Foam fun

Making a mess and getting all messy can be great fun. Clearing it up, less so! Sometimes parents worry about messy play – is it really worthwhile, what about the carpet or the dog?

But there is so much learning that happens through mess and exploring different textures and effects. Foam is also great for developing mark making and understanding shapes – all of which is part of getting ready to write

Today’s idea is very clean messy play as it involve soapy foam. Make sure you use a source for the foam that is OK for your child’s skin – if they have a favourite bubble bath, that is ideal

Store cupboard searches

Children love being nosy and taking things out and putting them back, so today’s idea is all about exploring cupboards to learn about different kinds of foods

Depending on your kitchen you may prefer to fill up a box for them to explore safely on the floor or table top – or you may have a ground level cupboard they can access more independently

As they find things, or take them out of the box, chat about what kind of food they are, where it comes from and what we can do with it

You never know, they may end up making the dinner “with” you!

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 …

The cow who fell to Earth

Today a lovely story by Nadia Shireen about a little cow who goes travelling in space!

It is a great story just to enjoy, and it also has learning about what makes groups of people different and how we can all get along (Moon cows are a bit like us, but also not … Woo Woo!)

And to make your child curious about different languages and how they sound. Or if today is a more active day, you can show your child how to slow down by playing counting down games

Or dig out some photos of places you have been and chat about how the people were different there

When everyone is tired, there is always the chance to hear the story again, or do some drawing and mark making all about it.

Moving mayhem

The weather forecast for the weekend is good so a play idea today that can be done safely when meeting up with family or friends and following public health guidance

But it is also fun at home too

It is all about helping your child do the same actions in different ways. This will help build coordination and self-control. It is as simple as starting off jumping quickly, and then jumping slowly … Or pretending to brush your teeth as though you are happy, and then as though you are grumpy.

Along the way, they will learn lots of words to describe actions and they may also have fun challenging you or others

Out of the box!

Some homes have more cardboard boxes around than usual at the moment as we have to get more things delivered

This may be a nuisance, but cardboard boxes are also one of the most useful resources for play and learning. They can be anything your child wants to imagine them to be – a castle, a boat, a hat, or even just a box to put things in!

Today the idea is simply to give your child some boxes and some decorating materials and see what they do with them. If they are stuck you can help with ideas, but the best learning will come from them taking the lead and you following

Remember to chat about what they are doing – say what you see (try not to ask too many questions!) and wait for a response.

Shapes and sizes

Remember trying to learn the difference between a rectangle and a square, or the different kinds of triangles?

Shapes can be much more interesting and fun than this, and they come in many different sizes too!

We have two games to try today. The first is a matching game where you draw round a few things and see if your child can match object to shape

Or you can help your child draw round lots of different items and compare them – if you get onto drawing round everyone’s hands and feet this could last all day …

Signposters

We often think of reading and writing as learning how to read words and spell them

But there is also a whole lot of learning about how texts work and what they are for. An email is something totally different to a recipe, for example – we use different words and structures

This body of learning is called “concepts of print” and it is just as important for school and for life as learning to turn letters into sounds.

And it is easy to learn about – our whole world is FULL of text and signs, from laundry labels to TV remotes to street signs and shop opening times

Today’s idea is all about spotting those signs in the home and outdoors and chatting with your child about them. You might even make some of your own too

Hot air balloons

Today’s idea is to make a hot air balloon! Or a small one, at any rate

You can either use a black bin bag, or there is a version for ordinary small balloons. Instructions are on the downloadable sheet – please take care with safety and supervise children at all points.

This can be lots of fun – you can involve older children and family and even have balloon races

Meanwhile your child will learn lots of science, coordination skills and language – and we have some stories to look at too, or make your own

2 metre play togethers

Now we are in Phase 1 of lockdown in Scotland, there is more scope for being with friends and family outdoors – as long as we all follow the advice carefully

There is lots of fun and learning we can share even when 2 metres apart. Today’s idea develops listening and attention, language and self-control.

We offered it a few weeks ago for playing during video chats – still good for this, but can also be played outdoors from a distance. Or just at home with your child can be fun too.

Make an action – can your child copy you? Gradually make it more complicated. Label what you are doing with words.

If that goes well, then “Simon says” is a great way to take it further

I am a Tiger!

Today we have a story to share about a small mouse who thinks he is a tiger!

And why not? We learn in the story that even small people still have courage and dreams

It is a lot of fun to act out and pretend to be all the animals. And at the same time we learn about categories and comparing

Food stall fun

Even now the lockdown is easing, days at home may still seem long – and it is still tempting to snack away the time!

Today’s play idea is a way to have chats with your child about different kinds of food, and how we need to balance the different types

As you set up a shop together, your child can have a real experience of buying and selling – learning as well about money, shops and even some economics and politics (who says you can make sweets more expensive than fruit – is it fair?!)

You can download the Eatwell Plate here

Handy hands!

Today’s idea uses something we all have – our hands!

We use our hands to do lots of things but how often do we stop to think about how handy our hands really are? 

Young children are fascinated by their hands and through play they learn to use them in so many different ways. 

You can have fun with your child exploring different ways of using hands and they will begin to understand just how important their hands are.

Have a happy handy hands day! And remember to wash them often.

Number spotting!

There are numbers everywhere, and just by pointing them out and chatting to your child about them, they will learn lots about maths and how it works

See how many you can spot – and around you don’t usually notice?

And the different forms – clocks, house signs, addresses, phone numbers, recipes, games …

You might be surprised how often you use counting just running a home – see if you can do some of this out loud with your child!

Squishy bags

Sensory play is brain building work for children. It allows them to explore, problem solve and be creative. 

It doesn’t always have to be messy! Squishy bags are great way for children and families to enjoy mess-free messy play! 

Although glitter and shiny stars make eye catching squishy bags, the use of natural items such as flowers and leaves can spark children’s creativity even more – and they’re free! 

This is also a great activity for adults as it’s very calming and will chase worries and stresses away.