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. This website has lots of ideas for play and learning, or for if you have concerns about a child’s development too.
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
If you are looking for ideas how to help young children learn at home through play, scroll down! Or search using the tags.
Help with children’s development
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
Think of all the different surfaces and textures you encounter every day
There is the cold, smooth feel of a saucepan; Or the hard but also giving feel of a packet of pasta. Or the way different temperatures of water feel, or frozen peas, or the squidge of a cushion
You’d be amazed how long your child can be happy playing about with some pasta shapes on a table top or the floor (you’ll need to decide whether you can cook with them later, probably not!). Or making some mud shapes and pies outdoors in a bucket or a puddle.
But also how much they can learn. Not just about how the world feels, and the different shapes. It also develops their finger and hand skills – very important for helping you cook the pasta, but also the foundation of later writing and all that comes with that!
Anything will do. If you can set up a sand or a water tray, fine. But just exploring some of the things you have around is just as good. If you can chat with them about what they feel and help them compare, then even better.
Don’t worry about mess (although do plan where and how you are going to make the mess). Your child will enjoy, and learn from, helping you tidy up and getting everyone clean again.
Keep an eye out for safety and don’t let under-5’s explore small things independently in case they try to swallow them!
Every day we make hundreds of choices without even noticing – getting out of bed, having another cup of coffee, or deciding the potatoes are probably done
What adults forget is that children need to learn to choose. Otherwise we get stuck, or flit about, or feel out of control
So today’s post is all about how to be choosy. Offer your child small choices they can manage. “Do you want apple or banana?” “Show me how much milk you want”
And look at what toys etc you have out. Is there so much it is hard for your child to choose what to do, so they keep changing? Or are they making a mess looking for the one thing they want? Can you help them say what it is, and to find it?
A great place for learning to choose is outdoors. There is so much interesting to do, to look at and to chat about. So if the day seems to be getting stuck, get the coat and wellies on and out you go!
The second thing? Preparing the snack develops those fine motor skills. Maybe they can help lay out the things, or stirring. Or have a go at cutting some fruit or veg, or opening the packet. It might take longer or need a bit of tidying up, but it pays back in learning and in being together
A bonus bit of maths
OK, a third thing! Putting out one cup for each person, or one spoon for every plate is a brilliant foundation for later maths. It’s called one-to-one correspondence and is used eventually in counting and even in algebra
Something active for what looks like another cold day.
This is not “just” bouncing and passing balls. Your child will learn a lot of science and maths – counting, how things move, forces.
Lots of words as well for describing movements, as they also develop their coordination skills. Great for sports, but also for school – hand/eye coordination is really important for writing, and a sense of space is vital for maths
But that’s for the future – click below for some ideas how to have fun, involve the whole family and learn at the same time. And if you still have a lot of snow about, then making and throwing snowballs is just as good