Go to top of page

GreatStart activities – learning with your child

3 to 5 years
What can you do with a big cardboard box?Next time you have a large cardboard box give it to your child to play with. Encourage them to use their imagination.I wonder what this big box could be. What does it look like to you?Turn a box on its side with the opening facing out. If you add a cushion or rug you’ll have a cosy nook just right for reading or dreaming.A large shallow box can be a road with a car park. Encourage your child to draw a road inside the box. Draw some car parking spaces nearby. Line up your child’s toy cars and go.
3 to 5 years
Everyone celebrates birthdays differently, sometimes there is cake.What would happen if there were twins? Would you make one big cake or lots of little ones?How many cakes will we make? How many of the cakes will be red and how many will be yellow? If we make 12 cakes will there be 6 red and 6 yellow?We are going to make lots of little cakes for the twins. They have just turned three and love red and yellow, and all things chocolate. Most of all they love to help.
3 to 5 years
Christmas can be a great time to make your own biscuits.
Once you have made and rolled out the dough your child can help you to cut out the biscuits. What shape will they be? How many will you make? Do they all need to be the same shape?
Talk with your child about why you are making the biscuits and how many you will need.
We are going to give biscuits to our friends for Christmas. They need to fit inside the small clear cellophane bags.
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
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?
3 to 5 years
Blowing bubbles can be a fun activity to do on a very windy day. Watch the wind catch the bubbles and lift them high into the air. Try and track an individual bubble. As the wind catches the bubble and lifts it higher make predictions as to how high it will climb.
Will it climb over the fence or even over the roof of the house?
Hold and point the bubble blower differently and watch to see if the bubbles travel in different directions. Does it make a difference or will the wind still catch the bubble and float it quickly up into the air?
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?
3 to 5 years
There is so much to remember in a day, a week, a month and a year. How do you keep track of what needs to happen and when? One way is to record an event on a calendar.Talk to your child about all of the different events that happen over the year. Explain that some things we can remember because they are regular events and happen every day or week. Other things are harder to remember because they are irregular, changing or one-off events. When you record an event, time and place on the calendar it helps you to remember and plan what you need to do.
3 to 5 years
It’s time to change the sheets and make the bed. This time, you could ask your child to help you.
Where will you start? Will you ask them to take off the sheets or put the fresh, clean ones on?
As you work together, talk about what you are doing and where you will start.
We are going to start at the base and work up. Let’s put the fitted sheet on first and then we will do the quilt cover.
When we put the quilt cover on, the buttons go at the top of the quilt, closest to the pillows.
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.
3 to 5 years
There are many different ways to grow more plants. They can grow from cuttings, seeds, seedlings, bulbs or rootstock.Next time you do your fruit and vegetable shopping with your child see if you can predict which ones will have seeds inside. If they have seeds inside you could try and grow them. I think the pumpkin will have seeds inside that we can try to grow.A pumpkin has lots of seeds inside but the avocado only has one big seed.
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.
3 to 5 years
The Christmas pageant has been and gone, Father Christmas has arrived and it is time to decorate the Christmas tree.What kind of Christmas tree will your family have? Will it be a real pine tree that you buy from a special place or a branch from a gum tree? Does your family have an artificial one that you take down and put up every year? Do you have an inside Christmas tree or one that you decorate outside?It’s the first Saturday in December. It is time to put up the Christmas tree.
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
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 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.
3 to 5 years
Feeding your pets can be a simple task for your child to help you with. Talk with your child about what time you feed your pets.

Now we’ve finished our breakfast, it’s time to feed Duffy. He likes to eat in the morning too.

Show your child what your pet eats and how much to feed it.

Duffy likes half a can of dog food and a handful of dog biscuits. Can you scoop out the food from the can? Now put one big handful of dry food on the top. Let's leave Duffy to enjoy his breakfast.
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.
3 to 5 years
All year round many different festivals are celebrated. Some are community festivals that celebrate the harvesting of local produce. Others are cultural or religious festivals that are celebrated across the world. There are also festivals that are small and celebrate what is happening with a small group of people.

