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GreatStart activities – learning with your child

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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.
3 to 5 years
What kind of hair does your child have? Is it long and straight or short and very curly? Does your type of hair make a difference to how often it needs to be cut?Your hair is getting very long. You don’t need to get it cut because you can tie it up for school. Your brother needs it cut as it is getting in his eyes.It is taking a long time for my hair to grow because it is curly and the curls spring up.
3 to 5 years
When you are out shopping with your child talk about the cost of items, explaining that you need to pay for them before you can take it home.
Talk to your child about the different ways that you can pay for something. You might pay using cash or by EFTPOS or credit card. Talk about why you have chosen to pay that way. Explain that if you pay by cash there might be change that could be a mixture of notes and coins.
I am going to pay cash for the pie because I have enough money in my purse.
3 to 5 years
It’s time to go off to the shops and do the shopping. Have you checked that they’re open? How could you find out?
We need to buy pita, hummus and stuffed vine leaves. I am not sure what time the shop opens. I might ring and see if they are open yet.
Explain to your child that shops have opening and closing hours and they can all be different. Some shops will open very early in the morning. Other shops are only open later in the day.
The supermarket market is open 7 days a week and starts trading at 7 in the morning.
3 to 5 years
Looking at a takeaway menu to choose what to eat is an activity that can involve the whole family. Talk about what you want to eat. Will all the family eat the same thing from the menu or will individuals be able to choose their own items from the list? Will the serves be large enough to share and if so how many people will each serve feed?
3 to 5 years
Have you ever noticed how much writing there is on clothing? Some of it’s on the outside and some is on the inside. Point out the writing as you help your child get dressed.Look at the writing on your T-shirt. Can you find the letter that your name starts with?When you are shopping for your child’s clothes show them the label and talk about the size you are looking for.You need a size 4 shirt. Can you find one with a 4?
3 to 5 years
Once you have decided that as a family you are going to keep fish, go to the pet shop together to choose the type and number of fish you want. Will you be getting tropical fish that will require warm water and a heater or will you be getting cold water fish? How big is the tank you will be using? To figure out how many fish you can keep you will need to know the size of the tank.
3 to 5 years
Getting your child to help you with the shopping involves a little planning. What you would normally do on your own quickly will take more time when you work together.
Make a list together before you go. You could use the junk mail. As you make the list talk about what items will be found.
We need to get milk, cheese and yogurt. They’ll be in the cold section in the last row.
3 to 5 years
Next time you are travelling in the car with your child and the radio is playing, talk about the music you can hear. Is it modern pop music with singing or is it orchestral with no singing? Are there lots of people singing and playing instruments?
This style of music is called jazz. There are different styles of jazz music. Some jazz music is older and doesn’t have any singing.
This song is a duet. It’s called that because it is sung by two people.
3 to 5 years
Children love maps. If you have a street directory see if you can find where you live on the map for your suburb. Work out the different routes you could take to get to places like the shops, kindy, playgroup, friend’s places or Granny’s house. Older children might like to follow the way on the map or on the GPS if you have one in the car or on your phone. Talk about street and suburb names as you look at the maps or as you program the GPS. Talk about the symbols you see on the map. Try and predict what they might be.
3 to 5 years
Next time you are out and about shopping with your child ask them to help you look for a spot to park the car. Will you try and find a spot in the car park or look for a park out on the street?
Talk to your child about how long you will be at the shops. Are there time restrictions that change where you park and how long you’ll stay?
We’re going to see a movie and have lunch. We will be at the shopping centre for more than 2 hours so we have to find an all-day park.