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GreatStart activities – learning with your child

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.
3 to 5 years
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?
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
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:
3 to 5 years
We often send cards to family and friends at Christmas time. Instead of buying cards this year you could ask your child to help you make some.Talk with your child about the different types of cards you can get and what they are used for. There are table cards that help people to know where to sit, cards that are tags for presents and cards to write in. What kind of cards will you make?We need to make cards to label the presents, and cards to send to Nana and Papa in England.
3 to 5 years
Drawing and writing doesn’t just happen inside. Outside can be a great place to draw and write too.Give your child some chalk to draw with when they are outside. They could draw on cement, walls or fences. When your child is drawing or writing outside they are able to make very big pictures or letters.Can you draw a big picture of yourself? Is it bigger than you?How big can you write your name?Encourage your child to experiment with mixing the chalk colours together.
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
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.
3 to 5 years
Next time you are travelling in the car or going for a walk with your child, point out the different traffic signs. Why are they there? What do they tell you to do?There are traffic lights outside the school. They tell us to slow down and drive at 25km.As you notice the different signs try and sort or group them into ones that are the same.Those are crossing lights. They help pedestrians to safely cross the road.
3 to 5 years
Different things are special in different families. We mark these special occasions with a card. It might be for the birth of a baby, a birthday, National days, naming days or cultural celebrations.
After the big day has been celebrated and it is time to take down the cards, what will you do with them?
Cards can be used for cutting and drawing, sewing around, creating new cards and special letters. They can even be used to make a book about the special event.
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.
3 to 5 years
There are many ways to tell a story, not only by reading a book. Many cultures share and tell their stories through painting. The colour, symbols, design and patterns included in a painting will tell you a story about that person and what is important to them.
The painting can tell you the story of where a person lives, what animals or food can be found there and who they are connected to. The symbols in the painting can even tell you the age and status of the person.
3 to 5 years
Do you get the newspaper delivered to your home? If you do, you can talk to your child about what is in the paper and how to find different information.
The paper’s here. We can look in the entertainment section to see when the movie is on that you want to see. The content index on page 2 will tell us where to find the entertainment section.
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.
3 to 5 years
Are you wondering what your family can do this weekend or during the holidays? You could visit an art gallery.
Before you go to the art gallery talk to your child about the different things you will see.
Explain that there are lots of different paintings, sculptures, statues and artworks from many different cultures. The art is grouped in different rooms or galleries and you can work out where to go and what to see by following a map.
3 to 5 years
When you are out walking or driving the car how do you know when to stop or where to turn? Do you have to wait for someone to tell you what to do or is there something else that helps you to know?
There are signs everywhere and they help us to know what to do and how to act. When you are out and about with your child point out the different signs that you notice. Ask them if they can work out what the signs say from the picture, symbol or number on the sign.
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
Learning to write begins with children noticing writing around them and trying to create their own words.You can help your child to begin to write by encouraging them to scribble and draw with a variety of tools and materials.You could set up an area with drawing materials they can access at any time or encourage them to help you with everyday writing tasks.We are going shopping tomorrow. Let’s write a list of what we need before we go.