or will they all stay in your lunch box till lunchtime?
Birth to 5 years
Packing up time can be turned into a fun learning experience when you and your child share the task together. Talk about where each toy belongs before you put it away, so that your child is able to predict where to place items.We have lots of different toys to pack away. We can put the blocks in the basket and the cars in the bucket. We can roll up the car mat and pop it behind the toy box.Turn the task into a game by setting some challenges.
Birth to 5 years
When children go to childcare, kindergarten or school they will take a bag with them. In their bag there will be things that they need every day and some things that they will only need for that day. Ask them to identify what they need every day and to locate the objects to go into the bag. Talk about what are the “only today things” and where they can find them.
Birth to 5 years
Painting is a wonderful activity that can be enjoyed inside and outside and does not always need to include paint. On a hot day painting could be a bucket of water and a paint brush, making designs and swirls on the path, watching to see how quickly the hot sun makes the water disappear.
Shaving cream is another wonderful substitute for paint. Your child can spread and move the shaving cream across the table with their hands and fingers. Encourage them to smooth the shaving cream out flat and draw pictures in the flat surface with their fingers.
Birth to 5 years
When children use tools to pick things up they are building muscle strength and developing coordination. One way to do this is to give your child plastic tweezers to pick up items and transfer them from bowl to bowl. You could use coloured pom-poms, beans, pasta, shapes, gumnuts or cotton balls. Helping to serve up food with kitchen tongs is another way to develop hand control.
Birth to 5 years
Is it a plane, is it a bird, is it Superman? No, it’s a jumbo jet bringing families home!
Often when you are outside or travelling around with your child they will notice a plane in the sky. When they do, talk to them about what they can see.
Can you see the plane flying in front of the cloud? Do you think it is a big plane or a small one?
That is a very big plane. How many engines can you see on it?
Birth to 5 years
Playing with balls outside provides children with the opportunity to catch and throw, roll and kick, push, punch and chase after the ball. As the ball moves, talk about the way it is moving.Is it moving along the ground at a fast pace or bouncing up and down on the same spot? Can you roll the ball under the chair or throw it at a target on the shed?
Birth to 5 years
Playing with playdough is a wonderful opportunity to creatively explore what objects can be made but also to engage in pretend play. By adding patty pans, bowls, biscuit cutters, baking trays, and coloured stones suddenly your child is making cupcakes and biscuits for a birthday party. Take away the cooking utensils and add sticks and feathers and the activity can change to making birds and a bird’s nest.
Birth to 5 years
Talk about how thirsty your child is - do they want a big glass or a small glass? Is there a favourite glass that they have and can they find where it is? Will they have a hot or a cold drink and where would they find the drink? When you pour the drink will it be from a tap that may come out of the tap very fast or will it be poured from a jug slowly?
Birth to 5 years
Shoes and socks sometimes need to go on quickly, but when you have a few extra minutes putting on shoes and socks can be a wonderful opportunity to explore direction, space and the type of footwear you need for different events or weather conditions.
Birth to 5 years
Reading can happen anywhere and everywhere. We read signs, recipes, information on packets and tins, bus timetables and menus. A love of words and language can be encouraged by reading books together.
Birth to 5 years
Children often experiment with moving their bodies in different ways. They might move in time to music or try and fit their bodies inside different spaces. Sometimes they will try and figure out how to move without using their legs and feet.Next time you are near a hill encourage your child to experiment with different ways to roll down the hill. Can they tuck their bodies into a tight ball and roll? Can they become long and sausage-like, putting their arms above their head as they roll?
Birth to 5 years
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?
Birth to 5 years
Talking about what you will eat for dinner and setting the table together helps children experiment with ways they can measure and compare their world. As you describe the food and how it will be served encourage your child to find differently shaped or sized cups and plates. As they do this they are learning about measurement and the ways they can compare or describe objects.
Birth to 5 years
Crash, bang, play and sing. Let’s make an orchestra.Your home is full of things that you can use to make music. Your child can help you find all sorts of possibilities in the saucepan and plastics cupboards.Saucepans and large mixing bowls make fantastic drums. They could use a wooden spoon or their hands to make music. Two saucepan lids make a pair of cymbals. A funnel makes a trumpet.
