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Less is more!

Social media is full of some really good resources and lists of things to do to help children learn at home. And schools and nurseries are working hard to get organised with ideas for families

This is all great!

And. As we go into another lockdown, parents and carers have a lot to think about. Many of us are a bit scared and uncertain – and if there are money or other worries too, this just adds to the stresses.

So, it is ok to do what we can do. And not worry about what we can’t manage.

Play and talk is all you need

What really matters for young children? It is “just” time to play and to chat. If you do things that everyone enjoys and can chatter about, then learning is automatically going to happen. It just will.

Of course there is a curriculum and as adults we like to have a “programme” for what we think children should be learning. But through everyday play and fun and interesting two-way conversations, young children will “cover” what they need without even trying.

A little bit every day is better than trying to do too much and getting nowhere. It may look simple to you, but to a child everything is still a wonder and something to explore and learn about. Follow their lead and you may well find yourself learning too.

So if this is for your family a time to draw together, look after each other, and just get by for a while, then that is fine too. You can take the lead from your children as to whether they are not getting enough stimulation. You’ll soon see if they are bored and need to do more.

Fun outdoors, fun indoors, sharing laughter, doing things together – children of any age will learn what they need.

School and nursery programmes and webpages of resources are there to help you, not be a burden or a standard to live up to – let them know if it is too much or not what you need.

About this website

The same goes for this site. While early learning and childcare settings are closed, we’ll be posting a daily idea for learning through play. These will (on purpose) be mostly things you might do anyway with resources you already have – but you may not know how rich they are in learning for your child. They are just ideas for if you are stuck or wondering what to do, so please pick and choose – and let us know how you get on using the comments!

Best wishes to everyone from James and the bumps2bairns.com team!

PS – if you want some of the theory and background on this, then the newest practice guidance from Scottish Government is on this link

Lockdown again …

During the first lockdown last year we posted daily ideas for how young children can learn at home through play and fun. You can find all of these on http://bumps2bairns.com by scrolling down or using the keywords at the side.

We’ll be posting some more ideas from next week – some will be “repeats” and there will be some new things too. We’ll also share some ideas on helping young children with stress and worries and what to do if you are worried about your child’s learning or development.

If your child has a lot of concerns just now, then they may like this story about Dave the Dog, or it might give you some ideas for what to talk to them about.

Meanwhile, best wishes to everyone from James and the bumps2bairns team!

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

Hey diddle diddle!

Sometimes life just does not make sense, and today’s rhyme certainly doesn’t!

Children enjoy nonsense, and it is a great way to play with language and let off steam at the same time

Hearing different sounds and how they fit together is an important foundation for reading and spelling.

And there is lots of play you can try after. Maybe not over the moon, but can you jump over a stick (how high?) or a puddle?

You can even do jumping contests out and about with loved ones while keeping a 2m distance

Can I play?

Today we have a story all about joining in, what it is like to be left out, how to share things and attention, and how to cope with bossy people!

It is a great story for if everyone is getting a bit fed up with lockdown and being on top of each other

And a chance to chat with your child about the future – making friends, how to play together and what to do if it goes wrong

You can watch the story together on the Book Trust youtube channel. It is by Caryl Hart and illustrated by Tony Neal.

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 …

Sleeping bunnies

Ever just feel like you could lie down and have a snooze?

Today’s song is all about the difference between being quiet and still and bouncing around. This is great fun, and also helps children develop skills to manage their levels of activity and feelings

And a chance to chat and learn about different animals and how they move about. A great one to do out and about with family or friends at a 2 metre distance too

Words, tune and two versions to watch (including one with signing) are on the downloadable sheet

The Ugly Duckling

A story and a song today that can take you almost anywhere!

It is about finding out who we are and how we fit in. And about how we can cope when things go wrong, or people are unkind – about not giving up

Or it is about how we change as we grow and learn new things

Or about birds, wildlife and nature

Mainly it is a fun way to enjoy a story or singing a song together, and along the way your child will learn lots about words and sequences too

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