As we continue our social distancing and children continue to spend long periods of time at home, the Little Bear’s team have pulled together a collection of activities for families and children to do at home.

Learning through chores

As you are aware learning through play is at the centre of Early Year’s education, so activities should be fun. Communication is at the heart of all learning, which in turn fosters creativity and expression.

Coming up with new activities can sometimes feel daunting, especially in a time where parents are feeling the pressure of wearing numerous hats. However, involving your children in some of your basic routines and chores we face, where appropriate, should help to make the day go smoother.

Children respond to routine, and the lockdown provides an opportunity to work on independence skills; like tooth brushing and being able to put their clothes or their shoes on. YouTube has several songs that aim to encourage your children’s independence skills. The Little Baby Bum website has several rhymes that may fit the bill e.g. ‘This is the way we brush our teeth’.

Involving children in our everyday routines also provides additional learning opportunities, tidying up is an excellent example of this, not only does it provide invaluable life skills; like respecting belongings, valuing their environment and being responsible, and opportunities for using mathematical language like, “more” or “less”, shape, size, early addition and subtraction skills in a concrete way. We’ve found a lovely book to encourage children which should also appeal to boys, ‘How do dinosaurs clean their room’ by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague, as well as using song – YouTube ‘The tidy up song’ – Little Baby Bum. 

The Department of Education has created a helpful resource called Hungry Little Minds, which shows how parents can use typical everyday routines to promote communication and learning.

 Sharing stories

Sharing stories is a great way to foster children’s listening and communication skills. Early years professionals are promoting ‘Dialogic reading’ to foster children’s language development. Put more simply, ‘Dialogic reading’ refers to the use of questions to promote thought, response, and an opportunity for adults to model and expand basic sentences. For example, if you were reading a page in a book about a zoo, you may point at the picture and ask “What is that?” (prompt). The child may reply “zebra” and the adult would respond by saying “That is right (evaluation), it is a black and white stripy zebra – can you say stripy zebra?” (repetition).

Some excellent early years stories include:

We’re going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd

Handra’s Surprise by Eileen Browne

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

Again, many of these stories are freely available on YouTube read by the original author, many with attached activity ideas. 

Finally, for those with really little ones, here is a safe paint recipe you can make at home for sensory play for babies.

Baby safe paint

  1. Combine the baby cereal, water, and food colouring together.
  2. Mix until the colour is blended – using more water to reach your preferred consistency.

Please ensure babies are always supervised!!! 

We hope you find this guide useful. If you have any questions or specific requests please feel free to get in touch with us:[email protected].