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If you are looking for ideas how to help young children learn at home through play, scroll down! Or search using the tags.

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If you are looking for more general information about early child development and how to support this, then please use the menus above, or go to this link

These pages are created by people living and working in the Highlands of Scotland, but everyone is welcome to use them. You can find out more about us using the About menu

Playing and talking together, having fun, a listening ear and loving kindness – that’s all our young children need from us to learn and develop right now.

Let’s Move!

One of the things people worry about is whether children can sit still. So, how do we learn this? By moving about, of course! As children move, and gain more control, they become more able to focus and be still

But that’s not really that important. Feeling good in your body, feeling in control of it – these are the foundations for resilience, the sense that we can cope with things and can have a go at a challenge

Today is all about moving and laughing. There is counting too, as you have to jump a certain number of times. You’ll need to tailor this to your child as some will know more numbers than others. If your child is secure counting to 2, 3 or 4, then start there and see if you can built another number on.

Or if, like many young children, your child is not that secure with counting at all – then let them jump or kick along with you as you count for them.

If this just turns into random movement, don’t worry – this means your child is developing coordination and that’s what they need right now.

EveryBunny Dance!

A story today that gets us moving about and dancing – you can do it indoors or out!

But first, settling down with a story, hearing it over and over, and interacting with the pictures – these are great ways for children to learn new words, develop concentration and listening skills

And how to manage feelings. There is a scary fox at one point! But it all turns out OK in the end (I won’t spoil the ending …)

So many play ideas to take the fun and learning further. Pretend to be a rabbit? Dance til someone says “fox” and then be still as you can? Find out more about the instruments the rabbits play – can you make a trumpet out of a cardboard tube or a drum out of, well, anything strong enough?

Treasure Hunt!

Today’s idea is to turn your home into an island full of treasure that children can hunt for

You can send them off to look for items, and while they burn off excess energy they will be learning all about attention and searching, and developing their memories.

You can make the searches as easy or as tricky as suits your child. How many blue things can they find? Can they bring you two things at a time?

Or you can play online with family, friends or anyone your child might be missing seeing or playing with

Make a walk a treasure hunt – can you spot a traffic light? A bird? A cloud?

Enrolment week thoughts

It is enrolment week in Highland, so an extra post today as this is not a usual year!

Starting school is an exciting time for children and for their families.  It can feel like a big moment and everyone wants it to go well.

This year it might feel like a bigger step than usual.  With time in nursery having been disrupted, not to mention all the other things families have had to think about in the last few months, there may be worries that children will have missed important learning and won’t be ready.

Reasons to be confident

The good news is that in Scotland, nursery and Primary 1 are part of the same Early Level in the curriculum. What this means is that there is not meant to be a big jump on starting school, and Primary 1 teachers make sure that they adapt to each child as they are when they come in.

This will be especially so this year as every child will have had a different set of experiences, and teachers will spend time to get to know them through play to work out what they need to learn.

There isn’t a list of what children have to be able to do when they start school.  So if your child is not doing this or that – or if they seem ahead of your neighbours in some ways and behind in others – it does not matter.

What can families do?

But there are some things you can do to help your child’s learning and development, and these will all help in the move to school.  

The main, and best thing, you can do is to set aside some time each day to play and talk with your child.  Get outside when you can, enjoy some stories and follow their interests wherever this goes.  If you are not sure what to do, then there are lots of activities on www.bumps2bairns to choose from – just use the tags to find something fun

On Friday, we will be posting some more detail on preparing for school including some of the things you really don’t need to do!

Three Craws

Burns Night will be a bit different this year. Singing a song can cheer us all up and children can have fun hearing and using the words

You could even sing this together with loved ones you can’t be with on a video chat or the phone

The tune can really stick in your head – if you don’t know it, then the downloadable sheet has some links to a video and an audio track

Lots of learning here – the rhythm of language and the beat of the tune (try clapping along!). There are number words, and your child might want to find out more about the birds.

Rainbow Snow!

Today we have a way to unleash the creativity of the whole family, and for young children it is a chance to try out mark-making, creating works of art and experimenting with shapes

Snow can be lovely at first, but it can quickly get a bit patchy and tired.

By using coloured water to draw on the snow, children are also playing with ideas about “how much”, “how far” and also practising making plans

It will probably also be quite a laugh – try not to mind if it gets rather silly too.

Or if you’ve still got lots of fresh snow, why not make a snowman, a snow dog, a nice snow-anything!

Snowman fun!

Snow is forecast for today and tomorrow, so hopefully you will get some (but not too much!)

