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GreatStart activities – learning with your child

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
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.
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
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
Many cultures share and tell their stories through the colour, designs, placement and patterns printed or woven into their fabric and cloth.
The fabric can tell you the story of where a person lives, what animals or food can be found in the environment and who they are connected to. It can even tell you the age and status of the person wearing the cloth.
Next time you are out and about try to find some interesting or unusual fabrics to talk about. You can also look in a book.
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 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
Football and sporting finals are a very important event for many families as they are a celebration of the hard work and achievement of the team over the past year. You may have a member of the family playing in the team or your favourite football team may be playing.
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.
3 to 5 years
Most countries have a special day every year that is a holiday and a day of celebration. The day is an annual event that everyone from that country can celebrate and remember. It is a special event that brings them together as a nation.The day might celebrate the end of a war, the first day of independence or a significant custom or tradition.Spanish families celebrate el Dí a de la Raza on the 12th of October. Some families call this Christopher Columbus day. The day celebrates his discovery of America.
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.
3 to 5 years
Stripes, spots, squares and checks - patterns are all around us.Next time you are out walking with your child look for the patterns around you. A pattern is s ordered and predictable, but it might not be even. It could be bricks in a wall or crooked paving stones. Show your child how some things form patterns.Look, the slats in the seat make a stripy pattern. A stripe of wood, then a space, a stripe of wood, then a space. That makes a pattern.See if they can find their own patterns.
Birth to 2 years
Next time you have a few minutes or you are waiting for the bus to arrive play peekaboo with your baby. You can play using your hands to cover your face. You can also hide behind a book or a paper and pop out from behind it.
Before you start make sure you are facing your baby and have their attention. Try and keep your baby’s attention by changing the noise you make and your facial expression.
Peekaboo!
Encourage your child to join in by helping them to cover their own face with their hands.
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
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
Spotty eggs, stripy eggs, coloured eggs, so many eggs! You can decorate eggs with your child at any time of the year and many families like to do this at Easter. Your eggs can be as simple or as complicated as you like. It is best to use hard-boiled eggs for decorating. There are many ways you and your child can decorate the eggs. Simply draw on the eggs with wax crayons or textas. If you use warm eggs the crayons will melt onto the eggs. What will you draw on this egg? Which part of the egg is the top?
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.
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
Star light, star bright, the first star I see tonight...
As the sun starts to go down and night-time approaches talk to your child about what they might see and how the sky will change.
It is very bright and sunny while the sun is in the sky. What will happen when the sun sets?
When the sun disappears what appears instead?
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
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.
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
There are so many different sports teams, all with their own uniforms. Sometimes they have similar colours and designs. How do you know which team is which?
Talk to your child about the different patterns and colours of the uniforms. Sometimes the colours are the same but the design or pattern is different.
I like to follow Aussie rules. Collingwood and Hawthorn both have vertical stripes on their uniform.
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.