Birth to 5 years
Often when you go to do the washing you will have a large basket of dirty clothing, towels, or sheets that need to be sorted before they can be put in the washing machine. Your child can help you to sort and group the items ready to wash. Talk to your child about the different ways that you can sort the washing, such as by colour, by material, and by function. Once you have identified how you will sort the clothing ask your child to find certain things, such as all the socks or all the green clothes.
Birth to 5 years
Splish splash, I’m in the bath and having lots of fun.Let your child play, exploring the water and how it moves as they swish their hands and legs. Let them try and scoop up the water with their hands, exploring what happens when they open their fingers. Does the water stay put or does it trickle out slowly and run back into the bath?
Birth to 5 years
Will we go up? Will we go down? Can you jump from the top down to the ground?
Next time you are out and about and see some steps, encourage your child to climb them. As you help your child go up and down you could count how many steps there are or talk about which direction you are going.
Let’s start at the bottom of the steps and climb to the top.
There are 4 more steps till we reach the bottom.
Birth to 5 years
There are many different ways that we share stories. It can be by talking, by showing them in a painting, drawing, weaving, or design, in photographs or by using the natural environment.
One way to help your child tell and listen to stories is to use stones. When you use stones to tell stories the tale changes, taking on many possibilities and personalities that are not just words or pictures on a page. The picture, colour or pattern on the stone becomes a page in a story.
Birth to 5 years
There are many different ways that we share stories. It can be by talking, reading a book, showing a painting, drawing, weaving or design or by using the natural environment. One way to share stories with your child is to tell them - using memory or imagination.
As you snuggle up close with your child and tell stories they will notice how your voice, face and body changes as the story develops. As the tale changes and grows - and each new character is introduced - they will hear different words and language.
Birth to 5 years
Children often experiment with water. Gather some containers, tubes and funnels and help your child experiment with how the water flows from one container to the next. Together you can explore how much water one container will hold compared to another and how quickly a container will fill up before it flows over the top.
Birth to 5 years
You can thread nearly anything that has a hole in it. A hole punch is great for making holes, even in leaves. Cut a length of string, thin plastic tubing or wool. Tie something on one end so the pieces don't fall off. Try threading pasta shapes, cut-up straws, beads, leaves, shells or pieces of fabric.
Can you put this shell on the string? Can you turn it around so it fits?
The threadings can become necklaces or decorations to hang in trees or windows.
Birth to 5 years
Buying new shoes for your child gives you a chance to talk about growing and changing. You can talk about why your child needs new shoes.Are they worn out or broken, or are they too small for growing feet?What kind of shoes do you need? Are they for summer or winter, for inside or outside, or for everyday or special events?Will you go to a special shoe shop or to a department store or supermarket? How will you know which size shoes to buy?Why do feet grow, anyway?
Birth to 5 years
If you are going on a bus, train or tram look up the timetables with your child before you go. Talk about how you are going to get there. Will it be on the bus, on a tram or by train?
Show your child that each bus or train has its own timetable.
Which number bus are we catching? The 224 or the 225?
What time do we need to get there? How long will it take? What time do we leave home?
You might use a paper timetable, look at a timetable online or use the timetable at the bus, train or tram stop.
Birth to 5 years
Spring has arrived and it’s time to plant new seedlings.
Before you plant the next lot of seedlings do you need to add more soil to the pots? Has the soil gradually disappeared leaving the pot half full?
How will you go about filling up the pots? Will you buy bags of soil from the garden centre or will you have a trailer load of soil delivered? If you get a trailer load will it be all hands on deck, shovelling and moving the soil?
We have 20 pots to fill so everyone will need to help shovel the soil.
Birth to 5 years
While you are waiting for the lift to come talk to your child about the number of the floor that you want to travel to.
Is it a high number or a low number?
Is it a number above the ground floor which means the lift will travel up or is the floor below ground level and so will go down?
Talk about how the buttons have symbols on them that will provide directions and instructions. The buttons may have numbers on them or arrows or letters.
What do the different symbols mean?
Birth to 5 years
There are many different ways you can travel to a place. You could go by bus, train or tram. Next time you are travelling by public transport with your child take some time to talk about the different things that you notice around you.
