Jumping Words!

What has jumping got to do with learning to read and spell? Good question!

If you have ever been abroad or heard a foreign language being spoken, it can be difficult to pick out the individual words

It’s like that for young children – they don’t always know consciously where one word ends and another starts. And this is really important for later literacy

Sounds boring? Nothing to do with play?

Today our Speech and Language Therapy colleagues have come up with a great set of games for learning about word boundaries. Once you get going, be warned, your child may not want to stop!

If your child does not get the idea, or does not enjoy it – never mind. Cuddle up and read a favourite story instead, it is just as good!

Fun in the snow!

You can never have too much fun in the snow, and the learning never stops either while you play and talk together

Today, many of us have lots of snow around, so some sledging is great to learning about balance, speed, slipperiness – and the words to describe them

For those who like building, there are some ideas for snow castles – whole snow villages, why not?

Or for the artistic, some ideas for creating beautiful sculptures and patterns with things you can find around outside


Old MacDonald

You might be an opera singer or an undiscovered Rod Stewart, or have a voice like a rusty door – your child will still love to sing with you!

Rhymes and songs are great for learning. They make us feel good and forget our worries for a bit. But also, they help children understand about patterns, words and sounds

Every story has a pattern to it, so you will be preparing your child for a lifetime of successful reading and writing. As well as having a laugh and some fun

Not sure of the tune or the words? Click here for a funny version by the BBC

Don’t like farm animals? Pick any – the more the better!

Awful Orchestra

You don’t need expensive equipment to make music. Any household object has a playful tune in it if only we look or listen hard enough.

Music can express our deepest feelings and draw us together as families and communities

It is also an excuse to make a racket and have fun!

Today’s idea is all about children playing with rhythm and different sounds. Without even realising, this will develop their coordination and attention skills

It is also a great way to feel close, take turns and enjoy being together

Almost anything can be a musical instrument – some ideas in the sheet below. Make sure you keep an eye on your child so they are playing safely!

Copy Cats!

Children learn a lot from copying us – more than we think, and sometimes more than we’d like them to!

A very simple game today. All you do is some simple actions, say what you are doing, and see if your child or children can copy you.

It may not sound much, but it is great for building a bond, developing attention and growing your child’s vocabulary. And they are also developing executive function – the ability to choose and control actions

This is a good game to play on video calls with anyone your child is missing – grandparents, a brother or sister or a parent who is away.

Safety note: make sure you avoid actions that involve touching the face so we all follow the current public health guidance


Laundry learning?

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!

Enrolling for school in August?

It is the time of year when families are filling in the forms to enrol their children for starting school

This year it may be a little more worrying than usual.

Some parents or carers may be wondering whether their child will be ready or not, especially if they have missed time in nursery.

Nearly all children have experienced some disruption in the last year or so. P1 teachers all know this and they will be ready for the children and take the time that they need to settle in. Schools will be a bit different to usual because we will be adapting to what the children need

Meanwhile there is lots you can do to help through play, games and fun. Just as important, there are some things you really don’t need to worry about!

There are some posters below on how play and talk at home can build foundations for different kinds of learning

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

Let’s Move!

One of the things people worry about is whether children can sit still. So, how do we learn this? By moving about, of course! As children move, and gain more control, they become more able to focus and be still

But that’s not really that important. Feeling good in your body, feeling in control of it – these are the foundations for resilience, the sense that we can cope with things and can have a go at a challenge

Today is all about moving and laughing. There is counting too, as you have to jump a certain number of times. You’ll need to tailor this to your child as some will know more numbers than others. If your child is secure counting to 2, 3 or 4, then start there and see if you can built another number on.

Or if, like many young children, your child is not that secure with counting at all – then let them jump or kick along with you as you count for them.

If this just turns into random movement, don’t worry – this means your child is developing coordination and that’s what they need right now.

EveryBunny Dance!

A story today that gets us moving about and dancing – you can do it indoors or out!

