Mary Paterson and Dorothy Gardner Nurseries
Home Learning ideas for Nursery children
1. Make eye contact with your child as you speak .Do the same while he is talking
2. Always answer what he says and use gestures to supplement your language.
3. Ask your child plenty of questions to encourage him to talk, but do not attempt to force him to speak.
4. Provide a model of proper speech instead of correcting his speech. For example, if your child says “Me hungry,” say “I am hungry, too.”
5. Make every opportunity a language learning activity – if it’s a trip to the shops, or bath-time, you can make every activity a language learning activity. Point to things, name them, sing a nursery rhyme, or ask a question. You don’t have to set aside a specific time of day to learn language, every activity is a language learning activity.
6. Play games that encourage conversation, eg snap, buckaroo.
7. Recite nursery rhymes, so, so important!
8. Play I-Spy that encourages language participation. Eg something that begins with s, or something that is light blue in this room
9. Sing songs to encourage speech, modelling pronunciation.
10. Play games that encourage speaking and listening skills, eg. Hide and seek, musical statues, sleeping bunnies.
11. Observe and comment – when you are playing with your child, take a step back, do not feel that you have to fill the silences, just comment on the things your child is doing so they can hear (and learn) the new vocabulary
Personal, social and emotional development
12. Play games that encourage turn taking, eg snap, buckaroo. Make this explicit, my turn, your turn, Fred’s turn, whose turn is it now? (encourages fairness)
13. Let your child lead – let your child lead the play, let them be the boss of play. This can build self-confidence and independence. We want children to not have to depend on adults the whole time for entertainment. We want them to be comfortable with themselves and to be able to rely on themselves.
14. Continue the yoga that they receive in schools. A fun way to do this is by googling cosmic kid’s yoga.
15. Fostering mindfulness in preschoolers with tools like pictures, objects, food, simple movements, and music, can help them develop an ability to focus attention at a great level. See mindfulness Ideas sheet on website.
16. Tidying up is a great activity for children to learn responsibility for caring for objects, people and the environment. The most successful strategy for lively, energetic children is sweeping up and washing up. They love the responsibility!
17. Manners will take you far in life. Insist please and thank you.
1. Encourage your child to help prepare dinner, eg chopping vegetables
2. Encourage your child to spread their own butter and jam onto their toast
1. Continue the yoga that they receive in schools. A fun way to do this is cosmic kids yoga ( google)
2. Large motor Skills- My child can:
3. Aim and throw a large ball or beanbag, or catch one thrown to her.
4. Hop several times on each foot.
5. Walk along and jump over a low object, such as a line, string, or balance beam.
6. Bounce a large ball several times.
7. Kick a stationary ball.
8. Pedal and steer a bike
Small motor skills — My child can:
1. Brush teeth, comb hair, and get dressed with little help.
2. Skillfully use eating utensils.
3. Use (child-sized) scissors to cut along a line.
4. Pick up small items such as coins, toothpicks, and paperclips.
5. Assemble simple puzzles.
6. Copy simple shapes, like a circle or square.
7. Print some letters of the alphabet.
8. Stack objects so they don’t fall.
9. Give your child the space and freedom to use large muscles, through activities such as running, climbing and swinging on playground equipment.
10. Make sure your child gets adequate sleep and nutrition to fuel her overall development and activity.
11. Be sure to have her vision and hearing checked. Even small problems, caught and addressed at this age, can greatly enhance motor skill development and confidence.
12. Collect toys and equipment that your child can use to help her develop large muscles. (For example: hula hoops, bean bags, bike, large beach balls and a child-sized basketball hoop.)
13. Set up empty water bottles like bowling pins, and let your child use a soft ball to “bowl.”
14. Join your child in active play. Play catch, tag, or set up a simple obstacle course.
15. Give your child opportunities to practice small motor skills using child safety scissors, Lego blocks, dice, and buttons.
16. Sing Math’s nursery rhymes/ songs every day. It is important for young childrens brains to have the objects/ visuals. Eg five little ducks songs, have five ducks or five drawings of ducks.