Talk with your child about what the festival is for and who celebrates it. Is it a religious festival that is celebrated as a holiday and dates back hundreds of years? Is it a festival that celebrates local artists? Talk about how they are different.
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?
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
What type of gingerbread people could you make with your child? Will each biscuit be decorated differently with individual personalities or will they be your favourite football team?Before starting to cut out the people, talk about how they will look. If they are going to have lots of decorations will you make them bigger compared to ones that will only have eyes, a nose and a mouth? Once you have worked out how big the biscuits will be, talk to your child about how thin to roll out the dough.
3 to 5 years
The holidays are approaching - are you going away? If you are, talk to your child about where you are going and the jobs that need to be done before you go. We are going camping for Easter. We can’t take the dog and cat with us so we need to organise someone to look after them while we are away. We are going on a big trip to Queensland for 2 weeks. It is going to be very hot and we can swim. We need to pack our bathers and take clothing for hot weather.
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.
3 to 5 years
To watch a bulb grow, roots and all, it is best to grow it in a jar, instead of outside in the garden.
Choose which bulbs you want to grow. When you choose the bulb, talk about it with your child, looking together at the pictures on the packet.
Let’s look at these bulbs on the stand. Which one should we choose? This is a hyacinth and has blue flowers. This one is a daffodil. It has a yellow flower. Should we grow more than one kind?
When you get them home put them in the vegetable drawer of your fridge for a few weeks.
3 to 5 years
A vegetable that is taller than you…
Sweet corn is an easy food to grow and you can grow it in your garden or in a pot.
In September or October choose a place in your garden that is warm and sunny. Dig the soil so that it is ready for planting and water it. Talk with your child about why the plants need good soil and sun to grow.
We need to make sure the roots of the corn can grow deep into the soil.
3 to 5 years
Wheat sprouts can grow in just a couple of weeks and your child will be able to watch them change from day to day.Put the wheat in a bowl, cover it with water and let it soak for two days. Watch what happens. Does it look any different? You will need to change the water every day.Let’s use the strainer to pour out the water. Why does the strainer let the water through but not the wheat?Pour some more water in gently so it covers all of the wheat.
3 to 5 years
The washing is done, the sun is shining and now it’s time to hang it out. Your child could help you do this.
Put the bucket of pegs and the basket of washing on the ground where your child can reach them. Ask your child to find different items of clothing. As they find each one see if they can work out how many pegs are needed to hang them on the line.
Can you find the spotty socks and the purple shorts? How many pegs will we need to hang them up?
3 to 5 years
There are different ways you can heat food to get it ready to eat. Talk to your child about the different ways you can heat food and that it involves time and temperature.
3 to 5 years
When you travel by bus there are many decisions to be made. Where will you catch the bus? How close is the bus stop to your house? If you don’t know what number bus to catch or where to catch the bus from, how will you find out? How will you know when to get off? Do you know the bus stop number or will you look for a landmark?
We’re going to take the bus into town today. We’ll need to look at the bus timetable to see what number bus to catch and what time the bus leaves.
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!
3 to 5 years
Losing a tooth is a big milestone for children. How will you celebrate it? Some families have the tooth fairy who leaves money in return for the tooth. There are other ways to celebrate though.
You could have a special lost tooth book and write the date the tooth was lost along with a the story about how it got lost. You could draw or download a map of all the teeth in your child’s mouth and as they lose the teeth they could colour the appropriate tooth on the map and write the date.
3 to 5 years
What time of the day does your bin get emptied? Is it early in the morning while you are still in bed or later in the day when you are out and about?Talk to your child about your routine for putting the bin out. The time that it's emptied will tell you when to put it out. If it's very early in the morning you might need to put it out the night before.
3 to 5 years
The weather is fine, the days are long and the family is on holidays. If you have a barbecue everyone can help to prepare the meal. Maybe this time you could make kebabs.Talk to your child about the different types of kebabs you can make. Will you use meat or vegetables or a mixture of both? Your child could help you to cut up the different ingredients and thread them on.
3 to 5 years
It’s bath time and there is a lot to do to get ready. You can talk to your child about all the different choices that happen as part of getting ready.