Talk with your child about what you see inside the vehicle compared to outside. Inside there will be lots of different people to notice compared to outside. Point out to your child the different shapes and sizes of the people or what they are wearing.
Can you see the short man with the blue hat?
Birth to 5 years
All you need is a container, some water and some things to play with. Half fill a plastic tub, the bathroom sink or even a baby bath with water. Choose a few different containers and sit with your child and play together. Talk about what is happening as you measure, pour and gently splash.How many of those cups does it take to fill the teapot? What about these little bottles?Can you squeeze all the water out of the sponge?Oh, no - we got wet!
Birth to 5 years
Before getting the shopping out of the car try and estimate with your child how many bags of shopping there will be to carry in. Talk about how many bags each of you will have to carry. Try and predict how many trips back and forth to the car that will be. Talk about which bags are full and which are not. Will the full bags be the heaviest? Place the bags on the ground and ask your child to lift the bags up to identify which bag is heavy and which is light.Are these all the same or are some heavier and some lighter?
Birth to 5 years
Are you wondering what your family can do this weekend? You could visit the Botanic Gardens.
Before you go to the gardens talk to your child about the different things you can do and see there.
Explain that the garden is divided into different sections and each section tells a story of different types of plants and where they can be found. Explain to your child that the plants are grouped into ones that are the same. Some of the plants will be in special houses because they need hot weather to grow.
Birth to 5 years
“Miss Polly had a dolly who was sick, sick, sick . . .So she rang for the doctor to come quick, quick, quick.”
Sometimes children can become ill very quickly and there is a quick rush to the doctor or the hospital. Other times it will be a planned visit – maybe for a check-up. When it is a planned visit you can talk to your child about what will happen at the doctor. Talk to them about the different people they will see at the surgery. Will there be a doctor, a nurse and other patients?
Birth to 5 years
Next time you have a letter to post walk with your child to the postbox. Before you go predict what you might see along the way.Will there be a dog today or will someone be watering their garden?As you walk together talk about the things you notice and describe where you see them. You could count the letterboxes as you go, trying to work out what the number is and then predict what the next number will be.Are the numbers going up or down?
Birth to 5 years
Washing the dog can be a great activity on a hot day. There can be lots of discussion and negotiation as you try and wash your dog without ending up soaked.
Let’s call the dog 'Harry'.
Harry is a big dog and you will have to work hard to get him wet from head to tail.
Before starting, work out a plan about how you will wash Harry and who will do what.
Where will you start? What do you need to do first? Can you put the shampoo straight on or do you need to get Harry wet first? Who will get the water?
Birth to 5 years
It’s time to wash your child’s hair. Where will you start? Will you brush out the tangles first or dive straight in and get their hair wet?
Talk with your child about what you are doing. Do you wash your child’s hair as part of their bath time routine or do you wash their hair over a basin?
Can you tip your head back so the water will run down your hair and into the bowl behind you?
As you wash your child’s hair talk about how long or how thick their hair is and where you will start to wash.
Birth to 5 years
Together you can look closely at hands and fingers, turning them backwards and forwards, talking about the back of your hand and the top of your hand. Talk with your child as you wash your hands together.
Let’s turn on the tap slowly to fill the sink. How many hands do you have? How many fingers do you have? Let’s put our hands in the water and wash right up to our wrists.
Now we can dry our hands and let the water drain away. Sing a song while you wash your hands, such as ‘this is the way we wash our hands, wash our hands, to wash away the dirt’.
Birth to 5 years
Watering the garden and pot plants is a wonderful opportunity for children to play with water and to experiment with measuring and following directions. Set up a visual schedule that shows what time of day the garden and plants will be watered. This could include a photo of a clock with the time on it or you could set a timer to sound when it is time to water the garden. Include information about which plants will be watered. Will all of the garden be watered every day or will some plants only be watered now and then?
Birth to 5 years
We went walking and what did we see?Windows - round ones, long ones, narrow ones, patterned ones and ones with writing.We went walking and what did we hear?Noises - birds chirping, bees buzzing, car horns tooting, people laughing, crossings beeping and lifts dinging.We went walking and what did we feel?Textures - rough and lumpy ones, smooth and slippery ones, sharp and prickly ones, soft and squishy ones.