17. Sorting- get your child to sort the laundry into dark colours, light colours. Sort their toys as they tidy, teddies, bricks, books
18. Count everything, going up and down stairs, how many plates, knives etc when laying the table together.
19. Cooking- how many spoons of sugar? Use weighing of flour to talk about large or small quantities. I need three eggs can you fetch then for me?
20. Use playdough to match objects to numerals.
21. Make your own number line. Ordering and recognizing numerals
2. Read, Read, Read. Read aloud to your child every day. This supports an understanding of how stories are structured, grammar, rhythm, knowledge and a love of reading.
3. Go on a sound hunt….. what can you hear? ( phase 1 phonics)
4. Build letter sounds by providing rhyming activities eg, fat, cat sat, mat,( Phase 1 Phonics)
5. Make an experience book that encourages children to retell something special they recently participated in. Eg going to the shop, making toast
7. Playdough…strengthens hands, wrists and fingers
8. Q-tip painting……Practice the pincer grip by painting with a q-tip.
9. Bucket of water and paintbrush,….strengthen and develops shoulder muscles reading for writing
11. Adding beads to pipe cleaners
13. A plastic plate covered with ketchup , hand your child a chopstick, make marks on the plate.
Expressive arts and design
14. Dance! Try to represent stories and feeling to movement and music
15. Sing! All day, every day. Sings a few familiar songs.
16. Tap s out repeated rhythms. Explores and learns how sounds can be changed.
17. Explores colour and how colours can be changed.
18. Drawing…. Understands that they can use lines to enclose a space, and then begin to use these shapes to represent objects.
19. Uses various construction materials. Beginning to construct, stacking blocks vertically and horizontally, making enclosures and creating spaces…..boxes/ junk modelling
Understanding the world( Geography, Science, History, Technology)
20. Sensory Baskets – Consider creating different collections of items that all belong to the same environment. Not only will this give the little ones a chance to create logical connections in their minds, but you get the opportunity to observe the things that interest each individual child the most. . (science)
21. Composting- The ‘magic’ of watching food leftovers turning into soil might be just the way to keep your little ones active and foster their curiosity about the outdoor environment. ( Science)
22. Wildlife Gardening- A simple twig pile in an undisturbed corner of the garden or balcony is enough to attract a range of wildlife to your setting’s outdoor area. It can be a true delight for the little ones to observe how different insects and invertebrates find shelter, feed, and collaborate. ( Science and environment/ geography)
23. Family Photos- get some pictures of family members and relatives (or even pets!) and create a memory box or create a family tree. ( History)
24. Create a child photo album of places they have been.( history and geography)
25. Use a camera with your child to take photos/ videos of teddy visiting the supermarket, etc and use this technology to make books or maps( ICT/ Literacy/Geography/History)
Resources for Parents
Websites for young children
2. www.bookstart.org.uk – Book Sharing and pack Information
3. http://ukchildrensbooks.co.uk – On-line world of children’s books
4. www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies – Fun and educational games and crafts
5. www.literacytrust.org.uk/talk_to_your_baby – Encourages parents to talk more to babies
6. www.five.tv/milkshake – Fun and educational games & crafts
7. www.sparklebox.co.uk – Primary and Early Years resources
Book list for EYFS there are too many to mention!
We’re going on a bear hunt Michael Rosen
Burglar Bill, by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
The Tiger Who Came To Tea, by Judith Kerr
Cops and Robbers Allan Ahlberg
Don’t forget the bacon Pat Hutchins
Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy Lynley Dodd
Owl Babies Martin Waddell
Room on the Broom, by Julia Donaldson
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
The Cat in the Hat, by Dr Seuss
The Owl who was afraid of the Dark Jill Tomlinson
Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak
The Tale of Samuel Whiskers, by Beatrix Potter
Mindfulness activities for children
1. The Bell Listening Activity – ring a bell and ask the children to listen carefully to the vibration of the ringing. Ask them to stay silent and raise their hands when they can no longer hear the sound. Then ask them to stay silent for one more minute to pay attention to any other sounds once the ringing has stopped. After, we can go around to each child and ask them to tell us every sound they noticed during that minute. Young children love this and it helps them connect to the present moment and the sensitivity of their perceptions.
