Patterns everywhere

Have you ever thought about the huge variety of patterns that are part of our everyday lives? If not, today could be the day!

When children become aware of patterns, they are fascinated by them and will begin to see them in everything …

Understanding what makes a pattern helps children to learn things like rhythm and time, how to make predictions and many other skills they will use in daily life.  It even underlies learning about number and how to write a story.

Enjoy playing and talking together with your child today as you find patterns everywhere!

And remember, nature outside is full of patterns. Snowy or frosty days are great for pattern spotting but you need to be quick or they will disappear!

Flashy fun!

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

Ice, Ice!

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!

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!

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.

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

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Tiny Treasure Chest

Who would have thought your home was full of treasure!

And treasure that can help your child learn all about exploring, how to be curious, how to count and categorise and how to learn about stories and history

This is a really simple game that all the family can play, and that grandparents or others can join in on Skype or FaceTime or similar

The trick is you have to use a really, really, really small treasure chest