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.

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

Let’s “write” a letter!

We all have folk we miss at the moment, and young children are no different

Today’s idea is about how to help your child send a letter to someone they love and miss

Of course, you may have to do most of the writing. But you can use your child’s ideas for what to say, and they can make marks and add a picture, or even do some of the writing if they can

It is a great way to feel close to someone who is not with us, and to learn how to feel better when we are down. Children can also develop their fine motor skills and ideas about how texts work

Sharing our Stories

Every family has its ups and downs, but most have some happy or funny stories that children love to hear

Today is all about helping your child learn about the past, to practise asking questions. They will learn about how stories work too, and develop their understanding of sequences – great for later literacy and maths

But it is really all about feeling close and safe and cosy together. All you need are a few photos – about you, the family, your child when they were smaller – anything you’d like to tell your child about

This is a great thing to try during video chat with grandparents, family, friends – anyone your child might be missing who can show them a photo from the past and tell them about it

Or, make a photo diary of the day with your child to tell everyone about later!

Incy Wincy Spider

An old favourite today that is great for developing ideas of up and down, finger movements, learning about weather …

But most children will want to know about the creepy crawlies, so we have some ideas for how you can explore that too!

Remember it does not matter if you sing like a drainpipe – your child will love to do this song with you. Words and actions are on the sheet, or you can find them on this link too

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Question Mark Muncher!

What if there was a way, by just playing and having fun, we could help children learn more words, build concentration and develop more ideas and concepts? A way that involves no effort at all?

There is! And this is where the Question Mark Muncher can help.

Children get asked so many questions! But they don’t actually learn that much from them.

Instead, if we make comments and say what we see – and then wait for and build on their responses – then they learn a lot and the play is even more fun for everyone.

So today’s idea is just to play. But to be careful with questions. This can be very tricky for adults as we are often in the habit of asking lots of them.

But help is at hand …

For more information about the ideas behind this, click for Words Up posters

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!

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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!

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Literacy at home Part 1

Almost anything you do with your child will help develop their literacy.

Through conversations with you, they can learn new words and how to use them. There is a link below to show four key things that really help

Playing and helping you with tasks in the home develops your child’s movement and coordination, which will help with their handwriting. They can make marks and draw pictures to show their ideas. You can let them “help” when you are reading or writing – such as a shopping list or a TV programme guide

The most important thing you can do with your child is to share and enjoy stories, songs and rhymes together.

Look out for more posts on literacy at home!