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!

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.

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

I am a Tiger!

Today we have a story to share about a small mouse who thinks he is a tiger!

And why not? We learn in the story that even small people still have courage and dreams

It is a lot of fun to act out and pretend to be all the animals. And at the same time we learn about categories and comparing

What a nose!

Never mind the Tiger who came to tea, how about an elephant?

We have a couple of elephant songs today that will get your child moving about, learning about words, coordination – but hopefully not knocking things over

Words and music videos are on the sheet and some play ideas to take the learning further – dress up as an elephant, look for big and small things, or see how much you can find out about animals!

Squishy bags

Sensory play is brain building work for children. It allows them to explore, problem solve and be creative. 

It doesn’t always have to be messy! Squishy bags are great way for children and families to enjoy mess-free messy play! 

Although glitter and shiny stars make eye catching squishy bags, the use of natural items such as flowers and leaves can spark children’s creativity even more – and they’re free! 

This is also a great activity for adults as it’s very calming and will chase worries and stresses away. 

Water wall

Something for outdoors today – or inside if you have a suitable space that can get a bit wet!

It is all-day fun, and great for developing concentration, movement skills, vocabulary, understanding of cause and effect, science …

Use empty bottles, cartons or anything else you have around the house to build a water wall. Attach them to something static like a fence using screws, cable ties or garden wire. A basin at the bottom means you can collect the water and refill the containers on the wall. If you keep the lids of the containers you can pop them on and collect rain water to use next time.