2. Breathing Buddies – ask the children to bring along a stuffed animal each and if possible, have them lie down on the floor and put the stuffed animals on their stomachs. Ask them to breathe in silence for one minute and notice how their Breathing Buddy moves up and down, and any other sensations they notice. Ask them to imagine that any thoughts that come into their head turn into bubbles and float away. Having a Breathing Buddy there makes the meditation more friendly and shows the children that a playful activity doesn’t have to be noisy.
3. The Squish and Relax activity – whilst the children are lying down with their eyes closed, ask them to squish and squeeze every muscle in their bodies as tight as they can. Ask them to start with their toes and feet, squish the muscles in their legs, squeeze their stomachs, then their hands into fists and raise their shoulders up to their heads. Ask them to hold themselves squished up for a few seconds and then fully release and relax.
4. Smell and tell – give something fragrant to each child, such as some fresh orange peel, a flower, a mint leaf etc. Ask them to close their eyes and breathe in the scent, concentrating all their focus on the smell of their object. Scent can help with anxiety-relief as well as relaxation, stress, concentration etc.
5. The Art of Touch – give an object to each child to touch, such as a ball, a feather, a soft toy, a stone, etc. Ask them to close their eyes and describe what it feels like to a partner. Then ask them to swap. This exercise and the previous one teaches children to isolate their senses and to tune into separate, clear-cut experiences.
6. Mindful walks – children will love to do a ‘noticing walk’. We can walk along noticing things we haven’t seen before and then have one minute where we are completely silent and pay attention to all the sounds we can hear, such as birds singing, a lawnmower, a stream gurgling over stones etc. We can even expand it into a Safari walk by asking them to notice as many birds, bugs, creepy-crawlies etc as they can. This will turn a normal walk into an exciting adventure and teach them to focus all their senses.
7. Have a daily gratitude moment – we can teach our children to appreciate the abundance in their lives, instead of focusing on all the toys eat they want. It can be as simple as sharing about one thing we are grateful for at dinner every night.
8. Personal weather report – ask the children to best describe their feelings at the moment. Are they sunny, rainy, stormy, calm, windy etc? How do they know they are feeling those feelings? Where do they feel them in their bodies? Ask them which feelings they like best? Then ask them what they can do to feel better, reminding them they can always imagine their thoughts as bubbles when they’re upset; they can do the Squish and Relax activity when they need to calm down; or they can take a few moments to listen to their breath or feel their heartbeat if they want to relax. This activity shows children that they can observe their present state without over-identifying with their emotions. They understand that they can’t change their emotions any more than they can change the weather, but they can change how it affects them. They can learn to recognise that they are not the rain, but it is raining: they are not a scaredy-cat, but they can sometimes feel scared.
9. The Heartbeat exercise – ask the children to jump up and down for one minute and then ask them to sit back down and put their hands on their heart. Ask them to close their eyes and feel their heartbeats, their breath and whatever else they notice about their bodies.
10. The Mindful jar – this activity can teach children how strong emotions can take over and how to calm down when these emotions happen. We should put a big spoonful of glitter glue into a clear jar and fill it almost to the top with water. We then put the lid back on and shake it to make the glitter swirl. We then tell the children that the glitter is like their thoughts when they’re upset or angry and they can see how when it is whirling around it makes it hard to see clearly. And that’s why we make silly decisions when we’re upset and this happens to all of us. We then put the jar down in front of them and ask them to watch what happens when they’re still for a little while – the glitter starts to settle and the water clears. We then tell them that their mind works the same – when they’re calm for a few moments, their thoughts will settle and they will see clearer.
Makes 1 coloured ball Prep 10 minutes
You will need
· 8 tbsp plain flour
· 2 tbsp table salt
· 60ml warm water
· food colouring
· 1 tbsp vegetable oil
1. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl mix together the water, a few drops of food colouring and the oil.
2. Pour the coloured water into the flour mix and bring together with a spoon.
3. Dust a work surface with a little flour and turn out the dough. Knead together for a few minutes to form a smooth, pliable dough. If you want a more intense colour you can work in a few extra drops of food colouring.
4. Store in a plastic sandwich bag (squeeze out the air) in the fridge to keep it fresh. It lasts usually for a week. .