But first, settling down with a story, hearing it over and over, and interacting with the pictures – these are great ways for children to learn new words, develop concentration and listening skills

And how to manage feelings. There is a scary fox at one point! But it all turns out OK in the end (I won’t spoil the ending …)

So many play ideas to take the fun and learning further. Pretend to be a rabbit? Dance til someone says “fox” and then be still as you can? Find out more about the instruments the rabbits play – can you make a trumpet out of a cardboard tube or a drum out of, well, anything strong enough?

Treasure Hunt!

Today’s idea is to turn your home into an island full of treasure that children can hunt for

You can send them off to look for items, and while they burn off excess energy they will be learning all about attention and searching, and developing their memories.

You can make the searches as easy or as tricky as suits your child. How many blue things can they find? Can they bring you two things at a time?

Or you can play online with family, friends or anyone your child might be missing seeing or playing with

Make a walk a treasure hunt – can you spot a traffic light? A bird? A cloud?

Enrolment week thoughts

It is enrolment week in Highland, so an extra post today as this is not a usual year!

Starting school is an exciting time for children and for their families.  It can feel like a big moment and everyone wants it to go well.

This year it might feel like a bigger step than usual.  With time in nursery having been disrupted, not to mention all the other things families have had to think about in the last few months, there may be worries that children will have missed important learning and won’t be ready.

Reasons to be confident

The good news is that in Scotland, nursery and Primary 1 are part of the same Early Level in the curriculum. What this means is that there is not meant to be a big jump on starting school, and Primary 1 teachers make sure that they adapt to each child as they are when they come in.

This will be especially so this year as every child will have had a different set of experiences, and teachers will spend time to get to know them through play to work out what they need to learn.

There isn’t a list of what children have to be able to do when they start school.  So if your child is not doing this or that – or if they seem ahead of your neighbours in some ways and behind in others – it does not matter.

What can families do?

But there are some things you can do to help your child’s learning and development, and these will all help in the move to school.  

The main, and best thing, you can do is to set aside some time each day to play and talk with your child.  Get outside when you can, enjoy some stories and follow their interests wherever this goes.  If you are not sure what to do, then there are lots of activities on www.bumps2bairns to choose from – just use the tags to find something fun

On Friday, we will be posting some more detail on preparing for school including some of the things you really don’t need to do!

Three Craws

Burns Night will be a bit different this year. Singing a song can cheer us all up and children can have fun hearing and using the words

You could even sing this together with loved ones you can’t be with on a video chat or the phone

The tune can really stick in your head – if you don’t know it, then the downloadable sheet has some links to a video and an audio track

Lots of learning here – the rhythm of language and the beat of the tune (try clapping along!). There are number words, and your child might want to find out more about the birds.

Rainbow Snow!

Today we have a way to unleash the creativity of the whole family, and for young children it is a chance to try out mark-making, creating works of art and experimenting with shapes

Snow can be lovely at first, but it can quickly get a bit patchy and tired.

By using coloured water to draw on the snow, children are also playing with ideas about “how much”, “how far” and also practising making plans

It will probably also be quite a laugh – try not to mind if it gets rather silly too.

Or if you’ve still got lots of fresh snow, why not make a snowman, a snow dog, a nice snow-anything!

Snowman fun!

Snow is forecast for today and tomorrow, so hopefully you will get some (but not too much!)

We don’t often get enough for a full size snowman, but that does not matter. There are smaller things to make – how about a mini snowman, snow cat, snow dog, snow mouse, snow “not sure what it is”?

A chance to explore and see what you can find to decorate – sticks, pebbles, leaves …

It is fun, and there is lots of learning about different feels and textures and how we describe them. Also about estimating, and talking about concepts like more, enough or less. And lots of maths too as we explore the shapes we make and chat about them.

And a final part can be watching your creation melt in the next few hours or days, saying goodbye – it may not seem much, but this can helps build resilience to change and loss too.

But mainly it is about having fun in the snow. Just make sure you find somewhere clean and safe to play.