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GreatStart activities – learning with your child

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
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
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
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.
3 to 5 years
Lunar New Year is celebrated by many Asian cultures. It is usually in January or February, begins on the night of the new moon and continues until the moon is full 15 days later. Dragons and lions, food, the colour red, and money are all part of the celebrations. Like many other cultures, the New Year is a time for a fresh start and it is important to clean the house, have a haircut and buy new clothes. The Lunar New Year is also about good luck for the year ahead and this is celebrated in many ways:
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
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.
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?
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
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.
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
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.