Returning to school or nursery?

Schools and nurseries reopen next week, and the Scottish Government has asked for full time provision to be available from 18th August

Many of us are feeling very hopeful – staff are looking forward to seeing the children, and many families will be glad to get back to “normal” a bit more

But also we all have some worries. These are natural, and there are things we can do about them

Here is a poster with some ideas for helping a child or young person prepare for going back to (or starting) nursery or school

Starting school in August?

The only thing young children and families need to do to get “ready” for starting school is to play and talk together, having fun over the summer

Let’s hope for some good weather!

Some parents or carers may be worried whether their child will be ready or not, especially if they have missed time in nursery. P1 teachers all know this and they will be ready for the children and take the time that they need to settle in.

Meanwhile there is lots you can do to help through play, games and fun

There are some posters below on how play and talk at home can build foundations for different kinds of learning – including the things you really don’t need to worry about!

Nothing is required or expected, but hopefully some of these ideas will be fun and help deal with any worries you might have.

If you click the image, that will give a pdf that can be printed – and there is a link to a clearer image to view on screen too.

Health & Wellbeing

Click the image for a printable pdf


Click the image for a printable pdf


Click the image for a printable pdf


Click the image for a printable pdf

Starting school soon?

If your child is due to start school this August, this post is for you!

It is a big step in a child’s life and also for a parent or carer. We naturally worry about whether they will be OK, and whether they are ready.

This year in particular it would be understandable to be more concerned if children have missed out on time in early learning and childcare.

P1 teachers will be aware of this and they will adapt as they would with any new class.  This year will be a bit different, but the schools will be ready for it, and ready to take children on the next stage of their journey.

Over the next couple of days, and from time to time over the summer, we will be posting some ideas for what you can do at home through play and fun to prepare for school. There is nothing you have to do, there is no target to reach to be “ready”.

But lots you can do to help your child with learning and development, without even noticing. The main thing? Play and talk together, spend time, laugh, do silly things, get messy, go out and see the natural world, enjoy doing whatever you are doing – that is the foundation that children need most of all.

Musical statues

Another game today that can be played outside at a safe distance of 2 metres with family or friends – or at home just with your child

It is an old favourite that is usually a lot of laughs, but there is a lot of learning too

Your child will be developing the key skill of “not doing” something – stopping ourselves doing or saying something is really hard and games like this help build your child’s control over their actions

Plus, dancing around and laughing at people (safely) falling over is really good for our wellbeing …

Feeling closer through play

Many of us have a long weekend, with a public holiday this Friday

It is nice to have the time to spend together, but of course at the moment we can’t spend it with everyone we’d like to

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

If we can, 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

So no new idea today, but here are some from the last few weeks that are particularly good for playing through video calls

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!

Water balloons!

If you are lucky enough to get your hands on some water balloons here are some ideas for indoor and outdoor play. Some children might be worried initially about getting wet so there are some tips below to help them join in. Others will love to get everyone wet – so plan before you play and have fun!

As well as being fun, messing about with water balloons is great to building attention skills, learning new words, and also about sequences – this is really good for maths and writing later on.

Sensory issues?

Some children really don’t like the feel of being wet, so these ideas may help:

  • If your child doesn’t like the feel of cold water put warm water in the balloon.
  • If they don’t like getting their hands wet dry off the balloon after filling.
  • Try them wearing rubber or other gloves.
  • Model it a few times, your child may not want to do it themselves at first.


Thank you for visiting our website!

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.


Literacy at home Part 1

Almost anything you do with your child will help develop their literacy.

Through conversations with you, they can learn new words and how to use them. There is a link below to show four key things that really help

Playing and helping you with tasks in the home develops your child’s movement and coordination, which will help with their handwriting. They can make marks and draw pictures to show their ideas. You can let them “help” when you are reading or writing – such as a shopping list or a TV programme guide

The most important thing you can do with your child is to share and enjoy stories, songs and rhymes together.

Look out for more posts on literacy at home!


Laundry looking!

Did you know that helping you sort the clean clothes can be good for your child’s maths?  Or that it helps them learn how to concentrate or learn new words?

This idea is all about how to turn a bothersome daily chore into something you might enjoy together

As with everything, don’t feel you have to, and don’t force your child.  Stop when you’ve both had enough!

Less is more!

Please don’t go out and buy lots of expensive equipment, apps or toys or feel you have to provide your child with endless worksheets.  These might be heavily marketed during this time, but your child can learn very well just from ordinary toys, story books, everyday objects and going out and about.

Sometimes the most educational object is the cardboard box, not the expensive toy it came in. Time playing with you is more valuable than anything else for learning and development.

And you don’t have to spend ages planning learning opportunities.  The everyday life of your home has lots of ways to learn like matching socks, laying the table, preparing food, making lists, looking after pets, counting money and so on and so on.

We will be posting lots of ideas in the next few weeks to support this – and you will think of even better ones yourself, so please share them through commenting!


Play and Talk is all you need!

Early learning at home is all about ways to play, learn and have fun.  Follow your child’s leads and interests and have a variety of things to do and places to go safely. Make sure you follow the Government advice on social distancing

Children need a mix of things and plenty of physical activities.  Screens and apps etc are fine but make sure they’re not used for too long and children’s experiences with them are as interactive as possible. 

We will soon be posting an idea everyday for how you can play and talk together with your child to promote their learning – literacy, maths, you name it! 

What about being ready for school in August?

You might have all kinds of worries about the future. If your child is due for school soon you might also worry about whether they will be ready and if they are missing out on early learning and childcare.

That’s natural and P1 teachers will be aware of this and adapt as they would with any new class.  This year will be a bit different, but the schools will be ready for it

And anyway, children are like sponges learning what they need from shared experiences of fun with you. Your child will still grow and develop at home with you


Early learning at home

From later this week, we will be posting an idea every day for how you and your child can learn at home. These will be suitable for children aged 2-5 and will cover all that’s important in learning and development

If you have any ideas for what we should cover – or ideas for activities we can suggest, then please get in touch using the feedback tab

Best wishes to everyone in this difficult time from James and the bumps2bairns team