How hot will the water be and how deep will you fill the bath? How many children will be in the bath together? If there is more than one, does this change how much water you need for the bath? Are you going to add bubble bath to the water? When does the bubble bath go in?
Once all the bath time choices have been made, talk about what happens and when.
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?
3 to 5 years
Christmas is a time of celebration for many cultures and a time to reflect and give thanks for the year. Many families and communities will begin their celebration with a local pageant.Before going to the pageant talk about the different things you might see and do. Talk about the sounds you might hear and the different types of floats and entertainers that might be there.We will have to wait a long time for the pageant to start. We can draw on the ground with chalk while we wait.
3 to 5 years
It’s the end of the week and work and school is over. What will you do on the weekend? Do you have plans or will you take it easy and catch up on jobs around the house?Talk with your child about the weekend routine or what you’ve got planned. Are there regular things that you do like football or the shopping? Do you wait to see what the weather will be before planning what you will do?Jake’s got football Saturday morning at 8’o clock. After the game we can go and play at the playground.
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.
3 to 5 years
Many special things happen every day but some are so important that the whole family wants to celebrate. It might be the birth of a child, a birthday, a special cultural event, a new job, a change in seasons or winning an award.Talk to your child about the special event and how you will celebrate it. Is it a traditional celebration with customs to follow and special food to cook? Can the family choose how to celebrate because it’s a one-off event?
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:
3 to 5 years
How you load or unload the dishwasher can be unique to you or your family and might be different just because of the type of dishwasher you have. As you work with your child to load or unload the dishwasher, explain to them how you will go about the task and the reason for the decisions you are making.
This plate is longer and has sharp corners compared to the plate that has curved corners. This plate is thicker so will not fit in that slot.
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.
3 to 5 years
Making pancakes with your child can be an opportunity to talk, read and create together. You can choose to use a packet or make them from scratch using flour, milk and eggs.
Before you start, talk about what flavour pancakes you want to make and what you will need. If you are going to change the recipe explore the different flavours together and talk about when to add the extra ingredients.
We could make savoury ones and add cheese and grated zucchini.
3 to 5 years
Work with your child and look for a recipe to make pasta dough. Once you’ve found a recipe talk with your child about the different steps you will do to make the dough. If the recipe has pictures point to each one and explain what is happening.First we’ll sieve the flour. Then we’ll mix in the eggs and last we will knead the dough.After the dough has rested we can roll out the dough - stretching so it gets thinner and thinner.
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.
3 to 5 years
The sun has risen and it is time to get up. Are you hungry because it’s time for breakfast?Will you have toast? If you’re having toast, are there different types of bread and spreads to pick from?We have 3 different types of bread in the fridge. There is brown, white and multigrain. Which one do you want?Yesterday you had butter and Vegemite on toast. Do you want the same today or something different?
3 to 5 years
There are shadows all around us - some are inside and some are outside.On a sunny day show your child their shadow on the ground.What happens to the shadow when you move? Can you run away from your shadow? How do you know it is your shadow?Talk with your child about how shadows are formed. Does the shadow change with the sky? Take your child outside at night or when it is cloudy and talk about the differences.
3 to 5 years
Celebrate the new moon with your family and friends. You can get together in your backyard, at a local park or by going to one of the big festivals.Chinese and Vietnamese families traditionally celebrated the new moon as part of the Mid-Autumn Festival on the 15th day of the 8th month. Explain to your child that we have a different calendar in Australia.Talk to your child about the festival and how it celebrates the moon. Explain that different people, families and cultures will celebrate different events and days.
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?
3 to 5 years
A new year is traditionally a time for celebration. Different cultures have their own ways to celebrate but most see the end of one year and the start of another as a special time. Children enjoy the celebrations and parties along with everyone else. Many people celebrate New Year’s Eve on December 31st with parties. Lunar New Year is celebrated by many Asian cultures and the date and way it is celebrated can vary.
3 to 5 years
Get ready, get set, go!

