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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?
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
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?
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
If you are going on a bus, train or tram look up the timetables with your child before you go. Talk about how you are going to get there. Will it be on the bus, on a tram or by train?
Show your child that each bus or train has its own timetable.
Which number bus are we catching? The 224 or the 225?
What time do we need to get there? How long will it take? What time do we leave home?
You might use a paper timetable, look at a timetable online or use the timetable at the bus, train or tram stop.
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?
3 to 5 years
The holidays are nearly here and you might be wondering what you and your child can do together.Before you talk to your child about what they want to do over the holidays, do some research to see what free activities are on.We’ve got the whole day free today. Let’s find out what we can do.
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
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.