Birth to 5 years
We're having a baby!The announcement of a new baby is a very exciting time and will involve a lot of talking, planning and action for the whole family. Your child can also be involved in getting organised for the arrival of your newest family member.Talk with your child about when the baby is expected to be born and what will happen to your body as the baby grows. You could mark important dates and milestones on the calendar and encourage your child to mark off each day as the milestones get closer.
Birth to 5 years
There are many different ways that you can have a car race at home. One of the most exciting ways is to build your own racetrack with blocks and found parts. Together you can experiment with different designs to see which car will make it to the bottom first in the fastest time. Sometimes if the car is travelling too fast it might crash and not finish the race.
Birth to 5 years
Next time you are out and about with your child take notice of the different cars that you see. Talk about the colour, how many doors the car has, the numbers on the numberplate, or the size of the car.
That car has round headlights, but the small green one has square ones.
Sometimes you could make predictions about what you will see before you set off. Later on, you can compare to see who was right or had the closest guess.
I think we will see more red cars than green ones today.
Birth to 5 years
Everyone is different and unique. How we look and dress, what we like, the things we are good at and are interested in differs for everyone.Sometimes members of the same family can look similar. Do you all have the same hair and eye colour or is each person a little different?The boys in our family all have blue eyes but the girls have a mixture of green and brown.
Birth to 5 years
Have you ever noticed the number of different textures around us?The rug on the bed can feel soft and cuddly, the new wool jumper might be hard and scratchy and the window after the rain could be cold and slippery.Next time you are out or moving around the house talk to your child about how things feel.As you help your child dress you can talk about how the clothing feels. You could try exploring the different textures of food at breakfast time.Your leggings feel bumpy! I think it is because they are ribbed.
Birth to 5 years
Every day many different things happen. Some of them are planned and predictable but others just pop up.Make time with your child at the end of each day to talk about the different things that happened. You might talk about events that you did together, ones that suddenly came up or things that happened to your child while they were at kindy or childcare.As you talk together about your day, remember to give your child time to think and respond to what you are saying. One way to keep the conversation going is to ask questions about what happened.
Birth to 5 years
Every day the weather is different and this will effect what we can do and wear. Talk to your child about the different ways that you can find out about the weather. You could listen to the weather forecast the night before on the radio, watch it on the news on the TV or read the predicted weather forecast in the paper. Looking at the predicted weather the day before will help plan what you will be able to do for the day and what to wear. You may choose to find out about the weather on the day.
Birth to 5 years
Did you hear that? What was that? Was it a bird?
Every day your child will hear different sounds and noises around them. Sometimes they will know the sound and be able to tell you what it is. They might tell you where the noise or sound is coming from.
I can hear music outside. That’s the music from the ice-cream van.
Other times your child might hear a noise that surprises them and not be able to name what it is.
That was a very loud noise. I think it was the truck collecting the rubbish bins.
Birth to 5 years
Next time you are outside with your child ask them what they can see in the sky. Is it different in the morning compared to late in the afternoon or evening?There are lots of clouds up in the sky. Can you see anything else?It is very hot today. What can you see in the sky that helps us to keep warm?Talk to your child about what they can see. Is it always the same? Is the sun always in the sky?It is nearly sunset. Look at the sun – it looks closer to the ocean and lower in the sky.
Birth to 5 years
The washing is dry and now it is time to put it away. You could ask your child to help you sort the washing into different piles. Start by asking your child to find their own clothes.
Let’s start by sorting the socks first. Can you find all of your socks?
As you sort through the basket of washing, talk about the different types and sizes of clothing. Explain to your child that the size can help you to work out who it belongs to.
Dida is the biggest person in our family. His jeans are a lot bigger than Benny’s jeans.
Birth to 5 years
Is it time to wash your car? Your child can get involved too. All you need is the car, a bucket of soapy water, a sponge, and a towel to dry everyone with after you finish.
Birth to 5 years
Writing a card or letter is an interesting activity for children.First think about who the letter is for and what you want to say. Is it for a birthday, is it a get well card or a postcard while you are on holiday? It could even be a letter to the child themselves. Your child can draw or write the letter. Or if your child is younger, ask them what they want you to write for them. As they get older they can copy some words that you write for them on the letter.