There are lots of different ways that you can have races at home, at the park or at the beach. You can race against each other or just against the clock.

You and your child can run, jump or hop over a set distance.

How fast can you run from here to the tree? Can you get there as fast if you hop? What about if you crawl?

Reusable grocery bags make excellent sacks for a sack race. Just get your child to step inside, pull the handles up tightly and jump.
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?
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.
3 to 5 years
Next time you get a bill, talk about it with your child. What is it for? It might be for work you had done, something you ordered online or from when you last ate out as a family.Explain that the purchase or service received will be described using words, symbols and numbers. These help to tell you how much you have to pay, what you are paying for, when you need to pay and the quantity you are buying.This is the bill for dinner. It says that we ate 3 serves of fish and chips, 1 serve of pasta, an entree of squid and a bottle of sparkling water.
3 to 5 years
Planting a small vegetable and herb garden with your child gives them a chance to experience the sensation of soil on their hands. Together you can make choices about what to plant and you will be able to observe the changes as the plants grow and begin to produce fruit, vegetables or herbs.
3 to 5 years
Before planting the seed read the instructions on the packet with your child. As you read the instructions point out the different symbols that are used to give direction to know where to plant the seed, how deep to plant it and how big it will grow. Talk to your child about what size container you will need for the seed to grow in.
If the seed grows into a tall plant the roots will grow down deep and will need a tall container. If the seed grows into a spreading plant that is wide the container will need to be shallow and wide.
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
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?
3 to 5 years
The sun has been shining, the plants have all grown and now it is time to prune. Talk with your child about which plants need to be pruned and how you will do it. Do they need to be cut in a special way or can you decide how much you want to cut off?The roses have flowered and we need to cut off the dead heads so more buds will grow.It is very difficult to walk down the path by the side of the house as the bushes have grown too big. We need to cut them back to the edge of the path.
3 to 5 years
Before leaving the house to travel somewhere find your location on a map and identify where you want to go. Plot the best route to travel to that location.

Will the route you take change if you are walking or travelling in a car or a bus? Talk about the number of streets you may need to cross and if the streets are long or short. Is the location you are travelling to close or far away? When looking at the map can you also identify other symbols on the map to show different landmarks.
3 to 5 years
When recycling talk to your child about the different household things that can be recycled and how each group will be treated. For example, food scraps can be made into compost, while glass bottles can be taken to the recycling centre.
Will you set up your own recycling bins for bottles and paper and take them to the recycling centre? Or will you use the bins provided by the council? If you are using the council bins what do the different coloured lids mean?
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?
3 to 5 years
As the seasons change the weather will change and we will see changes happening to the plants and trees in the garden. Talk to your child about the names of the seasons - spring, summer, autumn, winter - and the order they will follow. This may include looking at the calendar and highlighting the different months of the year that match the seasons.
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.
3 to 5 years
Winter is here and the oranges are ripe and ready to pick.Do you or a friend have lots of oranges that you don’t know what to do with? You could make fresh orange juice.Talk with your child about what you will need and how you will do it.We are going to squeeze the oranges by hand using a hand juicer. We'll need to cut the oranges in half before we can squeeze the juice out of the orange.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
3 to 5 years
There are many different ways that you can travel. You can walk, go by car, bus, train or even by plane.
You might walk to a place because it is close and you have enough time to get there. Other times you would travel by transport because it would take too long or is too far to walk.
Where you are going and what you will do there will help you decide how you will travel. If you are going to the supermarket and you have lots of shopping to do you probably won’t walk because you will have lots to carry home.
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?
3 to 5 years
Let your child help you put away the food shopping. Talk about where the food could go.Is it cold food that goes in the fridge? Is it frozen food for the freezer or dry food for the pantry? Where should we put the fruit and vegetables? Would they all go in the same place?
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?
3 to 5 years
Do you wash the dishes in a sink or in the dishwasher? Are there times when you choose to wash the dishes rather than put them in the dishwasher?We need to wash the saucepans as they are too big to fit in the dishwasher.If you don’t have a dishwasher do you wash up after every meal or wait until the end of the day when there is a pile of dishes to do?There are only 2 plates and 2 glasses from our lunch so let’s wait and wash them with the dishes from dinner.
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
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'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
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.
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
Next time you are planning to go somewhere with your child talk to them about what time you need to be there. Explain that activities have a start time. You can show them how this is usually represented - with numbers written as a time.
The movie starts at 2pm so we will need to leave home at 1pm to be there in time.
Look and see if there are different start times for the event. Can you pick from one of many different times or does the event only happen once?
3 to 5 years
You use time every day. You use it when you heat food in the microwave or organise who will have the first shower or the last. You also use time when you are planning your day, organising to meet someone or picking your child up from school.Talk to your child about how you use time and the different ways that time can be described.The spaghetti will only take one minute to heat - that’s not very long.Dad is going to be late home tonight so we won’t have dinner at our normal time.
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.
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.
3 to 5 years
You have found the perfect present for that special person and now it is time to wrap it up. You can ask your child to help you.Start by talking about the size of the present and the amount of paper you will need to cover it up. Is the present a regular shape like a box with straight sides? Or is it an irregular shape that is a mixture of curved and straight sides?We have bought Baba shoes for his birthday. They come in a box so it will be easy to wrap.