We don’t often get enough for a full size snowman, but that does not matter. There are smaller things to make – how about a mini snowman, snow cat, snow dog, snow mouse, snow “not sure what it is”?

A chance to explore and see what you can find to decorate – sticks, pebbles, leaves …

It is fun, and there is lots of learning about different feels and textures and how we describe them. Also about estimating, and talking about concepts like more, enough or less. And lots of maths too as we explore the shapes we make and chat about them.

And a final part can be watching your creation melt in the next few hours or days, saying goodbye – it may not seem much, but this can helps build resilience to change and loss too.

But mainly it is about having fun in the snow. Just make sure you find somewhere clean and safe to play.

Patterns everywhere

Have you ever thought about the huge variety of patterns that are part of our everyday lives? If not, today could be the day!

When children become aware of patterns, they are fascinated by them and will begin to see them in everything …

Understanding what makes a pattern helps children to learn things like rhythm and time, how to make predictions and many other skills they will use in daily life.  It even underlies learning about number and how to write a story.

Enjoy playing and talking together with your child today as you find patterns everywhere!

And remember, nature outside is full of patterns. Snowy or frosty days are great for pattern spotting but you need to be quick or they will disappear!

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Sink or swim?

Children love playing with water, whether it’s splashing in puddles or in the bath.  Not only is it great fun but they can learn so much through ‘skiddling’!

Todays ‘daily tip’ helps children learn about floating, sinking and so much more using everyday items. 

Have fun! 

Click here for a great song to start you off

Flashy fun!

The dark can be scary, and it can also be exciting! If we can give children fun experiences with darkness, where they feel in control, the easier they will feel about it and their fears will gradually fade

Judge this activity according to your child – it does not need total darkness. They may be happy just spending the time experimenting with drawing the curtains during the day to see the changes in a room. Or they may want the full pitch dark experience!

It is a fun version of a treasure hunt, where children try to find shiny things in a darkened room by using a torch or the light on your phone. This can lead to explorations about shiny and dull things, reflections and brightness – or just to gradually more and more difficult searches as your child challenges you to find things.

You can do this indoors or out, but make sure you are in a safe place like your own garden if going outdoors in the dark

Lockdown fun and laughter

As the weekend approaches, we might be thinking of some of the people we can’t see right now

Young children might miss seeing friends, grandparents, parents who are away or other family members

Video calls can be a great way to say hello and chat. There are lots of games we can play on a video call too that can make us feel great as we have fun together

Here are some of the ideas on this site that can work quite well using video and you can probably think of others too.

Please enjoy, stay safe and we will have more ideas for fun and learning at home next week

Make music (well, noise!) with an Awful Orchestra

Test your powers of observation with Spot the Difference

Look out old photos and Share some Stories

Creep and crawl with Incy Wincy Spider

Catch each other out with Copy Cats and Simon Says

Challenge each other to hunt your homes for Treasure

Go silly with some Sock Puppets

Have a sing song with Old MacDonald, Little Bo Peep, Hickory Dickory Dock or Baa Baa Black Sheep!

Ice, Ice!

There’s still quite a bit of ice around, and it is great stuff to explore and play with

Take care out and about – it can be slippery! But children can get so much from exploring the texture, the feel, the slidey surfaces

If you don’t want to venture out, or don’t have any ice nearby you can safely get to, then there is lots you can do indoors with a freezer or freezer compartment – try making some ice with your child, or taking some out and seeing how it slides across the table. What does it feel like to hold?

All the time, your child will be learning a lot of science, as well as about their senses and how to describe temperature and other experiences. They will be exploring water and how it can change – be warned, they may want to know how the freezer works!

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Ally Bally

On Thursdays, we usually have a rhyme and it is a lovely Scots one today

Not everyone will know the tune or the words, so the sheet includes a link to a video – you can sing along with your child until you get confident

It is fun to sing, and bounce to, and there is a lots of learning about sounds and about money

As well as a chance to have fun with the words and exploring the culture and history around them if your child is interested

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My own space

Some mornings we just want to hide under the bedclothes, and it is no different for children

Building a den, or a fort, or a spaceship to be in can be a great help if children are worried or stressed.

And anyway, it is a fun way to develop planning and action skills, and end up with a place where it is nice to be cosy and have stories or play

It can be inside or outside, big or small. Your child might want to make it themselves, or for you to help (or do most of the work …). You might help them find materials like boxes, sheets, branches, etc

And think how to decorate it and make it a good place to be. Older children can help too to make it a family space, or everyone might want their own.


This kind of space can be very helpful for children who have sensory issues or who get over-stressed quite easily. Click here for some more ideas that might help them