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
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!
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.
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
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 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
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.